Repairing aluminum boat

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by Hoopie, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Hoopie

    Hoopie New Member

    Messages:
    818
    State:
    Ohio
    I have a aluminum tracker hull that I am going to remove the mercury sport jet from. My question is how am I going to repair the 18" by 3' hole it is going to leave in my transom and the bottom.I would also like to install a 4.3 chevy coupled to a berkeley jet drive. First I need to fix the thats the hardest part for me, any suggestions?
     
  2. oh no

    oh no New Member

    Messages:
    11,108
    State:
    Indiana
    Boy if thats like any Tracker I have seen, Is it heavy enough to even repair. They have some thin hulls. Will it support the weight and stress of a bigger motor.

    You will have to go to someone with a good wire welder or a spool gun and get ready to loosen up some bucks. Welding aluminum is a pain. Material cost is going to be a big factor. It's been a while since I bought any 1/4 x 2' x 2' aluminum angle, I think I had to get 8 sticks 20' long for a job. Boy they really added to that jobs cost quick.
     

  3. RivrLivn

    RivrLivn Member

    Messages:
    194
    State:
    Missouri
    Your are facing a challenge there.
    I would be very careful about the weight difference you will be dealing with.
    That Mercury Sportjet package (engine and pump) weith less than 350#.
    That 4.3 v6 alone will weight 500# and probable another 100# min for the jet.
    Those are low sided boats and since under 21' need the appropriate flotation for USCG regs.

    With that narrow bottom, you are going to have boat that sits real A** heavy.

    The boat should probably scream if you can make it work though.
     
  4. badams

    badams New Member

    Messages:
    70
    State:
    california
    I know nothing about the weight factors involved (new motor compatability with boat hull)but the hole can be repaired with TIG welding. An experienced TIG welder can weld material as thin as aluminum foil.
     
  5. oh no

    oh no New Member

    Messages:
    11,108
    State:
    Indiana
    Trouble with tig welding is it takes longer. Rebuilding that boat and adding lots of braces/gussets takes a lot of welding. Wire is the only way to go. I know, as I have both wire and a tig welder. That's what I used to do. Hated to work on thin boats, they are a pain.
     
  6. Hoopie

    Hoopie New Member

    Messages:
    818
    State:
    Ohio
    The boat is a tracker pro team 185 jet. 18' feet in length 6' or so across the back. Talked to a fab shop today labor is $45/ hr. I think i can get the whole process done for under 1k thats motor and all. As for the coast gaurd they dont come around where I spend most of my time. Around there are 5 or 6 boats that have this done to them,yes they do scream. The ones with 350's in them do 80 m.p.h. The real advantage to this is planing in REAL shallow water,and with the berkeley if you happen to suck up rocks you can clean them out without getting wet. I'll keep this project posted as it comes along. I haven't started yet still doing research.......if you look in my avatar you can see the nose of the boat.
     
  7. oh no

    oh no New Member

    Messages:
    11,108
    State:
    Indiana
    Boy you might as well get into racing. LOL A Friend of my son's races little hydro planes. Old style, souped up Mercs, run on alcohol and scream. lol 80 + mph. And they started out as old style 50s and 60s Merc 10 hp motors. They have tons of money in those little toys. But they are fun!!!!

    The boats are made out of super thin plywood and canvas.
     
  8. cantstopgrandma

    cantstopgrandma New Member

    Messages:
    955
    State:
    MD
    Dear God!!! Do you have a death wish? That's a huge motor for that small of a boat. I'll tell you one thing though, that 4.3L is a GREAT engine. I've got one in my S-10 (I imagine there isn't that much difference between auto and marine). As heavy as that motor and jet combo would be in the back, i would think it would kinda defeat the purpose of the jet?
     
  9. catfishcrazy256

    catfishcrazy256 New Member

    Messages:
    2,648
    State:
    Indiana
    best way is to tig weld a patch
     
  10. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Matt, that thing may be heavy in the back, but as fast as he's gonna be going there's going to be nothing but 2" of hull and the jet nozzle in the water when he opens 'er up. :wink:

    Better put some kind of vertical tail fin on it to keep it from rolling on you while you're airborne over the sanbars:smile2:
     
  11. cantstopgrandma

    cantstopgrandma New Member

    Messages:
    955
    State:
    MD

    Maybe add a couple of cinder blocks or sand bags to the bow? :eek:oooh:
     
  12. Hoopie

    Hoopie New Member

    Messages:
    818
    State:
    Ohio
    Thanks for the replys. I will have to get pictures this summer of the homemade jets in this area,all of them have car motors in them.I am still researching wieght factors and other things. Plus it is going to be hard to start cutting on my boat. But once I start there is no turning back.:smile2:
     
  13. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    If you are substituting a marine engine with a car engine, leave the wife and kids at home.
    Its a time bomb unless you flame and spark arrest the engine. carb, starter, alternator, distributor, exhaust, etc.


    Inboard Boat engines are essentially auto engines that have been modified for boats. These engines have been produced for years by the auto industry and do perform very well in boats and cars. The problem is that these engines are made for cars. Cars have a transmission......

    http://www.limarinesurveyor.com/serv05.htm
     
  14. RivrLivn

    RivrLivn Member

    Messages:
    194
    State:
    Missouri
    Hoopie,
    There are a lot of home-made jets here in central MO as well,
    Some of them work pretty well, while other are scary as hell.
    Many just stuck a V8 with a berkley pump in an old jon boat.
    Those hulls where never designed for an efficient or safe inboard jet operation. They just had a bunch of power in a light boat.

    Then we had a company start offerring a true inboard jet boat hull built in Canada and its rig it for this area. And once people starting seeing what a good design could do expectations started to change and many people wanted more.

    If you just want a new motor, I believe a 175, 210 or a 240 powerhead will fit on your pump.
     
  15. Hoopie

    Hoopie New Member

    Messages:
    818
    State:
    Ohio
    Mark could you tell me the difference between a marine eng. and a car eng. other than the exhaust starter alt. heads and intake and carb?
     
  16. chambers bd

    chambers bd New Member

    Messages:
    1,134
    State:
    Sautee,Geo
    Hi Folks,
    I guess I would tigg weld the hole, I would also paint the inside with bed linner (linnerx). The 1860 grizzly can handle a 90 hp so not sure the difference in weight versus horse power, but a 4.3 can run fairly well that being said when you over load and over power its over kill. I know or im sure you really dont wont to take a project turn in to a death trap.
    Once you find the center of gravity and adjusted to that weight it must be braced to handle that amount of stress. I Guess all
    am saying It would really be sad to hear you were hurt or worse trying to do something fun.

    please be careful

    Brian
     
  17. primitivefrn

    primitivefrn Member

    Messages:
    786
    State:
    collins mo
    I owned a 185 tracker with a 175 merc. sports jet, got rid of it, I felt the motor was to much weight and low sides on the boat wasn't much fun on windy days. own a river pro now, its a whole lot better , as far as safe. and
    faster. your looking for a boat with high speed. the Tracker ia a regular john type, and will not hold on corners, you will spin out, been their and done that.
    be safe and wear your life jacket,
    Jim
     
  18. cantstopgrandma

    cantstopgrandma New Member

    Messages:
    955
    State:
    MD

    I am not sure of what goes into the internals to make them different, but a marine engine is designed to run at or near wide open throttle for their entire life. Try doing that with an automotive engine.....you'll blow it up fairly quick :big_smile: