Replacing rubber seals on main (large) windows/ports [Master Thread]

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
I spent too much time and money getting the wrong sized gaskets twice and eventually gave up and bedded them entirely in Dow 795. I used some little bits of the original gasket as spacers. Still going strong 6 years on. It will be a real nightmare if I ever have to redo them though!
I've read your account several times. It's what has got me questioning the need for new gaskets. On the lookout for one of those rubber squeegees.
 

gareth harris

Sustaining Member
About twenty years ago I sent a sample of the original gasket to Wefco and got a replacement manufactured to match it. Wefco told me that the fee that I paid for its creation would be a one time payment and that it would then be available for future orders at a standard price, so it should still be available.

Gareth
Freyja E35 #241 1972
 

Nick J

Contributing Partner
Moderator
Blogs Author
Nick,
Absolutely. That would be a royal pain. But in looking at the construction, I'm not sure the current Catalina offering matches what we have on our boat. Below is a schematic (only roughly to scale) of how our lights are constructed. And, the Catalina gaskets.

View attachment 46937 View attachment 46938

Do either of these look like what you had on your 25+ or got from Catalina? The fillet of the gasket only exists on the inside.
Yes, that's exactly what I had and the Catalina kit worked. I put a heavy bead of sealant in the channel of the glazing between the glazing and glass and another bead between the aluminum and the glazing. It essentially just used the glazing as a filler and the sealant created the water barrier. I don't have the instructions anymore, but I'm pretty sure that's what the silicone sealant is for (if I remember correctly it was Dow 795) It worked well for me. I did the newspaper test to verify everything was water tight.

I think all the beads of sealant you see on these portlights when you walk the docks (Blue stuff in your pic) is evidence of attempts to seal the leaks without removing them. It's more of a band-aid then the actual method of construction. That's what my portlights look like on the 35-3 and the are starting to leak. Time to brush up on this again and give it a go. Good thing so many of us have already done it and can share some tips and tricks.
 

ConchyDug

Member III
I did away with the aluminum frames and went vinyl. Also, replaced the teak around the windows and ports with Formica. https://markplastics.com/ in California fabbed the new frames and seals. No leaks 4yrs later even after the Great Texas Snowpocalypse, Texas summers, a hurricane, and multiple offshore races. So just another route to go when tackling this project.

Screenshot_20230503-110029.png

IMG_20230327_132759_01.jpg
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
I say "opening ports" "portlights" and "fixed ports. (Anything but "windows")

"Deadlights" seems a stretch to describe the ports on our boats. Or anyhow, in conversation I wouldn't know exactly what was meant.

Noun[edit]​

deadlight (plural deadlights)
  1. (nautical) A strong (often wooden) shutter fitted over a porthole, that can be closed in bad weather to keep water out and discourage the glass windows from breaking.
  2. (nautical) A deck prism, a device to allow light into the cabin of boat through the deck.
  3. (figurative) An eyelid.

Fixed Port(light) and Opening Port(light) it is then.

I found one link that supported deadlight as a fixed ‘window’ - https://www.diy-wood-boat.com/Porthole.html - but others which said it is a solid cover to protect the opening. No offense meant, Christian, but finally I checked with another friend, who was director of an historic seaport museum. He said it can be a matter of debate, but was in the camp of deadlight = cover. He cited the International Maritime Dictionary as one of his reliable sources. Fixed Port and Opening Port.

“Your mariner is an honest fellow, none better; but he is sadly given to jargon.” Stephen Maturin
Post Captain, Patrick O’Brian

Cheers, Jeff
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
fixed port rebed 1802 flip.jpg
With a piece of wood standing in for the glass. A little treatment with 303 and the gaskets seem to be in good shape. I'm still inclined to reuse them.
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
There’s no new information here. I’m merely illustrating techniques that others have described in this and other threads. Partly this is in response to questions by @Hilary in a different post.

portlight extraction 705.jpg
First I used a oscillating tool with a knife blade (Not a saw blade!) to separate the joint from the inside. I used a snap-off utility knife with the blade extended to cut at the corners. You could also do this with the rest of the frame, but it would be a lot of work.

portlight extraction 688.jpg
Then I used a flexible putty knife with a hammer and went all the way around the exterior frames.

portlight extraction 703.jpg
After that, the portlights came out fairly easy. I very gently used a prybar. Aluminum frames are easy to bend. As with with other posters here, some of the original caulk was still flexible and other parts had deteriorated to a dry putty. This leads me to think it was something besides silicone between frame and cabin wall.
 

