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  2004 Boston Whaler 240 OUTRAGE: Removing Fuel Tank Deck Cover

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Author Topic:   2004 Boston Whaler 240 OUTRAGE: Removing Fuel Tank Deck Cover
pecos23 posted 08-14-2015 06:32 PM ET (US)   Profile for pecos23   Send Email to pecos23  
On my 2004 Boston Whaler 240 OUTRAGE, I have to remove the fuel tank cover. To do this I have to lift the center console, and that requires removal of the bolts that mount the Tee-Top to the deck. On the Tee-Top the front mounting bolts and their retainer nuts are not accessible from below. Apparently the Tee-Top is bolted to the deck prior to the deck being lifted and bonded to the hull and filled with foam.

[Seeks] experience or knowledge of how [unbolting of the Tee-Top front mounting bolts is] to be done. Boston Whaler says I have to cut access holes into the inner hull to access this space. Lifting this fuel tank cover it turning into a huge project. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

jimh posted 08-16-2015 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I infer that you have already consulted with Boston Whaler customer service about the procedure needed to remove the Tee-Top front mounting boats that are presently inaccessible, and they have said you must cut into the deck to create an access port. In my experience, Boston Whaler customer service is generally very well-informed on topics like this. If Boston Whaler customer service has told you that the deck of your 2004 Boston Whaler 240 OUTRAGE must be cut open to create access to the forward mounting retaining nuts for the bolts fastening the Tee-Top to the deck, then I would tend to follow their advice.

I am surprised to learn that the assembly of the 2004 Boston Whaler 240 OUTRAGE has created a situation in which access to an important fastener is not available without cutting into the deck. It seems like any large structural support for a hard top will eventually need to be tightened, due to the vibration and flexing that is inherent in operating a boat. That Boston Whaler has designed a boat with inaccessible fasteners seems out of character for them.

Detailed assembly drawings for a 2004 Boston Whaler 240 OUTRAGE are available for viewing and download from

http://whalerparts.com

Those drawings may be useful in assessing this problem, although I did not see the Tee-Top installation clearly detailed in them.

pecos23 posted 08-23-2015 10:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for pecos23  Send Email to pecos23     
I have been in contact with Sabas from Boston Whaler Customer Service, and he has been very helpful. I too find it hard to believe that Boston Whaler would construct a boat that needs to have access holes cut into the fiberglass to tighten or remove nuts. The deck hatch is designed to be removed to access the tank or any other below deck components, and we all know that a boat will need to have fasteners tightened and parts replaced.

On top of this, Boston Whaler tells me that the mold to produce this deck is beyond its useable life and they are unable to provide me with a replacement deck so I have to remove it and rebuild the deck. The deck failed within the warranty period but they do not consider this as part of the hull which is covered with the 10-year hull warranty. They also don't know why [the deck] is taking on water. I guess we will see once [the deck] is removed.

Why Boston Whaler would engineer a deck cover that would need to have the T-top and center console lifted to remove the deck is beyond me. In addition, all of the wiring, control cables, and steering lines are routed through an oval cutout on the forward end of the deck cover, so all of these components need to be removed as well. This is going to be a time intensive and expensive repair.

Jefecinco posted 08-24-2015 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Pecos--if I understand correctly you want to remove your deck to find a water leak.

Before attempting that work have you exhausted all other means of finding where the water is leaking?

How did you discover the leak? How bad is the leak?

You said your deck failed. Has it cracked or broken? Is the T-Top OEM?

There may be some alternatives to finding and correcting a water leak.

Butch

jimh posted 08-24-2015 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My understanding of the general policy of Boston Whaler regarding retention of molds for laminating components of boat hulls was as follows:

--the molds would be retained until the warranty period had elapsed for the last boat made from that mold

--since the hull has a ten-year warranty, a hull mold would typically be retained for ten years after the manufacturing of the last hull made from the mold

For a boat made in 2004, the ten-year warranty on the hull against defects in original manufacture has expired in 2015, and it would be reasonable for Boston Whaler to not be able to manufacture a replacement part.

I do notice that the production epoch of Boston Whaler hull models has tended to become shorter than it was in the long ago past. Some hull designs are now in production for rather short periods of time. This suggests that there are many more molds that are being kept in reserve inventory. I don't know the production history of the 240 OUTRAGE. If perhaps there were hulls made in, say, 2006 from the same hull molds as used for the 2004 models, it would seem like the molds would still be retained in order to provide a source of replacement components under warranty. As for the warranty on non-hull components, I suspect the term of the warranty is shorter than the ten-year-warranty on the hull. You'd have to carefully read the warranty statement to find the terms of coverage on defects in original manufacture of non-hull components of the boat.

pecos23 posted 08-24-2015 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for pecos23  Send Email to pecos23     
The water leak is in the deck itself. The gas tank deck cover has begun to rot and is getting soft and spongy. This is on a boat that has less than 400-hours and has been kept under cover mooring or covered rack storage most of its life. Also, it's on the Great Lakes with only about six months of boating per year. The boat is in very nice shape.

My local shop says that they see this in other hatch design and point to Grady White as having similar [failures of the deck due to ingress of water into the deck laminate and reinforceent]. Because Boston Whaler molds the deck, THEN drills through the gel coat and underlying fiberglass, they are completely relying on a sealant to keep the deck dry. This is a problem because some of the fasteners that need to be sealed are in areas that are not accessible without removing livewells and leaning posts. This is not a good design and my boat is evidence of this shortcoming.

