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Old 09-25-2003
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Lewmar opening port leak

Hi, all,

congratulations to everyone on the East Coast with surviving the Isabel.

One more newbie question...

I finally had time to investigate my portlight leak, and found beyond any doubt that it actually leaks between the frame and the fiberglass. So, next step is to rebed it. But, here comes the problem (the first one out of many to follow, I am sure): the first thing to do seems to be to pull out 4 screws (or bolts?) that have hex sockets in their heads. Two of those came out without much fuss; two others did not budge, up until the hex key (oh, horror! ) started to turn inside. So, can anybody speak from the experience - what are my options? Try to hammer a bigger size hex key in there? Drill them and use EZ-off? Anything else? And, if destructive method is to be used, where can I get replacement screws like those?

Any advice will be highly appreciated. The rain season is not very far off, and the boat looks kind of untidy with duct tape over the portlight...

Thanks in advance,
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Old 09-26-2003
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Lewmar opening port leak

Almost any good hardware or tool store (including Sears, Home Depot, etc) will have damaged screw removal tools. They are (more or less) matched to the fastener size, and work pretty well.

Always use a penetrating lubricant prior to removing difficult fasteners (If it doesn’t budge under moderate hand torque - it’s “difficult”). I’d even use a lube’ with the (above) screw remover, but try to keep the (damaged) socket dry. There’s a million lubricants, including the ubiquitous WD-40, Kerosene ...

I’m surprised to hear that your hatch was only secured with four bolts (at/near corners, I presume?). I’d prefer to see the frame bolted on approximately 4" centres all round the perimeter. This helps prevent warping of the frame, where (at some places) the frame mates hard to the deck, and at others rises proud, leaving possible gaps. The bolts will (at first) only be moderately tightened, so that you don’t extrude all the bedding out, then finally tightened when bedding is fully cured (usually 2 - 7 days, depending). Sometimes, depending upon the deck camber, you need to install temporary shims between deck & frame. In the end, you want the frame to be seated on the flexible sealant, not hard to the deck.

I don''t think that the drive type is too significant, though I do prefer Torx or Robertson (square or Hatteras), or Hex (Allen) drives to Phillips (star), and NEVER use slot. Of course, you MUST match the profile & size. If you really want to match the original equipment, try a "Fastening House".

Good luck,
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Old 09-26-2003
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Lewmar opening port leak

When I strip out a hex drive feature I usually find it quickest to cut a slot in the head with a dremel cutoff wheel (or file is you don''t have a 12V dremel or inverter)sized to a big flathead screwdriver. Turn out the old screw and throw away.

I''ve found that phillips head strip less often so I slowly and changing out the slotted heads as I work away on each project.

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Old 09-26-2003
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Lewmar opening port leak

Just a dab of coarse automotive valve grinding compound, or a product called "First Try" from Precision Brand Products, Inc., will greatly improve the grip to facilitate the removal of screws with damaged heads. There is also a tool with interchangable bits which when struck with a hammer imparts a reversible twisting action to the screw head.
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Old 09-29-2003
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Lewmar opening port leak

The tool that imparts a reversible twisting action to the screw is an impact wrench. It looks like a fat screwdriver and used in motorcycles, etc, all the time to get stuck screws out. Since you hit it with a hammer, it tends to seat the bit into the fastener at the same time it twists. Particularly good on phillips screws.
I have found that McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) has the best selection of fasteners I have ever seen. They are super fast in shipping orders and don''t seem to mind the order for a dozen screws. SS of various grades, etc. Ship out of Atlanta and other warehouses.
Good luck on the project. I replaced ALL of my 11 opening portlights, and added two new ones, and rebedded all 7 hatches this last winter. Big, messy job. The plastic portlights were so hard to get out that we used a reciprocating saw to cut them in pieces and then to saw through the caulk. If they have used 5200 to bed the portlight, you will find that the stuck fastener is just the beginning of the problem. When re-bedding, use either 3M 101 or 4200, NOT 5200.
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