Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Whaler Repairs/Mods
  Transom Repair: What Material

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Transom Repair: What Material
lastcast posted 06-26-2005 09:36 PM ET (US)   Profile for lastcast   Send Email to lastcast  
What is a proper material for making a repair to a transom? My repair man wants to use a high density foam core which he says will work better than fiberglass laminated wood.

I have only had my 1987 REVENGE 20 for a year. It has 1993 200 Evinrude for power. I was rear ended while trailering at about 5-10 mph. Engine brackets cracked, tilt and trim bent and mangled. My mechanic said the transom had flex in it. Two reasons: the boat is getting old and the accident pulled the upper engine mounting bolts out about 0.5 inches.

Of course [the other driver's] insurance (Nationwide) is not budging much for a new transom. [Expresses anger.] Engine damage was $3,500, they are paying. But they are only giving me $2,000 toward the transom. I had three estimates. $7,000, $3,500, and $2,500. I am going with the lowest bid. [The low bidder] is a two man show. I hope his guarantee holds up.

As of Monday I am canceling my own auto policy with Nationwide and switching to Geico.

whalerskiff posted 06-27-2005 03:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerskiff    
Foam crushes under compressive forces much more than wood. Never heard of a foam core transom before. Hmm.
LHG posted 06-27-2005 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Don't even think about a foam core transom. Don't use that guy, as he doesn't know Whalers or what he is talking about.

You have to have the transom re-built in original thickness of marine plywood, glass laminations and gelcoat.

I am in the insurance business, and Nationwide is simply bluffing you out, probably using artificially low NADA values on your hull. Don't fall for it and stand your ground, as you have them over a barrel. The boat should be repaired by a Boston Whaler dealership who is familiar with BW repairs, or a yard THEY recommend for structural transom repairs. You have no obligation to take the cheapest price. They have to pay for a COMPETENT, reasonable repair, to bring the boat back back to where it was before the accident.

If the boat is going to be out of service, they also have to rent you a comparable boat, since this accident has damaged you by loss of use. That will get them to pay up fast.

Another way to handle this is to report the claim to your own boat carrier, and let them repair it properly and to your satisfaction. Then they will subrogate against the party and insurance company at fault. That's what you pay for in insurance. Let them, and your own insurance Agent, do the hard bargaining for you

elaelap posted 06-27-2005 06:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
OH YEAH, Larry! Great info from the belly of the beast, lastcast. Hang tough as LHG urges; you are entitled to have your boat brought back to the condition she was in prior to the collision PLUS a comparable boat to use in the meantime (or the rental cost of same). Please don't think of the insurance company "giving" you anything--if liability is clearly adverse to the other party he and his insurance company must make you whole; if he is un- or underinsured your own carrier must step in and do the same (I'm assuming you've got uninsured and underinsured coverage). Good luck, and think about this: you've got one claim to deal with; I've spent the last twenty years of my life trying to pry some decent bucks out of insurance companies for folks injured through no fault of their those carriers are sure quick with a warning letter and policy cancellation if your premium payment is a day or two late, but try to collect on a legitimate claim within a year or two without ending up in court.


Ahhhh--two more years; my younger child leaves for college and I fully retire. ;-)!

lastcast posted 06-27-2005 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for lastcast  Send Email to lastcast     
The fiberglass repair guy is a Greek boat builder. He said he could do the job in marine plywood but the high density foam core, two plys together is rock solid. He guaranteed the transom work for the life of the boat. He has been building boats in the Tarpon Springs area for a lifetime. He has me convinced it is the way to go over the marine plywood. He has worked on some Whalers in the past. I am done with the insurance guy, deposited his check today. I will be switching my Auto Ins. from nationwide to Geico this week. I just don't feel like dealing with it anymore, I already missed King Mac season and don't want to miss the rest of the summer over this.
Phil Tyson posted 06-27-2005 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil Tyson  Send Email to Phil Tyson     

I don't get it?

You post this thread on the board, get very concrete information from a veteran owner who just happen to be in the insurance business and then you just blow it off 3 hours later?

