Adding a livewell

Discussion in 'Boat Repairs | DoItYourself.com' started by rangerman, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. rangerman
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    rangerman Member

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    Hey guys, I have a Lowe 1440 Jon boat that I keep on my little private lake for when I want to make a quick and easy fishing trip without having to go to the trouble of launching my Ranger. It doesn't have a livewell and that has always bothered me because fishing is all I do in it and I've always had to use a cooler. It gets old having to dip water in and out of the cooler and I'd rather not buy a portable livewell until I see its my only option left. Its not the expense of a portable livewell because I know my idea isn't going to be cheap but its what I'd rather have. I'm thinking of installing a gravity livewell like what sometimes comes in a jonboat. My dad has a factory built gravity livewell in his 14' Jon and I'm wondering if I could use his as a pattern. I'm thinking of buying some aluminum sheets and having my friend tig weld them into a box (since he tig welds for a living) Anyways, I wonder if it will work right as long as I make the aluminum pipe that comes out of the livewell floor the exact same as my dad's? Or is there more that goes to this than meets the eye? Anyone know?
  2. genxer36
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    genxer36 Lord of Tomfoolery

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    I had a jon boat & used a plastic storage box along with an aerator(Catch Saver 12V DC Aerator Kit) that suction cupped to the side. It clipped to the battery with alligator clips. Great thing is I could put the aerator in the lake & fill the box. I think I bought it at Bass pro or walmart for cheap.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Basspro $40

    I always wanted a permanent livewell. But at the time when I was looking (didn't know some one that could weld aluminum). It was going to cost around $250 to add it. So I never did.

    Make sure your friend can weld aluminum. When I was researching, not everyone can weld aluminum.
  3. rangerman
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    rangerman Member

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    Ok thanks. So it CAN be done and its not impossible? Even though it may cost $250?
  4. genxer36
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    genxer36 Lord of Tomfoolery

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    I would check around & see if you have any shops that can do this & get quotes. I can't remember where I found a shop that did conversions on boats, or what type of shop. This was 8 years ago. Oh I think it was, I checked with a local shop that specialized in aluminum welding. They did the livewell conversions. You may want to check google for a shop in your area.
  5. JESTERxHEAD
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    JESTERxHEAD New Member

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    OK this thread gets me excited.....fab work/metal working/ fun mechanical stuff

    Here is some really vauge instructions.....

    1. use cardboard to get a pattern off of your dad's boat then take the pattern to yours to ensure that it will fit.

    2. I'm sure your buddy can weld aluminum thats what is welded most of the time when you tig weld...(stainless too)

    3. have him or a small shop shear your .060" thick 5052-T6 aluminum...do not use 6061. Your boat is made out of 5052-T6 aluminum

    4. Dry fit the main box pieces into your boat. see if it fits. Weld it up. Lid will be a bit more involved but easy too.... just measure the outside of your box make a sheed .12" wider on all sides for the top. have someone bend you up a .25" leg on all 4 sides of the lid (to make it rigid and not sharp)

    5. after lid and box is in the boat all welded up. use a sheet on the bottom to make a watertight box. (without ribs. seal the bottom of it to the boat using pure silicone. weld water tight.

    6. hard part.... drill a 1" hole in the bottom of your boat. weld a fitting in that hole to make a stand pipe slightly taller than the waterline the boat drafts at. (that will establish your water height in the livewell without going over....(all livewells work this way)

    7. weld another fitting on the side but twards the top to get good air mixed in with the water. buy a water inlet fitting with a screen and drill thru your transom at the bottom next to your drain plug.

    8. use all of your hoses and plumb your pump up to the fill nozzle on the livewell, wire pump to a switch and a fuse.

    9. make sure the standpipe is removable by hand that is threaded on the bottom of the livewell thru the boat. when you want to empty the livewell just un thread the pipe. also this works great too if you run from spot to spot water wont rush out of the livewell....

    Hope this helps....have fun and ask questions....
  6. Basshawk
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    Basshawk Iowa Fishing Report Officer

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    Jester, that could be your April contest entry. Well done.
  7. JESTERxHEAD
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    JESTERxHEAD New Member

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    admirals are exempt....this is for you guys...... but if rangerman wants too then that would be a killer how-to article.
  8. rangerman
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    rangerman Member

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    Thanks a lot Jester. Sounds like you know your stuff and I will follow all of your steps. Oh and by the way, I forgot to mention, the boat has a storage compartment that I was thinking of turning into the livewell. So this should hopefully leave out making a lid. These boats had their livewell on the front hump and the lid looks exactly like the lid that came on the livewells but mine is a storage compartment because it doesn't have a plug in the bottom. It looks like a livewell but isn't.
  9. JESTERxHEAD
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    JESTERxHEAD New Member

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    SCORE!!! Seal it up, plumb it and let'er rip!
  10. rangerman
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    rangerman Member

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    So your saying this job will be a little easier and cheaper since I already have the storage compartment? Just use its walls and make sure its sealed up (welded and siliconed), weld in the drainplug, and thats it?
  11. JESTERxHEAD
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    JESTERxHEAD New Member

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    It will be easier....however you need to weld a floor into it, drain plug, fill plug, and then silicone it.

    just a bit less fab work....
  12. rangerman
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    rangerman Member

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    I looked at my dad's livewell again and I only see one hole and I'm assuming its the fill hole AND the drain hole. Its in the center of the livewell on the floor and its a vertical pipe that measures an inch and a half from the very bottom of the boat to the very top of the pipe. My boat is a 14 foot like my dad's but my boat is a little bigger with 2 inch taller sides and a little wider bottom. I'm afraid I won't judge the waterline correctly on my own. I'm wondering if my boat sets down in the water as low as my dad's...do you think an inch and a half pipe welded in the middle will work on my boat too?
  13. JESTERxHEAD
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    JESTERxHEAD New Member

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    The water line isnt so important.... as long ast the stand pipe is lower than the fill port and it wont flood the livewell even when the boat is leaning one direction....maybe 2-3" below the top of the livewell....
  14. JESTERxHEAD
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    JESTERxHEAD New Member

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    I just say that, because "if" you did not want ANY water in the livewell for some reason the stand pipe height will keep water out. if you dont pump any water in the well.

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