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The final solution
Finally, I got done changing the port lights seals and lenses on my 2003 Bavaria 44, her is what I learned for your benefit:
1. The 2003 Bavaria 44 Portlights were made custom for this boat and model.
2. These yachts were having problems with leaks due to bad seals, at times, after a year of use.
3. Lewmar has fixed the problem with new thicker seals.
4. The new seals require you to change the hinges for longer ones that will allow for the new seal thickness.
5. To remove the old hinge you’ll have to either use a “Dremel” with a “Side Cutting Bit” or pull the whole port light out to get the job done. I did the first trick, after changing 5 lenses and seals I started thinking that the second choice would have been smarter. This way I could have work with the portlight comfortably on a table and would have had the opportunity to “Re-seal” the 5 year old portlight frame.
6. Don’t remove the protective plastic film ‘til the job is fully done.
7. The new hinges need to be fitted with what Lewmar calls “Packers” (thin plastic spacers) 2X on each hinge. This makes it possible for the new lens to close for the first time over the new seal; you can remove them later as the seal shrinks.
8. My battery operated “forehead” lamp became my best friend during this process, could have not done without it.
9. You “MUST” remove all of the old silicone form the frame for everything to work the way it should.
a. To remove the old silicone the best I found was an old pair of tweezers to which I bent the last 2-3mm to a 80deg. angle and used this tip to “Dig-Out” the old material.
10. Stretch the new seal to about 1” of its length before you try to fit it, you’ll need the extra material to work comfortable; don’t worry the seal will shrink again.
11. The best tool that I found to help push the new seal in is a spread “knife” with a round edgeless point.
12. Fit EVERITHING before you venture to the silicone part. Make sure the seal sits properly if it doesn’t there is probably old silicone in the groove still.
13. Make sure that when you’re ready to apply the silicone it’s a cool morning. Heat accelerates the curing process of silicone and it can start setting before you’re done fitting the new seal.
14. Use less silicone that you think you need; you don’t need to fill the whole groove with product, if you do, when you try to put the seal in the new silicone excess will make a nightmare of a mess.
15. There is a “groove” that runs all the way from the outside to the inside of the boat, remove the old silicone (easy with a knive) apply painters tape to both sides of the “groove” to keep things clean, remove after sealing. Seal the “groove” on the inside before fitting the seal and the one on the outside after the seal has been finally installed and the portlight is closed and locked.
16. Lewmar recommends that the portlights remain closed for 24hrs.
Good luck with the job, hopefully this will save you the 3 months of trial and error that I suffered installing the first seal and lense; now I can do 1 per hour ;-).
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