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Transom Replacement, Crestliner SST Transom


Todd in NY

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It's time to repower my boat, so I figured I might as well replace the transom first. I've never done a transom Replacement, but it doesn't seem like it will be rocket science. The boat is a 1988 Sabre 220.

 

I removed my Evinrude 15hp kicker motor last week so I could winterize it and store it in my garage.

 

I started by removing my old 1989 Evinrude 150. I have a 1,000 pound hoist, but I don't have a place to attach the hoist for this project. So I assembled my Maxxhaul receiver hitch mounted crane. It wasn't ideal, but it worked. I put the motor on a pallet so I could put the motor in the bed of my truck.

 

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Edited by Todd in NY
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Today I worked between periods of rain to remove the transom cap and all of the bolts that run through the transom. This took all day.

 

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I removed the stainless stern tow eyes first, then the aluminum drain holes, then finally the 10 carriage bolts. This is where the real education started...

 

I removed the entire round access cover and discovered flotation foam and an aluminum divider inside the transom.

 

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I wanted to remove the transom cap first, to see the condition of the wood core. It was in better condition than I expected, but it's still getting replaced.

 

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I put the transom cap back on because it started raining again, and I didn't want the transom wood to get any wetter than it already was.

 

The foam was saturated with water, so I removed all of the foam. This gave me access to 6 of the 10 carriage bolts. An aluminum divider was blocking my access to the last 2 bolts on the left, and another divider was blocking my access to the last 2 bolts on the right. The center divider and the other 2 dividers were bolted to the main transom with 3 bolts each. I removed the bolts, then had to removed more foam from the center compartments because the aluminum dividers fit pretty snug inside the SST transom, and I couldn't lay the dividers down to get access to the next 2 compartments. It seemed like the foam was glued to the floor in the transom, and it was difficult to remove with scrapers. Once I had most of the foam temoved from the 2 center compartments, I was able to adjust the left divider, only to find more foam. I removed the foam from the 2nd left compartment and finally had access to the 2 far left bolts. I then repeated these steps in the right compartment and removed the 2 far right bolts.

 

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I removed enough foam to nearly fill two 50 pound bird seed bags.

 

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I'm done for today. I'm leaving the cap on the transom overnight. Tomorrow I plan to use my Maxxhaul crane to remove the wood core, hopefully in ONE piece!

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Edited by Todd in NY
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The marine company pretend that the foam they use doesn't retain any water and you're showing it's not true; so, imagine! There is foam everywhere in a boat so a lot of weight to carry and moisture to damage any parts in wood.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you intent to replace the transom with wood or another material?

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1 minute ago, Andre wallyandre said:

The marine company pretend that the foam they use doesn't retain any water and you're showing it's not true; so, imagine! There is foam everywhere in a boat so a lot of weight to carry and moisture to damage any parts in wood.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you intent to replace the transom with wood or another material?

 

I'll be using some 13 ply mahogany marine grade plywood. I thought about using Coosa Board, but I don't know enough about it. According to the marina that I'm buying the motor from, this is the only wood he uses in transoms, to include his own boat that he is doing this winter.

 

I was able to squeeze water out of that foam like a sponge. My wife couldn't believe it. The foam I removed probably weighed 75+ pounds.

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I am doing the very same thing on a 1989 Starcraft Islander and after having loosened every last bolt, screw or part that could interfere with removal, I put the boat under my shade tree hoist ,started pulling and nothing moved. It turns out that the previous owner had put fiberglass over the rotten transom wood and of course the wood inside the glass just kept on rotting. That was not the worst part though, This joker had glued the transom to the aluminum back of the boat with some very high quality glue, but only near the bottom so it was invisible from the top. So here I am trying to pull the rotten transom kept together with fiberglass and glued to the boat. I ended up having to cut it piecemeal to get it out. Anyway, I must admit that I felt victorious when I finally had it. And that is how I spent yesterday and today.

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1 hour ago, Andre wallyandre said:

The marine company pretend that the foam they use doesn't retain any water and you're showing it's not true; so, imagine! There is foam everywhere in a boat so a lot of weight to carry and moisture to damage any parts in wood.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you intent to replace the transom with wood or another material?

One cubic foot of flotation foam weighs 2 pounds, one water saturated cubic foot weighs 68 pounds and does not keep you afloat.

