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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-13-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

The rail on my boat is aluminum with machine screw fasteners spaced about every 4in and staggered inboard/outboard. The screws are apparently glassed over on the underside of the deck because there is no sign of any backing nuts and the outboard screws are directly over the hull topsides. The problem is that there are several missing and/or stripped fasteners. The aft end of the rail and last stanchion are a bit loose creating a potential safety hazard as well as an entry for water. I sometimes wish I could have the boat x-rayed to see if there are any nuts embedded in the glass.

Several seemingly knowledgeable boaters have recommended that I back out the loose screws, over drill the holes and fill with thickened epoxy. Then drill and tap the holes for the screws.

My question is this: Does anyone have any recommendations as to what to use for filler and what consistency to make it to have the strength to hold up under the stresses applied rails and stanchions, not to mention the drilling and tapping operations.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 10-13-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

I have the same type set up on my Lancer. I have had to remove the toe rail for some repair work.After the toe rail was repaired, I refilled each screw hole with epoxy. Drilled a small pilot hole filled that with silicon filler and put the stainless steel screws back to hold the rail. I didn''t tap anything the screws were self tapping (not like they are going into steel plate). The rail in back on, tight, and (so far) water tight. I am not expedcting any trouble from it. The epoxy is stronger that the area was before I started this operation at least so says the fiberglass guy at the yard where I did this. I am stumped trying to figure out why you would tap the screw holes... Bedding each screw is a must. I bed all my thru hulls top or bottom as thick as I can without making a mess of everything. Good luck on your project...
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Old 10-15-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

Hi Jim,

Thanks for responding. The toe rail is bolted down with 6mm machine scews about 2in long. How difficult would it be to put in self tapping screws that long and is there any danger of cracking the epoxy filler ? Did you thicken the epoxy first ? If so what did you use and to what consistency ?

Thanks
Steve
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Old 10-16-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

I can''t imagin not using selt taping screws. all you need for them to install without alot of trouble is a small pilot hole 3/4 as long as your scew. Bed each one with silicon heavy. Yes I used epoxy with micro bead in it. I didn''t measure I just mixed it till it looked right. I know that isn''t alotof help but that as close as I can tell you. I injected with a syring worked great. It was all alot easier than I thought it would be. I do alot of strange things to keep Argo togeather she is getting along in years but she is all I can afford. Good luck in your repair...
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Old 10-18-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

Steve, Jim aboard the Argo is absolutely correct and I will attempt to elaborate on his advice. I use West Systems for all my fiberglass/epoxy repairs. Gougeon Brothers Inc. sells a small repair manual for $2.95 titled, Fiberglass Boat Repair & Maintenance. The publication number is, 002-550. This is an excellant help for a number of fiberglass repair problems. I purchased mine from West Marine. Chapter 7 deals with Installing Hardware. I am going to quote from this manual. "Apply an epoxy/404 or 406 filler mixture, thickened to peanut butter consistency.... Inject or use a mixing stick to fill the fastener''s holes with the thickened mixture."
So, to sum up, I use West Systems 105 Resin, 205 Hardener and either 404 or 406 Filler. The resin is mixed with the hardener to a 5-to-1 ratio (it is advisable to purchase the measuring spouts when you order the products, makes is SO MUCH EASIER) and then the filler is added to this mixture. You add a little at a time and mix until it looks like peanut butter. Once you have it mixed, either put it into a syringe (you can buy these when you purchase the other items) or shove it in the holes with a mixing stick. I prefer to use a syringe. I use lacuer thinner and acetone for clean up. I find the best place to buy West Systems is from www.pyacht.com, the reason: they are the least expensive, don''t charge you and arm and leg for shipping, and will ship immediately. I''m not sure if you can buy the manual from them, but you can get it from Gougeon Brothers at www.westsystem.com or call (989)684-1374. I hope this will help.

Peter restoring Soaring Eagle
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Old 10-19-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

Thanks Peter,

I actually have that document although I had totally forgotten about it until you mentioned it. I''ve done some fiberglass/epoxy repair before but not quite like this. My toe rail ends about 10ft shy of the transom where it is replaced by a 3" high molded gunwale. Right at the aft end of the rail is a stanchion that gets pulled on quite a bit since this is where the lifelines detach for boarding. This is also the problem area with loose fasteners and no apparent backing nuts. So my concern is to get the thickened epoxy the right consistency to maximize its strength. This article should help. It also mentioned using mold release on the fasteners which may be a better option than tapping.
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Old 10-20-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

Steve, is it possible to use through bolts with a backing plate and nuts on the underside of the backing plate? This, of course, is the ideal situation and one I always try to accomplish. It is not always possible if the area you are working in does not allow it. I hope I am helpfull in addressing your problem. Regards, Peter
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Old 10-21-2004
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Toe Rail Issues


The bolts on the rail are staggered, one inboard, one outboard. The inboard ones could take a backing plate or large washer but the outboard one appears to be directly over or into the hull topsides. Yesterday, I spoke with a guy at Gougeon Brothers, the makers of West System products. It turns out that I do have a copy of the manual but it''s outdated. He suggested that I over drill the holes, fill them with epoxy using the smallest amount of thickener possible (for better flow around the bolts), coat the bolt with mold release wax. Set a nut on both the bottom of the bolt and at the top just at deck level, set the bolt and nut asembly into the wet expoxy and let cure, then back out the bolts. The nuts will then be solidly incased in epoxy and should withstand the torque needed to tighten down the rail and stanchion. He said that both tapping a hole or self tapping screws create micro cracks in the epoxy and will weaken the bond. He suggested always bonding bolts directly in epoxy whenever possibble. I guess it all sounds reasonable to me so I may give it a try.

Thanks again for the help,
Steve
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Old 10-24-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

Steve, you are most welcome. The Sailnet forums are so valuable for us. I am incredibly appreciative of the owners of Sailnet who give us all the opportunity to learn and grow. I always through bolt when it is possible. Good success on your project. Be sure to let us all know how it turns out for you. Regards, Peter
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Old 11-25-2004
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Toe Rail Issues

Hello to all and Happy Turkey Day 2004
Sitting here aboard Krugerrand turkey in the electric Nesco roaster works like a charm and will do lobster or what have you. Ok so about the rail being a bit boared with TV I thought I would add to this older post. I have leaks in my tow rail and cant get to the screws to take them out to re bed them well I could but it would mean gutting the boat and that ain''t happinin. So Catalina bolted the rail every four inches and then some little mexican guy painted over the nuts in allot of the places so I guess you could call it mexican locktite. I have no idea how to stop the drips that wet the V berth to the point it is not a place for man nor beast and other places I can not see must be leaking to any ideas HELP!
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