5 Most-Common Problems With Xpress Boats (Explained)

Xpress Boats have been designing and building their all-welded aluminum sport and fishing boats since 1966.

The business is still family-owned and run, and they have a reputation for producing high-quality boats.

However, despite Xpress Boats’ huge fan base and great reviews, there are a few common problems to look out for:

Xpress Boats use only the finest quality 5052 aluminum alloy to build their boats. The aluminum alloy arrives at the factory in coils which is then precision cut using an automated computer-aided drafting (CAD) program.

Instead of drilling holes and using rivets to join the pieces together, Xpress Boats employ a team of experienced craftsmen to hand-weld all their seams.

Each boat is meticulously put together to ensure you have many years of trouble-free boating.

1. Bad Welding Techniques

While the Xpress factory and dealer do carry out quality checks and controls, there can be what the industry calls a ‘lemon’ or defective boat that occasionally slips through the cracks.

As with anything handmade, the highly skilled craftsman welding the seams of your boat may be having a bad day. This could result in bad welding techniques being used, which can cause small holes in the welded seam, which may not be obvious to the naked eye.

However, your new boat might leak once the boat is put in the water or even exposed to heavy rain.

The good news is that Xpress Boats do honor any warranty work, although the boat will have to be shipped back to the factory, so it may take some time to fix.

2. Leaking or Cracked Seams

Some Xpress boat owners complain about leaking or cracked seams.

However, these cracked seams may not result from bad welding techniques. Any aluminum boat will crack if the aluminum flexes enough. Big waves and rough conditions are hard on any boat, whether aluminum or fiberglass.

In addition, not securing or loading your Xpress Boat on a trailer correctly can also cause the aluminum to flex and the welded seams to crack.

However, most of the comments from Xpress owners on the boating forums only confirm that they have not had any problems with leaking or cracked seams.

If you are in the market for a 2nd hand Xpress Boat, make sure you look it over properly and take it for a test drive to assure yourself there are no leaks or cracked seams.

3. Leaking Or Wet Storage Compartments

Many Xpress Boat owners complain of wet or leaking storage lockers on their boats when it rains, when in heavy seas, and even when cleaning the boat – this does seem to be a common problem with Xpress Boats. In addition, Xpress uses carpet to line these storage lockers, so if they get wet, owners complain that they take a long time to dry out and can even cause a stink!

Despite this problem of wet or even flooded lockers, most Xpress Boat owners still really love their boats. They overcome the problem by using waterproof bags or containers to store stuff they want to keep dry.

4. Saltwater Corrosion

If you use your aluminum boat in saltwater, then corrosion can become a problem. This is the case for any aluminum boat brand and is not specific to the Xpress models.

Saltwater is extremely corrosive. So when salt in the air and saltwater combine and come into contact with aluminum, they cause a chalky, white coating of aluminum oxide.

This coating then eats into the aluminum surface and creates holes or pitting.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to protect aluminum from saltwater and prevent damaging corrosion.

These include the following tips:

  • Make sure you clean your Xpress Boat with fresh water after every use.
  • Use sacrificial zinc anodes on your boat – the zinc will attract the electrons that corrode aluminum first, making them sacrificial. These anodes will need regular inspection and replacement when they show signs of deterioration.
  • Use a protective barrier like marine wax to create a protective film on the aluminum surface.
  • Use an aluminum-safe anti-fouling paint below the waterline to protect the hull against any marine growth and corrosion.
  • Be sure to repair any scratches or dings on any painted aluminum surface. Scratches, dents, or even cracks in the paintwork can expose your boats’ underlying metal surfaces. If they’re not fixed quickly, saltwater will find its way in and cause corrosion to begin.

While these easy tips may sound complicated, if followed, you should be enjoying your Xpress Boat corrosion free for many years to come.

5. Complaints About The BackTrack Trailers

Xpress boat custom fit their boats with BackTrack Trailers.

These trailers are designed to give your boat a smooth and protected ride. However, there are many complaints about these trailers on the different boating and fishing forums.