What a shame.

jimh posted 06-27-2005 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Marine plywood is a good material for a transom on the basis of its strength, its weight, and its cost. Marine plywood is not very good on the basis of its tendency to decay, rot, and lose strength when saturated with water. The properties of marine plywood do not exclude other materials from being used as a transom reinforcement.

Other materials may be as strong as wood, as light as wood, but they may cost more than wood. If you are building one transom every ten or twenty years, which is how you can think of yourself if you have a 20-year old boat and want to replace the transom, then you don't really need to be as concerned about the cost of the material as you would need to be if you were a boat manufacturer and were building 2,500 boats each year.

It may very well be that materials other than plywood will work as well or even perhaps better than plywood when used as a transom reinforcement. They may even be less likely to decay or loose strength if they get wet. And it may be that these other materials are not used by some production boat builders because of their cost.

If you put materials on a boat which must never get wet, you are kidding yourself. Everything on a boat gets wet, eventually.

If you were to take a survey of boat builders, I think you would find that there are not all that many who still use marine plywood in their transoms. Many boat builders make a point of telling customers they do not use any wood in their boats. Certainly these builders must have found some other material to use for their transoms.

I cannot tell you for certain that the material the repair shop has told you about is better or worse than wood. You'll have to investigate. But I would not arbitrarily disqualify it just because it is not wood.

On the other hand, if the repair shop wants to use something other than wood just to save $50 on the job, it would be crazy to not spend the extra money and get something better.

jimh posted 06-27-2005 11:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I also wanted to comment that the lamination techniques used in making a transom on a Boston Whaler are really quite old fashioned and traditional. The transom construction is the same construction used back in the 1970's when fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boat construction began. That is not to say it is no good. It is proven by 30 years or more of field experience.

Polyester resin forms a decent bond with plywood, but it is by no means the current state of the art in laminate structure for boat building. Most modern boats are built with epoxy resins and transom core material other than plywood. Epoxy resins are much stronger and more water resistant than polyester resins. To assume that you must use the same material to repair your boat as were used to build it is a false assumption. When you make a repair you will be making a secondary bond. You will be attaching new material to old material which is fully cured. When your boat was built originally with polyester resins, the laminate was laid up in a single pass, so all the bonds were primary bonds, that is, they were all fresh bonds that cured together into a single structure.

Polyester resin does not have the adhesive strength of epoxy. Epoxy resin will form better secondary bonds.

The original lay up of the hull laminate was done with chopper gun techniques. For making repairs you will want to use higher strength cloths with threads oriented in particular directions to add strength to the final laminate structure. Boston Whaler continues to use chopper gun techniques for hull lamination, even though many people think this is an inferior method. More modern methods include techniques like vacuum bagging which tends to prevent overly rich resin mixtures. Too much resin makes for low strength.

Here is a good article to read about strength in fiberglass boats and how core materials should be used. After reading this you will probably go with plywood!

Core Materials

The Hamburger Helper of Boat Building,
Reviewed in the Light of History

by David Pascoe
The author is a professional marine surveyor.

lastcast posted 06-27-2005 11:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for lastcast  Send Email to lastcast     
Phil- The shame is people like you, who don't have all the facts and no answers to the question feel the need to respond on this forum. I had a classic Nauset for 33 years.
lastcast posted 06-27-2005 11:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for lastcast  Send Email to lastcast     
JIMH ---- Thanks for some info. The material I am going with will cost 30% more than the job with marine plywood.
We will see what happens that is the direction I am going, even if it cost me some out of pocket. Money isn't everything!My Whaler ventures are priceless.
lastcast posted 06-28-2005 12:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for lastcast  Send Email to lastcast     
LHG-- Thanks for the ins. info. I am just ready to get the work started, and I already deposited the check. By doing so the check stated "claimed paid in full." You know initially they gave me nothing for the transom, sent someone over from the boat specialty dept. Guy was not nice, quite a jerk and rude to my wife. I am happy to be done with them. "Live and Learn"
tarbaby posted 06-28-2005 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for tarbaby  Send Email to tarbaby     
I have to disagree with those that say for you to use plywood. Most boatbuilders are getting away from ply and going to foam. It will never rot and this cuts down on warranty repairs. Saving them money in the long run but costing more upfront.

