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This article describes in detail the restoration of a Boston Whaler Outrage 22 central deck and under-deck areas. This extensive project was planned and performed by Jeff Rohlfing, who also wrote this article and provided the photographs. Please note this article is quite long and is presented in TWO PARTS. A link to PART TWO is given at the end of PART ONE.

Under-deck Repairs
On a 1985 OUTRAGE 22

by Jeff Rohlfing

PART ONE

OUTRAGE 22

In May of 2004 I found the boat I had been dreaming of since I was a young boy: a 1985 Outrage 22. It was owned by a retired gentleman who was reluctantly selling her because of a new acquisition. The Boston Whaler Outrage 22 had spent its entire life on Lake St. Clair (Michigan) and had never seen salt water. The boat was used only about 3-4 days a month during the summer for short morning cruises on the lake. It was babied. This was evident in the boat's condition. All the stainless steel fittings were clean, the teak was always oiled--never varnished--there were no scratches in the sides of the hull, the 235-HP Evinrude was always professionally maintained, and the VRO pump was always serviced, rebuilt, or replaced as needed. The boat's electrical system, though older, was in good working order, the sides of the hull where good, and there were no old electronics to remove, a plus. I knew I would have a tough time finding a better 20-year-old Whaler anywhere near Michigan. Most of the larger older whalers I found in these parts have come from saltwater at one time or another.

We set up a sea trail, splashed the boat, and on the first turn of the key the engine kicked over and away we went. The old boat ran well and was simply awesome. I was truly impressed. My father said, "If you do not buy it I will." So I bought it.

A few months later I was walking barefoot on the deck, near the port side of the console, and I stepped on the joint at the central deck cover and the hull liner. I felt an ever so slight flex. I had never felt the flex in the deck while wearing shoes. I investigated further and found the same on the front of the console on the port side as well. I pulled up the deck hatch in front of the console and looked at the underside of the deck. It appeared solid but, once I pried at it, it began to delaminate. Worried, I asked my father to look at it. We checked the deck and found this to be the only spot where the deck felt weak. So we thought we would only have to fix the front port corner of the deck cover. I used the boat for the rest of the summer and pulled it out in October without the deck feeling any worse. We brought the boat to a friend's barn where we would disassemble everything. The next weekend my father went to work on the boat with out me because I had plans. I got a call that evening.

"This is going to be a lot bigger than we thought."

"What do you mean?" I asked "Is the entire deck shot?"

"Yup, it is completely water logged and weighs probably 300-400+ pounds. I could not lift it out so, I propped it up to let it drain. Just wait till you see it," my father said.

We went over the barn on Monday night. This is what we found and how we fixed it. Hope this helps others that have to endure this process.

DECK REMOVAL AND ASSESSMENT

 

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Figure 1.
The center deck removed from the boat for inspection.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 2.
Delaminated plywood is no longed bonded to much of anything.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 3.
The plywood had been exposed to water and had rotted.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 4.
A flexible deck.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

The delamination started in many places, the screw holes where just one place area. The factory just screwed through the wood without adding caulk to prevent water entering the wood. The problem in this area was made worse by the fact the factory ground areas of the underside of the deck down to the wood to make the deck fit flush. This allowed water to enter the wood as well.

 

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Figure 5.
Along the edge of the deck, areas were ground down to provide a level fit. Unfortunately, these were not re-sealed and allowed ingress of water.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

In the area where the console cables and wires come through the deck into the console (an oval cut out), the factory had cut the hole for the bezel to fit, but they never re-glassed that area. With the end grain exposed the wood wicked up into it whatever water was around. They also cut a hole (circular cut out) on the port side under the console where no cables ran through, and they never re-glassed this area as well. I have no idea what this hole is for other than collecting water.

In the live well there was an area where the factory completely missed glassing the end of one plywood panel. Also in this area the factory just dumped the resin over the wood in places and never added much matte to hold it together, if any at all. The solid resin just cracked, allowing moisture to enter the wood.

 

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Figure 6.
Rear Deck Live Well cover.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 7.
Live Well deck cover, close up. Note globs of resin and large areas cracked away.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

FUEL TANK CLEAN UP

 

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Figure 8.
The foam around the tank was filled with water. Notice the holes I put in the foam. This helped to evaporate the water more quickly. The dehumidifier helps as well.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

Probably the biggest factor in the floor rotting is the fact that there are many places to trap water in this area. Once it is in there, it is tough to get out. It sits, vaporates, and then recollects on the underside of the floor. Along the port side of the hull are two areas that drain to nowhere. One drains to the fuel tank basin area, then it goes nowhere. I suppose it you left the Beckson plates off while the boat was in storage this would allow some to evaporate out.

 

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Figure 9.
I cleaned out the areas under the floor, and it came out very nice. You could now read the tank's manufacturer's tag. After inspecting the tank we determined that we are going to keep it. In later models a hose is installed from the port side drain channel at the stern which carries drainage across the deck well and into the cockpit sump on starboard.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 10.
When the deck is removed it is a good time to replace the fuel filler and fuel vent hoses. These often have leaks which can admit gasoline to the boat's fuel tank cavity area.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 11.
Rubber fuel hose runs from the tank into the live well. There the lines change to copper, run through the cockpit sump area, and then change back to rubber. It would seem like using a single piece of rubber hose would be preferable.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

REMOVAL OF OLD WOOD

Now came the fun part, removal of all of the old wood and resin. At first we just used hammers, pry bars, and chisels. This was difficult because you were always fighting the wood and glass that was still attached to the deck.

 

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Figure 14.
The center deck removed from the boat for inspection.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 15.
We decided to cut reliefs using a circular saw set to a shallow depth.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 16.
Set the blade just deep enough to cut through the fiberglass and wood and not the deck on the other side. Be very careful while attempting this.


Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 17.
When using a chisel and a hammer to remove the wood, be very careful. Remember that when the chisel gets stuck, an extra knock from the hammer could do more harm than good. I listened to that prehistoric reasoning of "just whack it." This is what happened. I felt horrible when I did this.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 18.
Now with all of the wood removed we used a grinder with a coarse wire wheel to clean and rough up the surface for the new wood and epoxy to bond to.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

 

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Figure 19.
We then took a grinder with a sanding disc to the fish locker area.
Photo Credit: Jeff Rohlfing

This article continues in Part Two.


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Author: Jeff Rohlfing
This article first appeared July 10, 2004.