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  Glass over thru-hull fittings?

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Author Topic:   Glass over thru-hull fittings?
Mowgli posted 10-06-2003 10:17 PM ET (US)   Profile for Mowgli   Send Email to Mowgli  
I am taking delivery of a 1989 REVENGE 25 WT WD in a few weeks. It is a fresh water boat and lived on a trailer. Here in Vancouver it will live in salt water year round.

I am worried about the thru-hull fittings becoming corroded and/or the rubber O-rings or washers deteriorating, and then allowing water into the foam core. Is this a legit concern?

If it is, what would be the downside of glassing over the holes permanently?

Your advice much appreciated.

PMUCCIOLO posted 10-06-2003 10:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
Your concern is valid; however, there is no cause for alarm. Consider having someone experienced with Boston Whalers remove all the through hulls and replace them with fresh ones. You'll maintain the hull's integrity and the functional capacity of the spaces the current drain setup serves.
lhg posted 10-06-2003 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Michael, I would agree with above post. However, I would have these brass drain tubes checked annually to make sure they are not corroding. On a whaler drive model, if your '89 is anything like mine, you will only have 3 brass drain fittings anyway, one for the forward well under the cabin floor, and one in each stern sump, port and starboard. By 1989, the stern baitwell does not have a drain tube. The one in the bow is most likely to be the problem. They can be checked quite easily by feeling the inside for corrosion or weak spots.

For drain tube replacement, I recommend the Moeller brand.
The biggest problem is finding a shop that knows how to do them correctly, expecially when inner and outer surfaces are not parallel, as in the cabin drain.

Be sure to have your Merc engines updated with the newer style aluminum anodes thoughout, including the trim tabs. They give much better corrosion protection, and should probably be replaced annually considering your year around use.

Enjoy your new boat. It sounds like you really picked a rare beauty.

cdnturbo posted 10-07-2003 01:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for cdnturbo  Send Email to cdnturbo     
Do not go to M&P (local Whaler dealer) to get the tubes changed. They had alot of problems getting mine changed without leaks,
Where is your remote cabin?
Mowgli posted 10-07-2003 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mowgli  Send Email to Mowgli     
Thanks, Jim, for the advice.
CdnTurbo - scary that M&P is dubious - I've been using them for 14 years - but felt there was no other choice. Do you know of any reputable shops that could do the job reliably?
Remote cabin is in Gulf Islands - on Mowgli Island.
My 20ft Revenge WT (now for sale) has done the 60 mile round trip from Vancouver 123 times - all season, all weather - with a smile!
Mowgli posted 10-07-2003 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mowgli  Send Email to Mowgli     
My apologies, Larry - I called you Jim by mistake.
cdnturbo posted 10-07-2003 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnturbo  Send Email to cdnturbo     
Where do you keep your boat? I may know of somebody who is interested.
My boat is kept at RVYC.
cdnturbo posted 10-07-2003 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnturbo  Send Email to cdnturbo     
In answer to your other question there is a member of the yacht club that does great fibreglass work. let me know if you want his name.
Mowgli posted 10-07-2003 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mowgli  Send Email to Mowgli     
Thanks all.
I'll take this off-line with CdnTurbo, having discovered not only that we live in the same city, but also belong to the same yacht club, and, stranger still, that our Whalers are moored within 50ft of each other on the same dock!
Thanks to CW for making the introduction!
mustang7nh posted 10-07-2003 08:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for mustang7nh  Send Email to mustang7nh     
I inquired about glassing over my thru hulls and the fiberglass guy said that when the laminate wicks water the new glass doesn't stick to it well and may make more of a problem. My laminate around the thru hulls definitely wicked water.

I realize there are a variety of thoughts on this one, but my boat was never bottom painted and was rack stored its entire life. Yet removal of the clamshell screws on the front drain (tube itself was in great shape) had water dripping out for several days. I finally just caulked and put screw back in. Other two drains also had water dripping from them.

My advice is to use 4200 or something around the flange and O-ring and monitor tube for deterioration. If brass is fine then I would leave alone. Perhaps pull clamshell screws out for winter storage and let dry that way (that is what I"m doing now). No easy way to dry hull out.

After that I wouldn't worry another minute about it and enjoy (albeit with normal inspections of drains for obvious damage).

If you insist on changing them, I would give yourself plenty of time in weatherproofed storage so you can get at it again if you don't have a whole day to devote for the inevitable "problems" that come. Don't trust dealers necessarily to know what they are doing, I hired a mechanic who is otherwise excellent with boats and it turned into a disaster (read my post about a month ago). Do one drain at a time, don't yank them all thinking you'll knock 'em all out at once. Good luck!

jimh posted 10-09-2003 11:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I recall some mention that on new hulls being built by Brunswick Government and Commercial Products the drains are made from a plastic tubing and are sealed with resins to the hull and liner laminate skins.

