E32 Boom/Gooseneck Fitment & Rehab

vanilladuck

E32-3 / San Francisco
tl;dr - Boom-to-gooseneck fitment was found to be loose. This thread is dedicated to the re-fitment of these pieces, as well as the cleanup and replacement of some frozen sheaves on the fitting at the end of the boom.
---


A few days ago, I was replacing the reefing lines on my 1985 Ericson 32-3 and some friendly forum members noticed the fitment of the gooseneck and boom were a bit 'off'..

IMG_20200705_182241.jpg

Upon closer inspection with the main sail off, I found the connection was quite loose and only being held in place by two screws, one on each side. The screw on the underside was gone, probably washed away into the depths somewhere. This seems to have made a bit of a vertical hinge action and the holes in the boom had been sheared wider over time.


I continued pulling things apart, dismounting the boom and removing the black end cap and gooseneck. Typical wear from a 35 year old boat was found on the bolt connecting gooseneck to the vertical toggle/tack fitting. The gooseneck itself appears to be in tact though, which is nice since the bolted end is the weakest point and tends to break. Here are some photos of the gooseneck and related accouterments:

2020-07-11 16.32.12.jpg 2020-07-11 16.32.20.jpg 2020-07-11 16.32.36.jpg 2020-07-11 16.32.50.jpg 2020-07-11 16.31.43.jpg 2020-07-11 16.31.11.jpg

And a shot of the boom end cap with frozen sheave:

2020-07-11 16.26.49.jpg

I'm planning on following Tom's repair plan found in his blog post, https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/ubs/boom-rehab.750/, including repainting and replacing sheaves. Additionally, I'm thinking of drilling new holes to reconnect the boom and gooseneck. My plan so far is to have two screws on each side and replace the missing screw underneath. Like so:

2020-07-05 18.43.19_new_screws.jpg

A few things come to mind, as I want to be careful:
  1. Collect all the new stainless screws first, matching size to existing.
  2. Drill pilot holes with the gooseneck inserted into the boom and secured in place so it won't back out or move.
  3. The new top screws above should be relatively short so they don't interfere with the reefing lines running through the boom. Also a blunt end is probably a good idea.
  4. Should I consider adding some sort of material to the inside flange of the gooseneck to shore up the space which has been created over time? If so, what should I use? For reference, I had to tap out the boom end cap with a rubber mallet carefully. The gooseneck literally *fell* out of the boom it was so loose around the flange.
  5. Is it a good idea to use threadlock or similar to keep the stainless hardware in place?
Any other considerations or suggestions are more than welcome! I'm a moderately handy person, but I'm new to working on a boat ;)
 

sharonov

Member II
I had exact same problem on my E32-3. I think only one screw was holding it and that gap "smiled" real wide. Scary...
I added two extra screws (total of five) and dunk them all in anti-seize compound. I think I used both tefgel and locktight. Not that locktight would lock it with stainless screw and aluminum goose neck, but would prevent corrosion. Well, that treatment worked a little too well and screws are gradually working themselves out and require periodic tightening. Maybe corrosion would not have been such a bad thing after all :).
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
That all sounds good to me, for what that's worth. Tef-gel, yup, always with alum/stainless. This isn't a critical repair, and goosenecks have to come off and go back on whenever you work on the boom internals. Couple of screws will stop the movement. If they get loose in a year, just tighten them. ( All screws on spars on old boats need tightening--I'll bet 90 percent of us have one loose right now, which makes a trip around the deck with a screwdriver educational.)
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
I think if you can drill your four new holes with the gooseneck seated properly flush, you shouldn't need any shims. The aluminum of the boom itself and the cast piece drill out very easily. Start with a drift pin and sharp drill bits. I found tapping new screw threads to be fairly straightforward as well. If the hole in the bottom (with missing screw) has stripped threads, you can just tap a larger hole for the next larger size screw. This assumes the hole is in the right place when your gooseneck is fully seated.

Your concerns about getting the correct length of machine screws (so as to avoid snagging hazards for internal lines) are spot on. I went through two rounds of screws after I realized the first set I bought was too long. I think you will find the factory screws just reach the interior edge of the gooseneck and do not poke into the internal boom space.

