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Author Topic:   gel coat cracks easy?
witness posted 04-17-2001 04:50 PM ET (US)   Profile for witness   Send Email to witness  
in looking at neo-classic whalers, i've noticed some unexpected gelcoat cracking from little thinks like adding screw to the transom. I know that if you don't drill holes the right size before you mount things like transducers, the fiberglass will chip, but I have seen some "excessive spider craking" (several inches long, even to a foot) on mid-90s outrages. was the gelcoating less flexible or what might be happening?
Peter posted 04-17-2001 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Could be that they simply failed to countersink the holes properly
Ventura16 posted 04-17-2001 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
This brings up a good question...what is the best technique to drill holes and prevent the gelcoat from cracking? Since I'm about to install transducers on my transom this weekend, I'd appreciate some insight from all you veterans.

BTW, jimh...what happened to your very informative article in the reference section on transducer installation? I was going to print it out and use it as my "bible" for this job!


lhg posted 04-17-2001 07:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
From a BW Owners Manual, here is what they say to do:

"When using screws to fasten components to the hull where there is wood backing beneath, it is critical to drill a hole JUST through the glass surface large enough to accept the stem (thickest part, without threads, under the head) of the screw. Do not allow the drill to penetrate into the plywood beneath, for this is a soft
material and needs no pilot holes at all. If the hole through the fiberglass were tight, the screw threads would pass through, but not the shank of the screw. The glass will not give and a continued tightening will strip the screw from the wood beneath."

HappyTime posted 04-17-2001 07:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for HappyTime  Send Email to HappyTime     
Before drilling a hole thru fiber glass you need to put a piece of tape on where you want to drill, I prefer masking tape, just drill
thru the tape, make sure you tape it tightly, if the hole goes thru the other side then I would put tape on both sides as
well, it will come out with a nice hole and never chips.
Dick posted 04-18-2001 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Invest in some good sharp drill bits too. I prefer the brad point style.
hauptjm posted 04-18-2001 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Where appropriate, use flat head stainless screws countersunk. Countersinking the hole will prevent chipout and spiders.
bigz posted 04-18-2001 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Mike (witness) --- the primary problem would be stress induced, either a one time accident like dropping an anchor, large ice chest or whatever --- another possible cause, it is a high stress area where say a hatch or step is situated and the continual use has caused it to happen, it can also be areas where there is no reinforcement and that area has been used for traffic or stowage of heavy items --- and finally the gelcoat was improperly applied once the boat was put into service it cracked all by itself --- I have never looked at a fiberglass boat that doesn't have some or had some old or new.

Of course as you mentioned screws improperly fastened can also cause it and depending on the location a crack can easily extend out 6 to 9 inches or even more ---

Happy Time is correct for bolt through -- using tape to help splintering as you drill --- however the holes top and bottom should still be slightly enlarged through the gelcoat only and then a dab of chalk applied before fastening the item --

Through internal plywood reinforced areas you want to counter sink the hole. That is enlarge the top through the gelcoat, you might have to go some into the glass depending on the thickness of the stem taper -- if your using straight shank screws the gelcoat is all that needs to be enlarged then use a drill bit much smaller than your screw's shank for a pilot hole (I don't buy BW's reco at all here --)then as above chalk the hole before fastening the screw --- this same technique applies to painted surfaces.

Sorry Mike the last two paragraphs I realize had nothing to do with your question, and I know you know how to properly fasten bolts and screws --- and tell if that might be the cause of what your seeing in the current Whalers ---

PS -- before this thread expands on screwing be informed there was a large threaded discussion on it in I believe the repairs topic area not to long ago ---

witness posted 04-18-2001 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for witness  Send Email to witness     
Thank you all for your input! It is great to have sucha willing think tank here on this board. One last question though. I realize that spider cracks in areas that are under continual stress will not patch well, however, I have seen cracks that are "event orientied" (i.e., from a one time event, screw tightening, backing down on a piling). From the best of my judgment, these cracks are only "gel coat deep" and do not in any way compromise the structure or rigidity of the transom. But some of them are below the waterline and some are above. I would want to have (or do myself) the ones above the waterline fixed in a way to cosmetically make them disappear and the ones below, well lets just say I don't want water seeping into my hull. The boats I am looking at do not have the bottom painted but they will be. So any dos and don't on these fixes?
And again, sincere thanks for all the input!!
Clark Roberts posted 04-18-2001 03:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Black & Decker makes a set of drill bits called "Bullet Bits" and they have a small lead drill point and a flat drilling (milling) surface.. You can actually "spot face" the surface (removing all the gel-coat) and then switch to smaller drill for the hole... works like a charm.. look for these bits and when you see them everything will be crystal clear... a great investment at about 30 bucks for a set from 1/32 to 1/2" diameter... knock yourself out! Clark .. Spruce Creek Navy
Mark Gallagher posted 04-18-2001 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mark Gallagher  Send Email to Mark Gallagher     
Regarding gel coat cracks that are not
" incident oriented" that's what I have on my 95 Dauntless transom by the thru hull fittings. They have grown 6 to 8" and I fear seeping water will hurt the transom.

