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Dorade and Salon Leak update

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The rainy days since I started the second dorade box repair and taped it all closed have verified that the leak near the dinette/head bulkhead is probably (mostly) from there. Seven of the eight snap holes around the salon hatch are filled. The last one is a bottomless pit so there must be a void under there. I think the next attempt will fill that one. No epoxy is leaking out of the overhead.

The slight leak in the aft left corner of the salon hatch lens seal is larger this fall. Time to do something about that. Water is dripping at a high rate onto the dinette table if I leave the cover off the hatch. The hatch cover snaps are not re-installed yet, so ... But last week I discovered that some of the water was wicking under the headliner at the orange arrow and it ends up at the forward corner of the fixed port in the next picture. I got under the headliner at the outboard edge of the overhead above that port and man was there a lot of water. So now I'm not sure if the problem at the port is all from the salon hatch or if there is a leak at that corner of the port, too. I can see new drips above the port, coming from the overhead.

On the port side, the aft fixed port above the stove started to leak last spring, right at the split in the two-part frame. I did a sealer repair on that corner today using 4000UV. See the third picture. It won't rain for about 10 more days here, so it'll have time to cure. By the way, that inside black seal is not a seal, actually. It's just an attractive filler for the gap between the inside frame and the glass.

I have been putting off re-bedding the fixed ports. It seems like everyone has a different bad experience with removal, a really bad cutout, or a rough time finding gaskets, etc. I am tempted to clean up the outside frame perimeter on all four and put a neat, narrow bead of 4200 or 4000UV around the old rubber gasket and in the frame splits. Maybe that will work until I get a round to them.

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  1. Loren Beach's Avatar
    If you reach the point of removal of the fixed ports and might consider a different approach, consider the external lexan lens system used on the Olson's.
    This would require some tidying up of the old edge of the cabin side (outer layer of frp and inner teak plywood) and then sealing that visible edge with paint.
    The final shape of the new lens would mimic the shape of the present frame. The outside dimension would have about an inch of overlap onto the cabin side.

    This eliminates the problem of frame-to-lens leaks, and it's very strong.

    There is an E-27 in one of the site splash screens with this change. I think it looks great, but then I would say that.

    There is a required technique to applying an external lens such that it will not leak, and I can advise. The set of four that I replaced in '95 is still leak free.

    As for the hassle of epoxy-filling a vertical hole with no apparent backing, perhaps you could over drill it and then drop an oval-shape disc in with a thread thru a hole in the center. The disc has to just barely fit with the narrower dimension. Pull it tight and insert some thickened epoxy. Ancient trick, but sometimes it still works.

    Updated 12-07-2017 at 07:53 AM by Loren Beach
  2. Christian Williams's Avatar

    Re the fixed ports, I don't know how to fix a gasket/glass leak (still waiting for the definitive thread on that). But I don't think you would have any problem yanking out the entire fixed ports to re-caulk them. The interior frames are just cosmetic. The portlight unit is just held by bedding compound, the bedding is likely dried out anyhow. It's usually an easy seal to break and then they just push out. If reinstalling the same units, the cut-out is as adequate as it ever was.

    Rick R. ordered brand new fixed ports to a template of his originals. I recall it was pretty expensive, though.

    By the way--I think the photos show that you still have the factory interior anti-glare film on the glass of the fixed ports. I thought my glass was horribly aged. Then I took a razor blade to it and discovered the film. After I scraped and peeled it off the glass was clear and like new--and the cabin was a lot brighter, too. I may be all wrong about your glass, but removing the film changed everything inside the boat. Crystal-clear portlights over the galley!
    Updated 12-11-2017 at 11:56 PM by Christian Williams
  3. footrope's Avatar
    As if by magic, a Leave comment link has appeared.

    Thanks for the comments. I will consider a no-frame external lens, perhaps, after I get the first couple of fixed port frames pulled out. I am reluctant to go to Lexan, but that might still be the best. I have seen several boats with that type of installation around the marina. The apparent simplicity has its appeal. As for the bottomless hole, the second fill was topped off with some very sticky epoxy - almost like a paste because it had kicked and was hardening. It looks like that filled in the hole where the epoxy was escaping. In the past I have stuffed tape into holes to cure that situation, but in this case I hope I don't have to drill again.

    Thanks for the tip. I didn't realize the inside frame was non-structural. It must just be used to hold the external frame and glass in place while the sealer/bedding compound sets. The difficulty in getting the external frame and glass out must depend on the opening size and the relative health of the old sealer. The old sealer that I've found on the frames of the opening ports is as tenacious in some areas as it is brittle and leaky in others. More of the same, I guess, and maybe worse if it is also a filler. I have no idea how to deal with the gasket around the glass pane. More research.

    The blue tint, I think, is a trick of the light due to the cloud-filtered early dusk at the time I took the picture.
    Updated 12-12-2017 at 10:42 PM by footrope
  4. bigd14's Avatar
    If you have a multi master or other oscillating tool use a flat scraper blade in it. Tape around the outside of the port light to protect the gelcoat before using the tool. I first cut into the sealant from the inside with this blade then from the outside. 10 minutes for each port light. I managed not to damage any gelcoat this way.
  5. footrope's Avatar
    Sounds like a good technique. I do have access to one. At this point, my plan is to check with a putty knife around the outside frame for any gaps between the cabin and the frame. They all look good - I've been watching them for a long time. And it's easy to remove the inside black filler gasket to look for evidence of water getting in and pooling there. If the outside frame checks are good, then I'll probably try to seal up any suspect spots in the glass to frame gasket and see how the rest of the winter goes.

    I'm going to take the inside frame off the pictured port on the left side and see if the sealer is holding and how bad any cracking looks. If the sealer is ok, or can be repaired with 4200 under the inside frame, then I'll do that. I'll replace the plywood panel and put it all back together. That particular port has the worst looking veneer plywood of the four.