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Plastic Pontoon Bass Boat Questions


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I bought this Buster Boat by Splash Marine some time back. It has a livewell and a cooler, and appears to be in very good shape overall. I do have some issues and some questions though, that I will attempt to address all in one thread.

 

First, what are these boats called? I've heard buster boats, bass trackers, pond boats, and other names, but do they actually have a name?

 

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The front and rear handles appear to be very sturdy, and on the occasions I have moved the boat, used them to tie down with my ratchet straps. I also have used them to drag the boat in the yard via a rope and the lawnmower. I however have thought perhaps they are only meant to lift the boat and not to drag, winch, or otherwise horse the boat. Does anyone know how strongly the handles are attached? Does anyone know the interior construction there? Is it solid, or reinforced? I could use through bolts for handles with locknuts and fender washers if need be for strength. So far, there has been no sign of failure, but I've been as gentle as I can be.

 

The second of my first questions is with regard to the hull drain plugs. It originally had something like this:

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When I purchased the boat, they had been siliconed shut, and were busted such that they were not usable. I broke them out, and the flange that remained made it suitable for a standard rubber drain plug. However, the flanges were brittle from age and broke after a short time. I removed the rivets that held the flanges, and filled the rivet holes with JB Water Weld epoxy, as the holes didn't match the attachment holes in the new drain plug pictured above.

 

I since have decided, I want to just keep using the rubber plugs and not use the cheap plastic drain plugs I purchased. I'd rather it take a few minutes longer to install the plug, but have easily replaceable plugs.

 

So, I am thinking I should add a metal flange around the holes for strength and because I suspect that the Water Weld will not hold up in the small holes over a long period of time from the plastic flexing.

 

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I appreciate any advice in regards to my drain plugs and what I intend to do, and any advice period.

 

Bazoo

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I notice that the foam inside the pontoons are wet if I touch them. Water isn't standing in the hull, but I am wondering how much water is in foam. I'm considering rigging up the hair dryer to one of the holes to circulate and dry the foam, reversing it after a while to better dry the other.  Is this of any concern? If it's 50 pounds of water, that'll make a big difference when moving the boat, if it's just 5 pounds, not so much.

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Thanks flyfisher. I've been trying to search for threads that are related, but I haven't tried pond prowler in the search terms. I'll give that a go.

 

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I am over 30 pages into the thread now. Not really getting answers to the questions I posed yet, but I plan to go through the whole thread as there is plenty of good info there.

 

I haven't tried drying my foam with a hairdryer yet,  but I have doubts as I've seen other people saying they removed the foam and put in front of fan and it never did dry. Though... it may be that this is different foam than theirs. It's hard to research because I get lot of people talking about regular boats and not these bass busters.

 

I'm considering breaking my boat in half, removing the soaked foam, and replacing it with the spray foam in a can. I would use plastic bags to capture the foam, and separate it into smaller sections. That would keep it from taking on water plus allow only sections of it be replaced if ever needed again.

 

My boat is put together with rivets around the seam guard. I don't know if it's stapled below the seam or not. If I do take it apart, I'll use machine screws or Chicago screws to put it back together instead of rivets.

 

I am, however, not going to do anything right now, as I'm still using the boat currently.

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I would try to weigh your boat and then look up the original weight of the boat and see how much you actually stand to gain by tearing it apart and attempting to re-foam the water logged foam. I can't imagine you would be able to circulate enough hot air inside the hull and get good evaporation to make a difference.  (in all honesty, I wouldn't bother with it). 

 

The handles are designed to lift the boat as well as tug it in and out of the bed of your truck. 

 

Name: We all call them Bass Raiders down here no matter the brand. Kinda like "Ziploc" where one name catches on and you use that name for all of them. 

 

 

 

 

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Can you post a pic of the boat? And if you can find it there should be an occupancy/hp rating placard or decal on it somewhere. It’d probably help us help you. X2 on the weighing the boat before taking it in half. That foam’s not going to dry out fast but cracking into one can cause more problems than it fixes, depending on age and condition.

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Yes, there is a placard. It doesn't list the boat's weight, it says 540lbs/3 persons, or 610lbs persons/gear/5hp motor. First post has a pic of the boat. I can do others, if desired.

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I'm working on a rudder to help with the spin, though we're just paddling it currently and not using a trolling motor, that's coming.

 

I got this tm from a friend, and I was hoping it would be usable,  but the magnets had come loose from the body and one of them was broken badly.

 

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So it should weigh just under 150 lbs if it is comparable to every other boat of that size and style, give or take 5 or so pounds. Maybe start there as far as how waterlogged the foam is.

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  • Super User

2 man Bass Buster boat in the opening of thread dry weight is listed as 130 lbs.

Not a true pontoon boat, a plastic pond prowler boat common.

Tom

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36 minutes ago, WRB said:

2 man Bass Buster boat in the opening of thread dry weight is listed as 130 lbs.

Not a true pontoon boat, a plastic pond prowler boat common.

Tom

Really?

 

I'd guess it weighs 250-300 pounds.

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  • Super User

Search  online “weight of Bass Buster boat”.

Weights range 130 lbs dry, 166 lbs with accessories for 2 man boat.

Tom

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Tom’s got it right.

 

Another source for info if you are interested, there are a couple Facebook groups about these little Bass Raider/Pond Prowler style boats. The Bass Buster seems to be an older  out of manufacture boat, although I could be wrong, but they are all pretty much the same.

 

I’ve not read of anyone having luck drying one out once the foam gets wet.

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Here is what the interior looks like.  I am actually surprised that they did not use an injection foam. If you had water in it....you would hear it sloshing back and forth in the void.

 

 

hull.jpg

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I found an old video of a factory tour of the Buster Boats. Pretty cool to see some interior construction and methods. The seam is sealed with butyl tape, and about 280 staples.

 

 

I am going to figure out what to do with the staples before I attempt disassembly. I'm not sure if I'll try to reuse them, or replace them, or restaple it.

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  • Super User

Knowing what you know now would you buy this boat?

Sometimes it’s best to know when to fold them.

Tom

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11 hours ago, WRB said:

Knowing what you know now would you buy this boat?

Sometimes it’s best to know when to fold them.

Tom

If I'd known at the time of purchase, maybe not. I got it for only $300, and I like the design of it better than the currently available models. I'm not afraid to take on the work, once I've done enough research to understand what I'm up against. And I have no problems with the type of work involved to repair it. 

 

I also have access to foam that I can use. I've been thinking about how to make sure it doesn't happen again. So far, the best idea I've had is to seal the foam blocks in plastic bags, like vacuum packing but without removing the air, so they can't absorb water.

5 hours ago, padlin said:

FWIW… The ones I’ve read about being taken apart and redone have used pop rivets when reassembling. 

I'm considering that. I'm also considering machine screws with washers and locknuts for ease of disassembly should I ever need to do so again.

 

I'm also considering getting a stapler and redoing the staples.

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