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Author Topic:   My Father's Day lesson in rot
OutrageMan posted 06-17-2001 09:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for OutrageMan   Send Email to OutrageMan  
For some time, the mounting plate on the 2nd bow rail stantion from the stern on the starboard side hass leaked a rusty brown fluid along the gunwale.

Well, today, I decided that while the bowt was out of the water and the 101 was curing in the deck, I would take out the screws and check out where the nasty stuff was comming from.

Well the Great Harpoon Harry assisted in this operation. When the bow rail was removed, he pushed on the gunwale that it was mounted to, an the fluid generator was evident. All of the wood was rotted, and acting like a sponge.

Action needed to be taken! Following my father's suggestion, I used a 2 1/8" hole saw and bored out the fiberglass and the wood. We then chiseled out the rotten wood from under the surrounding glass. I then used a heat gun, and paper towels, and removed all of the remaining moisture.

Using epoxy putty (and quite a lot I must add), I refilled the hole, and underneath the gunwale glass flush with the rest. When this was cured, I redrilled the holes, and screwed the rail back in. The nice thing about the size of the hole I cut away, is that it is completely covered by the post bracket.

Despite all of my efforts, however, I was not able to parlay this into a new Whaler (I even used the Father's Day sympathy ploy).

Well, and least epaoy doesn't rot.


Tom W Clark posted 06-17-2001 11:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Your rail stanchion base situation is a familiar one to me. My '83 Outrage had the same problem on the number 2 bases on both sides. It drove me nuts tightening up the screws after every trip.

The reason these stanchion bases are the first to go is because this is the one place along the bow rail where there isn't much triangulation. The rail is pretty much free to flex inboard and outboard without any resistance. As a result the screws are constantly being pulled and the screw holes loosen up allowing water to enter, soften the wood and just make matters worse.

My ultimate solution was a little different. I replaced the sheet metal screws with machine screws, washers and nylock lock nuts drilled all the way through the plywood backing. I gained access to the underside of the deck not by drilling, with a hole saw, a large through the deck but rather through the inside of the hull.

Actually I had already drilled these holes coincidentally to install a pair of flush mount stern lights to use as courtesy lights when it was dark. The wiring for these lights was fed, like the bow lights, under the rub rail. I also installed a pair of light under the gunwale boards which flooded the cockpit aft of the console with light.

Forward of the console I used Attwood #6356D7 flush mount stern lights. Under the gunwale boards I used Perko #945DPCHR surface mount stern lights.

Of course, I bedded all the rail stanchion bases in polyurethane caulk to help seal out moisture and protect the remaining plywood backings. That was the end of my problems.

jimh posted 06-18-2001 08:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is truly amazing how much damage a little water ingress can cause. Here is another example:

A co-worker had his (non-Whaler) 27-foot boat for sale for the past two years. Last week he found a buyer. The buyer had the boat inspected by a marine surveyor as a contingency on the offer.

Of course, the seller was anxious about the survey results, anticipating perhaps some bad news related to the twin I/O engines. He was not anticipating anything like what the surveyor actually found.

The surveyor reported that poorly sealed mounting screws on the port and starboard running light bases had allowed water to enter the deck laminate. The deck laminate was cored, and the steady supply of water had generated rot in the balsa wood core. Based on the extent of the rot, a repair of $4,000 (estimated) was required to correct the problem!

All from the lack of proper sealing of six small screws that penetrated the deck laminate!

In retrospect, my friend recalled that he had noticed that the running light lenses tended to fog up on the inside from moisture. Apparently the lamp fixture itself was not very watertight and admitted water to the interior, from where it eventually drained into the hull laminate. He recalled having to remove the lenses and clean them because of build-up of moisture and mildew on the inside.

So the problem had tried to bring itself to the owner's attention, but he failed to realize what was going on. In retrospect, he can see what was happening, and how simple it would have been to improve the sealing on the mounting screws and the fixture itself.

It is a good example of how even a small ingress of water can cause damage to wood sealed in a laminate, and also how expensive it can be to repair something like that.

dfmcintyre posted 06-18-2001 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
The place that did the major portion of my reno is quite active repairing damage like this. And it is, as Jim mentioned, quite expensive.

In an earlier thread, I mentioned Kingfish's discovery of water trapped in wood, between the fiberglass, and the subsequent recommendation of applying a coating of resin around any hole where wate could enter. This suggestion needs to be repeated, frequently, and for ANY boat, cored with anything beyond solid plastic. This includes not just our Whalers, but also any balsa cored product.


lhg posted 06-18-2001 01:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Funny this subject should come up. For several years now, the bow rail stantion base screws on my 25 Outrage have been stripping out on me, which I have "quick fixed" by inserting toothpicks into the holes, and retightening. This boat has the one-piece 1" dia all welded bow rail, introduced in 1989 model Outrages. I think it is inferior to the previous jointed bow rails made by CMI. On one base, when toothpicks would no longer work, I started using plastic shields.

Well, Saturday, I decided to fix it right, and removed the whole rail, first marking the 18 of the 36 holes that were stripped. Since the bow rail screws are 1/4" I drilled each one out with a 1/2" drill. All of the wood pads were dry underneath, except one, the one where I had used the expansion shields. These had let a little water in, which I used a vacuum to suck dry and then let air dry for a day, in the hot sun. The backing wood pads, incidentally, did not seem like plywood, judging by the color. It was all one color, dark brown, and didn't look like any plywood I had ever drilled. I'm wondering if it is some type of composite board. Then, I filled each hole with white Marine-Tex epoxy, which should bond to both the wood pad and the surface glass, and then which I will re-drill for the new screws. After resanding and buffing up the gunwales, the rail will go back on, and over a newly varnished bow pulpit besides!

hauptjm posted 06-18-2001 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Curiously, last year I discovered the same 'solid' surface material in bow area on an 18OR. My fixed hinge points for my front dodger were loose. I came across the same 'non-plywood' looking shavings. Oddly, the wood-locating diagram I have from Boston Whaler, does not indicate wood in these spots. Using the same epoxy repair that Larry discussed, still works like a charm. Solid as a rock.
dfmcintyre posted 06-18-2001 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Larry -

After spending some time having to tighten down the fittings on the older model's (and sometime having to deal with a stripped thread) and seeing a close friends one piece 'rail on his late model outrage, I've come to the conclusion that the one piece may not be all bad.


David Jenkins posted 03-21-2004 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Larry, I know that this has been discussed elsewhere, but could you briefly explain what vacuum device you use to pull out the moisture? Thanks.
David Jenkins posted 03-22-2004 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I just re-read the three-part CSW series so never mind about the vacuum pump!

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