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Old 09-16-2012, 08:20 PM
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Default Draining and repairing pontoon boat questions

I have a friend who has asked me to drain the water out of his pontoon boat and find/repair the leaks. There is no drain plug on the bottom only the threaded plugs at the top. I could siphon it out but it seems like a little bit of a pain to do it that way. Anyone weld a bung onto the pontoons? Is it a good idea to do so?
Once I get them drained I need to weld up the leaks. I am sure that they are at the weld seam and are from beaching the boat. What alloy are these made from, what filler is easiest to use? Anything else I need to be aware of?
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:55 PM
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Walker,

I was able to find the following from U Fab Boats.


Pontoon Boat Kits are made to last
Our aluminum pontoons are made with type 5052 H32 , an aluminum / magnesium alloy most resistant to corrosion in fresh and sea water. The standard pontoon wall thickness is .081", .090" and .125".There are solid welded chambers every 5' and each pontoon has a full length under keel and side keel for added protection.

Nick
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:32 PM
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The one and only I fixed I drilled a drain hole and blew air through the top fitting to dry it out. After plug welding the drain shut I hooked air to the top fitting, put in 7 psi of air and used soapy water to find the leaks and fixed them. I think I used 4043 filler but it was a long time ago.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:32 PM
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Walker couldn't you position the nose of the pontoon downhill and apply regulated shop air (like 10psi) to the threaded fitting at the top?

It would be two fold, the water would be pushed out the holes, and you could identify all the leaks by the water spraying out and or escaping air above the water line by soapy water.

Of course I could be all wet on this.



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Old 09-16-2012, 09:33 PM
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D'oh

Good idea pumper!

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Old 09-17-2012, 08:03 AM
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Andy, check and make sure the pontoons are not foam filled. Some builders pump them full of foam for floatation in the event of major damage and that foam is highly flammable.

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Old 09-17-2012, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpertruck View Post
The one and only I fixed I drilled a drain hole and blew air through the top fitting to dry it out. After plug welding the drain shut I hooked air to the top fitting, put in 7 psi of air and used soapy water to find the leaks and fixed them. I think I used 4043 filler but it was a long time ago.
Basically done the same procedure when there is not a drain plug. All
poontoons that I have seen are supposed to be pressured between 3-10 psi.
The owners manual will tell you what your pressure is supposed to be.

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Originally Posted by rmack898 View Post
Andy, check and make sure the pontoons are not foam filled. Some builders pump them full of foam for floatation in the event of major damage and that foam is highly flammable.

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Ain't never seen a foam filled pontoon.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:43 AM
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I don't know if you guys know these are available. I have an ultrasonic detector made by Amprobe. These work well for finding leaks in chambers by listening to the "hissing" of the air excaping. They work great on tires and other things. You can also get the ultrasonic transmitter they make and place it inside a structure and use the detector to see if you have any leaks on the outside such as your home like doors, windows, roof leaks, etc.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:44 AM
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Was it LW that posted a thread about pontoon explosions some time back? I don't remember all the details of the thread, but it stuck in my mind.

One day I'll have me one of them pontoon boats, I try to read all these threads just in case the time comes that I need the information.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Anyone weld a bung onto the pontoons? Is it a good idea to do so?
On top sure, but not on the bottoms. These 'toons' expand and contract more than your waste line after 3 bowls of chicken and sausage gumbo and rice and will suck water as if they had straws.

Walker, from experience with these things down South and depending on how old the 'toons' are, you may have little left of the wall thickness over-all to fix that many leaks.

The problem of course is as you know, that no one and I mean no one except for the exceptionally anal will keep these things prep'd and ready for use as any owners manual will 'suggest'.

If the 'toons' are over about 10 or so years old, whether it was used in salt or fresh water, any moisture inside the 'toons' will have you chasing blowouts of welding sometimes forever due to corroded thin wall remaining.

Shade is right on the money for mentioning the need for a little pressure maintained on the 'toons'. Due to heating and cooling whether the things are in water or not, will have them sucking water like a desert dog in August.

Placing a bung on the bottom will also allow just that much more water be be sucked in should pressure become equal to your atomosphere locally.

Bungs on the bottom are really hard to seal when your worried about such things.

You should not find foam filled 'toons', at least I have not down here.

If I had no visible bung on top etc, I'd use a hole/cup saw and a drill on the aft end tops and fwd ends top, tilt the trailer to the rear and just suck out what you can. Use a vacuum cleaner on blow to vent/purge moisture.

You'll still need to treat the insides for corrosion somehow. I'll not post how I do it, but will respond should you PM me. Others here might pitch a 'hissy fit' and I do not want to again mention my displeasure with 'belt guards'.

As far as welding, I fill the 'toon' with an inert gas to purge for best possible and weld bungs of considerable worth(the better you can find for the money). I've found that TIG seems to work better on this old material.

In some cases I was asked to add a guage system so the owner could monitor the pressures in each 'toon'. Several have now gotten on the boat() with using nitrogen as the fill gas for the 'toons'. Why? It was mentioned by someone and they have run with it.

Quote:
Was it LW that posted a thread about pontoon explosions some time back?
Kinda sorta. He was wanting to cut into his foamed filled and sealed al. seating on his boat. He made sure that he then had a house remodeling job to do immediately after making the first cut.
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