I had such a hard time getting corroded screws out, I used an anti-seize goop to prevent future freezing, so my (novice, mind you) view would be to not put on any loc-tite type fixer.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Write down and make little pencil diagrams of everything before you forget what goes where. Take closeups with you digi camera or smart phone.
I like to enhance the details at home on the main computer, and print out pictures of key assemblies and parts.
 

vanilladuck

E32-3 / San Francisco
Thanks all! I'm working the old paint off the pieces now.

Tom, what is a 'drift pin'? Is it the same thing as a punch (i.e. tapered metal pin you can tap with a hammer/mallet)? Any chance you could throw a link or photo up? Thanks again!
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Thanks all! I'm working the old paint off the pieces now.

Tom, what is a 'drift pin'? Is it the same thing as a punch (i.e. tapered metal pin you can tap with a hammer/mallet)? Any chance you could throw a link or photo up? Thanks again!
Yes, exactly. A punch to make a dimple at you new hole location, so your drill bit doesn't float away from the intended target on the smooth surface.

 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
When you go to buy a tap for the new holes, make sure you get one of the Irwin tap kits with the proper sized pilot drill bit. The aluminum on the spars is fairly thin, so you'll only get a few threads into its thickness. The correct size pilot hole is important.

Also, while the aluminum is very easy to tap, I've found that hole alignment can be tricky on curved surfaces. Might help to tap one hole at a time and screw a bolt in there before going to tap the next hole.
 

Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
A couple of comments, if I may:

Loctite red is intended for semi-permanent installation and will truly lock the screw in place.

Loctite blue, on the other hand is made for situations where later fastener removal is anticipated. It is a thread sealer and is anti-corrosive, much like TefGel. So they are pretty much the same function. I would (and have) use one or the other, not both at once.

Tapping aluminum is pretty easy, as noted, but that soft metal can get a bit hot and can clog and grab the tap bit threads. So it is best, especially on the thick mast, to tap in a few threads, then back the tap out, then back in a few threads, back out and repeat until complete. That way the tap threads will stay clear and cleaned out of aluminum shavings and won’t bind. Taps can be broken off in aluminum and are then very difficult to remove.o_O
 

G Kiba

Member III
Spring loaded center punch is really nice for locating drilled holes. I keep one handy on the boat even though I hate drilling holes.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Bryan - I hesitate somewhat to offer this as you should focus on fun and using your boat. However, one more thing to consider while you have your boom taken apart is whether you want to switch back to a regular topping lift/line boom-vang setup instead of your rigid vang.

The rigid vang requires the gooseneck to act as a cantilever pivot point. When the boom moves around, (especially if the vang is loose and there is no sail up to take weight) a lot of force will be loaded onto the gooseneck. This torque may have contributed to the loosening you are correcting now.

With a traditional topping lift, half the flopping weight/shocks are transferred up the lift to the masthead and the rest of the rigging. The load of the boom is supported at both ends (gooseneck and topping lift).

The topping lift is very simple - just a fixed length line that runs from the masthead to @ 12" above the back of the boom, then a second line that connects to that fixed length one and runs through the boom itself. You could buy some good line and make it yourself, provided you can go up the mast to fix one end to the masthead.

Probably this idea should go on your maybe-sometime-in-the-future list.

Once you get out there again and sail with your new reefing lines and sheaves you'll learn a lot more (at least I did/have). At least, I think you would want to be careful not to let the boom flap around with the vang alone supporting it.
 

sharonov

Member II
Dang.. need to tell all my friends with newer sailboats to swap those dangerous rigid vangs for good old topping lifts ;-)
But seriously, I have topping lift and had exact same issue with the gooseneck. I would gladly swap my topping lift for the vang, both for convenience and for safety.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Tapping aluminum is pretty easy, as noted, but that soft metal can get a bit hot and can clog and grab the tap bit threads. So it is best, especially on the thick mast, to tap in a few threads, then back the tap out, then back in a few threads, back out and repeat until complete. That way the tap threads will stay clear and cleaned out of aluminum shavings and won’t bind. Taps can be broken off in aluminum and are then very difficult to remove.o_O
I was also told by a guy at a machine shop that the type of cutting oil used when tapping can make a difference. There are cutting oils/fluids especially formulated for tapping aluminum. If you foresee a lot of tapping in your future, it might be a good investment.
 

