Vinyl Rub Rail Replacement
by Ron Pratt
After seeing the new style rub rail, I wanted to put one on my
'83 Viking. I called John Spaithe (705-484-0407) at HydroStream Inc. in
Canada and asked him how I could retrofit the new rail on the older boats.
John said the aluminum rub rail was riveted to the hull before the top was put
on. After the two were joined, the aluminum was bent over the seam. (It is
virtually impossible to replace the aluminum rail without running a rivet
through the deck) The vinyl rail has a larger overlap to hide the rivet as it
penetrates the upper deck. (I got 40' to
do my boat).
When the new rail arrived, I straightened it out the best I could and let it relax for a day or two. Since my aluminum rail was in good shape, I decided to just put the vinyl one over the factory one. I attached one end to the transom and with a rolling motion rolled the vinyl over the the lip. At first I wasn't happy as there were a few puckers, but they relaxed out within a few weeks. I'm sure if I had used a hair dryer or heat gun, I could have avoided this. The rivet tails from the factory rail actually held the vinyl rail snugly in place and acted as keepers. I decided not to install more rivets if I didn't have to. After one year the vinyl rail is still tight and looks great. I installed this in about 1 hour by myself but a helper would have made the job much easier.