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Pontoon Again

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  • Pontoon Again

    I asked a question about pontoon splash guards a few weeks back with no replies. Oh well, guess the thickness of them doesn't need to be any thicker than the pontoon itself.

    I've never tig welded on pontoons (thats under a pontoon boat) Just how thick are they usually? Would they go an 8th? Probably more like a 16th.

    Is it ok to use air to purge them free of any flammable gas that may be inside?

    It's not an old boat and the toons look pretty good, just the splash guards have broken off at the welds.

    Any advise?

  • #2
    Why would you think they have flammable gas inside?

    No purging needed but usually a vent hole to allow the pressure to escape if your going to be doing a lot of welding. Should be a fitting with a pipe plug somewhere.

    Comment


    • #3
      Tell me more about it, such as what brand (mfg) it is and what model, and the size.
      How many logs does it have etc.
      Generally pontoons are .080 5052. Since triple logs have become more popular with larger engines etc. they have thickened up and run anything up to sometimes as thick as .125 altho that varies greatly according to the mfg. and the year.
      Pics of the damage would help as well.
      Over the last dozen years I have repaired hundreds of pontoon boats and may possibly be of some assistance.
      Hopefully you are the first person to work on this.
      BTW....if you are planning to mig on this....think again. This is a tig job unless you have a boatload of aluminum mig background.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
        Tell me more about it, such as what brand (mfg) it is and what model, and the size.
        How many logs does it have etc.
        Generally pontoons are .080 5052. Since triple logs have become more popular with larger engines etc. they have thickened up and run anything up to sometimes as thick as .125 altho that varies greatly according to the mfg. and the year.
        Pics of the damage would help as well.
        Over the last dozen years I have repaired hundreds of pontoon boats and may possibly be of some assistance.
        Hopefully you are the first person to work on this.
        BTW....if you are planning to mig on this....think again. This is a tig job unless you have a boatload of aluminum mig background.
        Using tig and it will be the first repair on the boat. Make model etc. I do not know yet. I saw it briefly an am waiting to see if we can get it in my backyard. The existing splash guard, one that is still there, is .080.

        There is a small slope where it will have to be backed down sideways and the wheels on the trailer are under the boat which might make it top heavy. Bit concerned about it tipping over.

        But I will get pics and the other info, maybe this weekend.

        I've always heard to purge the toons. I don't know how bad gas could get in one except if the drain was open and a gas tank was leaking that usually sit directly above the drains. Maybe on a cracked toon surface water where gas and oil float might splash up on it and leak down into it. I just don't know of the ways and why people say they have blown up.

        Comment


        • #5
          The only way you would have to purge the toons because of fumes is if it had a fuel tank in it. Some high end models do have this. Simply locate the fuel tank anyways before you proceed.
          The main thing is....before you weld on it you must VENT the chamber that you are welding on. That can vary, because some logs have several chambers and others have baffles with holes in the bottom and drain plugs in the rear.
          The ones with several chambers normally have pipe plug on top.
          Since there are so many variations you will need the boat before anyone can give you much advice.....unless you can CALL the customer and then post back.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
            The only way you would have to purge the toons because of fumes is if it had a fuel tank in it. Some high end models do have this. Simply locate the fuel tank anyways before you proceed.
            The main thing is....before you weld on it you must VENT the chamber that you are welding on. That can vary, because some logs have several chambers and others have baffles with holes in the bottom and drain plugs in the rear.
            The ones with several chambers normally have pipe plug on top.
            Since there are so many variations you will need the boat before anyone can give you much advice.....unless you can CALL the customer and then post back.
            Hey FusionKing,
            The Pontoon boat is a 2000 Odyssey Millenium and it has the pipe plugs at the bottom rear. The old welds will have to be removed somewhat.

            So what about leaving a little weld there for thickness to start back on? Also is there a way to know the correct filler? Was kind of planning to use 4043, the angle I got from Lowes is labeled Steel Works 6408.

            Will be using this angle welded to the guard which is 1/8th 6061. Thought about breaking it at a 90 but the angle will be stronger. What do you think?

            Comment


            • #7
              The angle I've seen at lowes is not that good. It has a square joint and seems to be pretty low quality aluminum. I'd look for some good commercial angle with a nice gusset inside or bend some up yourself.
              CGum

              Comment


              • #8
                Just caught this thread again!

                Use 5356 filler. How did the welds break? I it is skip welded, sometimes you are better off to weld the entire bottom.
                Totally straightening the piece and re-welding it will do more good than anything. Then you could re-enforce it with more beef if needed.
                Slow and methodical is key. Start on one end and weld very little at a time or the fin will warp away from the toon. You cannot catch up with the expansion and will need to cut it back apart. As it cools the 2 parts will draw together.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                  Use 5356 filler. How did the welds break? I it is skip welded, sometimes you are better off to weld the entire bottom.
                  Totally straightening the piece and re-welding it will do more good than anything. Then you could re-enforce it with more beef if needed.
                  Slow and methodical is key. Start on one end and weld very little at a time or the fin will warp away from the toon. You cannot catch up with the expansion and will need to cut it back apart. As it cools the 2 parts will draw together.
                  I'll pick up some 5356, been wanting to try it anyway. The guards broke from lots of waves pounding them upwards then being pushed back down . Weekends on the lakes around here are are crazy with boats. Of course kids like to hang onto them also while playing in the water.

