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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Underskinning a Pontoon Boat
    Posted: 02/20/2009 at 10:12am

Quote I've done the search and found a few posts about underskinning but I was wondering if you have to run it all the way down the bottom of the boat. I've noticed that the only splash I get is maybe the front third of the boat. Anyone here done it?

This question comes up at least every two months and we"ve got lots of topics with replies regarding it. Try reviewing the search of the forums regarding underskinning just click the link, then review each one. But a short answer is I would probably (as I will eventually) do it from front to back, leaving a inch opening on either side next to the toons for drainage (don"t want the water trapped).



Edited by Wildcat Dude
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 10:46am

You really need to do the whole thing. You"d be surprised at the amount of water that hits toward the stern, since it sits lower in the water. Probably the best investment I"ve made in my toon yet. Much smoother ride and it has to lengthen the life of the deck..

 



Edited by rickdb1
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 10:52am
Rick, I just noticed on yours, on the side, it appears you have panels there, can you elaborate on how yours is done? Others may want to know too and I may do mine that way. Oh and thanks for reposting that youtube video of the effects, I didn't find it right away and it really highlights the benefits of underskinning.

Edited by Wildcat Dude
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 11:29am

My Playcraft is underskinned. I am intimate with its installation since a large section came loose and dragged under the boat while backing out of the slip - ouch!!!

The sheets are attached to the crossmembers using SS pop rivets.  The sheets are creases to fold down at a 45 dgree angle near each outer edge to lay snugly against the side of the U-shaped pontoons, leaving an opening at each end.  The skin runs full-length fore and aft.   My boat is very stern-heavy with a separate engine pod, upper sundeck and 2 big gas tanks in the stern so teh skin needs to go all the way back. I"ll try to get a picture or two this weekend.



Edited by CGbosun
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 11:38am

I took some of the leftover sheeting and just cut some pieces for the sides. Just screwed them in to the tube brackets. Don"t really know if this step was necessary, but it seemed like the right thing to do. Good thing is, if I need to get to the wiring or steering cable (which is all above the starboard log), I have easy access by just unscrewing a few screws on the sides.

Without sides:



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 12:06pm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 1:39pm
I sure wouldn"t go to a boat repair shop, but the other two mentioned I"d get a quote from. I"m almost in your position, I can"t work over my head as my arms will give out in just a few minutes, so thinking of making a small wood form that I could lay the panels on and get it close to the supports to get a few screws started as I"ll be doing it by myself.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 1:40pm
I would call around to smaller independent boat repair shops and see what they say. I"d say most of the larger shops would not do it. The aluminum is not cheap and I"m sure labor would be high. I would say it took me a good 8 hours over 2 days working on it. But I was by myself. A helper would have sped things up considerably. Aluminum for my 20er was about $450.00 and about $40 for the screws. When I bought the boat, they wanted $700 installed. Looked back, it was a pretty good deal and I began to realize that as I was crunched under the boat holding up those sheets of aluminum. If you could get it installed (labor only) for 2-3 hundred, I"d say it"s a good deal.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 1:46pm
You could buy it from a sheet metal shop or possibly an HVAC contractor, but you"d have to have LOTS of beer on hand to get them to install it..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 6:11pm
Good points Frank, thanks for asking that.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 7:47pm
I used .063 5052 aluminum. I guess you could go smaller, but that seemed to be the thickness everyone was recommending. I wouldn"t go too much thinner, as they may buckle from the force of the water slamming into them. Mine has about 100 hours on it in rough water and they are still as straight as when I put them on. The narrow side panels have buckled a bit, but nothing significant. Also, I haven"t had one screw back out. I did use blue loctite on them though. Talk about tedious...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 7:51pm
If I remember right, you pre-drilled the holes didn"t you? Going to make this a sticky topic somewhere when we get done with all the questions. Rebuild area is a little too full of stickies. If anyone has suggestions where to put it, or even say the rebuild area as it does makes sense to added underskinning during the rebuild process, or anytime thereafter.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/20/2009 at 8:22pm
Yes, I did predrill the screw holes. Did that with my regular cordless and then ran them in with the hammer drill. I had cut several 2 X 4""s to the proper length to help hold the sheets up while drilling and screwing them in. I think it would be ideal if you had 3 guys working on it to not only hold the sheets up, but to either pre-drill or run screws. Arms get tired in a hurry..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/21/2009 at 6:12pm

