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wakesetterDD

99 VLX Tracking Fin loose

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wakesetterDD

i have read that the tracking fins are attached with a 7 or 8 inch long stainless steel bolt that screws directly in to the fiberglass on the bottom of the hull.  Is it like a lag bolt that screws into the fiberglass or is it a normal bolt with a nut for inside the hull underneath the gas tank (or so I would guess).

Can anyone confirm?  One is pretty loose and I'm concerned about water getting in.

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UWSkier

So the bad news is you have a V drive of that era.  You can't screw them in from below.  Floor has to come up.  Gas tank has to be moved back.  They're screwed in from above.

Yeah.  Sucks.  Happened last year on our '01 VLX.  Major pain.  If you're super patient and can find all the damn buried screws in the seat supports, it can be done yourself.  We eventually punted and had a pro do ours.

Do not try to replace with a Direct Drive, lag-bolted-from-below fin or you'll find yourself leaking fuel everywhere.

Edited by UWSkier

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wakesetterDD

Thanks everyone.  I removed the seats base/support piece.  Surprisingly easy, actually.  I will post a link to the video.  Mostly just looked for screws int he seat base and that was the only piece that had to come out (obviously I moved the seat cushions aside while doing this).  The gas tank cover then easily popped out.  Because the gas tank is full I'm going to have the fiber glass shop lift and tilt the boat to empty it and then they'll remove the gas tank and get to the tracking fins and do the repair (tighten, re-seal) properly.  I need a lot more of my hull re-fiberglassed, including above where the boat sits on the bunks so I just can't do it all myself.  Also there is some other scratches/gouches and the gel coat is quite faded- sounds like the fiber glass guy can bring it all back to life with some wet sanding instead of new gel coat because gel coat is thicker than other stuff like paint.

I am going to start a restoration thread.  The tracking fin and hull repair are the major and first steps!

In terms of the tracking fin: I noticed 1 one was loose after I purchased the boat.  Then we got a slip and if we didn't boat for a week the batteries were dead.  I haven't searched for a low current drain/short yet but based on the fact that the boat has a pretty good cover I don't think that rain water would be sufficient to drain the batteries if the bilge had to run a ton.  Therefore there must be a water leak somewhere.  Once this is fixed it will be very clear if it was a hole in the hull.

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Nitrousbird
On 9/26/2018 at 3:00 PM, UWSkier said:

So the bad news is you have a V drive of that era.  You can't screw them in from below.  Floor has to come up.  Gas tank has to be moved back.  They're screwed in from above.

Yeah.  Sucks.  Happened last year on our '01 VLX.  Major pain.  If you're super patient and can find all the damn buried screws in the seat supports, it can be done yourself.  We eventually punted and had a pro do ours.

Do not try to replace with a Direct Drive, lag-bolted-from-below fin or you'll find yourself leaking fuel everywhere.

Totally disagree with not using a DD fin with lag bolts.

Several years ago I broke the front tracking fin.  Not knowing how everything was assembled at the time, pulled out the seat bases, floor and gas tank.  Very much a DIY job and not that big of a deal.  I pulled the whole tank and cleaned it; biggest pain was getting the gas out.

I then decided that doing through-bolts again was a bad idea.  I ground down the area with my Dremel.  Using Marine Tex, I patched the whole area, drilled and lagged in the tracking fin.  Exactly one month later, I hit something and knocked that one off - thankful I used a lag setup.  I then used my Marine Tex again, repaired the area, put on ANOTHER fin and it has been there for several years.  Still not leaking any fuel...

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wakesetterDD
On 1/26/2019 at 10:35 AM, Nitrousbird said:

Totally disagree with not using a DD fin with lag bolts.

Several years ago I broke the front tracking fin.  Not knowing how everything was assembled at the time, pulled out the seat bases, floor and gas tank.  Very much a DIY job and not that big of a deal.  I pulled the whole tank and cleaned it; biggest pain was getting the gas out.

I then decided that doing through-bolts again was a bad idea.  I ground down the area with my Dremel.  Using Marine Tex, I patched the whole area, drilled and lagged in the tracking fin.  Exactly one month later, I hit something and knocked that one off - thankful I used a lag setup.  I then used my Marine Tex again, repaired the area, put on ANOTHER fin and it has been there for several years.  Still not leaking any fuel...

What type of boat do you have?  Are you saying that the lag bolts weren't long enough to puncture your gas tank?

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Nitrousbird
9 hours ago, wakesetterDD said:

What type of boat do you have?  Are you saying that the lag bolts weren't long enough to puncture your gas tank?

'01 Sunsetter VLX

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