View Full Version : 83' Wet Transom

11-25-2011, 12:58 PM
Hi Guys;

The transom on my 83' is wet. It is a later model with fiberglass stringers.

After I bought it 2 yrs ago I installed backing plates on the top bolts that I could access w/o cutting the floor. Found the wood at the large side brackets to be damp but solid. Center was soft. Platform is solid for now. Some spider cracking around the brackets which has been there since I have had it.

Quoted around $1200 to have transom replaced. Just wondering if its worth doing or just use it till its a bigger issue. Shop said it should be fixed to prevent more spider cracking. It also could use some new carpet and some upholstery work soon. Nothing that is an immediate issue.

We keep the boat docked in a slip in the summer and a lift is not an option. I'm just frustrated and considering selling it to look for something else.

Need some input. Thanks for your thoughts.

11-25-2011, 04:33 PM

11-25-2011, 06:23 PM
There's your biggest problem (in red above). You wasted a lot of effort by not doing it properly, regardless, it's water under the bridge. There's no such thing as "damp but solid." :D

Cutting through the floor into the basement is no big deal. I have done it several times and have pictures of the last boat I did, here in an older thread.

The transom is degraded to some extent that I would only guess it's structural condition. Let's assume 50% - 75 % on the good side.

Several points here: Your transom should not have been damaged from water as you describe. Typically, when the lag bolts in the platform pull lose, stringers are the culprit for damage. Water can wick into the transom but it would take a lot of water and saturation for the damage that you describe.

As for the spiders, I'd not worry about it to the extent of replacing the transom. You're talking about removing the entire rear of the boat and reconstructing it. I'd be leary of a $1,200 job for that work. However if you can watch and inspect as it goes, getting a known good quality job, $1,200 is a good price all things considered (reconstruction, fiberglass, gel coat, and reassembly). Personally, I'd not do it. The ROI is not that great because I don't think the transom (purely a BS statement without seeing it myself) is damaged beyond a figurative 20 - 25%. The spider cracks are nothing to worry about from my opinion.

What I would do is remove the brackets, cut the floor and fix the leak (around the lower lag bolts). Let the transom dry out for several weeks with forced air (a fan) and then cover it with fiberglass resin and reinforcing wood strips, covering those with fibercloth and resin. You still have water intrusion on the lower bolts (apparently). If you're not willing to rework the platform with all thru-bolts then stop right there and live with water or sell it on to someone that is willing to do the work (not dissing on you). The work on the transom on the inside of the boat is easy and does not require a lot of finish work. Reinforcing it from the inside would satisfy me as to it's structural integrity. A quart of resin and a small swath of fibercloth is less than $50.00. A $3.00 brush to put the resin on is the last expense. Hardener comes with the resin. It's available at automotive shops or even at Lowes.

Carpet is easy for less than $300 and your labor. Time consuming but easy (use your old carpet as a template, so don't go ripping it out at random).

New skins are another story. Figure disassembling your seats and having a local shop or a specialty shop (several in TN and elsewhere) that will do a great job. I'd figure $1,800 - $2,400, depending on the deal that you prefer. For me. it would be worth the $1,500 - $1,800 that I would be willing to have someone else do this for me (a specialty pro). You may find a better deal, all depends on circumstances.

On the 83 models and that era, don't expect to get your money back out of it. It will sell for a certain price depending on the overall condition but to tally up refurb costs and add those to the market value will not be viable or reasonable. So there lies the decision point. Putting another ~$2,500 - $3,000 is not a bad thing but about the only way to get your money back out of it is to keep it and enjoy it over the next 5 - 10 years. You can figure an 83 goes for an average market value of ~$6,500 (plus or minus). Adding the cost of say an additional $2,500 to the 6.5k and it will be hard to sell for $9k.

This is a hobby for some, a money pit for others, and more money than sense, for others. It's a hobby for me so refurbishing an 83 model boat is the return within itself by doing the work and enjoying the results.

Sell it to me for $3,000 as it is and I'll fix it and report back next year... or live with water and wood rot until the platform falls off (and it will), or sell it with all damage disclosed, get a fair dollar for the boat and buy the 1992 model that Skidog has for sale. It's a premium 92 model 190 Prostar, tricked out with a useless to me bathroom storage shelf tower, but the tower does make for a decent speaker rack... :D

And one last opinion that is worth my $0.02. Get the boat out of the water daily after use. Letting one sit in water will only degrade the boat to an eventual unrecoverable condition, requiring total restoration or junking it. Gel fade (oxidation), the fiberglass will (or may) eventually start to delaminate or bubble, and other related weather / water exposed conditions will result.

PS ==> You asked.. :D


Not my boat...but I would appreciate the straight forward advice! I have replaced a wood stringer without pulling up the floor so your brain is a lot bigger than mine!

11-25-2011, 09:56 PM
Ask and Thou Shall Receive. Thanks for the good write-up and your experience. So Cloaked are you looking for some work?? How much work is in cutting out and replacing the transom wood from the inside?

I would love to take on the project however reality is with work, family and my constantly growing "to do" list it's just not realistic.

Just to quickly clarify.

Shortly after I bought the boat I discovered the platform was not as solid as I would like it.

Pulled brackets off tried to dry it out. Through bolted the tops and center and lagged the lowers. Sealed everything up inside and out with 4200, brackets, bolt head washers, nuts, backing plates. Everything tightened up well.

Poked and prodded all the holes. Main bracket holes seemed solid but damp, the center brackets holes and above the rear garboard plug was noticeably soft.

The transom is wet however I have to disagree that I still have water intrusion.

Question is where to go from here, fix it, sell it or just run it. I bought the boat cheap. $4k 450 hrs.

I know it is not the best to keep it in the water. This why I bought an inexpensive boat. I rent a slip on the river that is 15 minutes away. Reality is with my young family if we would have to trailer the boat we would hardly use it. We actually put on some good hours last year which is actually the point.

11-25-2011, 10:33 PM