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S/V Glenn E
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read several threads about replacing port lights but never could get my brain around how it worked on my particular old boat, a 1970 Newport. It's an aluminum frame with what appeared to be tempered glass. Three of the four were leaking so I thought we'd better get at it. I wanted to document this so the next guy could see what I found without going through the trials I did.

This is the outside:


And this is the inside:


Well, I commenced on the first and pulled the screws out of the inner ring. When it was pulled off it appeared that it was sealed in with butyl tape or something similar around the outer assembly of the window and the openingin the cabin. I used a small nail bar and a couple of screwdrivers. I'm not sure how they got it through the opening as the window appeared to be larger than the hole. I used my rotozip to enlarge it in places and finally got it out. It took about an hour of huffing and puffing, sweating and prying.

After cleaning it up a bit, I discovered the frame is two parts (upper and lower) with two channels (one for the glass; one for an inner gasket that dresses the window) and held together by a small metal tab inside one channel with a small screw on each side that holds the two sections together. The glass is set inside the second (outer) channel and has a rubber seal.
Here is the Admiral cleaning one up and you can kind of see it's design.


After the ordeal of the first one, I bought a multi-tool with a cutting blade and used it to run around the seal. It came out in about 45 minutes. Much easier but still not fun. There's got to be a better way. Well, the Admiral wanted a heat gun to get the taped-on boot stripe off. I stopped at Harbor Freight and got one. When I got home, I suggested she us it to warm up the old butyl on the first port light we took out and it worked pretty well. Then I got a brainstorm. I wonder if you could heat up the butyl to get the thing OUT? Sure enough, a little heat, 10 minutes and the third one was out. Let me make it clear-if you're going to do this on an old boat with these aluminum frames, use heat. It's your friend. Kindly ask the Admiral to heat it on the inside while you use a small pry bar, putty knife, etc GENTLY on the outside.

Anyway, here's what the opening looks like after it's out. Some old butyl to clean off with an orbital (or hand) sander and it's ready to go back in. I found the hand sanding just as easy as the orbital and much more controllable. Also you don't have to drag a cord out!

And cleaned up using some Interlux 202:

Us a bead of Boat Life Silicone Rubber to bed it back in and it's ready for the inner ring.



The final product:

The inner ring pulls the outer ring snug up against the cabin top with the sealant between and makes a very nice completed product, even on a 44 year old boat.

So, to recap-heat is the only way to go and the simplest. Learn from my hard work. One tip on the install-dry fit them first. A file helps enlarge a bit to make it easier before adding the sealant. It's much nicer-silicone rubber is very messy!

The first install we did in an evening. After learning on it, we installed the second, then using heat, pulled the third and re-installed it, all on the second evening. After it's all said and done, I think it could be done at the slip in a couple of hours pretty easily.

So a job I was dreading turns out to be not that bad if someone else shows you how and posts some pics. I hope it helps you and if I you need further info, drop me a line. Always glad to help another sailor-no use in re-inventing the wheel!

 
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Corsair 24
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I have basically the same except they are flimsy plastic INNER frames, some are pitted or cracked making my ordeal more complicated

the outers are fine just like yours...wondering what my best course is here

did your inner frames have something like a rubber 4 lipped grooved seal? between the glass and inner frame? some of mine have shrunk from the heat

thanks and good job
 

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Lubrdink
I us to have a Newport 33 and had to redo the port lights also, I had the same issues with removal and the rubber gasket that held the glass in and also was visible on the inside had shrunk over the yrs. I used black boat life for that portion, since I was unable to locate a rubber gasket with the same shape and cross section as the original. The one mistake that I did make was note using butyal caulk/tape between the outer frame and the coach top fiberglass as my sealant. The other part of the project was that I replaced all of the teak ply on the inside. The old was beyond repair. Two yrs later they were showing signs of failure ): . I guess we live and learn.

Peter
 

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hmm I too remoed the ply "veneer" so its thinner...that might cause issues

I have no access to new stuff so Im looking for any help too

justified so you said you filled in the gaps with lifecaulk on the shrunken seals?

2 years not so bad I guess...jajaja
 

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S/V Glenn E
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Christian
I do have a rubber gasket that goes in the inner channel between the glass and inner frame. It really does nothing but hide the transition but mine too, has shrunk over the years leaving about an inch gap. But not the end of the world considering it has no actual sealing usage. I'm not sure how you would make inner frames. It sucks yours are plastic. Other than showing some signs of age, mine are as functional as ever, except the glass is hazed.
I might have to try the headlight fix idea.

I did notice when I took them out there was a very thin gasket that was between the cabin top and the outer frame. On one it was about gone and on the others it was still there and had to be peeled off. I can't imagine that's all that was used to seal it but evidently so. I'm still not sure why all the butyl goo other than to make sure moisture didn't get between the cabin top and liner.

I knew the port lights were leaking but never realized they were the cause of water in the storage under the seats and a strange leak that appeared to be coming from above the fuel tank and running down the hull to the bilge. I now realize (after my wife revealed that the cabin had a liner and I saw it for myself with the port light out) that the water was coming in around the port light, between the liner and cabin top, down the inner hull, and into the bilge and storage. This fix will take care of a lot of, though minor, leaks on my 44 y.o boat.

Well glad to hear from you all and your experiences and hope my post was helpful to future old boat fixers.

Looking forward to a nice Spring and sailing season on God's good earth.
 
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