Notes from Visitors

from Nick P***** 
date Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 12:07 AM
subject Greetings fellow transom rot repair novice

  Hello, we haven't met before but my name is Nick P*****.  A long time boat lover, first time boat owner.  My wife and I have owned a boat now for less than a month.  The boat hasn't left the driveway since we brought it home.  I'm sure the story is quite common, we bring her home, clean her up, do some minor repairs here and there -- we could almost smell the lake water (even bought a bunch of Sun screen).  But....

  I was replacing a blower motor, the kind that keeps the engine compartment free of gas fumes or any other flammable fumes, and then I noticed a part of the transom wood was just falling out like pieces of kindling, wet kindling that is.  So I came back inside, broke the bad news to my wife and started searching online for some ideas of what the hell we do now.  I then found a link to your site from the iboats Boating Forum.  After taking a good look at your site I can visualize what it is below the deck of our 1988 Glastron SSV-199.  It's an I/O open bowrider style boat.  The engine runs great, the outdrive checks out fine too.  If it weren't for the condition of the wood, we would planning our trip in the next couple weeks.  We're going to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion to check it out and make sure it's possible to fix the darn thing.

  I mainly wanted to introduce myself and this situation I now find myself in.  I also wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences here on your web site.  Please continue to do so, it has helped us tremendously already.  Looks like I might have at least one stringer that's rotten too.  I hope you continue to share your experiences, and any lessons learned along the way.  

Thanks and good luck with the step(s) you're currently working on, same to any future steps you plan on doing.


Nick's site chronicling his boat repair: 

from Scott D*****
subject Your an answer to my issues!

First off, let me tell you how appreciative i am for your time and effort you put into your site! I have an 83 18 ft cobalt im actually begginning to do the same work to. I have it sitting under the "A" frame as i speak, ready for this weekend to pull the engine. My boat is a bit different... it has a "stepped" transom. Meaning it has the outer wood layer, then another layer that has about 3 inches smaller outer edges, then a third layer about 1.5' x 1.5' where the gimbal housing mounts to. Im not sure of the condition of the stringers, but im affraid its going to be ugly! You seem very knowledgeable with what you are doing so im thinking of doing something simalar to what you are, instead of using the seacast.  

Question, why did you install one layer at a time on the boat? Why not build up the transom layers out of the boat then install it all at once?

Again thanks for all of your dedication!!

My answer to Scott:

I layered them in one at a time because that way I didn't have to worry about any of the boards not being straight and warping the back of the boat when I snugged them down.  Once 3 layers of 1/2" MDO have glass and epoxy between all the layers, it will not bend.  Not at all!  I knew that would be a problem as I have yet to see a straight piece of plywood, no matter how expensive it is.

from Guy B****
subject rotten transom

Hi Dan, love your site. My friend Bill and I just bought a 79 grady 201 marlin i/o. When in the boat looking at inner transom we've found rot but only on the left side of gimbal and up a little.
Below,and right side are dry & tight. Do you think removing some of the rotted wood and patching w/epoxy/resin could buy us more time. It looks like entire outside of transom has been
re-gelled and feels pretty good.


My answer to Guy:

Hi Guy!  Thanks for the compliments on the site.  It's been fun so far.  One thing I know about rot is it typically exists where you don't expect.  Here's my recommendations for you:
  • Use a drill bit and drill into the transom around the rotted area, paying attention to how the wood looks.  Drill all over; make sure you hit spots down low and all around the gimbal.  Don't use a big bit.  That'll tell you whether your transom is solid or not.
  • Another method I like is using a dead-blow hammer (the shot-filled kind).  If you whack the back of the transom in a rotted area, the hammer will bounce noticeably, even if you try to keep it from bouncing (the transom flexes and pushes back on the hammer).  In a solid area, it will not.  You'll be able to see the difference.
  • If you decide to patch, you need to cut into at least 4 inches into good wood.  Rot fungi typically live happily beyond the blackened areas.
  • When you do patch, grind the transom at an angle so you're not fitting the new wood in a "butt joint" kind of fashion.  You want the new section to lay on top of the old one and gradually feather out, if you know what I mean.
  • If you do decide to patch, keep in mind that is not a long-term solution.  You will likely not get all the rot, and will probably be back in there in a season or two.  Consider getting the whole transom out; it takes about the same amount of time to patch as it does to do the whole thing.
  • That the outside of the transom has been re-coated is kindof irrelevant.  That's looks only!  I wouldn't use it as a guide for how solid the transom is.
Good luck with your project!

from Danny F****
date Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 3:36 PM
subject Nice web site


I found your transom repair part of your site very informative. I just bought my first boat a couple weeks ago, and yeah, now appears that I have some repairs to do. There was caulking around the outdrive and was told it was there because the proper seal was not in place. Well, after nearly sinking the boat, I got it back home and cut off the caulk and it appears the somebody had tried to maybe use jb weld to fill the gap between the outdrive and maybe some rotten transom. I will have to tear this all apart because I can't sell it and sleep at night. I was wondering what exactly you used to pull the motor? Home made set-up? Also would you mind a few emails as I get into this transom patch? Thanks for the site and your time.