Mr. Scarlett

Member III
Looks like I'm next. I found a silicone ring on deck that turned out to be what was keeping water out above the galley counter.
On the rectangular ports there is only one joint in the frame - on one of the long edges. Does anyone else have these? Without removing it for a closer look, it seems that the gasket and glass cannot be removed and replaced.
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
Looks like I'm next. I found a silicone ring on deck that turned out to be what was keeping water out above the galley counter.
On the rectangular ports there is only one joint in the frame - on one of the long edges. Does anyone else have these? Without removing it for a closer look, it seems that the gasket and glass cannot be removed and replaced.
Mr. S,
Do you mean one of the opening ports? If so, you might refer to this:

We have Bomars on our boat, except for one lonely Lewmar at the foot of the quarter berth.
saloon Bomar 86 E35-3 sm.jpg . . . Q-berth Lewmar 86 E35-3 sm.jpg

The Bomars are not rebuildable. However, once out of the boat we did a water test and determined only one was leaking.
Fxd Prtlt water test 1a.jpg . . . Fxd Prtlt water test 1b.jpg

We reconditioned the gaskets with 303 and reinstalled them with butyl tape, with the knowledge we will likely have to replace them within the next so many years.

If you have Lewmars, you might check with HatchMasters in Norwalk, CT. Even if you want to rebuild yours yourself, in the course of conversation you may glean helpful information and they might sell replacement parts.

There are quite a few threads about opening portlights on EYo. I've catalogued about 20 links I can provide if you'd like.

Hope this is helpful.
 

Mr. Scarlett

Member III
Hope this is helpful.
Thanks. I think I have all the relates links though.
In another thread I posted a pic of an opening Lewmar, with one joint in the frame. In my head I was picturing the inside trim ring on the non opening ports as the frame itself and got confused. My non opening ports are typical of Ericson, with tempered glass.
Two days ago I removed one rectangular and one of the larger, aft ports that had been leaking. One had dried out foam tape and was loose in the opening before the last screw came out. The other had a bit of silicone at one end still holding. Both cleaned up easily, reinstalled and survived a brief but intense squall. Success. No pictures though and I wish I had the time to disassemble/clean up properly or at least get a glass thickness.

One thing that blew me away was the absolutely horrible cutouts on both. Rough, wavy, bulging. The larger port has less than 1/8" of cabin sides to bond to on one of the upper corners. This does not take away from the build quality of mine or anyone else's Ericson, but wow.
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
. . .
One thing that blew me away was the absolutely horrible cutouts on both. Rough, wavy, bulging. The larger port has less than 1/8" of cabin sides to bond to on one of the upper corners. This does not take away from the build quality of mine or anyone else's Ericson, but wow.
We found this too, though the actual cut-outs weren't as bad as some people have shown and there was a tight contact between FG outer shell and plywood inner fascia.
fixd prtlt hole 03.jpg . . fixd prtlt hole 02.jpg

However, like yours, in some spots there was precious little overlap between the portlight frame and the cabin sides.
fixd prtlt hole 01.jpg

Before reinstalling, I was inside adjusting the port for even placement in the hole. Then from the outside Donna drew a pencil line around the frame. We used this to lay out the tape which, in addition to aiding cleanup, allowed us to align the port. It was still tricky because of the caulk squeeze-out over the tape. By the fourth portlight we about got it right.
fixd prtlt hole 04.jpg
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
I spent too much time and money getting the wrong sized gaskets twice and eventually gave up and bedded them entirely in Dow 795. I used some little bits of the original gasket as spacers. Still going strong 6 years on. It will be a real nightmare if I ever have to redo them though!
I finished the fixed portlights this past Spring. I'm finally putting some pictures up. This is how I used bigd14's method to reassemble them.

fixd prtlt dow 038.jpg
One of the original gaskets was cut into small pieces to float the lens in the frame.

fixd prtlt dow 310.jpg
A generous bead was laid into the the frame channel.

The frames went together with moderate pressure from a bar clamp. For our frames I didn't need to build a custom fixture.

fixd prtlt dow 312.jpg

After the frame was assembled and the two bridge connectors were screwed I pumped some caulk into the joints were there are some cleverly placed holes.

fixd prtlt dow 314.jpg
The spacers rode up in places so I pushed them down, allowing for a good caulk bead front and back..

fixd prtlt dow 315 outer.jpg
On the outer surfaces I used a large diameter for the fillet.

fixd prtlt dow 316 inner.jpg
A smaller diameter was used on the inside fillet.
After a day of cure, a razor scraper took off the overflow fairly easy. In a do over, I might have masked the glass too. But that's probably as tedious as scraping.

