My I/O Boat Transom Repair Adventures

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The Story

I bought a 1989 Starcraft Select 171 S I/O Bowrider in 2008.  Beautiful boat, with a wide design and big, shallow and comfortable bow.  Captains chairs, 4 speaker stereo, swim deck and tanning pad (or whatever it's called) above the engine.  It had nearly perfect interior and it looked well taken care of.  Shiny exterior, interior that smelled good, roller trailer with nice wheels, and 205 HP OMC Cobra 4.3 V6 and OMC Cobra drive.  I wasn't thrilled about the Cobra drive (they are out of business) but my local dealer supports and repairs them and I'm very mechanical so it was acceptable to me. 

Unfortunately I found a rotten transom, and created this site to chronicle my adventures fixing my broken boat.  There just isn't enough information on the web with pictures related to the repair of transoms in I/O boats, so I created this site to collect whatever useful information I could find in one place.  I hope it's helpful to someone else.

Many thanks to the guys and gals over at .  They are an amazing group of helpful people.  You'll find a number of posts there from me under the forum username "danond".

Disclaimer: I am no expert, but I am good with tools and most things made from metal or wood.  This is no beginners project!  If you're not comfortable with the tools I've used, this may not be a great project for you to tackle.  I am using info I find on the web and from friends in this project.  I might be wrong, I might be right.  Use the info you find here at your own risk!

A few questions you might have for me:

Why fix an OMC powered boat?  OMC has been out of business since the 90's! Because I already own it, and my time doesn't have a dollar value attached to it.  Replacing the transom isn't seriously difficult, it's just time consuming, and I love a challenge and the opportunity to learn something new.  Plus, when the OMC drive dies, I can throw in a Mercury setup and even keep the original engine, and sell the remaining OMC parts for a mint.  What's the downside?

Why fix an old boat?  Why not sell this one, cut your losses and move on? I already own it!  It's paid for, and serves our family's "needs" really well.  Plus, I love how unique this craft is.  Very few of them on the water.

Why not pay to have someone else do it?  I might be crazy, but it doesn' t mean I'm not practical sometimes!  This boat has a street value of around $5K in great shape.  That's quite close to the cost to pay someone to fix the transom for me.  Why sink $5K plus the purchase price into this thing, especially when I'm capable of doing it myself at a cost of around $1500?

Are you nuts?  Yes.

In the end, for me this is kinda fun.  I really do enjoy the challenge, and it keeps me from pacing around the kitchen table at night, which makes my wife very happy.

Let's get started:  Identifying a Rotten Transom