Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

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shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

Hey guys, I’m rebuilding a 16’ Starcraft Super Sport and I’ve got a question about sealing leaky rivets and seams while I have the boat upside down.

I’ll preface by saying I’ve used Gluvit on the inside rivets, but I’ve since decided to paint the bottom and since I didn’t have a chance to leak test it after the Gluvit, I’m going all out by applying West Systems G-Flex treatment on exterior rivets and seams.

My question for you aluminum hull gurus;

I’m wondering what level I should go to with the G/Flex boat repair kit I bought. It’s supposed to seal any loose, leaky rivets and seams. Again, this is an extra step to go with the Gluvit on the inside.

But I’m in a bit of a quandary though. Where my concerns of leaks are, is where the rivets pass through the keel and strakes. I can seal the rivet head and tail, but I feel that unless I can completely the keel or strake itself, water will still be able to get inside because of the drain hole in each one, thereby potentially getting to the rivet between the flange and hull skin.
The West System instructions (see pic) show sealing these but I can’t see how this can be 100% effective unless I seal the drain holes also. Which now poses ice expansion problems during winter storage if they cannot drain.

Should I seal these holes and install some type of threaded drain? (Not sure if this is even possible unless I drill and tap some fine machine thread and use a stainless pan head screw with rubber washer.

Or am I overthinking this, if I seal the keel and strakes, will they act like a diving bell where trapped air pocket inside will prevent them from filling completely with water?

Thanks in advance
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Weldorthemagnificent
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Re: Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by Weldorthemagnificent »

The best fix, in my opinion, is to identify the leaky rivets and rebuck them. Unfortunately that means flipping a heavy hull and filling with water. I've had way better luck sealing hulls by tightening them up then by relying on goop. Sometimes it can't be helped but I always try to rebuck and tighten those connections first.

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shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

Thanks. I forgot to mention I replaced a lot of rivets and rebucked the rest.
I wanted to leak test at the lake but winter came and I thought filling the boat with water would use a literal ton of water and thought it would be a bad idea to put that kind of weight on the trailer and weight on roller pressure points.

At this junction, I’ve done as much as I could mechanically with the g flex being the last step.

Any thoughts about the air pocket in the strake and keel theory?

Weldorthemagnificent
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Re: Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by Weldorthemagnificent »

I don't think those strakes are meant to be water tight

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shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

Thanks agreed on the non watertight

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DaleH
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by DaleH »

They are not meant to be watertight and I bet they wouldn't stay watertight. Never mind moisture would form in there due to condensation.

I had the same issue on my saltwater tin boat, so I removed them, cleaned and sealed the area well, then put in all new rivets.

Done, no leaks ... good for another 20 years!

Ronbedard57
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by Ronbedard57 »

Hi,
I agree with the pro-rerivet group. If there aren't that many, I think its worth drilling out any that are suspect and bucking in new ones. This affords the chance to clean up the outer surface so there's a good seal. I bought a sack of rivets all as long as the longest ones I needed, and cut them to match the application. (ribs, seams, transom, fittings, etc.) The air tool and rivet header are cheap, and an old ball-peen hammerhead wielded by a tolerant wife got the whole job done in an afternoon. I never even considered any type of goop/sealant. Looks shoddy. Why not do it right?
I replaced dozens (the boat had been allowed to freeze up with water in the bilges), and never even tested them before painting the bottom. NO Leaks!
Wear earmuffs, and good luck.
Ron
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shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

Yeah I think before I go any further I’ll flip it over put it back on the trailer and do a leak test by filling it with water. Thanks for your help guys

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DaleH
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by DaleH »

shoestringmariner wrote: 19 Jan 2022, 13:05 Yeah I think before I go any further I’ll flip it over put it back on the trailer and do a leak test by filling it with water.
You do know that isn't a 100% reliable method , right?

