Low Budget Skeg Repair
Fishing in shallow water can and does take its toll on your engine skeg. Though the skeg is designed to be a replaceable device, not everybody has access to the welding equipment needed to do such nor do they want to have the boat in the shop long enough to have one replaced. As you can see from the first picture mine has found bottom more than once and more than likely while scouting around Oyster beds looking for Redfish. 😉
So, having a few divots in the skeg is not a (as most would first think) a real big deal and is designed to be like the “virgin” that you pitch into the volcano to shut it up and get sacrificed much like your other engine zincs do... It can though have an impact on engine performance and fuel economy that most may not first realize. What happens is as the boat gets up on a plane and moves at cruise speeds and higher, those chunks create air bubbles that then go over the prop that can allow one to slip.
We came up with a “Low Budget Fix" if you have the tools to knock the job out in short order and just need some type of power sander and some 220 paper (full list below) to make this job a fairly quick one to do.
So, using the sander, sand down the rough spots without making them deeper. What I am looking to do is just smooth out and level the contours of the skeg as best as I can WITHOUT this becoming a major automotive body style of repair. We have to remember that the next trip out it is going to start taking a beating again, so making one look like new and all the hours needed in doing such could be just a waste of time and materials.
The next step was to pick up some Marine Grade (so it will hold up to Salt Water) JB Weld and something to apply it with that I was able to secure at the local auto parts store for around 15 dollars, but you can also read more about it and order online by clicking Here
Then after using some leftover Throttle body or other quick-to-flash-off type of cleaner and a rag to get all the sanding dust and oils off the now sanded skeg. Then mix up some JB Weld and apply it as a skim coat (like using Bondo on your older Truck fenders of years gone by) to help fill in the chunks that were taken out of it.
Now, it still looks rough and next time I figure I will use an old credit card or another thinner plastic device to apply the JB Weld with, but even with it not sanded in this state, it filled in the majority of those chunks, and was much smoother than before.
I then (as recommended) let it set up overnight just to make sure it cured as best as possible before returning the next day to sand it as smoothly as possible using 220 grit (only took a few minutes with my electric Random Orbiter sander) to smooth it all back out.
I then cleaned it all up well with a semi-stiff paint brush to get out all the collected dust in the craters and used some more Throttle Body type of cleaner on a clean rag so the paint would have a clean surface to stick upon.
So here are the results after hitting it with some OEM engine color-matching paint (or you could use what you have already on hand / in the color of your choice) for more visual pop or sight improvement in murky waters if desired. This from the rattle can spray on type of paint ...
Not too bad, and remember that this is not a fender on an old Porsche that we are trying to restore here... All we are trying to do is strengthen the skeg and more importantly, smooth the water flow over the skeg going to the prop so it will get a better bite in the water and does not slip as much. Next trip out it could and more than likely will, get some new war wounds in which case you now have a low-budget way to repair it again (quickly) and to help keep that pride and joy of yours looking nice!
Something to consider adding to your clean-up checklist if you have her up for sale! 😀
Power Sander of choice and a drill might even work, just not as efficiently as I have found.
220 Sandpaper (and I only needed one stick on the pad)
Some old cardboard scrap to mix up the JB Weld upon.
Something you can pitch to mix up the JB Weld with. I ate a Pop Sickle so I could use the stick 😋
And some kind of cleaner that will flash off quickly, like Throttle Body or other Metal surface cleaner to remove any oils, that you spray on to clean up the metal surfaces before painting.
A couple of clean rags
In the meantime,
We invite you to take in a few other Flats Nation Podcast Episodes to help "Scratch that Fishing Itch" when working or traveling and you just cannot hitch up the Skiff and go, on these links:
Our main podcast page works great for your mobile device since they will stream right on your phone/tablet can be found by clicking Here
Our new Flats Nation YouTube Channel can be found by clicking Here and sharing them with family and friends if you find them Entertaining and Educational! We have some great guests in the works and planning stages on a wide range of topics and product coverage soon.
As well as our new (Been There / Caught That) Flats Nation Trophy Stickers which are becoming very popular!
Tight Lines and God Bless!
Dave and the Team