I recently bought a Texas Maid 14ft aluminum boat (with trailer and motor) and (though I am pretty new to boats- but formerly an aircraft mechanic) I decided that the price was right, the hull looked sound, trailer seemed road worthy, and motor would be ok (once I got the fire ants out of the water passages... but that's a different thread...).
The only thing that seemed to be missing to me was the drain plug. The PO (was selling her dad's boat that she got after he passed away) told me that they had the drain plug and would mail it to me. So I didn't think much about this and figured that I could probably pick one up at a local marine or sporting goods store... anyway to make a long story short... what they mailed me was a half inch ID pvc pipe plug with teflon tape wrapped around it... So I learned that not only are TM boat plugs are NOT standard, I was going to have a hard time finding one...
I found some threads on iboats where people have made their own plugs out of 7/8in bolts (not a cheap option being that no hardware store where I live has a fine thread 7/8 in bolt and I would have to get it from an online store). So I got some quotes for the parts which were quite a bit higher than I thought they would be as most of the time it seems you "can't just buy one" of any of the parts that I would need.
It seems to me that because the aluminum here is at least 1/4 in thick maybe 5/16 even that putting in the garboard flange in would let me use a standard plug available probably anywhere...
SO I'm itching to get this thing on the water to find out how my engine repairs work at higher than idle and to see if there are any other "hidden" issues with the hull - (like leaks). But, I'd like to get some feed back before I pass the point of no return on destroying what is there originally... Worst case I'll have to get something welded in anyway but hopefully not (at least till winter).
Please let me know if there are any issues I should be aware of (I've heard that bronze on aluminum with stainless screws is ok - and that the brass plug in the bronze flange should be fine since that is how sea-dog sells the set...) but I just don't have a lot of boat experience to go on here... and iboats forums seem pretty silent on the issue... since there seem to me more TM owners here I'm hoping for a little better feed back.
pic of bottom of drain & wider angle of original plug placement in reference to transom (slightly to the right side of center).
The drain cover "scoop" and old threads are one integral component that is riveted to the aluminum hull which is why I think it will be thick enough to hold the "upgraded/retrofitted" drain flange.
Hi Cantfish! Welcome,
Id love to see some pics of your boat. I just used a brass plug like yours and wrapped it with electrical tape to seal it. I know its redneck, but it works, until I can find a better solution.
@ DR: I'm looking into McMaster-Carr to see what options they have...
@ TNL: Well that's good to know that it works. Maybe I'll try that first and see... I'm hoping to get it on the water in the next couple days for a test float /leak check.
Sorry for now I don't have any pics of the boat other than the low res craigslist photos... but the boat isn't much to look at right now...
It's a standard hull I think 3 bench seats and a small standing platform at the floor in the bow- no fins/deck/portals that I see on the pictures of the other TxMaids posted here... the only accessories are a few clamp on swivel seats and cup holders.
It pretty much looks like big row boat... minus the oar locks at this point...
I was looking for something that would hold 3-4 adults and a couple kids for just cruising lakes and such but still sorta small and simple. And happened across this "classic" boat... (using the term classic very loosely), motor, trolling motor, trailer combo. I decided to take a chance that if the hull was bad the motor, trolling motor, and trailer were probably worth the total price. Or if the motor wouldn't run the hull etc would be decent. So on ward and up ward I guess motor and trailer check out so once I figure out a drain plug we'll try it out on the lake.
Hope to make it into a nice fishing boat for "family time" on the water.
(BTW: thanks to all on this forum - Its pretty cool to be a classic boat owner. Even if it is just a tub with a motor on it, -if it floats...- it will be a tub with potential to build some memories for the kids, I hope).
I filled the back end with water with my first "test" for the electrical tape on the plug and found that while the plug didn't leak the flange where the plug meets the boat hull did... I also found two spots on the rear of the transom that were leaking (all 3 of these from the inside out, which in my limited experience means they would leak quite a bit worse from the outside in...) - apparently the transom tie down chains the PO had on there were rubbing a bit on the old sealant... Well I fixed those leaks (I think) with the epoxy sticks you can get at Cabela's, which requires heating the metal to get the epoxy to stick to it - so I had to remove the plug (which destroyed the tape wrapped on it - no surprise there - but I didn't really keep track of how much tape I put on the first time.)
