sealant for cockpit instrument panel - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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sealant for cockpit instrument panel

I recently had to remove my NavTec hydraulic panel from the cockpit to service the pump. The adhesive/sealant used is a grey mastic-type putty, it's non-drying, very sticky (awful to get off but possible). It was used to seal the perimeter of the panel, including gooping up the dozen or so bolts. I'm curious what this stuff is, as I'd like to get some for when I reinstall the panel. It kept things 100% waterproof for decades and it's still soft enough to remove. Does anyone know what this sealant is called?
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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

It sounds like butyl rubber sealant. Many of us are familliar with butyl rubber tape, but it is also available as a caulk in a tube.

FWIW - I have sealed my instrument panel to the cockpit using butyl tape.


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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

Upside down pic of the panel as mounted in my cockpit
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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
It sounds like butyl rubber sealant. Many of us are familliar with butyl rubber tape, but it is also available as a caulk in a tube.

FWIW - I have sealed my instrument panel to the cockpit using butyl tape.
Eh... I'm not so sure. I did my mast boot with butyl tape and that stuff is beyond sticky, it's damned near impossible to get off your clothes or even your hands for that matter. This stuff is more like a sticky putty, not a gooey tube-based sealant. But... maybe the stickiness wears off a bit as the decades pass in the hot sun...

But come to think of it butyl tape would be perfect for this application. I moved last year so I know I'll never find mine and will have to buy some more. Is it a marine store item or more of a Home Depot thing?
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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

Different brands of butyl tape have different characteristics. I have use "BedIt" butyl tape, and another brand that I got from an RV supplier. The BedIt is much stickier, and messier. I have not had a problem removing it from my hands, however.

If you find butyl difficult to work with stay the hell away from 3M 4200 and 5200! This stuff seems to have a mind of its own and, for me anyway, magically appears in places that I haven't put it. If it gets on your fingers you'll find it EVERYWHERE!


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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

Butyl tape is almost unanimously approved by sailors for the above reasons.

It also cleans up fairly easy with mineral spirits.

There is one thing, however, that you MUST know about butyl tape:

It must be under compression to seal. You can't simply place a bead of it to seal a gap like you would "run a bead" of caulk.

For example, just a few weeks ago, I used butyl tape to reseal my cockpit engine panel. My panel fastens with only four screws--one at each corner. When I sprayed it with water to check, oh my gosh, I had a waterfall behind the panel.

It turned out that although the four screws held the panel securely, it didn't create enough compression in the middle of each side. Well, I swallowed hard and used 4200. It sealed it.

For bedding stanchions, navigation instruments, tight fitting window frames, etc.; butyl tape stuff is great!

Lastly, you can find it at Home Depot types of stores. Sometimes it's special order. It's cheap. You might have better luck at a small, local type of hardware store.

Last edited by jnorten; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:08 AM. Reason: clarification--replaced "it" with "butyl tape" in one spot
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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

My panels recessed into a GRP casting. I have a cover to provide additional protection. It attaches with 4 screws and may leak if there was a steady stream of water, but there never is... maybe some driven rain. The amount of water which may get in and fall down is of no consequence as far as I can see. It's above a rarely used locker with spares stored in bins and so forth.

No need for sealant.
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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

I could understand though why you wouldn’t want it to leak with the various wires connection behind the panel.
Those of us keeping our boats in slips probably wash our cockpits with fresh water from our dockside hoses with a spray and it would penetrate behind the engine panel.

My Yanmar panel is held on by 8 screws so there is enough pressure to seal the butyl tape but a good point was made about this.

Dave


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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

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Originally Posted by David Spear View Post
But come to think of it butyl tape would be perfect for this application. I moved last year so I know I'll never find mine and will have to buy some more. Is it a marine store item or more of a Home Depot thing?
I bought some from an online seller (I think it was an RV shop) and it was OK. But then I found that MaineSail sells it https://shop.marinehowto.com/products/bed-it-tape and I ordered a roll. I liked it a lot better than the RV stuff I had bought earlier.
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Re: sealant for cockpit instrument panel

I have purchased "professional grade" butyl tape from a roofing supply company but it does'nt begin to compare to the stuff that Mainesail sells.
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