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  1979 Whaler 15 foam delamination

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Author Topic:   1979 Whaler 15 foam delamination
francisco posted 04-07-2000 05:17 PM ET (US)   Profile for francisco   Send Email to francisco  
Hi, my name is Francisco Gonzalez, owner of a 1979 Whaler 15. On the aft part of the keel, a couple of cracks surfaced, they had been repaired twice. This time we decided to do the job ourselves and found out that the foam underneath was delaminated. The more we kept looking the more delaminated it was. Any ideas on how to repair a delaminated foam core? Someone suggested drawing a grid of lines on the boat 0.5 inches X 0.5 inches, and drilling 0.25 inch holes at the nodes. The holes have to be deep enough to reach the delaminated foam. Then inserting liquid foam through the grid holes, and re-glassing the damaged area. Does this sound right?? Any help will be appreciated. Regards!!
bigz posted 04-08-2000 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Hi Francisco,

First you have to determine if the foam is saturated, if so it has to be removed otherwise just filling the cavity will create a spongy bottom and your back at square one --- I don't know if there is an easy way to do this other than opening up the area removing the saturated foam re-foaming and glassing and gel coating the hull.

Anyway if you need information on foam here is a link http://www.rhhfoamsystems.com/literature/mfb-1/index.html they appear to have a pretty good system --- I am sure a few other members can also provide some ideas. Regards and welcome to the "Classic" Whaler forum --- Thomas

kent posted 04-21-2000 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for kent    
I have an area on the floor of my boat at the stern, just ahead of the motorwell bulkhead that has delaminated from the foam. It is a small area. The method of repair that was suggested to me by the fibreglass experts that I work with was this:

1. Clean the area with TSP and water. Let it dry and then clean again with acetone.

2. Drill holes as you have indicated in a grid.

3. Instead of using foam, they suggested a product made by INDUSTRIAL FORMULATORS called Cold Cure. This is an epoxy that will set-up in the absence of air, which is what the environment in the void has. The epoxy mixture is injected into the void through the holes with either a syringe or caulking gun cartridge type accessory. The epoxy fills the void, hardens, and bonds the fibreglass skin to the foam. As there are no styrenes in the epoxy, it does not harm the foam.

4. The holes are then repaired using typical fibreglas repair techniques.

The most important thing here is that everything must be clean and DRY, otherwise it will not work.

I haven't tried it yet for lack of time and doing other things on the boat, but it seems to make sense to me.

bigz posted 04-22-2000 07:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Kent,

Sounds like a fine way to handle an inside small problem but I would be afraid to use it on the exterior hull particularily on the keel area.

Frnacisco has what sounds like a major problem on his hands I'm afraid!

Regards,

Thomas

kent posted 04-22-2000 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for kent    
Hi Thomas

I suppose that if the delaminated area is large then it would be difficult to tell what has happened under the fibreglass skin, if it was clean and dry. The thing that keeps getting mentioned to me whenever I talk to anyone about fibreglass repairs is that the area to be repaired MUST be clean and dry. I agree that the only way to be sure of this is to remove the fibreglass and expose the foam.

What do you suppose it is that causes delaminations? The area on my boat that is delaminated is small and in a fairly protected area on the floor at the stern. The fibreglass is intact, but if you push on it , it wiggles. Why does it let go like that?

Ger posted 04-23-2000 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ger  Send Email to Ger     
I too have a question on whaler foam...How common is foam saturation? I'm starting to get worried about my '72 17 footer that I bought last year. Everything seems sound except that there is no brass tube in the drain hole..Did '72's have one? HOw worried should I be about water intrusion? How can I make a definitive check for saturation?
bigz posted 04-23-2000 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Kent,

The usual way this happens is water penetrating from some point, small stress cracks and hardware fittings etc., and probably took a lot of years to develop, then if your boat is subject to freeze and thaw conditions that will accelerate the foam delaminating and turning to mush, but will occur even in warm areas of the country.

