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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Aluminum Boat Repair

    I would appreciate recommendations and common approach to aluminum boat repair from you pros.
    My friend has an aluminum boat that is taking water between the bottom of the boat and the keel, so evidently there is a split somewhere under the keel. The keel is about 100 gage or so and I believe the bottom is about .080. The keel is stitch welded about 2" on 12" or 18".

    He has tried some liquid sealer on the bottom and it stopped for awhile, but is now leaking again. He told me the fit on the bottom is not that tight between the keel and the floor and that is where he applied the sealer.

    My going in position is to take the motor and accessories off and turn it upside down and either TIG or MIG. Or, is it an acceptable approach to pull the lilvewells/floor and tackle it from the top? Or both?

    I heard of some type of liquid sealer called GulVit (spelling ?). Not sure that is the way to go.

    Reccomendations please and thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Lake of the Ozarks MO


    Sealer will not repair the boat structurally is temporary at best. It also makes future repairs truly suck.
    My first question would be what brand and model is this boat? Next would be is it a cherry or has every bubblegum artist in the land had a go at it?
    I have fixed quite a few of these. Some I have taken the time to remove the entire keel piece and weld the split only to have it leak again later when it re-broke
    If I went to all the trouble to do what it took to flip the thing over then I would weld the entire length of the keel on both sides. I have done that on the last few and non came back that way. By that I mean welded the entire keel not flipped it over.
    I cannot help but think the way they lay that fusion weld on that turned down flange INSIDE the keel on some is rinky dink at best.
    If you choose to cut only part of the keel off be aware of this...the flange protrudes into the keel on several models and is easy to cut at the same time so take your time
    Some have the turned down flange and are welded inside with another piece laid over that and welded as well. Then they spray their dang foam all over them.
    Usually when I do the welding phase I have the boat on the trailer and the front higher. I fill with water until it runs out the crack and then tilt it higher yet. Then if I suspect burning I simply lower the jack and rush the water over the weld
    I would recommend not bidding the job but rather try to give them a ballpark figure at best and try to work by the hr. If you do have to bid it after you seriously try to estimate your time then double it because it will amaze you how much time you spend prepping and leak checking plus the water bill and all that. Welding is the easy part if you have a tig... if not then send it down the road!!
    BTW...his sealer didn't fix it because it is skip welded...unless he applied sealer to the entire keel it would be impossible for it to have worked
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Really appreciate your reply. You advise has proved bang on every time.
    I think it is a Landau (spelling??). Whoever, they are out of business now. The boat is at its best 5 years old.

    Your approach to welding the keel makes perfect sense, espescially raising the front end to account for a potential fire. Never thought of that. I was being a little greedy and was thinking about ease of TIG welding and access to the repair if we flipped it over.

    Yup, he has put some kunk on it already. How much and what I am not sure, but he has tried to fill all the gaps between the keel and the bottom....which worked for a little while. I do not know if acetone or equivalent would do any good. He did say it is leaking more.

    I am beginning to think it may be best to cut this bear loose. Mainly since he has tried some sealer already. I can only imagine how hard that would be to remove.

    Thanks again, BTW I picked up on your tip and found a tank for my lift from a guy near Osage.

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