Bow Rider - replacement fuel tank cover

Discussion in 'Fiberglass/Wood/Gelcoat Repair' started by Bigfootz, Jun 28, 2020 at 12:02 PM.

  1. Bigfootz

    Bigfootz New Member

    4
    Sunday
    Seville 20' Bow Rider, 1988
    4.3L Mercruiser
    The fuel tank cover (25" x 63.25") on our 1988 Seville Bow Rider needs to be replaced due to the plywood delaminating along the edges, causing the flooring to sag when you step on it. The aluminum angle bars are in good shape and securely attached to the stringers. The existing cover is comprised of two 1/2" thick plywood boards sandwiched together. I recently added the stainless screws to keep the boards together.

    For the replacement, I was considering using a single 1/2" thick marine plywood and covering all sides and edges with a few coats of epoxy. Any thoughts on whether the 1/2" epoxy-covered plywood alone will be strong enough not to sag under weight? I also thought about adding a few epoxy-covered plywood strips on top of the fuel tank as support. Any input would be much appreciated! tank1.png tank2.png cover1.png cover2.png
     
  2. SantaCruzin

    SantaCruzin New Member

    22
    May 4, 2020
    1989 180 Bow Rider
    4.3 Mercruiser
    I guess this is a common issue! It's the same on my 1989 180 BR. I saw somewhere that someone cut out small spacers which ran across the top of the tank, leveling it with those aluminum brackets. No idea if that could cause any issues, but I'd imagine it makes the floor a lot more sturdy!
     
  3. Bigfootz

    Bigfootz New Member

    4
    Sunday
    Seville 20' Bow Rider, 1988
    4.3L Mercruiser
    Thanks for your input. I'll likely go with the spacers. I thought about reinforcing the 1/2" thick plywood with aluminum angle bar attached underneath but am concerned that if someone or something heavy happened to break the plywood you would run the risk of puncturing the fuel tank.
     
  4. CNYBoater

    CNYBoater Active Member

    245
    Aug 14, 2017
    1994 200 Overnighter, Single Axle Easy Load'r Galvanized Trailer, 2009 Chevy Trailblazer
    Single 1994 Mercury Black Max V135 O/B
    I'm working on this project now, photos in the Official 200 thread... I used 2 panels of 1/2" ply, as I could get both panels out of the same 4'x8' piece ($24). I coated everything in epoxy ($30), and used below waterline adhesive($12) to glue the two panels together. I bought 25 1" binding posts from Grainger ($8), drilled the 13/64 holes for the binding posts (sometimes called sex bolts or architectural bolts) around the edges and along center line. I bought a quart of white TotalBoat Epoxy Bilge Paint ($36) and coated all sides, including the two sandwiched surfaces. I need to finish the Bilge Paint, carefully remove the old carpet to avoid tears and apply it to the new floor. Quite sturdy and I doubt it will de-laminate anywhere soon. After all, my original floor is 26 years old and it was just two 1/2" panels bilge painted and stapled together. All in, I'm out $100 roughly and a bunch of time.
     
  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    There's any number of ways you can do, but I wouldn't put anything directly on the tank. It's not so much about strength as it is moisture. Anything in contact with the tank can trap moisture, leading to pitting and corrosion. The simplest thing is to just duplicate what you currently have. At over 30 years old I think that method has proved it's merit and you don't have to worry about trying to reinvent it.

    Glue the two together with the epoxy - the bond will be stronger than the plywood. You could put a single layer of glass mat in between for an even better bond. Or mix up some thickened epoxy and trowel it on.

    Be sure to completely saturate the wood with the epoxy before combining - paint/roll/squeegee the epoxy on and let it sit for 10-15 minutes... the wood will lose the "gloss" as the epoxy sinks in. It will probably take about 3 applications till it stops sinking in. Now you can combine the pieces. The edges will typically take more applications.
     
  6. Bigfootz

    Bigfootz New Member

    4
    Sunday
    Seville 20' Bow Rider, 1988
    4.3L Mercruiser
    Thanks for your input and good to know about the moisture issue!
     
  7. Bigfootz

    Bigfootz New Member

    4
    Sunday
    Seville 20' Bow Rider, 1988
    4.3L Mercruiser
    Thanks for your reply and sharing your repair! A quick google search and now I know why they're called sex bolts!
     

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