Tough Decisions with an E26

SarahMK

New Member
I love our little 1984 Ericson 26, but we got some bad news recently. The engine is the original 1983 Yanmar 1GM. The fuel tank is shot as are the exhaust and raw water hoses. The engine still runs, but with all that air coming in, it's a hard start.

Like many others on here, we also have leaks in the v-berth. I know it's coming in along the wiring for the bow light, and I suspect the anchor locker needs rebedding.

The deck around the anchor locker isn't spongy (yet), but we had a surveyor come out and he determined that there's some rot. He recommended the aeromarine foam and epoxy fix. Apparently there's an E30 in PDX that did the same thing with success. Plus there are some good youtube videos.

We're new to boat ownership so I'm a little worried that these projects may be over my head, but I also really want to learn. Do y'all think this repair list is worth a shot?

In light of the rainy season coming up, I'm thinking we would need to rebed the anchor locker this week while it's still sunny. Then keep a dehumidifier in the v-berth all winter and watch for leaks.

The fuel tank I've heard can be done while the boat is in the water as long as you can empty the tank. What about the hoses? I'm wondering if we can do the engine work this winter while waiting on the aeromarine for dry weather? Doable for newish boat owners? Advice needed and appreciated!
 

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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
By the background in the photo, I wonder if you moor downtown? Last year I noticed a boat like this for sale, there.
(We are over on the Columbia River, at RCYC)
Loren
 

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
Greetings to you and welcome aboard!

I have the identical boat to you: Same boat, same engine, same year. Judging just by that one photo, it looks you you have a very clean specimen of an E26. They are a fun boat to sail and have a remarkable interior for a 26 footer.

To offer a bit of perspective, owning any boat, particularly one that is 36 years old, is a maintenance-intensive deal. It just goes with the territory. You will gain more confidence and skills as you work through different issues. There are some really knowledgeable people on this forum who will be happy to offer you some help.

None of the issues you have presented are especially alarming, but you will need to tend to them. All boats this age have issues, and no sooner do you fix one issue than something else crops up. But eventually you will get the boat in pretty good shape overall and it does get better. Usually. Mostly. Sometimes. ;)

Leaking hardware is an issue to which you will need to attend from time to time. While Ericsons are decent boats generally, it is also true that sometimes the factory did some pretty goofy things. The aft starboard leg of the bow pulpit on the E26 is Exhibit A. Here you've got the leg of the pulpit going into a socket affixed to the deck with wiring running right through the pulpit leg and then straight through the deck with no serious attempt at sealing it. Any water that finds its way between the pulpit leg and the socket--which isn't even close to water tight--is going to migrate through the deck and in between the deck and the headliner. This was a supremely stupid design decision, to put it mildly.

What I did--which may or may not be the ideal repair--is to use a silicone (I believe) self-annealing tape to wrap the joint where the pulpit leg goes into that socket. I also inspect the tape occasionally just to make sure it hasn't developed any tears or anything. I also rebedded both of the pulpit sockets where they attach to the deck. You can use either a polysulfide caulking to do this or, as some people prefer, butyl tape. There's lots of into on good techniques for doing this, and people on this forum can help you with the details. At that point you will have taken care of the main points water ingress as far as the pulpit is concerned. (The forward legs, should they leak at all, do not go into wood core and would simply dribble a small amount of water into your bilge. Rebedding them at some point wouldn't be a bad idea, but you will need to remove the anchor locker pan to get at the nuts underneath the forward pulpit legs.)

Your other stanchions should at some point be rebedded as well, which is just normal maintenance on an old boat. Note, by the way, that in the E26, there is a headliner covering the nuts on both of those aft bow pulpit legs. I went ahead and cut two holes in the liner so I could access those nuts. You could make a vinyl cover for those holes if it bothers you. However, in practical life, that is so far forward in the vee berth that you can't even see it unless you are up forward with your head stuffed up in the forepeak and are looking for it--something I never do anyway.

As for the fuel tank: You can absolutely replace it with the boat in the water. I've never tried removing it, so I can't say whether you could accomplish this with the engine in place. If your boat is like mine, you have a wooden shelf over the top of it that you'll have to remove in any case. I'm not sure whether you would have enough room to move the tank over the engine. However, even if you had to remove the engine to get out the tank, that is not a terrible job. (I've done it.) With the engine removed, yanking the fuel tank would be very easy. Again, people here could talk you through removing the engine. It's not as bad as it sounds--especially for an engine as small as the 1GM.

