Rivets and such

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Jersey Joe
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Joined: 24 Jul 2014, 09:32

Rivets and such

Post by Jersey Joe » 27 Jul 2014, 12:58

Hello All...I'm a new member here, and novice boater. I'm looking for a dual purpose aluminum boat for pulling the kids around and also bay fishing/crabbing and such. I think I'm settled on an open bow like the Starcraft Superfisherman or other brands like that. I've read a lot on here about replacing rivets and such when rehabbing boats. When I'm looking at a used boat, how can I tell if it needs rivets replaced? Will they just be loose to the touch? Any suggestions will be appreciated.


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Rivets and such

Post by El_Guapo » 27 Jul 2014, 15:48

There's multiple ways to see if rivets need replaced. The most obvious is the visual "Is it there?" test, followed by the mechanical "Is it loose?" test.

Then you're going to want to look for corrosion on the insides, and shiny spots around the heads indicating movement. The definitive test is to fill the hull with water and watch for leaks. In my own experiences with aluminum boats, I've never found more than half a dozen leaky rivets on a hull. This being the current USS Rustoleum project, where the two prior tin boats tied at 3.

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Rivets and such

Post by Natedog57 » 27 Jul 2014, 22:45

I agree that the best way to ID loose rivets is with a water test, which if you're buying a boat/motor/trailer combo hopefully you can do. If possible, keep it in the water for 30 min or so and see how much water it has taken on.

When you tap rivets with a tool, or your fingernail, good tight ones sound similar to the sheet aluminum, but loose ones will have a slight "tap" or "ting" noise/vibration. You can't check all the rivets via this method, but a few here or there.

Sometimes loose rivets can be reset, or if they're already pretty flared out, they'll need to be drilled out and replaced.

Dunno where you're located, but I've seen many boats in various stages of disrepair, from few to many repairs needed. IMHO repairs can be done (rivets replaced/reset), it's just about you (the buyer) making an informed purchase and buying what you want (a boat turn key or project).

Good luck with the hunt!

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Rivets and such

Post by PSG-1 » 28 Jul 2014, 08:05

Sometimes when they are really bad you can see it visually as you're underway. I once had a riveted bottom 14' Dura Craft that I had used to jump waves in the ocean, along with all the other abuse I put on it, such as running the rough water of the ICW, running aground on oyster beds, etc. The rivets leaked so badly, anytime the boat was underway, they shot water a few inches high like miniature sprinklers. :shock:

Best way to find leaks in a boat....with the boat on the trailer and the drain plug in place, fill it with about 4-6" of water, and start looking underneath. They will be real obvious.
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Rivets and such

Post by tonynoriega » 28 Jul 2014, 11:23

I second the Water Test method.

I filled my 16' with enough water to take a bath... dried up any splashing around on the ground ( in the garage). Wiped the outside dry, and just waited.

I ended up replacing about 20-25 rivets that were weeping, some actually dripping, and others had a drip every minute or so....

I don't regret it one bit.

Jersey Joe
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Re: Rivets and such

Post by Jersey Joe » 28 Jul 2014, 22:52

Gents...Thanks for the tips! Time to hit Craigslist again. I'm hoping more become available as the summer winds down.

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