cracked keel

7/14/15 @ 5:55 PM
ORIGINAL POST
STING RAY
STING RAY
USER since 6/1/08
So whats the fix on a cracked keel? I have a 18 ft smoker craft the other day out fishing I noticed i took on a lot of water. I got home and filled the boat up with water to find the leak and found a 8 to 9 inch crack in the front keel. Anybody have any knowledge on getting it fixed?
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Displaying 1 to 9 of 9 Posts
7/14/15 @ 9:26 PM
smokercraft427
smokercraft427
MEMBER since 4/16/06
I agree, the only absolute permanent repair is the total keel replacement. Which is cost prohibited.

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7/14/15 @ 9:21 PM
smokercraft427
smokercraft427
MEMBER since 4/16/06
I think the term weld is incorrect when talking about the thin aluminum on boats. And, a tig or mig weld is not the correct application because of the excessive heat required. Check out Muggyweld on you tube. The rods I previously mentioned do not require oxy acetylene level of heat. A map gas is plenty, which is a much better option to prevent the weakening of panels. Again, my biggest concern would be the continuing of the split beyond the repair since it's not separated at a joint. But if it did continue to split it wouldn't be because of the heat applied during the initial repair. ie weakening of surrounding material.

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7/14/15 @ 9:15 PM
migr8r
migr8r
USER since 2/8/11
I've been told the only permanent fix is to replace the entire keel. When you figure the labor to take your boat apart to bare-bones and drill out and re-rivet the entire keel, you're better off buying a new boat. Probably a $5000 project.

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7/14/15 @ 9:07 PM
migr8r
migr8r
USER since 2/8/11
I cracked mine the first time pushing it a little too hard on bago and recracked it on lk mich. Apparently smaller alum boats don't fare well on big water. My crack is exactly as long and where yours is.

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7/14/15 @ 9:01 PM
STING RAY
STING RAY
USER since 6/1/08
Thats what im worried about. Its a pretty long crack. I need this to be a permanent fix. I fish alot of big water ie. michagan and bago and i doent need this to leak or crack again. Anybody recommend a good boat repair place? I live in sheboygan county.

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7/14/15 @ 8:56 PM
migr8r
migr8r
USER since 2/8/11
Where are you? If anywhere near Eagle, Wi there is a welding shop that can fix it. I've had them fix mine twice and they've done a great job. Great guys and reasonable price.

I will tell you that it's not a permanent fix and to be honest your boat likely has limited days afloat. That crack happens with excess weight in the bow and flex in the boat structure. Now that it is cracked, it will happen again. When? No telling. The weld will be stronger than the surrounding metal and eventually will likely crack along each side. The heat from more than a couple weld attempts will compromise the joint at the joint of the keel and sidewall and it will leak. I've got the exact issue and am babying my boat until I can replace it. I'm on my second weld attempt.

R and D Welding

7/14/15 @ 8:26 PM
smokercraft427
smokercraft427
MEMBER since 4/16/06
After looking at your picture again, I'm concerned that even if you repair the crack as I previously described that might not stop it from continuing to crack below the repaired section. ??? I'd take it to a boat repair shop for there expert opinion.

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7/14/15 @ 8:21 PM
smokercraft427
smokercraft427
MEMBER since 4/16/06
I'm by no means a boat repair man. I'm a plumber/pipefitter by trade. A few years ago at the Madison fishing expo, I bought a pack of "welding rod" that was being demonstrated to weld/repair aluminum or copper. The guy was sealing up holes and rips he put in pop cans. Being in the trades, i thought this was awesome! I'd never seen anything like it and I thought it might come in handy one day so I bought some. The stuff is actually very easy to use, similar to soldering a copper fitting together only with an aluminum rod. I have no doubt that by slightly widening the crack with a thin grinding wheel and cleaning it, this rod or something like it would fix that permanently. You would see the repair, but a keel guard would cover it? My point in saying all this is, I'm sure that an actual boat repair shop would be able to take care of that fairly easily. If you can't find someone to do it, send me a PM. I'll see if I can find the couple of sticks I have left, if you're handy with soldering at all and willing to give it a shot I'll get them to you. I might have two or three laying around. One or two to practice and one to repair should be plenty.

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