These include the following problems:

  • Protective fenders breaking off
  • Poor welding
  • Faulty wiring resulting in rear lights not working
  • Lights and side rails breaking off
  • Cheap tires are being used on these trailers, which tend to blow

The good news is that some Xpress Boat owners say that they have rebuilt or re-welded their trailers and have gone on to have no problems at all.

General Pros and Cons For Xpress Boats:

When buying and owning a boat, there are many personal choices involved.

So, if you are looking, you will find many pros and cons to every brand of boat, and Express Boats are no exception.

The following are the general pros and cons that we have found for Express Boats:

The Pros:

Xpress was the first company to build all-welded aluminum boats and has been in business for more than 50 years. They offer 6 different models, including their Bass, Bay, Skiff, Crappie, Hunting, and Catfish models ranging from 16 – 23 feet.

While some boat manufacturers use a standard hull across all their models, Xpress Boats have 8 different hull types. They understand that no two bodies of water are the same, so there is no single-hull solution that is perfect for all waters.

Xpress Boats design each of their hulls to meet the specific demands of individual boaters and their choice of environment.

Reading through some boating and fishing forums, Xpress Boat owners are usually full of praise for their boats. Most comments are about the great hull design, which provides a fast but stable ride.

Plus, they have great fishing capabilities, including sturdy and lots of space.

In addition, Xpress Boats offer a Limited Basic Warranty plus a Limited Lifetime Warranty. The Limited Basic Warranty covers any defects in your boat’s original material or workmanship and is valid for 5 years from purchase.

The Limited Lifetime Warranty covers all transom and hull seam welds for the boat’s lifetime.

However, any repairs required under this warranty will be carried out at the Xpress factory in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The Cons:

  • Poor or bad welding techniques
  • Problems with leaking or cracked seams
  • Leaking or wet storage lockers
  • Saltwater corrosion
  • Problems with the BackTrack Trailers used

What Do the Reviews Say?

While we’ve delved into the various boating and fishing forums, let’s see what the expert reviewers say:

“In the late 1980s, Xpress developed the Hyper-Lift hull, once again setting the bar high for other aluminium boat builders. This padded hull not only improved Xpress’s metal boats’ performance but now offered them with style once reserved for fibreglass boats.”

[Source: proptalk.com]

“The Xpress X21 Xclusive is a first-class, well built, pad-style high performance bass boat made of high grade 5052 aluminium alloy that won’t break the bank yet will give the buyer value, fishability and comfort. I recommend if you are in the market for a new boat, do your due diligence and take a test drive in an Xpress.”

[Source: wired2fish.com]

What’s the Resale Value On An Xpress Boat?

Xpress Boats claim to have “the highest resale value in the market.”

They say this is due to the company’s attention to detail and their all-welded construction (rather than using rivets to join their decks and components). 

The different boating forums seem to back up this claim, and so does a quick look at one of the biggest boat-selling websites, boattrader.com.

Here we found the following examples:

Model Year Price
Xpress H17 Bass 2022 $31,490
Xpress H17 Bass 2012 $17,995

While, at first glance, this table shows a huge price difference for the 2 boats, a quick check on the Nada Guides website shows the recommended value of the same model in 2012 was $12,700.

So after adding on any extras and considering 10 years of use, this model has at least retained its value and perhaps slightly increased, which does back up the Xpress Boats claims.

Final Thoughts

Xpress is a popular (and the original) brand of aluminum all-welded boats that are still going strong today.

Their boats have a remarkably shallow draft and an average beam, making them a great option for salt or freshwater fishing, duck-hunting, and different watersports. All this at a more affordable price than many of their fiberglass equivalents.

If you are looking for a Bass, Bay, Skiff, Crappie, Hunting, or Catfish boat, you will do well to consider an Xpress.

References:

Xpress Boats

Louisiana Sportsman – Xpress Boats

BOAT REVIEW: XPRESS HYPER-LIFT H18DB

Xpress Boats X21 Review

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