The reading with a hydrometer shows high levels of water in the aft of the deck with readings up to 16-percent [water content]. Lower readings as you go forward because the boat is typically stored with the transom being the lowest area of the boat and the water has migrated to the lowest point.

All fasteners have been kept tight and there seems to be evidence of a sealant in the screw holes that can be accessed without the removal of the deluxe leaning post and live well.

The 240 Outrage model was in production from 2003 to 2008, so parts should be available until 2018 if they keep molds througout the warranty period. Sabas at Whaler told me that some deck do not have access to the tanks through hatches and the deck must be cut! So I guess it could be worse. I did questions the rationale of this design; Sabas was not willing to comment. I suggested the architect-engineer come out for my repair so they can see first hand the [difficulties] they have created, and with the idea of avoiding this in the future. He laughed!

I am still baffled by the fact that they molded the underside of the T-top mounting bracket into the inner hull of the boat. This makes zero-sense to me since the T-top has to be removed to lift the deck cover.

jimh posted 08-24-2015 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My understanding of wood rot is that the problem is much worse in fresh water environments. Saltwater does not cause wood rot. Apparently freshwater encourages wood rot.
pecos23 posted 08-24-2015 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for pecos23  Send Email to pecos23     
Yes, I have heard the same information about fresh water vs salt water and its propensity to speed wood rot. I did not know this until recently. Fresh water is not always better.

Sounds like fresh water boats owners need to be extra vigilant about water egress.

vze2gbs4 posted 08-25-2015 01:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for vze2gbs4  Send Email to vze2gbs4     
Wait Pecos. Before you start surgeries and opening a can of worms, please describe to us more specifically where exactly and how big is the soft spot on your relatively newer boat. How spongy is it? Is it flexing a bit? Ir, does it feel like it will collapse? If [the soft spot] is towards the [stern], why can't you cut out half or quarter of the deck hatch? Reinforce it. Repair cutout piece. Then put back in place and fiberglass and gelcoat cutouts. This has been done everyday with boats that don't have any hatches/

Are you sure--or even Boston Whaler customer service rep--that the hard top legs have reinforcment plate with bolts under the deck? My 210 Outrage has an original T-top. The T-top leg bolts were bolted into WhalerBoard plates without any reinforcment from underneath.

Did you try to remove one? What you are planing to do is a major project that translate into many work hour and a huge repair bill. I would definately try to repair without removing console, T-top, and leaning post--if you have deluxe one. Let us know what happens.

pecos23 posted 08-26-2015 11:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for pecos23  Send Email to pecos23     
The damage is too wide spread and your suggestion would only be a Band-Aid on a larger issue. I would prefer to go through the pain now and rebuild the deck to my specifications and never have to worry about this again. The hydrometer shows water throughout most of the deck.
I also thought that they may have used nuts and bolts on the rear mount, since it is accessible from below, and wood screws on the forwards mounts using a reinforcement plate below the deck. No such luck. I have tried to remove the forward bolts and they are solid. The drawings on whalerparts.com also shows machine bolts and nuts as the mounting fasteners so I assume that the drawing is correct from my experiment.
And yes, you are correct that this is going to be a major expense and pain in the butt. Bad engineering on Whaler's part that I have to deal with now.
pecos23 posted 08-26-2015 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for pecos23  Send Email to pecos23     
Also, just to add to the conversations. Whaler confirmed to me that even through the tee top is an option, it is installed during the original assembly. They tell me that the tee top is bolted to the deck THEN lifted into the boat THEN filled with foam. The deck provides the skin for the inner hull in some places and in my case, it is from the middle of the console and forward. The forward areas in the console are foam filled and this is where the nuts for the forward fasteners are located. Again, bad design for a component that will eventually need to be removed or maintained.
vze2gbs4 posted 08-26-2015 06:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for vze2gbs4  Send Email to vze2gbs4     
Wow its almost unreal that Whaler would do such a screw up. Wasnt that a time when they brought some Sea Ray designers on board.I did some research and looked at layout and deck of 240 and saw that later production years have cut out that stops right before console ( just like my 210 did ) so only leaning console is on the way to lift the hatch.I guess they figured out that it could be a potential problem down the road so they changed design. The second most important reason I buy whaler after unsinkability is that deck cutout for gas tank removal and ease of doing so. My uncle 96 17 outrage had leaking tank and it was out of the boat in 2 hours -easy as piece of cake. I once passed on early 90 19 outage that didnt have any deck cutouts ( I couldnt believe it ).
Either way dont know what to tell you. You may be first one doing this and making path for some other 240 owners to follow .
Good luck and let us know how it goes and what did you find when you turn that deck upside down.
pecos23 posted 08-26-2015 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for pecos23  Send Email to pecos23     
Thanks for the words of encouragement.
I had a 1993 19' Outrage II that was the same as you described, no deck access to the tank. I was told that whaler had a pattern that they would send you if you needed to cut the deck, thankfully I did not have to do any such thing, but did think of the potential nightmare often!
Well, glad they made the change on the post 2008 design. Bayliner engineers huh? Not feeling warm and fuzzy about that information, but thanks for sharing.
dfmcintyre posted 08-27-2015 05:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Are you doing the project yourself or having a local shop perform the work?

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