My answer to Danny:

Fire away, Danny.  I enjoy reading other people's stories and love hearing about the progress.  I'm glad you didn't sink!  The caulking around the outdrive is a very common item to watch out for (I know this now) as it's a dead ringer for a rotten transom.

I didn't use anything magical for pulling my motor.  A friend has an A-frame hoist at his shop.  Other people have built large A and Box frame structures that they leaned up against their garages, pushed the boat into the garage a bit, and attached a lift pulley to the center of the frame and pulled the engine that way.  Still others used the rafters in their garage and attached a lift pulley.  Sometimes you can get it out if you tilt the front of the boat in the air until a cherry picker can lift it high enough to clear the stern, but that's a long shot and it lifts the engine out at a wonky angle.

I'd suggest calling around until you find someone with an A frame hoist.  It's quick and painless (and most importantly very safe).

You can definitely do this, it's not hard and you'll learn quite a bit.  Keep me posted, and good luck!

from Jim
date Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 9:32 PM
subject all is Rotten

Hi Dan

My name is Jim, I have enjoyed your site. It has helped me with repairs that I need to do on my boat. This is my first boat and I have learned alot. It is a 1988 19' Donzi 4.3 omc. First I found that the engine block was cracked so I ordered a short block. I then had to replace the outdrive upper gear set. I took the boat to the lake it ran great, but there was a leak in the back around the engine; so I replaced the bellows and drive gasket. It did not fix the problem. Found your site and inspected the transom, found it to be rotten and also all the stringers and floor. I have removed the floor and stringers. Next is removing the wood in the transom. What A JOB.

Thanks Jim

My response to Jim:

Jim I'm glad I could help and I hope we're both on the water very soon.  Send me pictures as you make progress and I'll post them to the site!  You're right, this is an amazing amount of work, but cheaper than a new boat.

Good luck, and keep boatin'

Jim's Update!

from Jim
date Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 9:23 AM
subject Progress on my Donzi

Hi, Dan
I wrote to you a while back, my name is Jim. I have the 19 foot Donzi, Thought I would give you a up date on my boat.  I've got the transom in and motor mounts done, all the stringers are made but need to be fiberglass in place. I'm getting there slowly. Would like to have it ready by spring.
Here are some photos of my progress.

from    Greg M
date    Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 9:33 PM
subject    Thank You for the Transom Repair site

    Follow up message
        Hey Dan
                  Just wanted to say thank-you for your transom repair site.
     I have the same motors / outdrives as you and discovered today that my transom has also rotted ...probably explaining the leak I could never find.
       Your step by step with photos is excellent. I will have to decide wether to fix the boat or try and sell it as a "handyman" special . I am very impressed with your finished repair.
       If I become the "handyman" I will refer to your site as a "the guide" ..thanks for taking the time to post it.
                                           Sincerely ,                                                                            
Greg M, Niagara Falls Ont.

My response to Greg:

You should definitely do it, Greg, especially if the rest of the boat is in good shape.  Give it a shot!  I hope the site is useful, and send me pictures of your progress if you decide to tear into it.

dateSun, Apr 18, 2010 at 9:28 PM
subjectTransom Repiar

I want to thank you for writing your article on transom repair. I just bought a 27ft cruiser today and by the end of the day had found transom rot and maybe more. I just read your whole article and now feel more comfortable about attempting the repair. Thanks, Mike.

dateThu, Mar 25, 2010 at 7:15 PM
subjectTransom Repair question.


Thanks so much for putting together the transom repair site. At the end of last season I discovered that the transom on my '95 Baja .22 was done. 
I almost reached the point of just getting rid of it until a little searching found your site and the one by ncpappy. Between the two I became convinced 
that it was totally do able. Thanks - saved the boat.

from Craig A.
date Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 7:48 AM
subject Transom Repair

Thank you for sharing your story regarding your "adventure" with your great find.  I too have come across a very nice boat at a great price.  One of the Cardiologist that I work with offered me a 1994 Celebrity Status open bow boat in great shape for a great price.  It has 155 hours and new upholstery and flooring last year.  He wanted $3000 for it but knew it needed a new bellows seal.  Said it would cost about a $1000.  He told me take the boat and have the work done and subtract what I put in it from the $3000 I owe him.
Problem...When they got the lower unit off, the transom was rotten.  Now they want $2600.   I about crapped.  Anyway, he said keep the boat for whatever it costs to fix it.  Your story of time and what they wanted to fix your boat for $5000 makes me feel a little better.  I guess $2600 for all that you went through isn't too bad
Thanks again for sharing!
Craig A.

from Tyrone & Stephanie
date Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 1:48 AM
subject Transom.

Hello, Well I just spent a bit of time reading your site. I myself have this same issue except my boat has an outboard, little different but the same kinda deal. I figure I got it dealt with but need to find time to put on the glass. Great job and excellent site.