Aluminum toe rail leak? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-23-2011
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Aluminum toe rail leak?

We're in Opua, NZ, and had some rough weather getting here from Tonga in our PCS 40. We've discovered a small amount of salt water on the wiring bundle under the starboard hull-deck joint in the forward hanging locker and the galley sliding locker. We anticipate finding the same in the other starboard lockers. Since it has rained for almost a week here in NZ, the water in the leak is mostly fresh. Everybody's closed for the holidays/summer vacation, so we're trying to make some headway on this by ourselves. We're assuming that the port side should be looked at even though it isn't leaking--yet. The return trip back to the tropics will have the wind and seas coming from the starboard side.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar leak? How did you get that wiring bundle out of the way? There's no service loop in it that we can find. Even with it out of the way it's going to be very difficult to reach some of the underside of the joint.

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Sue
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Old 12-25-2011
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I would check other possible sources, like deck hardware, maybe one of the stanchions is leaking for example, which would be a much easier to fix. The problem is the water could have travelled from a distance, maybe stuffing some paper towels all along the entire length of the wiring bundle would help pinpoint the leak, use dark coloured ones so you can see if they are wet. Also double check any post factory installations of hardware. You'll also have to use some fresh water to rinse the salt off otherwise is will just get damp whenever the humidity is up and will look like a leak.
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Old 12-25-2011
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Sue-
I would suggest pressure testing for the leak before deciding it is from the 'obvious' source. You close up everything (vents, ports) and block off the companionway with the hatchboards, using a heavy cardboard piece replace one of them. Stick a shop vac or leaf blower eexhasut through the cardboard, pressurize the boat. Give it a couple of minutes to build some pressure and then throw soapy water over the area where you think the leak is. (Beware, slippery deck!) The boat will blow bubbles where the real leak is, and that may be several feet away from where you are seeing the water below.
Could be the hull-deck joint, could be almost any hardware with the water moving through the deck and then coming out at the edge, at the joint.
Once you find the leak(s), good time to scrub the deck while it is soapy, then rinse. (G)

I don't know what your hull-deck joint is like, but on some boats the entire toe rail has to be loosened to raise it and rebed. If you're lucky, it will be a bolt or deck fitting, not the toe rail, that needs sealing.

If you do have to movre the wire bundle and there's no slack in it, that may mean cutting and then splicing in a pack connector to rejoin them afterwards. Or, cutting each wire (stagger the cuts a couple of inches apart) and then using "barrel" crimps to reconnect them all again. By staggering them, you ensure they can't short out on each other, and keep down the bulk versus all splices in one place.
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Old 01-09-2012
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PAC relies on mechanical fastenings to hold hull and deck together. Over time they will leak and eventually separate. Expensive to reattach deck to hull but is a structural issue that needs to be done. Once a PAC is over 20y.o. Your likely to find this problem.
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Old 11-04-2012
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Re: Aluminum toe rail leak?

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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
PAC relies on mechanical fastenings to hold hull and deck together. Over time they will leak and eventually separate. Expensive to reattach deck to hull but is a structural issue that needs to be done. Once a PAC is over 20y.o. Your likely to find this problem.
Any idea just how expensive?
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Old 11-04-2012
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Re: Aluminum toe rail leak?

deluxe-
The good news is that mechanical fasteners CAN be repaired. As opposed to a glued joint, which is "forever" and has to be cut and pried apart.
The cost will vary with your local labor costs. It ain't rocket science, just a long job requiring some contortion and an apprentice on deck, to go down the side of a boat and unbolt every fastener. Then follow the joint with a prybar to open it up, clean it out, apply new butyl tape or whatever was used before (or a sealant if "forever" sounds good and you don't mind never being able to make a repair again) and then bolt it all back up again. I'd unbolt and clean on Day One, and come back to caulk/tape/reassemble on Day Two. Actually, before Day One yo might want to take a good look, clear away obstructions, make sure you'll have the right tools, socket extensions, deep thinwall sockets, whatever your boat will require.
From a boatyard? Well, two guys, two or three days, that's 4-6 days or 32-48 hours of labor at yard rates, which can be $50-150 per hour. Three grand give or take a grand maybe? Easy enough to ask them.
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Re: Aluminum toe rail leak?

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Originally Posted by deluxe68 View Post
Any idea just how expensive?
depends. for a 40 footer probably 40-60k if the entire deck and hull need to be reattached. el cheapo way would be another alum. rail bolted down. better is a stainless rail. the flange probably stressed and may need to be epoxy bonded before mechanical tie down. would be a good idea anyhow. that would ensure against leaks. all options very labor intensive. if your going to redo the bond, probably worth 10k more to design a higher rail for better life line stanchion holding and for more foot support. good luck. btw: examined a hudson 50 . its hull/deck bond was nothing more than a bunch of plywood boards glued to the hull and deck. that was it.
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Re: Aluminum toe rail leak?

Big difference between $3K and $40K for a job, are we all talking about Pacific Seacrafts?
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Re: Aluminum toe rail leak?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
deluxe-
The good news is that mechanical fasteners CAN be repaired. As opposed to a glued joint, which is "forever" and has to be cut and pried apart.
The cost will vary with your local labor costs. It ain't rocket science, just a long job requiring some contortion and an apprentice on deck, to go down the side of a boat and unbolt every fastener. Then follow the joint with a prybar to open it up, clean it out, apply new butyl tape or whatever was used before (or a sealant if "forever" sounds good and you don't mind never being able to make a repair again) and then bolt it all back up again. I'd unbolt and clean on Day One, and come back to caulk/tape/reassemble on Day Two. Actually, before Day One yo might want to take a good look, clear away obstructions, make sure you'll have the right tools, socket extensions, deep thinwall sockets, whatever your boat will require.
From a boatyard? Well, two guys, two or three days, that's 4-6 days or 32-48 hours of labor at yard rates, which can be $50-150 per hour. Three grand give or take a grand maybe? Easy enough to ask them.
According to the PSC sales brochure, they do use adhesive along with the bolts.
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Re: Aluminum toe rail leak?

I don't know what PSC does, or did on that model. If they did use adhesive plus bolts, it shouldn't need to be opened again. Shouldn't be leaking.

Are you absolutely positive that is where the leak is, as opposed to that being the place where the water is showing up on the interior, perhaps after running across the underside of the deck or down from another spot?

I can't see $40k to open the deck and close it up again, are you saying PSC actually quoted that to you? Or a yard did? reed suggested a price for removing the *entire* deck from the hull. That gets way more complicated than just replacing one rail, rebedding one side. And since that's a labor intensive job and labor rates are so variable...Why not get a quote instead of a web guesstimate?

Last edited by hellosailor; 11-04-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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