Transom on older boats Transom on older boats
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    Transom on older boats
from workhorse #15664  
3/2/2011 9:29:06 PM


 How can you tell if the transom is in good shape when looking at older boats such as 70's and 80's era?

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   a little help from Baybass (Novotny) #11999  3/3/2011 12:05:20 AM
Depends on manufacturer. Some are known for issues. I've found that Ranger's older hulls are good bets. Chances are on 50% of the older 70's and 80's mainstream market boat transoms, the JP. bolts or M.M. bolts are surrounded by a .5" to 2" diameter of wet/rotted plywood. Under extreme power/torque or overpowering (common in older setups) or constant rough water, you'll eventually "finalize" the damage, or just tear the sucker right off and tow the whole thing back to the ramp connected only by electronics and cables...uninjured.

A strong transom will have a sharp sounding tap sound when TAPPED with a hammer around the entire area...the area will also not flex under the downward pressure placed on a trimmed up motor while on a trailer, (the whole boat should move on the trailer, not just the transom) You could also pull the J.P. or motor bolts and find out the real way, but an amateur like myself can often do more damage going in adventuring into the transom then just leavin it alone till you do notice something.

If you were considering dumping a bunch of money in the hull then that might be the best bet...pull the bolts, and re-attach professionally with a new JP and have it built like a tank for about a 1K.

Stress cracks/spiderweb cracks around the transom area of older boats are perfectly normal. If they make a perfect square/rectangular "sketch" close around your jackplate, then you know you got issues!!! Look inside from your rear fuel/battery area as well.

I've owned 2 older Ranger 3 series boats out of 5 hulls over the years and found their transoms to be very strong and they are known for this.

Many worry too much about wood or no wood, or when wood was eliminated. Ranger for instance switched over in mid June of 1987 to all fiberglass vs. wood encapsuled in fiberglass. Mine, an 87 was made in 86 so I'm a wood guy now. I've owned pre and post Ranger transoms in the late 80's and had no issues. Boats used in rough water will have a better chance of damaged transoms. When in doubt I'd pay a shop to check it out, I'm no expert at all, but the above is what I've learned from 5 boats so far.

hope this helps

   3 things I look for from Spookchucker #10778  3/3/2011 6:07:51 AM
#1, look for excessive or deep stress cracks, especially in the corners.

#2, Put your weight on the motor, stand on it if you have to, (LU area) and bounce. The transom should not move.

#3, Carry an ohm meter with you. Hook the leads to the two rear tie downs. If you read anything at all, the transom has water and is to be avoided.

   sparkplug from bartlettrandy #13751  3/3/2011 7:51:32 AM
tap gently but firmly using something like a sparkplug (or brass fitting). Fiberglass with drywood within has a very different sound than fiberglass with moisture-ridden wood within. There's always some good areas up high to get your ear tuned up.

Some insurance company men have moisture meters that can read it.

   and from MikeF  3/3/2011 10:02:51 AM
You can also remove any screws in the transom and look for evidence of water. When you pull the screws out take a smaller drill bit and drill into the transom if the wood comes out hard and dry it's probably good at that point but if there's any evidence of soft wet shaving you need to walk away. You can do the same with the engine mounting boats. Pull one out and scrap out any sealant and look at the wood for evidence of water. When you put these screws/bolts back in make sure you use some type of boat caulk.

Your best option is to pay for a marine survey if there is a qualified surveyor in your area. They are normally used to check bigger boats for problems but I'm sure you could have one check the transom for a couple of hundred dollars. That may seem like a lot but that's about one tenth the cost of having the transom recored.

   Thanks from workhorse #15664  3/3/2011 9:40:29 PM
All great suggestions.



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