SO then I took it out on the lake today... and apparently the pvc plug did not have enough electrical tape on it... it was seeping in - but only had about 1/2 an inch after 40 min on the water... so not too bad for today, but too much for a whole day of fishing etc... So I guess I'll be looking for either a 7/8 bolt which McMaster-Carr seems to carry (stainless steel bolt, SS washer, SS nut and, pack of 5 "rubber gasket type washers" all for about $24 + $5 s/h). Better than the $50+ I was quoted from some other places. Or I may still contact a machine shop and see what it would take to have them carve out a couple plugs from aluminum or brass or something.
next problem... got to get the motor to run above idle... so on to that - maybe see you all in another thread I suppose.
Hey CantFish, I saw your thread on iBoats (I posted some pics of my homemade drain plug) and was a little disappointed about how the mods reacted to you posting a question on a relevant thread. Anyway, it sounds like you’ve got a good handle on your drain plug issue.
I wish my Texas Maid Osprey only took on half an inch after 40 minutes Seriously, it leaks like a sieve, but I bought some Gluvit and plan on applying it as soon as we have a few warm days in a row (I live in Denver). Good luck with the motor issues. What are you running on it anyway?
it's a 15 hp Evinrude (1992) - carb was gunked up... lots of black silt like stuff in the bottom of the bowl. Just came back in to figure out parts so I can see if I can get them in town or will have to order therm. It was the motor that came on the boat when I bought it at the beginning of Apr.
Thanks for the encouragement. I was a little surprised about the iboat's response myself...
- As for leaks:
my "retired" neighbor (if you've ever seen Fox's King of the Hill think Hank in his late 60s maybe early 70s ) said that he remembers when TMs were being made and that a lot of people would put motors that were too big on them and it would rattle the rivets loose... I take it with a grain of salt... but in my inexperience maybe there is something to that...
I don't think I know what Gluvit it is, but the stuff they sell at cabela's is pretty good. you use a propane torch, like to solder pluming together and "stick" it to the hot metal over seams or rivets. It a little bit more difficult to "shape" than I thought I'd seen on other forums, but it does seem to seal it up. I don't know how long it last, but it seems to get good reviews from others. I did a google search on something like "fix leaks aluminum boats" or something similar and found links to it.
I used it on a 1971 12 ft aluminum John boat I got from my grandfathers estate that he had banged up pretty good... Stuck it in the pool and - no more leaks... so it at least works for now.
At this point the PO said they would mail me a "Back up" plug they found when unpacking after their move, so I may wait to see what that looks like before moving forward on the plug situation. But I still just can't quite bring myself to drill out the original hole so I may use the bolt and since it's like 2 inches long (I think threaded the whole way) I may cut it and use the nut and a washer to make an 2 plugs.
That's a great little set up you have there CantFish! You should be able to catch lots of fish out of that, and a '92 Rude will give you years of service with just a little maintenance.
Gluvit is a sealant that you 'paint' on to the inside of the hull. It seals small holes and is especially effective around old leaky rivets.
It's been my experience that ALL rivets will eventually start to leak.
I don't know about running bigger motors as the cause for leaky rivets. My 14' TM is rated for 45hp and I run a '59 35hp Lark, which is plenty of motor. I'm not sure how much bigger a motor someone would run on these little boats, but I always assumed it was the bouncing around on the trailer that caused the rivets to get a little loose.
I`m at work right now but I will check in the bone pile out back and see if I saved the one out of a 16 ft TM I scrapped out last year. No title available in Texas. IF the drain hole is 7/8s the plug will need to be larger to fit the threads.
Let me know what you estimate the actual diameter of the outside of the threads and I`ll look in my fittings box to see if any of the aircraft fittings I have accumulated of 40 years will fit.
I would give SERIOUS concern to corrosion using brass, stainless and aluminum all in one place, especially where it will be subject to water.
I'll double check, but a quick check with the dial caliper reads .822 for the ID of the threads - I'm not really sure how to measure the OD of the threads with the tools I have at the moment. (When i measured with the tape measure I estimated that it was 13/16th ID).
Also, info posted on iboats indicates that Texas Maids use a 7/8 x 14 thread.
Just so we're clear though, the fitting I was contemplating putting in to hold the brass 1/2 NPT plug is actually bronze which I believe wouldn't have an issue with stainless and aluminum. I do agree that Brass itself would not be a good match up. The Bronze flange though would hold the brass plug so the brass would not ever touch the aluminum.
