Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-25-2013 Thread Starter
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Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

I'm beginning repairs to a freshly purchased Morgan 27, and one of the issues the boat has is substantial cracking of the gelcoat + on the transom. I've attached a couple of pictures, one before starting (also replacing the outboard mount), and a pic of what I've discovered.

I've been concerned about what caused this cracking, but planned on sanding/grinding through to solid material and building it back up with glass and/or Marine Tex. What I believe I've found is Bondo (same color, smell when sanding, etc), and my current thinking is that it must all come out.

Is it possible that something so similar to Bondo could have been used at the factory?

Does it all have to come out?

Any/all ideas or thoughts are most welcomed.

Thanks in advance,
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-25-2013
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

The way I understand it fiberglass repair is pretty simple in principle. The issues are in getting it to look nice.

You have to grind it out until it is solid then taper it back 12 to 1 and reglass.

Fiberglass Repair by Don Casey - BoatTECH - BoatUS

Paint and you are done.

Check the west system site for more directions.

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post #3 of 16 Old 08-25-2013
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

From the looks of it, I think you are right to sand it down but you can probably meet it halfway with a coat of primer and then sand that smooth before painting.

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post #4 of 16 Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

looks like the gelcoat cracks are in the area where the mold line was. when the hull is molded the mold is in two halves and the crack between the halves leaves a bump in the gelcoat. the flash is ground down and sometimes it is filled with Bondo or other Polyester filler and recoated then sanded to match the original finish. the gelcoat may be a bit thicker in that area which caused it to crack. to repair you need to sand down a bit, fill the cracks and and spray with new gelcoat.
I would not remove all the gelcoat but would sand the entire transom smooth and re coat so there will not be a need to match the color exactly. matching the color is the hardest thing about gelcoat repair

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post #5 of 16 Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

Looks like plain old crazed gelcoat. Just sand through the crazing and refinish the transom with gelcoat or paint.

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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

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Originally Posted by 67rway View Post
I'm beginning repairs to a freshly purchased Morgan 27, and one of the issues the boat has is substantial cracking of the gelcoat + on the transom.

Any/all ideas or thoughts are most welcomed.

Thanks in advance,
Yes, inspect the transom from inside the boat, too. If you see any crazing/cracking there, you should clean the interior surface, perhaps wash with Acetone and sand, to inspect more closely.
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

Bondo is essentially polyester filler, and yes - it was / is used to fair boats all the time.

If you feel a need grind down to the fiberglass and make sure it is solid then just recoat (west or some other system of products) and re-fair then paint or gelcoat. If you gel coat be prepared for some pretty serious sanding, buffing and polishing to get back to fair and shiny.
If the cracks extend into the fiberglass use the links DavidPM provided above to learn up, then come back here if you have questions or concerns.

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post #8 of 16 Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

Definitely common when mold is gelled in sections then bolted together for laminating. Looks like deteriorated cosmetic repair from factory. What did surveyor say? Since it is a small transom you can re gelcoat. Gelcoat is labor intensive but should last longer and be more resistent to damage than paint. Seams can be blended on edge of transom.
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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

There are gelcoats available that air dry and don't orange peel like in days of old. I had some large areas touched up by a pro on my last boat and they didn't require any more finishing than what was required to polish up the rest of the hull.

Some wet blending with 600 & 800 then liquid polishes with a wheel.

I can't give any specific info about them though - you'll have to talk to some good suppliers or applicators.

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Re: Transom Gelcoat Cracking Repair

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There are gelcoats available that air dry and don't orange peel like in days of old.
Many years since I sprayed gelcoat. Remember the wet sanding took plenty of time, and mold finishing with 1800 grit with no fingerprints left. Thanks for the update Sloop.
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