For a small area on the sole the technique you describe above might work fine. However the holes should be at least 3" in diameter cut with a hole saw and a 1/4" hole should penetrate the hull so the water after you clean the foam out of the holes can drain (no more than 6" a part in a diamond pattern). Use heat to speed drying time, heat gun, heat lamps, "hair" dryer whatever just don't get it hot enough to start softening the surrounding glass/resin. Then the acetone cleaning (plug the 1/4" hole before you pour it in the 3" hole/s) then you can do the rest of what you said above, fill with epoxy and finish using the standard techniques. One note of caution be careful to isolate the foam from the epoxy until it cures, most foams can not be exposed to uncured epoxy.

Ger, I hate to say it but saturation in Whalers to one degree or another is pretty common. I would either get a new brass drain tube installed --- the tube is cheap, the tool is expensive (better just to get a shop to do it), or you can get a piece of PVC Sch 30 to fit and epoxy it into place, either way would work. If you don't you risk further saturation of the plywood in the transom and eventual delaminating.
Hope that helps.

Regards,

Thomas

Ger posted 04-23-2000 08:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ger  Send Email to Ger     
Thomas, thanks for the reply. I'm still not sure if I should be worried. The boat is in pretty good condition, no major glass repairs, and she rides fine. I just don't want to get paranoid about the boat being structurally unsound. Its hard to believe that with so many old whalers still on the water that many of them aren't suffering from some water intrusion with no ill effects. So whattya think...should I be worried or just fix the drain, give her some TLC and have fun?
bigz posted 04-24-2000 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Ger, wouldn't be to worried, like I mentioned unless it goes unchecked (still takes a lot of years to get to a point of a real problem)don't be concerned, just fix the drain-- and enjoy summer is just around the corner!

Regards,
Thomas

jimh posted 04-24-2000 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you're looking for a source for the drain tube, try this:

http://www.shipstore.com/SS/HTML/MOE/MOE210031400.html

I just happened to stumble across this yesterday. I've not actually seen this or bought one from them.

--jimh

Ger posted 04-24-2000 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ger  Send Email to Ger     
Thanks for the info gang! Jim, this is a great site! Since I,m having a ball "restoring" my old Whaler, I'm sure you'll see my name here again. I'll submit photos when she's done..if it ever stops raining here at the Jersey Shore! Good luck and happy boating to you all!
bigz posted 04-25-2000 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Jim,

I think you need a flanging tool to install the brass drain pipe, the tool cost $35!

Regards,

Thomas

kent posted 04-25-2000 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for kent    
The bow locker on my 13 ft. has 3 drain holes, 2 to drain the lipped recess around the top of the locker and 1 in the bottom of the locker. These holes are smaller than the drains in the transom. I got looking at these 3 holes a while back. I discovered that there was no insert in them as there is in the main drains and that if I stuck a screw driver in there, it was just foam. I liked the idea of the inserts and felt that the foam needed protection. I discovered that a piece of 1/2" copper plumbing pipe fit almost perfectly into the drain holes, with a little help from a round file. Once I had the insert the way I wanted it, I epoxied them in place. Thankfully there is no deterioation of the hull around these 3 holes. Are the holes factory,or has someone drilled them in after? If they are factory, would they have originally had inserts?

That got me thinking about the 2 oarlock openings that the old 13 ft.s have, mine included. I stuck the screw driver down through the oarlock opening and found that there is no bottom to the oarlock opening. Again I was pushing into the foam. There is no protection to keep water from entering the oarlock opening and into the foam. This boat has sat out in a slip at a dock for most of it's life. The area around the oarlocks is as solid as a rock, no delamination at all. Would BW have provided some kind of a cap originally to keep water out of the oarlock opening, and mine were lost?

Now for the dumb question! I am new to Whalers and am confused about the main drains. My boat has a drain hole in the motorwell bulkhead and one in the transom. Where does the plug go? Do you put it in the transom hole, or would it go in the motorwell hole, which I'm thinking would allow water that comes in over the notch to escape? Or do you put plugs in both holes (mine came with 3 plugs!)

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