In the water a boat displaces a mass of water equal to the mass of the boat. So a 200 pound (#) hull displaces 200 #s of water, where 200 #s of water / 8.3 #s per gallon = 24 gallons. But adding 24 gallons of water inside the hull could place the water at different spots (and depths) than where the pressure would actually bear on the hull from the water being on the outside. There would also be the most water pressure at the deepest spot(s) of the hull.

Capice?

Myself I just take it to the nearest local pond with the OB, tank and all gear normaly carried (or the weight distributed equal to all that), to make an accurate assessment for if she's gonna leak or not ..

shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

DaleH wrote: 19 Jan 2022, 14:15
shoestringmariner wrote: 19 Jan 2022, 13:05 Yeah I think before I go any further I’ll flip it over put it back on the trailer and do a leak test by filling it with water.
You do know that isn't a 100% reliable method , right?

In the water a boat displaces a mass of water equal to the mass of the boat. So a 200 pound (#) hull displaces 200 #s of water, where 200 #s of water / 8.3 #s per gallon = 24 gallons. But adding 24 gallons of water inside the hull could place the water at different spots (and depths) than where the pressure would actually bear on the hull from the water being on the outside. There would also be the most water pressure at the deepest spot(s) of the hull.

Capice?

Myself I just take it to the nearest local pond with the OB, tank and all gear normaly carried (or the weight distributed equal to all that), to make an accurate assessment for if she's gonna leak or not ..
DaleH wrote: 19 Jan 2022, 14:15
shoestringmariner wrote: 19 Jan 2022, 13:05 Yeah I think before I go any further I’ll flip it over put it back on the trailer and do a leak test by filling it with water.
You do know that isn't a 100% reliable method , right?

In the water a boat displaces a mass of water equal to the mass of the boat. So a 200 pound (#) hull displaces 200 #s of water, where 200 #s of water / 8.3 #s per gallon = 24 gallons. But adding 24 gallons of water inside the hull could place the water at different spots (and depths) than where the pressure would actually bear on the hull from the water being on the outside. There would also be the most water pressure at the deepest spot(s) of the hull.

Capice?

Myself I just take it to the nearest local pond with the OB, tank and all gear normaly carried (or the weight distributed equal to all that), to make an accurate assessment for if she's gonna leak or not ..
Yeah I get it, but IMO, neither is a great option right now.
My boat is 100%gutted. Outboard is off and in storage as are all my batteries.(3 of them)
It’s also the dead of winter and all boat launches in a 1 hour radius are closed/frozen up. Even if they were open I’d have to weigh it down with not only what’s listed, but the equivalent of what is missing. Floors, console, steering, bow troller, kicker motor, fuel tanks (2) seats etc. to do all of that is a no at this junction.

So I think filling with water is my only true option.

Well my other option is to continue buttoning this up, do the best I can and cross my fingers and let the auto bilge deal with seepage while I’m away for up to 2weeks at a time. This project can only go forward. It has to be ready for May and I have A LOT of work to do

Weldorthemagnificent
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Re: Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by Weldorthemagnificent »

I had my 16' Naden on sawhorses in the garage. Middle of winter and no hose. I dumped buckets of water in it and tilted it one way then the other and looked for leaks. Found a couple and rebucked and rechecked. There has been 3 fishing seasons since and it still doesn't leak. I'll take luck over skill any day. Lol. You work with what your options are at the time.

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Pappy
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by Pappy »

Have mentioned this simple method a bunch of times. Works very well and can be permanent or until you re-rivet or re-buck.
Hull must be dry.
Simply wick some thin or medium super glue into the rivet that is leaking. Works like a champ and quick and easy.

shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

Glad I checked…she leaks a bit at the front keel.

shoestringmariner
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Sealing leaky rivets and seams?

Post by shoestringmariner »

And the west system Epoxy works really well with a heat gun. It things out and creeps into where it needs to. I’m impressed so far. Just getting started. But yes my leaks, I replaced three more rivets. Did some 3M – 5200 betting on the inside. Then I will follow up with the west system Epoxy followed by interlux primer and two part epoxy paint. Should be dry dry dry bring on summer