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Rolmops, can you post pictures of your transom replacement also, I have Islander also and it’s going to need the same as your boat, also rough cost of your replacement. Thanks Woody

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I made no progress today. I tried pulling with 3/8" x 4" long eye bolts, and they pulled out of the wood. Of course I drilled a pilot hole before screwing the eye bolts in, and I screwed the eye bolt all the way in. So I went to Tractor Supply and got 2 eye bolts 3/8" x 8" long.

 

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Still had no luck. I pulled the eye loop open 3 times (at least once with each eye bolt) and even managed to pull one of the 8" eye bolts out of the transom. I was lifting the back of the boat, but that transom wood would not budge.

 

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The wood is wet all the way to the bottom. It probably swelled up like a sponge over the years. It looks like Crestliner used a sheet of 7/8" plywood, and a sheet of 5/8" plywood to get their 1.5" thickness. The two sheets are separating from each other.

 

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My next plan is to use my 16" electric chain saw and gently, slowly, and very carefully remove some of the thinner sheet of plywood. I also thought about squirting some dish soap down between the wood and the aluminum, to see if that might help.

 

I work tomorrow and Saturday, so I don't know when I'll get back to this project. I'll post updates as soon as I get around to it.

 

The strange part about this rotten transom is that it did NOT flex at all. Those 10 carriage bolts really held that transom together, even with wet wood in the transom. That's impressive!

Edited by Todd in NY
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This is awesome i have a 1995 sst and i plan on doing my transom soon also.... i would suggest to use the cherry picker to try and get the transom straight out and sawzall the thru-hull fittings if you cant hammer them out. Ive replaced it before. You got this, my next transom will be mostly epoxy i think.... best of luck!

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3 hours ago, Todd in NY said:

I made no progress today. I tried pulling with 3/8" x 4" long eye bolts, and they pulled out of the wood. Of course I drilled a pilot hole before screwing the eye bolts in, and I screwed the eye bolt all the way in. So I went to Tractor Supply and got 2 eye bolts 3/8" x 8" long.

 

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Still had no luck. I pulled the eye loop open 3 times (at least once with each eye bolt) and even managed to pull one of the 8" eye bolts out of the transom. I was lifting the back of the boat, but that transom wood would not budge.

 

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The wood is wet all the way to the bottom. It probably swelled up like a sponge over the years. It looks like Crestliner used a sheet of 7/8" plywood, and a sheet of 5/8" plywood to get their 1.5" thickness. The two sheets are separating from each other.

 

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My next plan is to use my 16" electric chain saw and gently, slowly, and very carefully remove some of the thinner sheet of plywood. I also thought about squirting some dish soap down between the wood and the aluminum, to see if that might help.

 

I work tomorrow and Saturday, so I don't know when I'll get back to this project. I'll post updates as soon as I get around to it.

 

The strange part about this rotten transom is that it did NOT flex at all. Those 10 carriage bolts really held that transom together, even with wet wood in the transom. That's impressive!

I am not at all sure that cutting that transon will help you. I think that the lengthwise stringers are screwed onto the transom . You might be able to check that out with an angled mirror, but I would remove the outboard splash box so you can have a view of the entire transom and unscrew from the inside whatever it is that stops it from moving. The splash box is probably screwed in, but if it is riveted just drill the rivets out and replace them using 3/16th closed back rivets or truss headed  stainless phillips bolts.  It is also a good idea to go to the iboats forums and ask about removing the transom of your specific boat. There probably is someone who can help you out over there.

Edited by rolmops
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4 hours ago, woody 184 said:

Rolmops, can you post pictures of your transom replacement also, I have Islander also and it’s going to need the same as your boat, also rough cost of your replacement. Thanks Woody

This is my fourth transom job so I did not think to write about it. My apologies for that. Tomorrow I will open another thread with the adventures of transom replacement on Islanders.

Edited by rolmops
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24 minutes ago, rolmops said:

I am not at all sure that cutting that transon will help you. I think that the lengthwise stringers are screwed onto the transom . You might be able to check that out with an angled mirror, but I would remove the outboard splash box so you can have a view of the entire transom and unscrew from the inside whatever it is that stops it from moving. The splash box is probably screwed in, but if it is riveted just drill the rivets out and replace them using 3/16th closed back rivets or truss headed  stainless phillips bolts.  It is also a good idea to go to the iboats forums and ask about removing the transom of your specific boat. There probably is someone who can help you out over there.

