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IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.

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IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.

Old 01-26-2011, 02:25 AM
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Exclamation IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.

This post is meant to be more of a SAFETY BULLETIN regarding Formula's famous "bonding" of the deck-to-hull more than anything else. I am no expert regarding any manufacturing processes that Formula uses, but I have issues with the apparent method used to bond the deck to the hull. I also do not know the scope of this problem or what Formula products could be affected. I only have exposure to FASTech 382 issues.

I have nothing to gain from this thread except a clear conscious trying to make others aware of what I perceive as a potential safety issue. I only wish that Formula had stepped up and issued information directly to owners. I don’t feel this is something that will affect every Formula boat; however it is something that an owner should be aware of. I feel that if left unchecked, this problem will continue to worsen and depending upon an owner’s use of the vessel, under certain circumstance total “bonding” failure could cause major injury or death.

Suspect Problem: The heavily marketed “deck bonding” process using a product called Plexus is not done properly (IMO). From what was evident on my hull (and others), the hull and deck was connected together with Plexus, and then screwed (bolted) together too soon. When tightened, the majority of the Plexus (in some areas…….all) was squeezed out from the deck/hull joint.

Result: I did not notice anything at any specific time, nor do I think it happens all at once. I think it is a gradual process where bit by bit the remaining bonding material fails because there is so little of it. I first noticed a problem with both a moving rub rail, and numerous sheared screws under the rub rail on both sides. Later I also noticed some water dripping on the inside cabin walls at times.

What I did: When faced with this issue, I think most folks would keep this to themselves. Who would want to let others know that there is a major structural issue with their boat? Very few people would make this a headline. Fortunately I was copied on some ongoing dialog of this issue others in our boat club. As it turns out, my boat was the fifth in our local boat club to have this issue. As such, there is a marine specialist in our area that has now fixed all five boats by working with Formula to develop new specs for this bonding rework. It basically entails grinding out all the old bonding material and reinstalling using Plexus recommendations, and re-bolting the deck.

Conclusion: I have thought long and hard about bringing the issue I had out in the open. How would it affect others, the Formula brand, and the resale of my boat (and others). The bottom line is that I briefly mentioned a potential “problem” in one thread here, and I have already had one person with a 382 instant message me asking if it had anything to do with a separation of the deck and hull. If a worst case scenario were to happen and there were a total failure causing serious injury or death, is that something I could live with?

I will post additional dialog regarding this issue with my Formula later if there is interest.
Attached Thumbnails IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.-formula-1-1-001a.jpg   IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.-formula-1-2-001a.jpg   IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.-formula-1-3-001a.jpg  

IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.-formula-2001-brochure-001.jpg  

Last edited by PhantomChaos; 01-26-2011 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:41 AM
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Nort
Thank you for the 382 info.This will be the first thing I check when the boat is out of winter storage. If the problem has not occurred on my boat I may just go ahead and up the size of the hardware. 1/4" is fairly small. Did you get a response from Scott Porter or Formula? This may not apply at all,but might be worth a mention. I do not know anything about Plexus, but in the Auto Collision industry we use many bonding agents.Most commonly is a product called Weld Bond. It is used to bond exterior sheet metal panels in place such as roof skins. The product is amazing,once curred (24 hrs) you can not pull two pieces of metal apart with a unibody frame machine.The sheet metal will tear before the bond will fail. The product is dispensed on the replacement panel and then Vise-Gripped in place. The reason I mention this,is the bonding products we use are designed with tiny glass particles that won't crush or squeeze out when clamped. I would be curious if Plexus use's this same technology. Thank you for the info.

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Old 01-26-2011, 06:52 AM
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Nice post, Nort.

That is certainly shocking given their reputation. I hope that they provide you with a satisfactory resolution, and that they implement a fleet-wide corrective action to take care of all of their 382 customers.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:52 AM
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Nort I do not think that this will have any effect on your boats value. If anything you can show that there has been a stuctural improvement made.

Plexus is a wonderfull product that when used EXACTLY to spec will hold like crazy. I don't think that there is an issue with squeezing it after aplication but if the 2 surface layers are not totally clean, or if you do not use enough......
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:19 AM
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I've had my 353 in some pretty rough waters on Summer Saturdays at LOTO and haven't seen any probs, but I'm going to start keeps a eye on that area and rub rail.

Good info, thanks for the heads up.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:15 PM
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Either I'm lucky or I don't run my 2000 382 very hard. I did a major re-rig in 2007 and found everything to be good along the hull/deck joint, even in the areas where the marina had hit the building with the boat and I had smacked a piling hard enough to break the rubrail and crack the gel coat.

Hope things work out best for everyone...
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BONDO10 View Post
Nort
Thank you for the 382 info.This will be the first thing I check when the boat is out of winter storage. If the problem has not occurred on my boat I may just go ahead and up the size of the hardware. 1/4" is fairly small. Did you get a response from Scott Porter or Formula?
Yes from Mike Boyd......here is Formula's first response. The first page it seems like they are attempting to separate my claims, remove any normal conditions or use from the circumstances and make this my fault, but they are the good guys who will give me a few bucks to solve the problem.

The second page looks like a "boiler plate" reponse......almost looks like a copy (the text weight is different from the first page).
Attached Thumbnails IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.-formula-response-1-1-001.jpg   IMO......Formula may have a safety isssue with the hull/deck bonding.-formula-response-1-2-001.jpg  

Last edited by PhantomChaos; 01-26-2011 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:43 PM
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Here is a PM that I received this morning:

===============================
dito your issue on my 2000 353.

discovered wet cabin wall one day....took off rub rail...was amazed to find so many broken screws on "wonderful Plexus system".

Very difficult to access screws from interior. I believe it was difficult to access interior at factory also, and not nearly as many screws were installed as I would have expected.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by PhantomChaos View Post
Yes from Mike Boyd......here is Formula's first response. The first page it seems like they are attempting to separate my claims, remove any normal conditions or use from the circumstances and make this my fault, but they are the good guys who will give me a few bucks to solve the problem.

The second page looks like a "boiler plate" reponse......almost looks like a copy (the text weight is different from the first page).
Nope, not their fault. Never is, is it?

Sounds like they're attempting to absolve themselves from any responsibility. That's bullsht in my opinion. Here we have what appears to be a rash of approximately half dozen+ incidents involving structural hull-deck joint failures on boats of your vintage. A recurring problem. In my opinion that's precisely the definition of a design and/or manufacturing process flaw. How the hell do they expect you to use the boat?...in the driveway as an ornament?...It's a "FastTec" right? Jeez.

I love their accelerated fatigue excuse.

Good luck guys.

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Old 01-26-2011, 01:02 PM
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Jeez Nort, you put the thing in the water and then bang around in a bunch of waves and stuff traveling faster than 30 mph and then when you finally stop that punishment you use cleaners on it and keep it in that crazy southern California weather. You think any boat could hold up to that kind of abuse
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