I'd just assumed all fixed portlights were made the same and was surprised to see that @peaman 's 1987 E32-3 had one piece frames. How they made those is beyond me. And how to rehab them is even further beyond. It appears to be the same extrusion and gasket.
post #89 https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/replacing-fixed-windows-research-master-thread.9603/post-170015

My original intention was to reuse the gaskets but I decided that even though they seemed good now, they were likely to degrade in elasticity and seal. I hope I never have to take these apart again because this Dow stuff will be a bear to get off.
For installation in the cabin wall I used 3M 4000 UV. If I'd know then about the Dolfinite that peaman used, I might well have used that.

I've got three intact glazing gaskets if anyone wants them.
Jeff
 

peaman

Sustaining Member
that it would then be available for future orders at a standard price, so it should still be available.
What type of gasket (or "glazing vinyl") was that? My fixed port lights have a single piece frame wherein the gasket is installed after the glass is in place. The gasket has a flattened triangle profile, while the apparently more common two-piece frames use a "C" channel gasket which wraps around the glass before the two frame halves are joined around the gasketed glass.

If the gasket you got from Wefco is for the single-piece frame, I'd like to know how to reference that when contacting Wefco. Otherwise, I might see if Wefco can replicate my gasket.
 

peaman

Sustaining Member
Anti-Bond has been mentioned here as a useful weapon for loosening certain caulks, often with a caveat that it won't work against silicone. Today, at my local Ace Hardware, I discovered "Motsenbocker's Lift Off" spray foam & SILICONE CAULK REMOVER which claims to "break the molecular bond between caulk and surface".

I bought a 4.5 oz squirt bottle for $8, much cheaper than Anti-Bond. I have not tried it, yet, so cannot recommend it. But for those who are reworking their port lights over the winter, it may be useful.
 

Kif

Junior Member
Getting ready to tackle my first portlight. Trying to digest all of the great advice here. I've removed one already. Cleaned the old caulk from where it was used as bedding. Ordered an initial kit from catalina direct to try the window gaskets. Definitely still trying to digest the different bedding options discussed here.

One early stage question for anyone on this thread that I have not seen addressed: What are thoughts on treatment for the exterior side of the aluminum frames? I seem to recall seeing something somewhere about being careful not to take anodizing off, but I'd love to polish them up, or maybe I should just paint them. If painting - suggestions on products to use?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Getting ready to tackle my first portlight. Trying to digest all of the great advice here. I've removed one already. Cleaned the old caulk from where it was used as bedding. Ordered an initial kit from catalina direct to try the window gaskets. Definitely still trying to digest the different bedding options discussed here.

One early stage question for anyone on this thread that I have not seen addressed: What are thoughts on treatment for the exterior side of the aluminum frames? I seem to recall seeing something somewhere about being careful not to take anodizing off, but I'd love to polish them up, or maybe I should just paint them. If painting - suggestions on products to use?
When our outside frames looked a bit ragged, and my wife suggested we need entirely new windows, I found a half pint of aluminum coloured Tremclad paint at our local hardware store for ten dollars. I painted all of the frames, no masking or fancy prep, they look great and my wife never raised the issue again. :)
Frank
 

Prairie Schooner

Jeff & Donna, E35-3 purchased 7/21
Getting ready to tackle my first portlight. Trying to digest all of the great advice here. I've removed one already. Cleaned the old caulk from where it was used as bedding. Ordered an initial kit from catalina direct to try the window gaskets. Definitely still trying to digest the different bedding options discussed here.

One early stage question for anyone on this thread that I have not seen addressed: What are thoughts on treatment for the exterior side of the aluminum frames? I seem to recall seeing something somewhere about being careful not to take anodizing off, but I'd love to polish them up, or maybe I should just paint them. If painting - suggestions on products to use?
Once you break the anodizing it will corrode more quickly and you will be in a cycle of polishing on a regular schedule. That may be worth it. You could polish them and have them re-anodized or powder coated. Others here have had good luck painting. We elected to leave the decent though somewhat worn existing finish and embrace the wabi sabi, if you will.
 

Kif

Junior Member
When our outside frames looked a bit ragged, and my wife suggested we need entirely new windows, I found a half pint of aluminum coloured Tremclad paint at our local hardware store for ten dollars. I painted all of the frames, no masking or fancy prep, they look great and my wife never raised the issue again. :)
Frank
I was trying to find tremclad and it was coming up as very expensive to ship and then I found myself on homedepot.ca and realized a ha - this is a Canadian sailor's advice. I'm guessing rustoleum might be similar.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I was trying to find tremclad and it was coming up as very expensive to ship and then I found myself on homedepot.ca and realized a ha - this is a Canadian sailor's advice. I'm guessing rustoleum might be similar.
Yes, rustoleum is a very similar product, so just find a nice aluminum colour match. I think Armour All also makes a similar paint. :)
Frank
 
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