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Old 01 June 2020, 16:20   #1
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Removing Zodiac plywood decking

Hi , I have purchased a 1972 Zodiac with a plywood deck that is in 4 sections. I need to replace two of them as someone dropped the engine and punched 2 holes in one , and one of the two the fixing that holds the rubber clip to secure the seat (it has wheel steering) has broken off due to the small bolts shearing off in the other. My question is this, do I have to take out all of the plywood sections or can I simply remove the two that I want to replace? There are strips of wood screwed down over the joins plus batons that run along the length of the boat against the inflated tubes. After deflating the boat, is it just a case of getting the screws out and pulling out the plywood sections.?
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Old 01 June 2020, 17:11   #2
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It's probably worth removing the whole lot. Gives you a chance to inspect the inside of the boat and the inflatable hull tube, these usually fail on the fold nearest the transom.

Once the wooden batons are removed (on aluminium floored Zodiacs they are called stringers and use the inflatable sponson tubes to keep the floor rigid), lift the central floor section first between the rowlocks, then the rest will come out.

Regards the floor, once you've replaced the damaged plywood sections, if you can replace any corroded screws with stainless steel 316 self tappers and ensure the older plywood floor is bone dry before giving it 3-4 coats of a good quality marine varnish.
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Old 02 June 2020, 00:28   #3
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It sounds like your boat's floor may have been modified. Those strips of wood screwed down may have been a way of making the floor "permanent". Look closely before you unscrew them, though.

Also, you said 4 sections. My Zodiac, which is only 3.1 metres long, has 5 sections. Has someone already made new panels for yours?

To remove a standard plywood floor. deflate the tubes sufficiently to remove the side pieces ("stringers") then reach down the side and pull up on the joint nearest to the middle of the boat. Those two boards should come up to make a "tent" and you can remove them, then remove the others.

Replacing the boards is a skill requiring "the knack". It's basically the same as taking them out, but in the opposite direction. Four hot tips:
  1. When putting the boards in, put the bow and stern sections in first.
  2. Support the bow with the fuel tank or something of similar size.
  3. When you put the last 2 sections of floor in, make a "tent" then push down on it. (I stand on mine) until all of the floor is almost flat.
  4. Put an oar shaft under the side of the boat to provide a hard level guide that you can push the floor down against while you're manoeuvring the stringers into place. (The 2nd stringer is always a bit easier than the 1st.)
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Old 02 June 2020, 13:21   #4
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Post some pics if you can.
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Old 02 June 2020, 14:50   #5
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This is what the floor looked like in my Zodiac of the same age.
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Old 03 June 2020, 09:03   #6
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Yes thank you for the picture. that is exactly the same as mine, now that I have located the bow section.
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Old 04 June 2020, 00:36   #7
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Yes thank you for the picture. that is exactly the same as mine, now that I have located the bow section.
Re: my earlier comment, I suggested someone might have already made up a new non-standard set because you only had 4 pieces. Now you've found the 5th piece, you can ignore that part of what I said!
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Old 05 June 2020, 08:14   #8
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Zodiac Mk 1 floor

In my bow section there is a board running thwart ships that is bonded on either side to the hyperlon tubes The bow section single thickness ply fits over this and the second deck board fits over the rear of this board. On some of the panels the plywood had started to come off the wooden frame that they are glued on to and I have managed to separate both top and bottom sheets completely. There is a closed cell foam sandwich in between them. The glue that was used looks like PVA as it is still rubbery and stretchy. The original ply measures 0.172" thick that is just over 4 mm . I will replace the damaged sheets with 5 mm and sand the edges down to get the stringers to fit over. As suggested the keel tube was deflated so I will find the hole and repair it. I noticed two other repairs already on the top of this tube. Mystery to me how someone could make a hole in the top as it is protected by the decking. Thank you for all of the helpful advice.
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Old 05 June 2020, 10:50   #9
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Mystery to me how someone could make a hole in the top as it is protected by the decking. Thank you for all of the helpful advice.
Standing in the boat to pump the tubes up before the deck is in place. Either that or a stone got trapped under the deck and chafed.
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Old 09 June 2020, 17:27   #10
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On inspection all of the plywood sandwiches have started to come unglued. I intend to replace them with solid ply. Has anyone done this on a Zodiac and if so what thickness of ply did you use. The thickness of the original sandwhich flooring is just over 21 mm but no one sells solid ply that size. and 22 mm thick is almost impossible to find.
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Old 10 August 2020, 12:35   #11
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I did manage to get an 8' X 4' sheet of 22 mm ply and have made up the new sections for the rear 3 parts of the decking. The front one I was able to re glue the original plywood to the frame . It is now a question of seeing iff they will fit in the boat OK. I am still having a problem freeing off the gear lever on my Mariner 40 HP two stroke engine. It is very stiff where it fits through the housing and there does not appear to be anyway of removing it anyone any ideas.
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Old 01 September 2020, 08:07   #12
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Mariner 40 HP gear lever stiff.

The two nylon bushes had swollen due to salt water ingress . The brokey up on removal. Two new ones sourced from the USA at $11.50 each. The company would not ship to the UK though and I had to have them sent to a friend in the US to get them to send them to me.
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