Cracked Welds

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Early last summer I noticed cracks in the welds on the crossmember bar where it is welded to the two front t-top legs (see images below). Boat is a 2018 23 DVCC. I called my dealer (Tri County Marine) and after checking with Parker, they advised me to get it fixed and they would reimburse me for the repairs. After much searching, I have found a fabrication shop that is willing to do the work, but they are telling me that the powder coating is going to look really bad after they re-weld the cracked areas.

Luckily, where the cracks are located are in kind of an out of the way area, but it is still going to kill me to have this area not looking pristine anymore. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to "touch up" powder coated metal?
 

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knotflying

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Did they tell you about how much damage will most likely happen from the rewelding? Short of having the entire t-top redone, maybe taping it off on either side of the weld and then a matching epoxy paint brushed on.
 

Puck-n-Fish

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Yeah, a fabricator will need to grind or wire wheel that to clean metal before welding. The welding heat will make a mess of the coating a couple inches beyond the weld too.

Any idea on why it cracked?
 

Mpellet

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Early last summer I noticed cracks in the welds on the crossmember bar where it is welded to the two front t-top legs (see images below). Boat is a 2018 23 DVCC. I called my dealer (Tri County Marine) and after checking with Parker, they advised me to get it fixed and they would reimburse me for the repairs. After much searching, I have found a fabrication shop that is willing to do the work, but they are telling me that the powder coating is going to look really bad after they re-weld the cracked areas.

Luckily, where the cracks are located are in kind of an out of the way area, but it is still going to kill me to have this area not looking pristine anymore. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to "touch up" powder coated metal?

I have a Parker Pilothouse and have never looked carefully at a Parker CC , this makes me unfamiliar with how the CCs are rigged and potential for a very dumb question but I’ll ask it anyhow, do you know for 100% certain that you don’t have any wiring run through the sections of T-top to be welded?

Would suck to have the cable going to that RADAR melted or wiring to anything else mounted on that t-top.

Also sounds a bit iffy to me having just a verbal agreement to have warranty work reimbursed without something in writing but if you’re comfortable with the agreement, why not have your TT welded and repowder coated and send the dealer the bill for what it cost to have your t-top properly repaired as you would expect a warrantied item to be repaired?
 

warthog5

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Any idea on why it cracked?

The weld is not cracked....It's the metal beside the weld...
Typical of when you "Hammer" on a boat.

Hammer = Hard charging in heavy seas and flying a hull.
 

Puck-n-Fish

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The weld is not cracked....It's the metal beside the weld

Agreed👍...which is why I said "it" and not the "weld" Welds hold stuff together but also transfer stresses smoothly between the pieces. That it cracked in the toe of the weld means there are some stresses getting transferred locally, either fatigue or cyclic. The weld repair may only be temporary if those stresses continue to exist.
 
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Wow, some good information here. I am so glad I made this post.

While I try to find weather windows for my days to go offshore, I do go often and there have been a few rides home in higher than forcasted seas where we took some good hits.

Two years ago, the front tower leg screws worked themselves out. I was disappointed to learn that there were no backing plates in the floor, the screws were just screwed right into the floor. I "fixed" it by using larger screws (longer and thicker) and copious amounts of 5200. Seems to be holding. Possibly another result of "hammering" I guess.

The last thing I want is to get these cracks fixed and then have them crack again later. Do you guys think I should be pushing to have the entire tower looked at/fixed at the factory?
 

Puck-n-Fish

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Repairing thin-walled Al tubing presents some problems. I'm guessing 2" sch. 40, which will be .154" thick? (1-1/2" will be even thinner) Because that crack is essentially in the base metal (tube), that area will be very thin. And even if its welded perfectly, you've now just moved those stresses to the toe of the repair weld. Additionally, Al, when melted, will react with oxygen outside of an inert atmosphere. When you weld this from the outside, the backside of the weld is exposed to oxygen and will not fuse properly. So you end up with unfused metal on the backside of a .154" thick weld. It may look acceptable when your done but may fail later.

If you look at how these tops are made, they utilize fillet welds only. That is so they don't have open roots on the backsides of the welds. Open roots would need inert gas backing of the welds. Fillets are stronger and more efficient.

So...if the weld itself had cracked, a repair weld would probably suffice. A crack in the tube is a different affair. You got a great pic of it and my opinion is that all those tiny cracks indicate a fatigue issue.

Moving forward, you might want to have a conversation about what happens if the repair fails.
If you were paying for it, you would want the factory to repair it. Sorry you have to deal with this.
 

A-K

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This is not rocket science.

Have the welder cut that section of tubing and replace. Very easy to do.

It’s painted so it’s probably not anodized. Makes the welding even easier.

Have it painted and fish on my Parker brother! 😁
 

captmatt

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My interpretation of those cracks is that the top is not well designed for the load and it is not stable laterally. The failure was not caused by user error. A well designed top to built to withstand the forces placed on it when in use, and use is going to include at least some operation in heavy seas. Just look at the t-tops on offshore boats for example - they are built very robustly and no one expects you to putt home if it gets rough to save the pipe work.

Take the boat back to Parker and force them to fix it at the factory, or force TriState/Parker to arrange the repair through a shop they approve. Do not have it fixed at a shop you choose because if it continues to fail or fails in different places, Parker will attribute the problem to the repair rather than to their original design and construction.

If that is powder coated you are going to have a real problem because you can't repair powder coat. A proper repair would require removing the top, stripping it to metal, repairing the cracks, and then prepping and re-coating which requires baking the entire assembly. Make them fix the powder coat too and that requires essentially replacing the top.

Parker is now run differently than it was when it was family owned. They can and will do anything to deny warranty claims and be fully prepared to get the run-around. Maybe you get lucky and they honor the warranty. Document everything and don't assume they will do the right thing. I speak from experience!
 
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A-K

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Captmatt made some good points.

See if the welder can add some additional structure to strengthen everything. Think triangular when you’re planning it out.

My 2320 parker bracket developed some very minor stress cracks early in its life. Parker had a new bracket designed and installed under warranty.

Robin Parker and the dealer were awesome to deal with. Hopefully the new management will act the same in your case.
 

warthog5

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Do you guys think I should be pushing to have the entire tower looked at/fixed at the factory?

Having been around this stuff a long time....I can pretty much guarantee ...Parker does not build the T tops in house....If it's like other boat companies....They farm it out to Tower shops. Once in a while....They will shift to a different tower shop, for one reason or another.

It’s painted so it’s probably not anodized.

Pretty sure it's NOT painted, but rather Powder coated. All the guys I know that work in tower shops...Hate Powder coating due to this reason right here.

If it was Mill finish or anodized....It would be a easy repair....and add some one in tubes in a "V" shape to tringalate that crossbar and the uprights.
 

rseate

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Having been around this stuff a long time....I can pretty much guarantee ...Parker does not build the T tops in house....If it's like other boat companies....They farm it out to Tower shops. Once in a while....They will shift to a different tower shop, for one reason or another.



Pretty sure it's NOT painted, but rather Powder coated. All the guys I know that work in tower shops...Hate Powder coating due to this reason right here.

If it was Mill finish or anodized....It would be a easy repair....and add some one in tubes in a "V" shape to tringalate that crossbar and the uprights.
Correct, all Parker tops up until about a year ago were built by a company in SC. They have been moving production to a private shop (Hi-Speed Welding) in Wilmimgton, NC.
 
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All of your replies and insight are very much appreciated. I am going to have my welder take a look at it first to give me his take. And if I do end up having him fix it, I am going to take steps to ensure Parker won't penalize me later if it cracks again.

I will keep you posted.
 
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