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Being new to buying aluminum boats how would I go about looking and checking to make sure one is a solid boat other than putting it in the water to check for leaks. Is there anything I should check specifically and anything to keep my eye out for when looking at boats? Any and all info would be appreciated.

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Look for any loose rivets, any rivets with sealer on them, to check transom tilt outboard half way up and push down hard on the outboard look for any give in the transom, also look at the splash well to see if seams are tight and sealed and not large amounts of sealer on them. Most older aluminum boats are very easy to redo, just a lot of labor.
 

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I jig therefore I am!
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Look over the hull for pitting and corrosion. Especially in the battery compartment. Any creases or loose rivets. Ask them to fill the boat a bit with water and watch for leaks. Just don't leave the water on like my buddy did and completely flood the boat! Check the keel or damage. If there is a soft spot, plan on redoing the whole floor. Usually not a huge deal on an aluminum boat. No stringers and stuff to rot. The transom is sometime only half wood as well. Much easier to refurb than a glasser.
 

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put the plug in and filler up with water. Look for dripping water.
This is a good idea with a john boat or a stripped down v-bottom, but I wouldn't recommend it with a boat dressed with decks, consoles, electronics, batteries, etc.... you may find out if it leaks, but you may destroy a few other parts in the process.... not to mention, highly doubtful you're going to find someone selling any boat that would let you fill it up with water before buying it.... also a great way to blow out a couple of trailer tires... (water is heavy)

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After seeing what I have this summer and used boats. There is not a chance that I would buy a used boat without putting it in the water. Run the motor, you do not have to leave the dock but put it in and run it while on the trailer. I watched a guy spend 3 grand on a nice looking boat this spring and it leaks so bad it can sink this summer I am sure. He can not sell it with a clear soul, he is just screwed. I have seen several boats that have taken on leaking problems this summer, 2-Trackers and 1 Starcraft. The trackers nearly went under and have not seen water since. The Starcraft has been repaired.
 

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OGF has all the helpful tips on almost any topic a person could have questions about. This is knowledge people have gained through education or life experience. The reply's you got where mixed because we need a little more information boats cover a huge price range from a basic flat bottom boat to a fully loaded Lund with thousands of dollars of electronics. What style of boat are you looking for? What price range? Do you have a certain manufacturer in mind? A few leaking rivets in a Jon boat are a small problem depending on where they are on a boat with a deck in it they could be a huge expensive problem.
 

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OGF has all the helpful tips on almost any topic a person could have questions about. This is knowledge people have gained through education or life experience. The reply's you got where mixed because we need a little more information boats cover a huge price range from a basic flat bottom boat to a fully loaded Lund with thousands of dollars of electronics. What style of boat are you looking for? What price range? Do you have a certain manufacturer in mind? A few leaking rivets in a Jon boat are a small problem depending on where they are on a boat with a deck in it they could be a huge expensive problem.
Best response I've seen yet.
I have an older aluminum boat with a few leaking rivets, it's really no big deal. I patch them every few years. I've had the boat for 20 years so I'm never surprised to see a little water. If I were to sell it (which I'm not) I would show any suspecting buyer what was wrong so he is aware.
On the other hand I have seen a few miserable boats like Weekener#1 is referring to which had cracked welds in the hull and should go to the scrap yard.
Like everyone say, put it in the water.
 
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