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First Salon Fixed Port is removed ... that wasn't the plan

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The forward left fixed port was leaking around the outside of the frame, at both ends, at the corners. Removing the beauty ring on the inside last week was probably not a good idea in my case. I confirmed the leaks when I started removing the rotted interior plywood panel. I've got some plywood to replace it with, so I was just going to fit the new plywood around the window, but finding the leaks put an end to that plan.

While cleaning up the last of the wood stuck to the cabin wall, the aft side of the port moved and there was daylight. So, out it came and it was pretty easy since no 5200 or other caulk was used. I discovered that the sealer is a self-adhesive gray foam gasket. Not what I was expecting and not a great idea, long term. Using foam as bedding makes the beauty ring more important to the performance of the seal, but there was already a leak. On the bright side, the opening cleaned up with little effort. Same for the window frame. I am loathe to separate the frame to replace the rubber gasket for the glass - safety glass actually. The outside part of the rubber gasket is weathered, but appears intact. Maybe I can test the integrity somehow. Maybe take it to a glass place and see what they say. The inside rubber part is beautiful, black and flexible. No sign of leakage at all. Now to make the replacement plywood panel.

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  1. mjsouleman's Avatar

    As most of us have replaced ports lights, and found interior paneling in rotted shape, I would be interested in how you handle the paneling.

    I followed Christen's suggestion and removed the rotted material and bonded the delaminated back together. Followed up with a coat of primer and two coats of semi-gloss eggshell.

    I have also followed other threads that removed and replaced which required a lot of work but the results were beautiful.

  2. footrope's Avatar
    Hi MJS,
    I will be posting the re-installation of the port with new plywood. Now that I have one out I can see that these fixed ports are not a great design for a number of reasons. I'll get into that in the next post, hopefully with an improvement on the original installation method while keeping the original look. Thanks for the comment.
  3. kapnkd's Avatar
    Fixing Ports is not a job for the faint of heart. That being said - It CAN be done.

    There was discussion on it some time back and here's a link to what I did as well as a few others. My older Ericson did not have the wood trim on the interior but the window frames are pretty much the same. Should you attempt to replace the inner rubber seal by taking the frames apart, you may want to create a two part jig as I did to insure being able to squeeze the tapered ends securely without the clamps slipping off. (See the drawing I did in the old discussion) Word of advice - "IF" the inner seals don't leak - let the sleeping dog lie. My older grey seals were really dried out and leaked.

    BTW - Butyl rubber is the route to go instead of silicon sealant. Much easier to clean and best of all (so far) NO LEAKS!

    kapnkd - '73 E32 MkII
    Updated 01-07-2018 at 10:14 AM by kapnkd
  4. footrope's Avatar
    Thanks for the link. I have no use for silicone sealers for bedding material, but I don't like the flat, gray butyl putty material, either. I used that once on the plastic base for my new rope clutch, but it had to be perfectly dry and warm to make me feel like it would work. I will use 4000UV or maybe 4200 to seal the port frame to the opening.

    In the linked thread, Herbert's inner gasket (third picture) is badly deteriorated. Fortunately it is only a filler and performs no sealing functions. It does hide leaks coming from the glass to frame seal, though, which collect in the trough. I have removed the inside seal for the time being on my ports to watch for window seal issues. I hope I won't have to split any frames. It appears that the glass seal on my first port is ok.
  5. frick's Avatar
    I systematically re- bedded all the ports on the 1971 e29.
    I have found that if you can squeeze the Silicon seal it works really really well.
    I going on 12 years since that work and I have no leaks.

    I also discovered that I needed at rubber Mallet to persuade some window frames to come out and go back in.

    Also, I have found that Capt' Tolley's creaping crack cure is a fine product to seal the rubber gaskets that hold the glass into the frame..

  6. footrope's Avatar
    Thanks for the testimonial. I will be doing something like that. My first port does leak and I've done the obligatory local search (fruitless). Online I did find a 50 ft roll of 5/16 x 5/16 rubber channel for 1/8 thick material that might work, but the Catalina Direct kits look better and for a reasonable price. I need to get the port apart and measure the "glass" which may be plastic except that it is pretty old and shows no signs of scratches or crazing. Gonna have to be careful.