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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-24-2008
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Leaking window

The port window on my Scampi has a nasty leak. The rain just pours in. The quick fix was a bucket, but I am wondering how a real fix is done?

Here is the window:

Outside of window

Inside of window

My first thought was to unscrew all the screws, remove the frame on both sides, and use a sealant on both sides fo the frame and replace it. It seems easy enough, but I have thus far learned that no boat project is easy no matter how easy it seems.

The leak is coming from where the frame ends meet, which is at the bottom of the window:

Gap in frame

A closer look on the inside where the plastic meets the frams shows there is some sealant of some kind there. It looks like silicon (I hope it is not) but I can't tell by looking.

What's the proper way to repair this?

Thanks...
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Old 09-24-2008
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Check this out

Boat Maintenance and Repairs: Dealing With Leaks
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Old 09-24-2008
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Halekai did an excellent write up of how he replaced his portlights. This could provide some insight on how to properly bed a portlight. You can find it here

Interesting that the writer of the link in the preceeding post is a proponent of 5200, and Halekai is a proponent of Butyl tape (see page 4). There is another thread in Sailnet that discusses adhesives, and based on that information, I am with Halekai.
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Old 09-24-2008
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Not a big fan of 5200, especially for stuff that needs to be removed and repaired once in a while.
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Old 09-24-2008
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JA-
How to repair depends on what's under the trim. You may find that the trim is just ornamental, in which sealing it won't matter. Take it off, see how the portlight (aka deadlight) is installed.

On some of them, the glazing is seated into the frame and the trim holds it in place. On others, the glazing has some type of "edge" to it, and THAT is actually bedded into the cabin with silicon seal or something similar. (What to bed with is a whole other topic.)

If your glazing is bedded/sealed directly into the cabin, and the trim is just ornamental, then the only real way to reseal it is by breaking out the glazing (sometimes sawing around it with a wire, sometimes literally smashing it out and imploding the frame), cleaning off all the old bedding, and reseating it.

There's a place in CA called Mark Plastics that made a lot of original portlights like this, and may have exact replacements for you.

But first you need to get the framing off, and see what's under there. Sealant "patches" inevitably pull away and leak again. If you wanted to try going that route, I'd suggest removing the exterior trim, cleaning as best you can, and then using butyl tape (which conforms and seals under pressure, but doesn't "stick" as such) in one long strip to try making a new "o-ring" under the trim. Just know in advance--that's a kludge job. Might last 10 years, but it's still a kludge job.
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Old 09-24-2008
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Smile For a quick fix

You might want to try flow-able silicone Permatex makes it. You can find it at auto part stores. I have used it many times on my various boats and am glad to report 100% success.

Mind you it's a quick fix that works. Don't forget to mask off your frame and lights..

Here is a link PERMATEX® Flowable Silicone Windshield and Glass Sealer

Fair Winds

Cap'n Dave
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Old 09-24-2008
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Well all these answers confirm my initial thought: No repair on a boat is easy

I'll see if I can remove the trim and get a look at what is under it. It occurred to me that just removing the screws may not be enough as the trim is probably stuck to whatever the bedding is.

Thanks everyone... I'll post an update when I have one.
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Old 03-30-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
Thanks everyone... I'll post an update when I have one.
So it took six months, but I do finally have an update It was too cold most of the winter here in New England to work on this, but with the boat still shrink wrapped and on the hard, it seems like a good time to be pulling windows and vents out.

Sorry for the long long post. I do have an important question at the end concerning structure, so if anyone could skip ahead (if they don't want all the gory details) and make a comment, I would be grateful.

Today, my brother and I removed the port side deadlight. We started by removing all the screws that hold in the interior trim. Two of them had stripped heads. We used a Grab Bit (as seen on TV) to remove one of them, but the thing shattered into my face on the second. I was not happy but I still have my eyes.

Once we finally had all the screws off and the interior metal trim off, we saw that the inside metal trim really does nothing but cover uglyness.

The deadlight itself is a one piece of plastic and metal frame. The frame has the plastic sealed into it and pops in/out in one piece. There is a half inch or so flange that sits flat on the outside of the boat, and this is what needs to be beaded. So the entire assembly (less interior trim) is installed from the outside.

