Hatch rebedding issues - SailNet Community
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Hatch rebedding issues

Hi friendly sailnetters. This past weekend, I embarked on a project to rebed one of the three large Lewmar hatches on Pinniped. After being on board during several storms, I saw that we were getting some drips from the port forward corner under the trim around the headliner. I disassembled a bit during the weekend prior, and found that it looks like there has been a bit of water incursion here for a while, but it was not making itself apparent. As part of the project, I also decided to start the repainting of the cabin trunk, as the hatch was mounted on a riser to form a raised, flat mounting area, and this seemed like a great opportunity to paint that without the hatch in the way. I budgeted two and a half days, knowing that the paint (Interlux Brightside) was going to need an overnight dry between coats.

Removing the hatch and frame took most of my Friday after work. It was secured by a combination of wood screws (some strategically penetrating the raised frame and down through the deck into stringers on the aft end), and six through bolts in the hinges on the forward end that were hidden behind a trim piece that took me a while to figure out how to remove. The old sealant was in good shape in most places, but was brittle in the area around the hinges, especially in the port forward corner. Ok, cool, thatís probably the source of our tiny drip. And, in fact, after removing the screws and bolts, the screws were entirely clean, but the bolts showed some minor corrosion. I got the old sealant mostly cleaned up before dark.

I had decided to rebed using butyl, as Iíve used butyl for all sorts of other sealing projects to great effect, even with screws. Saturday morning, I sanded everything I was going to paint, and wiped everything down with the Interlux 333 brushing liquid (basically high-grade kerosene). I masked-off everything and got the first coat of paint down, then turned my attention to cleaning up the hatch frame. After about eight hours of dry time, I butylíed up the frame and got about getting it re-mounted.

Everything was mostly fine, except I ran into two issues. The hinges for these hatches hook under the lip of the frame, and then the through bolts go down through the hinge, frame, mounting base, and deck, then are secured with backing plates. This means I had to kinda wedge some butyl between the frame and hinge when hooking the under the lip, and I couldnít put the bolts in until after the hinges were in place. But, it all finally went together, and I got a really good arm workout with the screws because I forgot my power driver at home. Grr.

Sunday morning I sand for a second coat of paint on deck, and wash down with water, so I could also test the hatch seal.

I had a tiny drip again, but only from the port-most bolt. Ugh. I noted when I installed it that it had dragged some butyl with it. So, I pulled it out, made a really extended cone of butyl on the shaft, and re-inserted. When I removed it, the nut wasn't all that tight, so Iím thinking I may not have tightened that one well, which could also contribute to the failed seal.

At this point, I had to get the second coat of paint down because I had to leave in a few hours. I wouldnít be able to test it again without spoiling the gloss on the paint, so I left the cabin trim un-done so I can look for leaks again next time Iím there.

I think I know what the answer is going to be here: If it is still leaking, remove and rebed with tube sealant, like 4000uv. If it comes to that, whatís the best course of action to clean up the butyl? I also have a feeling that Iíll have to repaint the hatch frame if I do that, too, because Iíll bet I damage the paint during the removal process!

Iíve attached some photos for reference below.
Attached Thumbnails
EA89038A-A741-4A12-A475-336330536E81.jpeg   DCD0283D-A58D-4340-8838-A2A4F54EF8F3.jpeg   D7CE65AF-98CE-4732-A644-C8975DF94FC5.jpeg   50BBBF94-0AC7-44C9-A898-8E14C12D6DCD.jpeg  

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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