Perhaps replacing the brass drains with plastic tubing/pipe and sealing the ends with epoxy would provide a better long-term solution.

doobee posted 10-10-2003 12:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
I eliminated all the drain tubes in my 25 Revenge except for the aft cockpit sumps, which I replaced with plastic. Most of the tubes in the cabin lockers are unnecessary and the ones near the keel were hanging up on the keel rollers. I plan to use bilge pumps to keep the deepest sumps dry.

There is a detailed discussion in the general topics forum called "...water in the hulls". Check it out.

WHALER27CC posted 10-10-2003 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for WHALER27CC  Send Email to WHALER27CC     
Ive been reading these posts and I have a stern tube that needs to be replaced.I was under the impression that Whaler, bored the holes out, put resin on the foam,and THEN put the brass tubes in....Am I wrong?? Would Whaler really not go the distance and seal the foam with resin before putting this tube in as a precaution in case of tube failure/rot??Please tell me that Whaler is smarter than THAT....??????
Mowgli posted 10-11-2003 03:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mowgli  Send Email to Mowgli     
Many thanks for all your helpful and informed comment and suggestions.
I've just seen a new thread from today from Gansett asking where the communal CW brass drain tube tool is, with John O offering to hunt it down fro him.
I will ask Gansett what his proposed technique will be once he has it in hand - ie: will he bond the new tube in with resin?
mustang7nh posted 10-12-2003 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for mustang7nh  Send Email to mustang7nh     
My tubes were not embedded in anything when I removed them. Just slid in and flanged over the o-ring. I was very tempted to glass them over and weighed the pros and cons. The pros seemed to be no more worries about them getting crushed on the trailer bunks, etc. No more worries about water intrusion in these areas. The cons seemed to be the headache of storage over the winter in a climate below freezing. I would have had to shrink wrap the boat each winter to make sure no water got in there during the many months of layup. More specifically, I was worried that the water would back up and actually start to flow back into the fuel tank cavity. I also heard that swamped Whalers will refloat themselves if the plugs are out. Not that I want to be in that situation but glassing the holes would eliminate that peace of mind but probably isn't of practical value out at sea.

The plastic replacements themselves are easy to install and the 4200 I'e sealed them with seems to work well so far. My big problem was that I was on a borrowed trailer with the hurricane coming and my old tubes out of the boat. In hindsight, I probably could have just let the water run through the naked drain tube areas as the foam is not that absorbant, but being so obsessive compulsive about it, I stayed up all night and put the plastic tubes in without the correct tools and without removing the rear deck plate to get better access. In the end it seems to be working fine, but I could do it over again today with a lot less headache. I think the idea of glassing all but the rear sumps is a good one.

doobee posted 10-14-2003 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
I hate to say it but Whaler never sealed the foam before installing drain tubes. The only thing protecting your hull is the clamshell and the O ring. I lined the holes with fiberglass mat before replacing the tubes.
doobee posted 10-14-2003 12:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
It may be true for new Whalers, however.
Mowgli posted 10-14-2003 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mowgli  Send Email to Mowgli     
Doobee: How did you manage to line the holes with fibreglass mat?
And then how did you get the new drain tubes to fit?
Thanks.
doobee posted 10-14-2003 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
As I said, it wasn't easy. There are some simpler methods using PVC tubing that have been discussed on other threads, but I decided to go with materials that I had on hand.

On my boat the tubes are only 4" long. The original hole is 1 and 1/16". The outside diameter of the plastic tube is 1 and 1/8" in the middle section, and 1 and 5/16" near the ends.

First, I enlarged the hole to 1 and 5/16 inside diameter with an auger bit on a drill (I may be using the wrong term here, I mean the flat blade for making larger holes). To steady the blade I inserted a 1" dowel which slid out of the hole as I pushed the blade in.

Next, I removed a little extra foam around the edge of the hole with a paint can opener so I could tuck the edge of the fiberglass mat between the foam and the laminate. I cut the mat to the right length, rolled it into a tube, and frayed the ends a bit.

With a very small chip brush I wetted out the inside of the hole with resin, inserted the mat "tube" into the hole, and pressed it into the uncured resin with the paint can opener, and a mixing stick. I tucked the frayed ends between the laminate and the foam.

Then, I wetted out the mat with the small chip brush. This turned out to be the hard part because the mat started to slide around and bunch up in the hole. After it cured, it took a while to file down some high spots to get the tube to fit flush.

As I write this, it occurs to me that it might be a good idea to stick toothpicks through the mat and into the foam to hold the mat in place while you're wetting it out. Next time I may try inflating a baloon in the tube to squeeze the mat against the sides of the hole while it cures. I'm not sure if resin will melt the baloon, though. Condoms may be solvent resistant, but I'm not sure if I want to get that personal with my Whaler!)

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