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Loose tracking fin 99 SunsetterVLX


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Front fin is loose.  Access to bolt is on the inside of boat  looks like its under the center floor cut out where the direct drive engine is  not sure if ican pull this panel without tearing up the carpet. But of so then so be it.  I cut the carpet at one corner hoping to find a screw thinking there may be one on each corner. There is an aluminum flat plate but i didn't see  a screw.  any guidance on best way to get this section out and access the fin bolts is appreciated.

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15 hours ago, TDone said:

Front fin is loose.  Access to bolt is on the inside of boat  looks like its under the center floor cut out where the direct drive engine is  not sure if ican pull this panel without tearing up the carpet. But of so then so be it.  I cut the carpet at one corner hoping to find a screw thinking there may be one on each corner. There is an aluminum flat plate but i didn't see  a screw.  any guidance on best way to get this section out and access the fin bolts is appreciated.

Color me a bit confused.  You say it is a Sunsetter VLX, but then you refer to a direct drive engine.  The "V" in VLX signifies a vee drive. 

My direct drive Sunsetter LX has a ski locker in the floor where the fins are, and I have never seen any fasteners in there.  Check to make sure that your fins aren't fastened from underneath using lag screws.  Since the front fin is loose, try backing a screw out to see if it has machine threads or lag threads.  You should be able to fill the holes and redrill them to reattach the fin.  I would also use 5000 sealant to help get a durable bond.

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BlindSquirrel

Bummer about the loose fin.... Pretty sure you have to pull the fuel tank to get to them. If so, you'll need to remove the large floor panel in the floor. You should be able to see the groove for the roughly 4 foot by 3 cover that covers the fuel tank. There are, at least on mine, 4 screws that hold it in. One in each corner. I think I used a magnet to find mine since they are buried in the carpet. Undo a couple hoses and drain the tank, then she's ready to come out. Sounds like a huge job, but really not too bad. 

Edited by BlindSquirrel
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Hey thanks for the quick reply.  Sorry, my post was poorly worded.  It is a V-drive, but I was referring to the area in the center floor where the engine "would be" on a Direct Drive.  There is about a 4' square seam in the carpet.  So on this VLX,  the tracking fins actually line up just underneath it.  The ski locker is forward of it.  I read up a bit and found that on the direct drive boats the Fins are bolted (4bolts) from the below the hull and up into it.  Whereas on the VDrives there are only 2bolts and they go from inside the hull down into the fins.  I called Tommy's but they don't want to give boat tech advise out without $$.

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Hey Squirrel, I just posted my reply then saw yours.  Thanks for the feedback.  I read online, what little info was available, about pulling the gas tank.  But my tank is under the rear seat so but I don't know how far forward it goes.  But sounds like it's far enough that it blocks access to the bolts on the fins!  I guess I just need to pull that floor panel off and see.  Tx for advice on the bolts, I figured there should be 1 bolt on each corner, will try the magnet idea. 

...more to come.

  • Like 1
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BlindSquirrel

Yeah, you might be able to slide the tank enough to the rear to get to the first fin. If not, if near empty, the tank slides forward and comes out easy. 

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just found a good link from one of the members to this site:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/d3Edb8kkTmHVr6Ur8

Yuk!  I now see how the tank sits under the floor.   I'm still holding out hope I at least don't have to remove the seat frames but looking I do. 

Some screwy a** serviceability just to get access to fin bolt.

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BlindSquirrel

Guess I did have my seats out back when I pulled my tank, I was redoing the flooring. But still, you only have to take out like 10 screws to get the seat risers off. Thing to look out for, I had a couple of "L" brackets holding the inside of my seat risers along the port side that I didn't see that guy in the video remove. They are pretty obvious though. This project will be a good bonding experience for you and your boat... lol. Not sure where you are, but where I am this would almost be a perfect time for this project. I think we get one more day on the lake this weekend... then it's on to winter projects.

Edited by BlindSquirrel
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Ha… Bonding.  Good description and one I don’t disagree with.  Im in Michigan so your right again, even though we drysuit ski later in the year it’s better do it now than in July.  So I did see the L brackets and all were very accessible. But there are connections that are not so obvious that have me a bit nervous. Seems there may be some on top of the riser, starboard side, that the video showed accessible but it appeared may be hidden under the side cushion.  I hope this doesn’t involve pulling seats off.  
will get back at it in the next few days when I can get some time and try and post some pics.  Keep an eye out. Great to have the feedback!  

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So I got most of the seat frame fasteners out but I hit a significant snag.  2 of the screws that need to come out are blocked by the back cushions and I have no way to get to them as far as I can tell without removing them as well.  I looked but can't see any way they come off.  I spoke with a local and reputable boat fiberglass repair tech and he thinks that, once I get access to the fins, I can likely just insert a large washer at the bolt attachment and use some good silicon sealant.   But first I have to get to the fin! 

