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stringers and transome - can I inspect them?-gctid372523

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    stringers and transome - can I inspect them?-gctid372523

    Hi All-

    I will be making a sea trial of a boat I hope to aquire this weekend. I can check the conditions of most things myself, except the serious "stringer rot" and "transom needs replacing" issues. I will have the boat on a trailer. Are there some things I can do to inspect these? It is a 1989 Chaparral 278 XLC.

    Thanks. I hope you all had a good winter and are getting ready for a good season of boating!

    #2
    A surface non penetrating moisture meter is the best, next is the smallest hard plastic hammer, or if very carfull, tap the top of the transom and work your way down, pay attention to the sound, the taps must be very light, 2 fingers in the mid section of the hammer handle works, tap near the through hulls and bolts and outdrive if it has one.

    You can do the same thing with the stringers, start as far fwd as possible and work your way back, again pay attention the the motor mounts and any bolts in the stringers and the area near the transom, pay attention to drain holes (limber) through the stringers, some are just drilled through with no tube. You must listen vey carefully for the difference in the sound, if you hit wet wood you will know it!

    If any bolts through the transom have rust stains from the through bolts it is leaking, it is a matter of how wet and the size of the wet area.

    I can test for wet wood with a hard plastic hammer almost as well as my moisture meter. The cost of non penetrating meters has dropped considerably, look online, my meter is about $350. What you see on the transom interior is a good start.
    Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

    Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
    Twin 350 GM power
    Located in Seward, AK
    Retired marine surveyor

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      #3
      Hi Dave... Having just gone through a transom replacement, I can assure you a moisture meter will only give you a small part of the larger picture. Neither gelcoat nor resin are immune from osmosis. The transom will take on water to some degree or another, even if it is completely sealed. The presence of moisture in the transom does not necessarily indicate the presence of rot. The only way you can truly tell if there is rot is to take a core sample, period. Only during cases of rot to the extent that the physical properties of the wood core have dramatically changed will tapping the transom make rot completely apparent.For what its worth, my transom was solid as a rock when I tapped it. An experienced surveyor tapped it and found it to be solid as well. When the transom shield was removed, the presence of rot was obvious. Take a look at this pic:

      [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/675947=26619-DSC00419.jpg[/img]The majority of the rot is concentrated on the starboard side. To a plastic hammer, it wasn't apparent because it had not completely set in. There was very little rot on the port side. A core sample only from the port side could have shown the transom was free of rot.I doubt the owner will consent to core samples. If that is the case, see if the owner will allow you remove a few screws from the inside and see if you can get a sense of what condition the core is in.As far as the stringers go, it's the same ballgame. If you see bulges where weight is concentrated, you most likely have rot. You can also try to turn an engine mount bolt. If it turns in its place, bingo!

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        #4
        Most boats have a transom mounted transducer or speed indicator. With the owners consent, remove 1 or more of the screws that attach these to the transom, and take a reading with a moisture meter. In extreme cases, water will actually seep out of the screw holes, once the screw is removed. If the screws are almost impossible to remove, that would be a very good sign. It would indicate either a very sound transom, and, or, an owner who had used an appropriate sealant to bed the screws into.
        Bob Hawes.
        Kelowna, B.C.
        1998 Trophy 2052 WA
        4.3 Vortec, A1 G2

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          #5
          A good moisture meter will give you more than just an indication, my meter goes from dry to moist to 30% wet. it is an electrophysics GRP33, I have used it a lot, it works like it should.

          The bigest problem with outdrives is the manf. does not properly seal the core after the cut-out, they depend on the external seal.
          Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

          Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
          Twin 350 GM power
          Located in Seward, AK
          Retired marine surveyor

          Comment


            #6
            Well these are good posts. I have two follow up questions. One, I will probably use the butt end of a platic screwdriver. I take it I am looking for a change in sound. If a large amount of water is present, the sound would become deadened?

            Also, the stringer check is somewhat of a mystery to me. When I look at the bilge, there is naturally a floor there, painted or gelcoat. The stringers I would think be under that. There is a gas tank (metal, like galvanized) that lines 3 of four corners of the engine compartment. Is there any way to check the stringers without taking things apart?

            -Dave

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              #7
              P.S.: The boat is in the water, and will be put on a trailer for inspection.

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