When I say pops out, I was being less than accurate. It was quite a bit of work. After the battle with screws was won, we had to fight a battle with the adhesives that had it sealed tight to the fiberglass. We went to a hardware store and bought a rubber mallet, a putty knife and some kind of scraper with a pointy end.

Whatever adhesive was used was pretty strong. We put the scraper in between the metal flange and the fiberglass and hammered it with the mallet, moving it along the sides of the frame. We did this all around until the flange was separated from the fiberglass. Even then it held on, as no doubt some of the adhesive got past the flange.

We finally did get the entire assembly out, leaving a nice deadlight shaped hole in the side of my boat (of course). Good thing for the shrink wrap!

I took pics of all this and I'll post them in the next day or so, after I reduce their size.

That then leads to the next question, what to do next.

Option one is to clean up the assembly and reinstall it. It seems to have been out before because it looks like there is some silicon on parts of it. The fiberglass under the flange has no evidence that there was ever anything stuck to it, which I think is odd, although I know very little about adhesives. But this gives me hope that a proper adhesive will adhere to the fiberglass. Oh, the adhesive under the flange was a yellowish brown. Much of it had tuned to a gray-brown dust.

The downside to this is that I am not certain that the leak was under the flange, as opposed to between the plastic window and the frame. I assume it was because I could see where some of the adhesive had let go, dried out and crumbled, but there could have been several leaking points. Also, its kind of ugly. Also, I am not sure I can make another adhesive stick to the fiberglass due to the possibility of silicon having been applied.

The upside is that its probably easy to do, inexpensive, and since the starboard side does not leak, its half the work.

Option two is to replace it with a flush mounted new piece of plastic, maybe smoked a bit. I read the article on doing this several times and find it pretty interesting.

The upside here is that if there is silicon on the fiberglass, a gasket material will probably still keep leaks out. Also, there is some stress cracking around the edges of the window and this could be made big enough to cover those. It would look much nicer.

Downsides are, of course, extra expense, more work (plus the other side has to be done to match) and if I screw it up it may be hard to fix. Also, the interior work seems much harder to do, although my brother (a cabinet maker) suggested that nice wooden trim could be made for the inside. He does not have the tools to do it any more, but he knows where they could be made for about $150 per side.

One concern I have involves structural integrity. When the frame is in place, it may help hold the deck up. I'm not sure. But, pushing the frame into the fiberglass hole puts the plastic window in line with the fiberglass. Bolting a plastic window to the outside may not help so much.

Any comments are welcome and appreciated, especially about the structure.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-30-2009
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Thanks for the update, looking forward to the pictures. I'm in the process of rebedding my deadlights too.
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Old 03-30-2009
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I just completed this project on my boat this past weekend. As you now know the hardest part was removing the portlight. It sounds and looks like your portlight design was very similar to mine. I removed the metal frame from the Plexiglas, and replaced the rubber gasket that ran around the glass, and held it in place in the metal frame. I could see where the PO had attempted to address the leak with silicone over the old gasket. The new gasket was available at a hardware store for a few pennies a foot. After re-assembling the gasket and frame I filled it with water to ensure it was water tight, it was.

I rebedded the portlight yesterday, I don't recall the name brand of the sealant, it was recommended by the local chandlery for this application. Again the hardest part was putting the portlight back in the hold, which was eventually accomplished with some filing. After a test fit and taping the surrounding area, I spread the adhesive on thick to the frame, and to the fiberglass area. Put is back in, screwed the inside frame on loosely, waited 30 minutes and screwed the frame in the rest of the way.

While I don’t know the specific adhesive, it was not 3M 5200 which I understand to be a permanent bond. I have come to understand that rebedding portlights is recurring experience, so such a permanent bond is not recommended. A friend had to remove a portlight that was put in with such an adhesive, it created havoc with fiberglass it was bedded too.

Hope this helps. Although I will caution you that this was my first "project" on the boat (purchases last fall), so I am far from an expert on anything. Since your project seemed so similar to mine, I thought I would share what worked for me.

Good Luck

Dave
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