Video of a walk through of where I am and the 2 screws that are causing me grief:

https://share.icloud.com/photos/00koEhfuVr1kdSD2FPet0GvXQ

Pic of center floor cover removed exposing gas tank:

https://share.icloud.com/photos/0WCZFm42Xz6VG-osHVpGc8MUQ

 

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BlindSquirrel

Brutal! I won’t be close to my boat to check till tomorrow, but if I remember right… those smaller sections on the seat back are only held on by a few screws.  There is a small bracket that holds them to the large cross piece. Then another along the side. You’re too close to quit!

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1 hour ago, TDone said:

I can likely just insert a large washer at the bolt attachment and use some good silicon sealant.

I would use either 4200 or 5200 urethane sealant.  My choice for tracking fins would be 5200 since it is intended for below waterline use on things that are installed permanently.

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16 hours ago, BlindSquirrel said:

Brutal! I won’t be close to my boat to check till tomorrow, but if I remember right… those smaller sections on the seat back are only held on by a few screws.  There is a small bracket that holds them to the large cross piece. Then another along the side. You’re too close to quit!

2 little hidden screw heads, who'd figure.  I'll try and get back out there today and see if I can't pull the seat back out enough to get them. otherwise i have to find the bolts your talking about.  I did see pick another thread of someone who had a bunch of his interior sitting in his garage that and looked like a few threaded studs is all that holds them.  We'll see.

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16 hours ago, justgary said:

I would use either 4200 or 5200 urethane sealant.  My choice for tracking fins would be 5200 since it is intended for below waterline use on things that are installed permanently.

thanks for recommendation.  I actually thought about just sealing the fin to the bow with 5200 and forgetting about the attachment bolts.  I suppose would work on the water but not if i ground it on a sandbar.  But I'm trying to do the right way.  I think the 4200 then will be a better bet since it's not "so permanent".

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BlindSquirrel

Yeah, looks like its 4 screws to undo. Once out, you should be able to pull the smaller seatback out enough to get to that screw. Both sides are the same, at least on mine.

028F2F7F-A007-4C7F-9B1C-7D377E173155

 

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On 10/8/2021 at 9:26 AM, BlindSquirrel said:

Yeah, looks like its 4 screws to undo. Once out, you should be able to pull the smaller seatback out enough to get to that screw. Both sides are the same, at least on mine.

028F2F7F-A007-4C7F-9B1C-7D377E173155

 

On 10/6/2021 at 6:56 PM, justgary said:

I would use either 4200 or 5200 urethane sealant.  My choice for tracking fins would be 5200 since it is intended for below waterline use on things that are installed permanently.

thanks for recommendation.  I actually thought about just sealing the fin to the bow with 5200 and forgetting about the attachment bolts.  I suppose would work on the water but not if i ground it on a sandbar.  But I'm trying to do the right way.  I think the 4200 then will be a better bet since it's not "so permanent".

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Jumping forward...

  • I pulled a portion of the cushion which looked differently then the pic BlindSquirrel showed.  I pulled the seat risers along the rear and up the port side.  But frankly the attachment of the seat by the port side cowl was a mystery.  The longitudinal seat riser was firmly attached the floor with no clear way to loosen it. 
  • So I decided I was going to cut into the cross piece of the riser and fabricate a joint so for now and future use the tank is more easily accessible to remove.  Well once a pulled the carpet back I found their was already a joint built into the riser!  This allowed me to remove this piece without having to disconnect the rest of the riser. Cool!!
  • Pulled the tank, just cleaned it right in the boat along with the hull (very gunking).  
  • The Fin is now fixed.  The access hole was slightly distorted so there was some stress on it.  But it wasn't enough in my view to warrant any repair.  I pulled it off, cleaned it all up, reattached with some clear Waterproof silicon from Loctite.  I did prefer to use the 3M 4200 but was on roll getting this thing done over the weekend and couldn't find it any any nearby store.  Not concerned about the Loctite since the screw had good retention so the sealer was just for water penetration.
  • Got it 3/4 put back together and looking forward to getting back in the water for some Fall Michigan skiing.
  • Next comes new flooring
  • Closing comments.  Thanks to this forum and responders for the vine and some important views (Verbal and Pics) on what to expect.  It gave me the confidence to tackle this project myself.  Otherwise it would taken forever to get done at a repair shop and very costly!
  • Finally, it was interesting how much variation the attachments and other part features varied between my 99 Sunsetter VLX and others of similar time and model.
  • Will post some pics next...Cheers!
Edited by TDone
type correction
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