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Old 07-06-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
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Smile early 80's 34 soft decks

I have focused on buying an early 1980's 34 and everyone says they are known for soft spots- how troublesome can these be and how expensive can it be to solve the problems? Are some so bad that walking away is the best strategy and are the locations of the soft spots important and predictable?
Thanks,
Doug
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:24 PM   #2
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There is info on doing this over on Iboats.com, in the build and restoration section of their forum.It is a big job.If done properly will last for a few decades or longer depending on how well the boat is maintained and stored.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard Doug! "everyone says they are known for soft spots". The surest way to verify that THE boat you're looking at is afflicted with core rot is to hire a good surveyor who is familiar with the specific make and model you're interested in and he/she should be able to provide you with an estimate for repairs. As Mr. ben suggested, proper repair CAN be quite expensive. It will then be up to you to decide what you can or can't live with. Could be the decks are fine but the windows/ports leak or the fuel tanks could be finished. Enjoy...
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglaschristy View Post
I have focused on buying an early 1980's 34 and everyone says they are known for soft spots- how troublesome can these be and how expensive can it be to solve the problems? Are some so bad that walking away is the best strategy and are the locations of the soft spots important and predictable?
Thanks,
Doug

I know it's easly for me...but what kind of boat??/ Which deck is affected??? Do you know the core material and DON'T assume???

Some people have solved their problem by doing nothing...injecting epoxy...fixing the soft spot all the way to redoing the entire deck area.

Soooooo....lot's of questions to you...lot's of possibilities to choose from.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:24 AM   #5
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The key is properly maintained. If stored outside, are the bungs/screws being replaced when needed? Are there excessive wear spots where the PO tried to sand or aggressively clean?

If properly maintained and left to Gray over the years, you should get many more years out of them. The upper helm area is the biggest concern in my opinion. Look closely at any boat that still has teak up above.

As another poster stated, look closely at the tanks for major rust on the top. If you see a lot of rust, you are going to need new tanks soon and it's also a clear sign that the decks weren't being properly maintained, as water had been leaking in for years.

1. Bungs properly replace
2. Condition of tanks
3. Clean engine room?

Good luck!
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:42 PM   #6
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Doug, how big, how soft, where are they, what's wet, how long is a piece of string? The cost can run from $100 to $20,000. Get a knowledgeable, proficient surveyor and ask him the questions. Chuck
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:24 PM   #7
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Every time I have replaced soft decks on a boat,I have had to go all the way and replace stringers and transom(s).Not a fun job.Very time consuming and costly,even doing it yourself.While you have everything apart,you find a lot of stuff that needs to be replaced,repaired,rerouted,or in some way redone.Once it's done and the boat is properly stored and maintained,it will last a life time.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:28 PM   #8
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Every time I have replaced soft decks on a boat,I have had to go all the way and replace stringers and transom(s).Not a fun job.Very time consuming and costly,even doing it yourself.While you have everything apart,you find a lot of stuff that needs to be replaced,repaired,rerouted,or in some way redone.Once it's done and the boat is properly stored and maintained,it will last a life time.
Considering they are three completely different animals...especially on bigger boats...you must repair some real works of art!
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:49 PM   #9
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Considering they are three completely different animals...especially on bigger boats...you must repair some real works of art!
Mostly fiberglass ski and fishing boats with a trihull thrown in here and there.Done alot of pontoons but that really doesn't compare.Have I mention lately that I hate pontoons?
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:27 AM   #10
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If properly maintained and left to Gray over the years, you should get many more years out of them. The upper helm area is the biggest concern in my opinion. Look closely at any boat that still has teak up above.
!
Mainships don't have teak decks.

The cockpit is the most common area to have soft spots. It has to do with the ridiculous glass wall/sliding door arrangement. and the flybridge ladder base is another problem area. One thing nice about a Mainship of the vintage and style you are interested in is the ease of inspecting these and nearly any other area of the decking. Open the hatch and stick your head in there and look around. We found some that were so far gone that the entire cabin had sunk a couple of inches and the side decks were actually sloped inward! These boats with this affliction should either be passed on or you can make a crazy low-ball offer as the repairs are going to be significant and boats are out there that haven't developed deck rot for less money than the repair/purchase price will be.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:25 PM   #11
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I have focused on buying an early 1980's 34 and everyone says they are known for soft spots- how troublesome can these be and how expensive can it be to solve the problems? Are some so bad that walking away is the best strategy and are the locations of the soft spots important and predictable?
Thanks,
Doug
I owned an 78 model I for 14 years. I replaced lots of wet core: the flybridge is the number one culprit, next is the gunnels, then the cockpit floor. All due to poor sealing of the hardware by Mainship and their dealers (the boats were shipped arounbd the country with the flybridge removed and the dealers installed them).
I have replaced the core myself in all of those areas. I can advise when the time comes if you are interested. It is not that hard of a job, just time consuming and a little messy.
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