I am very upset that my selling dealer stated they are not covered under 10 year hull warranty. They gave me an estimate of $900 to fix these cracks, I almost had a heart attack. I had a very reputable local glassman give me and estimate of $500.
My boat's going their next week for repair.

Anyway, has anyone ever used the 10 year hull warranty or is not worth the paper it's written on? Furthermore, I called 1800whaler and asked for customer service, can you believe they gave me a toll number to call and I got an answering machine? I left a thorough explanation and stated that I'd be glad if they even kicked in $300. No reply. I sent an e-mail with same request and asked that a customer isn't worth helping? No reply? I was pretty upset that they wouldn't even call or reply.

Sorry to post negative but this is the kind of thing to make me look at a Grady next time. Althought I'd probably keep a Whaler to stay part of this awesome fraternity!

Hey Brunswick, get off the dime and put in a 800 customer service number!

Mark Gallagher

whalernut posted 04-18-2001 09:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
That is sad that Brunswick won`t help you Mark. What is the 10 year warranty for anyways, in my book those cracks are their fault in you`re transom, and they should own up to it. I would fight them to the bitter end on this one Mark. They claim to have a great warranty with a great reputation, let`s see Brunswick put their money where their moth is! You pay alot for these boats and should have 10 years of headache Free satisfaction. Go get-um Mark! Regards-Jack Great. P.S. Grady-White 180 Sportsman is kind of nice, did you look at these Classic hulled boats?
bigz posted 04-19-2001 09:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Witness, the repairs below the waterline as you suggest don't have to blend perfectly however on the topsides this takes some technique in blending to get a near perfect match --- if you purchase this 24 call Whaler for the exact Spectrum gelcoat color # based on your serial number of the boat.

Depending how many dings you have to fix and how deep order the correct gelcoat and a patch kit along with the gelcoat wax additve and color blending kit --- have fun and good luck ---

PS buff up around each repair so you can get a true color then remove the wax or compound with acetone before repairing the area ---

Jack has nothing to do with Brunswick -- the warranty hasn't changed in years it only covers surface spider cracks for one year I believe and these apparently aren't structural in nature according to Mark's dealer.

As far as BWCS goes they don't have the man power for fielding consumer direct questions, the dealer is supposed to handle them and if necessary call CS for advice or input if they can't --- if you feel you have a legitimate case Mark ask your dealer to have the BW representative look at your boat, would be my suggestion.

TunreLahw posted 04-21-2001 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for TunreLahw    
Hey Jack,

Why don't YOU go look at Grady-Whites?

You get on here and trash Brunswick--what a guy. Maybe the nice folks at some of these Brunswick operations should treat you the same way when you come in for customer service. Maybe next time you call Whaler you should identify yourself first, "Hello, I am the guy who gets on the internet and trashes you people. Now give me some free help and advice."

You are on here trying to hurt Brunswick. You hurt people. Brunswick is people. People who go to work everyday trying to do a nice job and earn a living. They don't need you to get on the internet and trash them.

Get real, man, some cosmetic cracks in the gelcoat is not a structural defect in a hull. Whaler has replaced 9-year old hulls for free if there is a defect in them.

How about telling us where you work and we'll all get on the internet and trash your employer. Maybe we'll hurt business so much that people wil get laid off where you work.

You don't live in outer space. Just because this is the internet doesn't mean you can say whatever weird thing you want and there is no harm.

Think before you post your silly rants about Brunswick. Maybe you would rather have Whaler owned by some athletic shoe company?

Maybe you would have it owned by some bankrupt engine company?

Maybe you want to go buy foreign engines and put them on your boat? What are you gonna buy that is made in America for your Whaler if you don't buy a Brunswick engine?

Poof! I am going back to the 4th dimension!

whalernut posted 04-22-2001 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Thanks for the great info and I will certainly put you`re wonderfull suggestions too good use! Oh and by the way get a real Log-In name, it`s too close to mine and it may affect the way I do my job or buy products! Regards-Jack Graner.

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