It is a wives tale that foam compresses. I sell a structural foam to boatbuilders and I can assure you it is much stronger than plywood. You have to use a high density foam, at least 24 pound. It is measured by the square foot. One square foot weighs 24 pounds. The foam used in transoms is not like the blue foam that house builders use in construction. Most transoms are 36 pound.

I have a piece of foam and two layers of plywood that I carry around to boatbuilders. They both have a bunch of holes in them with a bolt and big fender washers. I get them to tighten the bolt as hard as they can with big wrenches. They can all compress the washers into the plywood and they can't budge the foam. Try it for yourself! Get a piece from the repair guy and tell him what I have told you. He will agree.

Strength in a boat comes from the distance between the skins. Transom strength comes from the glass not the filler, be it wood or foam.

The next guy that owns your boat will thank you 20 years from now when he doesn't have to re-do the transom. He will say that you did it right!!


LHG posted 06-28-2005 06:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
So if you buy a new Whaler today, what kind of transom core do you get to handle these twin 275 Verados?

I have no idea what "foam core" is as it relates to a transom. I was assuming, evidently incorrectly, that it would be the same as the foamed core sides or hull on my Whaler. Sure would't want to bolt an engine through those areas.

tarbaby posted 06-28-2005 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for tarbaby  Send Email to tarbaby     
Larry, They probably use Coosa or Whalerboard in their transoms. On most traditional boats the builders use foam in their hullside laminate. This is normally 6 to 8 pound density. They can use foam and two thin skins which are stronger and lighter than a solid glass hull. This foam adds to flotation and is part of what makes other brands have the ability to claim unsinkability.
Tom W Clark posted 06-28-2005 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Foam comes in many densities. I have seen foam so dense you can drill and tap it. I think lastcast will be fine with the repair as described.

Whaler has always and continues to build transoms with plywood. It is strong and cheap. Whaleboard (*NOT Whalerboard*) would an inappropriate material for a transom's core.

ratherwhalering posted 06-28-2005 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Not to bring up an old subject, but lastcast I wonder if the repairman is considering this stuff:

I believe the general consensus was to avoid it.

kamie posted 06-28-2005 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
Why switch your insurance? You got trapped in the worst accident possible, the one where you and the other guy have the same insurance company. It happened to me with Geico, had a 63 MGB totalled that was months away from being restored. The other person had Geico insurance, all I got for the MG was 3k, which was what I paid for the car and the cost of repairs. Even in the not quite finished state it was worth more than that.

If you get into an accident, pray the other guy has different insurance than you do.

Rather, I though the person that used seacast liked it.

rumrunner posted 06-29-2005 06:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for rumrunner  Send Email to rumrunner     
Regardless of what material you use, I would like to see photos as the work progresses. Any chance you could post some pics of the surgery?
lastcast posted 06-29-2005 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for lastcast  Send Email to lastcast     
As far as the pics go, I can try to get some. He probably won't get started for another week or two.
flyfisher1771 posted 06-30-2005 09:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for flyfisher1771  Send Email to flyfisher1771     
I used seacast to replace the transom on my 13' last year and I have been completely statisfied. The prep work takes a lot of time, but the product itself has been super strong and has performed well.


ratherwhalering posted 06-30-2005 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Kamie, you're right. I went through some old posts, and it looks like quite a few people endorse this product, and the manufacturer claims it will not effect Whaler foam. Thanks for the clarification!
lastcast posted 08-02-2005 12:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for lastcast  Send Email to lastcast     
Sorry, no pics. The transom work is complete. The core he wanted to use was not available from his local supplier. He said he could get it from California. The price for the product was much more expensive from Calif. I elected to go with the marine plywood. He gauranteed it for 10 years, not too bad. The wood that was original was totally rotted and just crumbled in your hand. He did a nice job, looks and feels solid. Color matched perfect with gel coat. Although he left out the brass through hole drains in the well. He drilled the holes glassed and coated. Should I look to find the brass pieces or leave as is??? I also would like not to put the trim tabs back on. I just don't like all those screw holes in the transom below the water line. Any thoughts on that? This week the boat goes back to the mechanic to have the 200hp Evinrude put back on!

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.