Join Date: May 2007
Location: Stuart FL
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Bad idea... getting the silicone off the boat will be close to impossible, and it may make it so that other sealants won't stick properly. SILICONE has very little use on a boat.
Hrrm. Well too late now. If I have big trouble with it I will remember that lesson next time something is leaking. I tried to keep it pretty contained but I had to do something and I had silicone.
Replacing them isn't all that difficult. Getting a sheet of plexiglass or lexan and cutting replacements is the hardest part... bedding them is pretty simple and they can often be bedded using butyl tape, which you can get at most glass repair shops. Drill the fastener holes slightly oversized to allow for expansion and contraction, and counter sink the holes to prevent them from becoming a starting point for stress cracks.
its not really the plexi or whatever material is in there that is leaking. it is the frame that is around it. The other windows are ok but the plexi has a lot of small cracks that are unsightly but they are sound. The window with the problem has been replaced because it does not have the crazing or the tint that the other windows do. Here are some pics of what I think the problem is:
From the inside. The silicone was already there so someone tried to fix it before. Why they thought putting it on the inside was a good idea I dunno...
On the outside.
Why not re-bed the inspection hatch and through bolt it instead of using screws. Through bolting it is far more secure and far stronger. Fiberglass is a lousy material for screws to hold in. It is too brittle and cracks way too easily. Another option is to epoxy t-nuts to the back side of the fiberglass and then use machine screws into the t-nuts. That would allow you to easily remove the cover, since the "nuts" would be permanently affixed.
Now that is a very sensible idea. As soon as the rain is done I think I will get on that. What should it be sealed with if silicone is off the table? Some kind of rubber gasket? I really don't like the silicone because you can't take the thing off without a lot of work cleaning up the old only to put more on. It was already sealed with silicone so I spent about an hour scraping that off only to find the screws would not really hold it properly. Add that to the lessons learned stack.
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30' Islander Bahama