 

I've removed every bolt and screw in the transom, as well as the 2 drain holes. I removed every bit of foam that was blocking my access to the bolts that were holding the wood in place. I'll check out iboats tomorrow. When I do an internet search for a transom replacement for a Crestliner Sabre SST transom, I don't see anything that could answer my questions. I'm a research-aholic, but I've come up empty in my search for a similar boat transom replacement.

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Todd, your on point with the chainsaw. Just stay centered; stay away from the ends. Go slow and shallow strokes. Once your down about 12 inches keep trowling the center out. Keep your screw bolts on the edges and it will pop out either in pieces or as one. Your in the most difficult part. Everything seems downhill once you get it out. 

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My electric chainsaw stops as soon as I release the trigger, unlike my gas chainsaws. I usually cut down 20-25 trees every year, then limb and buck them to firewood length, so I'm confident in my chainsaw skills. I plan on spending Friday on the transom removal.

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any chance will pulling up on it having someone hit the transom with a rubber mallet ? I got mine out of my crestliner this way and ran into the same issue as you did. I was lucky in that we got it out in one piece and I had an excellent template as a result.

old transom pull out.jpg

old wood in transom.jpg

resin wood transom rebuild.jpg

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5 hours ago, muskyman said:

any chance will pulling up on it having someone hit the transom with a rubber mallet ? I got mine out of my crestliner this way and ran into the same issue as you did. I was lucky in that we got it out in one piece and I had an excellent template as a result.

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I was hitting the transom with a rubber mallet as I was pulling upward with the crane hoist. I repeatedly hit all four sides of the SST where the wood was in contact with the aluminum. The wood appears to be sandwiched real tight on the far left and the far right. I feel very confident that I can use my electric chainsaw to remove one width of the chain through the narrower sheet of plywood, and still pull the thicker sheet out in one piece. It's waterlogged, but not quite rotted. I'll try this tomorrow and post my results.

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9 hours ago, Todd in NY said:

 

I was hitting the transom with a rubber mallet as I was pulling upward with the crane hoist. I repeatedly hit all four sides of the SST where the wood was in contact with the aluminum. The wood appears to be sandwiched real tight on the far left and the far right. I feel very confident that I can use my electric chainsaw to remove one width of the chain through the narrower sheet of plywood, and still pull the thicker sheet out in one piece. It's waterlogged, but not quite rotted. I'll try this tomorrow and post my results.

I did the same thing as muskyman. Only other difference is i put a rebar through the eye of all of my eyebolts so it wasn't pulling on any one eye bolt at the same time. I also had the issue of eyebolts pulling out of the wood but the rebar fixed that for the most part. My transom was super wet and sandwiched like yours so I let it sit all fall, winter and spring to dry out once I took it apart. Another trick that helped was, when lifting it, try to pull from only one of the sides instead of right in the middle, try to "wiggle" it out from one side then the next side. Other than that, the tractor picked the whole back of the boat off the ground by the eyebolts and jerking up and down a few times freed it up. 

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wood.jpg

newtransom.JPG

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I didn't work on the transom on Friday, but I did make some small progress on it today.

 

I used the electric chainsaw for awhile, but by the time I noticed the small wire brads holding the 2 sheets of plywood together, my chain was dull, because I probably hit all of them. I don't know how many I hit, but I wasn't expecting to see wire brads in the transom wood.

 

I decided to remove all of the thinner sheet of plywood, piece by piece with a hammer, chisel and pry bar. It's working, but it's tedious and painful for my carpal tunnel, osteoarthritis and tendonitis. Yep, 20 years in the Army Light Infantry has my joints all screwed up.

 

Oh well, I'm used to after all these years.

 

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On 10/3/2022 at 6:59 AM, Trouthunter said:

I would use the COOSA Board you would not be sorry

I just checked the price of coosa boards. It’s up there, but it is a one time fix, you can get it 1.5 inch thick and you can get it cut to the size you want. You don’t have to buy the epoxy glue or 2 component epoxy paint which brings down the overall price and a lot less work 

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