They are overlapped a inch. I simply drilled through both sheets and shot the screws in. But I also put a screw on the single side too. I did double up screws all the way down on the crossmembers, but I only wanted to do this once and the screws are cheap enough. And yes a 90 degree bend would have stiffened the sides up, but I didn"t have a sheet metal break at home and it"s some pretty stiff stuff to bend by hand. Plus I had just enough metal left over to do what I did.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/21/2009 at 6:19pm
 Looks real nice there Rick. When we ordered the ours we opted to purchase the underskin package from the factory. They applied it a lot like Ricks but for a few differences. As you observed floridatoon they applied from the back forward and overlapped at cross members apx. 1in. and fastened both. Also they radiused the pannels down to end against the toons just like Ricks. It"s really neat to lay on the front of the boat and watch the amount of water rolls off the skin and down the toons. Don"t know if a person could bend it at home like that, but it does seem to be a nice sturdy way of doing it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/23/2009 at 1:04pm

eaglase;

My toon is  a 1993 model, prior to the fire at the plant in "95 that destroyed all previous records (of course). The underskin is factory original.  The skin begins at the second crossmemember back from the bow.  That does not seem to affect anything, since the spray rails on both toons keep the water off that area.

Working on the pictures since she"s back in the drink again - yay! just got to get that  engine fixed!!



Edited by Wildcat Dude
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/10/2009 at 2:39pm
Think about it for a minute, if pontoon manufacturers thought that was a good idea, they would do it wouldn"t they? I thought we talked about why you wouldn"t want to use it for your floor (corrosive effects on your metal). Its fine for seats, walls and such, not not to lay against your crossmembers and such.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/21/2009 at 3:20pm

After reading about the underskinning what is the best thickness of aluminum to use, may have missed this in one of the post.  Thanks   Ronney

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/21/2009 at 3:37pm

.063" 5052 aluminum. The 5052 grade is for marine use, it resists corrosion the best. quote I found in an old post.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/21/2009 at 4:49pm
WOW!!!! would have never thought that thick
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/21/2009 at 5:44pm

Does seem thick doesn"t it. Darren, Rick, what did you guys use? Anybody else?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/21/2009 at 7:36pm
I used .063. It"s 1/16 inch thick.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2009 at 8:47am

rickdb1  

What size sheet did you use and where did you get them from// Thanks   Ronney

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/19/2009 at 4:42pm

my jc tritoon came with underskin from the factory in 1990 and since then it has floated all year in water.  We never had any wooden floor problems and the ride is so queit 

 

Every toon boat should have it

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/26/2010 at 11:11pm
Pretty thin, but it might work. Are your crossmembers spaced at 16 inches or 24 inches or something inbetween? If they are 16 or 18 inches, I give it a try. If they"re 24 inches, then I"d look for something heavier..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/06/2010 at 6:28pm
that"s another reason for underskinning, but it shouldn"t be soaking through. You haven"t told us anything about your boat and you don"t have it listed in your signature line for us to know, plus pics (not in here though) of your boat (show off your pontoon) would definitely help (and pics top, side, underneath - we love it all)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/06/2010 at 6:38pm
Mine gets the carpet wet too. The water gets forced up between the
deck and the cross member at the point where two floor boards butt
together. It"s not supposed to do that because there should be a joint
tape between the boards and crossmembers. Underskinning would
help to prevent the water from coming up through the floor.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/08/2010 at 6:14pm
I"d bet they are wide enough, think about it, you only need 4ft thereabout (measure between your toons), then measure between your supports. If you can alternate supports, then you"d only need a 1 inch overlap (so add 2 inches to the centers of your supports) or measure from the outside edge of one support you"d screw into to the outside edge of the alternate support you could overlap the next. So 38-52 inches total length
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/08/2010 at 9:50pm
Don"t see a problem with seams. You would probably want to apply a sealer such as NP-1, silicone or something flexible and rivet or screw the seams together to keep water out. There is alot of turbulence in between the toons in the center so it needs to be secure but should work.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/09/2010 at 8:35pm
plates are too thin and would cause more noise than you could stand not to mention they would/might tear lose causing more problems. Look for the right stuff to get it right the first time and you"ll be happier, although less heavy in the pocket books.
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