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My 1981 C-27 with the 5411 diesel has limited access to the engine compartment. Recently I observed another C-27 which had an eight inch inspection/ deckplate installed in the cockpit floor directly above the engine/ transmission. This would allow easier access to transmission for servicing. Good/ bad idea? The owner was not available for comments. Thanks all.
This sort of arrangement is not terribly uncommon. The biggest drawback is that many such plates are lightweight enough to flex, allowing water to leak onto the engine. Just about anywhere else on the boat a deck plate would get walked on every once in a while, but in the cockpit it will get walked on all the time. Even if the plate is fairly robust, the cockpit floor often isn't stiff enough to keep the mounting ring sealed to the sole. If I were going to install such a plate I would make sure to beef up the cockpit sole, perhaps by building a frame/lip on top of the sole and place the frame of the hatch on top of that. That would both stiffen the sole and make it that much harder for the water to leak onto the engine.
 
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