But all that being said -- that is why I posted here for some feed back before making a semi-permanent mistake... (one that might require welding or something to start over).
Thanks - I haven't actually done anything yet to the boat - I was able to take a 7/8 in rubber drain plug (like the kind that is used to put in live wells - as that is what it was listed for on the package) and "file it down" removing the stem chucking the rubber up in a drill with a 1/4 in bolt and two fender washers and running it next to a flat file to remove material. Then filed down the original bottom part of the plug to fit the hole as well and put it back together.
rubber plug (originally 7/8 now roughly 13/16th or a little less)
- plug/bolt in drill set in vise to hold drill trigger down at adjustable speed
- plug with bolt "mandrel"
- plug in original package (comes in set of 2)
- original plug base in drill to file down
from inside out the plug does not leak - the first "in lake" leak check seemed to go well. the plug seemed to leak less (if at all) than a couple of rivets on the aft port side- wasn't able to narrow it down very well at this point. (BTW - I filled the entire the lower seam of the transom with the green epoxy stick from Cabella's as there was a lot of old caulk of some form or another that was dried out - so I just cleaned it out with a pick and air nozzle and resealed it up from the outside.)
Finally broke down and ordered stainless steel parts from McMaster-Carr
Total of $36.80. Now working fine (needs to be screwed in a little tighter than I'd like but no leaks through the plug. I may need to get an O-ring to go under the steel washer rather than the Abrasion-resistant Rubber washer (or need to put a small strip of teflon tape on it just for the final seal. I initially bought two of the nuts and washers thinking I'd cut the bolt in 2 and make two plugs by using the two nuts as a jam nut type configuration for the second one. (I think 2.5 inch bolt was the shortest 7/8 x 14 tpi one they had at the time with threads all the way to the bolt head). I figured for $37 for 2 plugs it would be worth it. Though I have not cut it still at this time. It does stick up a bit right now, but does the trick. It takes a 1 5/16 socket (or I use what I have heard called a Ford Wrench to snug it down) - similar in shape to a plumbers pipe wrench but without the teeth that would constantly mar up the bolt.
Parts listed in image in next post $31 + about $5.65 for s/h for parts to make 2 drain plugs.
At first I used one rubber washer and still had a very minor leak. I think we had more water getting in the boat from the bait "trolling" bucket sloshing and for sure had more from choppy lake spray when underway than we did the plug.
I was not really able to use boat for last year but took it out this past weekend and the plug worked great which reminded me I never updated this tread with the new plug info...
The rubber washer is only sold in a pack of 10 so since I had extra I eventually used 2 under the steel washer to get a good seal to the aluminum boat bottom (also scraped the paint away with some scotch bright on a drill) but not sure if an o-ring would work better or not... )
Hope this helps someone out there working on the same problem.
The idea of using an oring sounds good, just like on an AN bulkhead fitting. I found an AN plug at work that measures just over an inch. I will go to one of the junk bins where we keep plugs and caps now that you gave us a measurement to check by. Would it hurt if the plug is cast iron or would you prefer aluminum or SS???
Maybe I wasn't clear in last 2 post... I actually already ordered and have been using the SS bolt a few times with good results. I just never updated the thread with the new (though year old at this point) fix... I'm not sure if cast iron would work, and I suspect that aluminum may be susceptible to galling unless some type of epoxy paint or teflon tape or other lube was applied to the threads... I preferred to go with SS so no corrosion issues would appear (at least I hope). I suspect that this new plug will out last both me and the boat unless I loose it or something
Thanks though for checking in and your thoughts on the o-ring.
The leak is probably from the bolt threds. If you have some, use a fuel tank sealer on the nuts and on the washer rubber interface. That should seal it up.
Where are you located. I can (maybe) get hold of some ProSeal.
Good thought on the treads... I can probably seal them up with some RTV or something for now so that I don't have to crank down so much on the bolt to get it to seal. I still think I'm going to cut it so that I just have the bolt head with about 3/4 inch of thread, the SS washer and 1 or 2 rubber washers as the main plug, and the two nuts on the rest of the bolt thread as a back up. Hope to have it back on the water more this spring so I'll let you know.
As far as ProSeal goes,I know a guy who works at the local FBO/flight school here. I may be able to get him to save me some if they ever get it in the can form. I used to have some that was expired for aircraft but good for general purposes, but its just junk now... I may just need to break down and get a tube for the whole back seam at some point... BTW, I'm in North Texas.