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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was recently given an aluminum jon boat, I think it's a ryhan craft or something like that, about 12'. It's in rough shape but seems to be worthy of repairing. It's kind of beat up on the bottom and I'm wondering if that will really cause me any issue? Can I put a small outboard on a boat that size.....not that I have one. It has two true problems that must be fixed before I use it. First is a split along one of the ridges on the bottom about four inches long. Someone has tried to repair it with bathroom caulk, but that's just not going to do. Do I patch with aluminum riveted and sealed with silicon or is there a better way (fiberglass?)? Second problem is the rivets on one of the seats are coming lose and once again the holes were sealed with bathroom caulk. Can I use ordinary rivets or do I have to get a special kind. I think ordinary rivets will leak given how you fasten them on with the rivet gun. Give me some suggestions guys. If I have time I will post some pictures tomorrow.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Find some welding shop that does TIG welding and have them weld the problems. This will fix everything once and for all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't know TIG welders could do aluminum? The farmer down the road has a TIG welder. If what you're saying is correct then all I can say is FREE! He is an old friend and I'm sure he'd do it for nothing or at most a twelve pack of mountain dew!

How about the rivets? Should I look at using rivets or will stainless steel bolts do the job? I don't really care what it looks like because I think I'm going to try a home job camofluage paint job to hide the ugliness!
 

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I had some leaky rivets on my boat that I fixed with some JB Weld. I just spread a small amount around the rivet and it sealed it right up. I'd give that a try first.
 

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In my experience pop-rivets will leak as they have a hollow core.

At the boat shop they advised exclusively using aluminum for aluminum repairs and that prolonged contact with any other metal would cause corrosion that would eventually leak. They specifically cautioned against stainless and brass.

For my big repairs I had the hull and drain plug welded. I took a recommendation to externally seal all of my marine rivets with a two part epoxy on both sides of the hull and so far I've been very happy and dry. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Dawg, I think i read about the corrosion issue somewhere too. I can't just seal the rivets as some of them are too far gone. Where can I get similar replacement rivets....locally?
 

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Fortunately, I wasn't missing any rivets. I contemplated replacing some with pop-rivets but my test with the bottom of a coffee can didn't hold water.

I was able to tighten the loose rivets by having someone hold a sledge against the outside end and hammering the inside end (hot with torch) with a hammer and center punch. I would guess you could get solid aluminum rivets from a marine supply but I'm not sure.
 

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ibthetrout,

I have some marine rivets left over from a repair I did years ago. Let me know how many and how long and I'll take a look. If you chose to go this route, PM your address too.

ficious
 

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I re-did my old Smokercraft and had to drill out several of the big rivits. You can buy em at 11 and Evergreen, I forget the name of the boat shop but they also have the tool you use one one side and you use the air impact tool on the other. I would practice once or twice before doing this on the boat. They do have all shapes and sizes of rivits too.
Not that hard of a job.
 

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TIG welding is the much preferred way to weld aluminum (at least for me). It allows the welder to control all variables in a weld. Since aluminum likes to form internal stresses from heat, this is very crucial to not warping the mat'l. Especially when welding together items of different thicknesses when you want full penetration welds. You control the feed rate, you control the amperage, etc.

That being said, if someone is not used to welding aluminum, i would NOT want that person welding aluminum on something like that. Aluminum is a much different animal than steel, not nearly as forgiving. If he is still going to give it a go, make sure he has an alumina welding wire. The stuff for steel just don't cut it when welding aluminum.

steve
 

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Try the alumaloy. This stuff is great!!! A friend of mine does a sort of fix it shop out of his barn, Everything from sewing machines to front end loaders. since this stuff came on the market he as almost totally quit sending out his alum repairs to be welded. He said that it repairs alum boats as good as new. No leaks, and no conductive corrosion.
 

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hey ibtrout you can also pick up the aluminum materials at the airstrip on rawsonville rd north of willis.... another place is up in tecumseh out near the airport is the meyers boat plant dont know if they are still in business but maybe worth checking....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I ordered solid aluminum rivets from mcmaster.com. I think I'm going to use some epoxy for the small split.
 
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