First thought that comes to mind is whether the butyl had a void to collect in. Bolt holes need to be camfered, for example. The loose bolt sounded like a common outcome of the butyl continuing to compress overnight and requiring retightening. That's why there needs to be a void where some of it is retained.
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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
First thought that comes to mind is whether the butyl had a void to collect in. Bolt holes need to be camfered, for example. The loose bolt sounded like a common outcome of the butyl continuing to compress overnight and requiring retightening. That's why there needs to be a void where some of it is retained.
There are three separate surfaces penetrated by these bolts: The hinge bracket, the hatch frame, and the mounting frame on the deck. I did chamfer the holes in the mounting frame on the deck, after I drilled them slightly larger (they were exactly 1/4", which made removing the bolts quite a job, and would have made re-installing them nearly impossible without blunt force). But, since I couldn't get a cone of butyl directly into that space on the fastener because I had to install the bolts after getting the frame and hinges in place, I probably didn't have enough butyl deep enough on the shaft to fill that area. I'm hoping I have corrected that, but I'll have to see this weekend.

Hindsight being 20/20, what I *should* have done is attach the hinges to the frame before trying to mount the frame back on the deck. Then I wouldn't have had a problem with the bolts and could have made those penetrations well-sealed. It would have been difficult to get the alignment right on my own, but a couple of locating pins on the opposite side of the hatch would have helped.

Here's still hoping that I haven't created a mess and more work for myself, but I'll know soon enough!

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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

I have the same project coming up, replacing a hatch. My plan is to use a glue/sealant of some kind. I have used Butyl Tape successfully in the past in both an RV and on boats. The beauty of Butyl is you don't have to get it right the first time unlike a glue of some type.

Butyl will seal well to itself. Clean up the area and try refilling the gaps, and openings with Butyl. Make sure the areas you are mounting have tapered under the screws/bolts so the Butyl can form a seal. I don't think you need to seal the whole cavity where the bolts go through, just the surface penetration areas.
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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

On a hatch, you need to seal the entire length of the frame, or water will flow under it and into the cabin. If the frame base is flush and lying on a flush deck, the butyl could just squeeze out. Hopefully, there is a void or groove in either the deck or frame to hold the butyl or one can be added.


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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
On a hatch, you need to seal the entire length of the frame, or water will flow under it and into the cabin. If the frame base is flush and lying on a flush deck, the butyl could just squeeze out. Hopefully, there is a void or groove in either the deck or frame to hold the butyl or one can be added.
I didn't have a good photo of the underside of the hatch frame, but there is a groove on the outside edge. I did apply butyl around the entire frame, making sure that one of the two strips I ran the whole way around was filling the groove. Good note for others who may not realize that could be a problem!

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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

Butyl will seal fine on a flat surface, no groove necessary though better if there is one. The biggest problem with butyl on fasteners is it sticks to itself so well. If you screw the fastener in, the butyl on the fastener can grab the butyl on the hatch surface pulling it off the surrounding surface, wrapping it around the fastener and creating a sealant void. Always try and be sure butyl doesn't cover over the fastener holes to prevent this. Best do force the fastener into the puka till theads bite rather than screw it in.

If you've still got a leak, pull the hatch and rebed with butyl again keeping the fastener holes clear of the butyl. Hopefully the hatch will be well sealed when you get a chance to test it.
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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

Also with butyl, besides the chamfered top surface without butyl over the hole as mentioned, do not turn the bolt, just the nut.
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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

I recently (3 yrs ago?) used butyl tape to bed a 30 series Lewmar hatch. After the first attempt, where I thought I was being careful, there was that annoying drip. Took it all apart and found the butyl was not uniformly compressed, leaving a leak path. Redid it with more butyl tape, to make sure there were no voids and that did the trick. You do need to be careful to compress the hatch properly to completely fill the area between the hatch and the deck.

The nice thing about butyl tape vs 4200 (or worse) caulk is the easy clean-up. Using extra butyl seems to provide a better guarantee that there are no ďholidaysĒ in the butyl. The butyl that squirts out is easy to remove and clean up without the mess of traditional caulk. Those of you who have successfully bedded with butyl tape already know this, of course.
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Re: Hatch rebedding issues

A plug for Bed-It Butyl Tape. It's much better than what I've gotten at RV stores. If you don't know why and how to properly use butyl, check out the how-to instructions.
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