sharonov

Member II
Good point. Using a good cutting fluid is important. However using any cutting fluid is way better than using none. I occasionally would use soap if that is all that can be had on a short notice. As for real cutting fluids I found this video quite educational:
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
@ Sharanov - That's actually a really good video. I thought the second test with the armor plating was even more impressive. Bits used with good cutting oils make it all the way through the plate and might be good for even more drilling. Bits used with cheap oils wear out before making much of a hole. I wonder how much $$ I could have saved in drill bits using good cutting oils over the years versus the standard motor-oil oil-can I normally use?
 

sharonov

Member II
I think the most money I saved on bits were from buying expensive cobalt bits instead of homedepot junk. May not mater much for wood or even aluminum but once in a while when you need to drill stainless steel cobalt is worth its weight in gold.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Dang.. need to tell all my friends with newer sailboats to swap those dangerous rigid vangs for good old topping lifts ;-)
But seriously, I have topping lift and had exact same issue with the gooseneck. I would gladly swap my topping lift for the vang, both for convenience and for safety.
My suggestion was pure conjecture. If you are having the same problem with a topping lift, then maybe I'm totally off base.

But don't your friends with new boats have booms that were designed to work with rigid vangs?

Why is a rigid vang safer?
 

vanilladuck

E32-3 / San Francisco
Tom - you don't know this about me yet, but I remain super appreciative of any/all feedback, suggestions, hints, and ideas. It's all information for continued thought and exploration. So, thank you and Sharonov, et al, for the thoughts on the rigid boom vang vs. topping lift. Having learned how to sail on more traditionally rigged boats, I actually would rather have a topping lift. And I had similar thoughts about the fulcrum created by the rigid vang when I saw it, with majority of boom weight hanging aft of point of connection. My opinion might change after using the rigid vang for a while. Perhaps a rigid vang is considered safer due to less potential for the boom to fall if the TL fails and less wear/tear on the leech of the main? Thankfully summer wind around SF is usually present (sometimes a little *too present* :p), so I won't be going far with the main halyard disconnected from the end of the boom where it's usually stowed as a temporary TL.

Circling back to the gooseneck and outhaul assembly, I removed most of the paint from the gooseneck. Here's a photo along the way:

IMG_20200713_224156.jpg

Tom, did you remove the paint covering the inside as well? I took some off the edges and am planning on stopping there as I figure the inside should be just fine due to lack of exposure.

I'm having the darnedest time knocking the knurled pin out of the outhaul assembly. I've tried PB Blaster, WD-40, knocking it with a lag bolt and mallet/hammer, cursing at it, whispering sweet nothings. It's not budging. I even tried to let the PB blaster soak in overnight (the tiny pool didn't disappear one bit). I'm wondering if I should look into putting the assembly in the refrigerator or focusing a can of inverted air duster on the knurled pin to shrink it. The only problem, as I'm reading, is the coefficient for thermal expansion:
  • Steel = 1.2
  • Aluminum = 2.4
So, I think the aluminum assembly will contract around the pin more than the pin will contract.

Thoughts, suggestions?
 

sharonov

Member II
I feel rigid vang is a safer choice because we do not often get to inspect the guts of the topping lift inside the boom. Like never? My rigger replaced external wire for the topping lift but refused to break into the boom citing stainless screws corroded into the end piece. Some time ago I replaced the end piece myself and I can attest that even with the impact driver and penetrating oil it was not an easy or fast job. I just hope that if topping lift goes the lazyjacks will be enough to save my head from the crashing boom ;-)
I will concede the point that maybe some booms were not designed to take the stress from the vang but looking at all these new production boats I feel that hardware on Ericson is beefier. Of course, until somebody does a stress analysis this is just an opinion. Also, as I am getting older I get more and more disillusioned with the notion that some wise experts somewhere did complex calculations and came up with the perfect wall thickness and hardware sizes to use on our boats. I suspect it is more of a SWAG, experience and what can be had in the marketplace.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Vang.... I sailed our prior 26 footer pretty hard for a decade, with a topping lift the would often snag on batten pockets. When we bought the O-34, in 1994, with the factory rod vang, it took us a short time (minutes..) to appreciate it! :)
If we had known how much easier it made sailing, we would have upgaded the previous boat.
Regarding boom section strength - no matter what kind of vang a boat has, too much tension on it at the wrong moment will bend/break a boom.
 
Top