                  The actual welds didn't appear to break, the thin aluminum being stressed at the welds gave way, and yes they were skip welded. I'm building 4 new guards a little thicker and larger overall as 2 of the originals are lost.

                  Thanks for the advise, I'll plan to weld the entire length if it's going well.

                  This boat has some really nice looking welds all over, I was impressed with the quality an workmanship that went into the pontoons on the boat. Just the guards have taken a beating.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cool....if you can make all 4 new that would be nice.
                    Now, one thing that you may be able to improve.... If you have a flange on the fin, that turns down, and it is welded along the bottom. Then you can make that "leg" of the fin longer. Then it will lay against the nosecone for a longer distance and straining the weld much less. And it will give you some new metal to weld on just below all the fatigued junk.
                    Make sure you pressure test all the old welds etc. before you weld the fin on. 2lbs is plenty of air pres when you hit it with a spray bottle of dishsoap water. I find many leaks in this area. Test your work as well.
                    There is a real good chance this boat has other leaks. Generally when the fins are up and bent like that, the boat is running low...ie...water in the tubes, that they have been draining out periodically. Normally these boats crack at the front and back brackets, on the insides of both logs. If this one is you may make several times more money fixing the REAL problem.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fusion , come to think of it I've never tested a pontoon that didn't have more leaks than whatever I was fixing. All the ones I've worked on leaked where the angles are welded to the top of the logs. I figure the factory's that build the logs probably make a log then pressure check it then add on the angles , etc..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Showdog75 View Post
                        Fusion , come to think of it I've never tested a pontoon that didn't have more leaks than whatever I was fixing. All the ones I've worked on leaked where the angles are welded to the top of the logs. I figure the factory's that build the logs probably make a log then pressure check it then add on the angles , etc..
                        If they have been running that puppy hard enuff to flap the fins and tear'em off, then there is a good chance it has also been diagonally twisting the entire boat.....which on a pontoon boat, is THE KISS OF DEATH

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Good grief,
                          Guess I'll start today building a pressure tester I have in mind. Just a way to add the air with a gage and use soapy water. Looks the the very first thing to do is check everything.

                          Yesterday, I welded a sample guard and didn't like the results. Instead of adding angle I'll be breaking the guard at the toon edge at a 90.

                          Learning allot right here. Thanks for the great advise, I'll keep reading.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You really don't need to put much pressure into these things. I have used a air pump for filling inflatable toys and you would be surprized how much force that puts on the pontoon. With only that little bit of pressure the pontoon moved and produced plenty of bubbles from the leaks. When I do them at my shop I just jam a air want in the hole and pack a rag around it.

                            I do not remember what fusion said but I don't think you would need any more then 1 psi.

                            -Dan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hardrock,

                              Not trying to give you a hard time or rain on the parade, but I have some real concerns.

                              Went back and read a few of your posts from awhile back. Seems you're just getting the hang of this "tig welding".

                              The comment about buying aluminum at the box stores raised further questions. Frankly, I don't know anyone serious about welding aluminum that uses that stuff for anything "serious".

                              The comment about "getting some 5356" also raised eyebrows.

                              I know everyone wants to be able to "do their own stuff", but being a good tig welder also involves knowing when a project may exceed one's experience level. While an experienced tig welder such as FK or Showdog may make this type repair look easy, and they can describe the process they use, it's not an "easy fix" and can go bad in a NY minute.

                              I can tell you from personal experience, and I'm sure FK and Showdog will confirm it , that there's nothing worse than having to go in and try to do a quality repair after an inexperienced guy has made things worse. I get it all the time. The owner who loaded a spool of aluminum in his little mig and went to town, the owner who's buddy "knows how to tig weld", and blew holes in the thin material, and God forbid, the guy who took the aluma-weld solder to the damaged area.

                              I'm not saying you can't do this repair, but I would highly recommend you do a lot of practice on similar gauge material (scrap) before you even think about putting a torch to the boat itself. A little too much heat here or there and you create a bigger problem than you have now. Sounds like you've got a nice rig there. Would hate to see you create a bigger problem for yourself.

                              One thing that FK and Showdog have not brought up is the fact that the tube has already been welded once in the same area (when original splash rail was installed). This created it's own HAZ and somewhat weakened the aluminum in that area. Double pass welds (going back over a previous weld) are something we have to be extremely careful about. Here, you don't have much choice, but it's another factor that enters into the equation.

                              Bottom line.

                              What seems to be a somewhat straightforward repair may in fact require the services of a very experienced tigger.

                              Comment

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