Replacing the exhaust and raw water hoses should not be a big job. Concerning the exhaust hose, which attaches to the transom, I presume you have a removable access panel in the quarter berth that will allow you to crawl in underneath the cockpit. If not, you should cut out the panel and fabricate a removable one. (Mine wasn't originally removable, but a little bit of work with a saw took care of that. Other E26s I've seen already have the panel removable.) Bear in mind that if you decided to pull the engine to remove the fuel tank, you could very easily tend to the exhaust hose at the same time. You'd have clear and clean access to everything that way. And, if you are really ambitious, you could take your engine home and give it a spiffy paint job!

The 1GM is a good little work horse of an engine. Once you get it up to snuff it should give you years of solid service.

I hope these initial observations might prove helpful to you and not make you feel overwhelmed. It may be that some of what I'm presenting here is a "full monty" approach, such as taking the engine home and painting it. I'm not sure you even have to remove the engine to get out the fuel tank; I don't know. But I guess that what I'm saying is that even if you have to--and it does sometimes happen that projects like removing a fuel tank can have a cascading effect--don't lose heart! This is all doable.
 
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SarahMK

New Member
Greetings to you and welcome aboard!

I have the identical boat to you: Same boat, same engine, same year. Judging just by that one photo, it looks you you have a very clean specimen of an E26. They are a fun boat to sail and have a remarkable interior for a 26 footer.

To offer a bit of perspective, owning any boat, particularly one that is 36 years old, is a maintenance-intensive deal. It just goes with the territory. You will gain more confidence and skills as you work through different issues. There are some really knowledgeable people on this forum who will be happy to offer you some help.

None of the issues you have presented are especially alarming, but you will need to tend to them. All boats this age have issue, and no sooner do you fix one issue than something else crops up. But eventually you will get the boat in pretty good shape overall and it does get better. Usually. Mostly. Sometimes. ;)

Leaking hardware is an issue to which you will need to attend from time to time. While Ericsons are decent boats generally, it is also true that from time to time the factory did some pretty goofy things. The aft starboard leg of the bow pulpit on the E26 is Exhibit A. Here you've got the leg of the pulpit going into a socket affixed to the deck with wiring running right through the pulpit leg and then straight through the deck with no serious attempt at sealing it. Any water that finds its way between the pulpit leg and the socket--which isn't even close to water tight--is going to migrate through the deck and in between the deck and the headliner. This was a supremely stupid design decision, to put it mildly.

What I did--which may or may not be the ideal repair--is to use a silicone (I believe) self-annealing tape to wrap the joint where the pulpit leg goes into that socket. I also inspect the tape from time to time just to make sure it hasn't developed any tears or anything. I also rebedded both of the pulpit sockets where they attach to the deck. You can use either a polysulfide caulking to do this or, as some people prefer, butyl tape. There's lots of into on good techniques for doing this, and people on this forum can help you with the details. At that point you will have taken care of the main points water ingress as far as the pulpit is concerned. (The forward legs, should they leak at all, do not go into wood core and would simply dribble a small amount of water into your bilge. Rebedding them at some point wouldn't be a bad idea, but you will need to remove the anchor locker pan to get at the nuts underneath the forward pulpit legs.)

Your other stanchions should at some point be rebedded as well, which is just normal maintenance on an old boat. Note, by the way, that in the E26, there is a headliner covering the nuts on both of those bow pulpit legs. I went ahead and cut two holes in the liner so I could access those nuts. You could make a vinyl cover for those holes if it bothers you. However, in practical life, that is so far forward in the vee berth that you can't even see it unless you are up forward with your head stuffed up in the forepeak and are looking for it--something I never do anyway.

As for the fuel tank: You can absolutely replace it with the boat in the water. I've never tried removing it, so I can't say whether you could accomplish this with the engine in place. If your boat is like mine, you have a wooden shelf over the top of it that you'll have to remove in any case. I'm not sure whether you would have enough room to move it over the engine. However, even if you had to remove the engine to get out the tank, that is not a terrible job. (I've done it.) With the engine removed, yanking the fuel tank would be very easy. Again, people here could talk you through removing the engine. It's not as bad as it sounds--especially for an engine as small as the 1GM.

Replacing the exhaust and raw water hoses should not be a big job. Concerning the exhaust hose, which attaches to the transom, I presume you have a removable access panel in the quarter berth that will allow you to crawl in underneath the cockpit. If not, you should cut out the panel and fabricate a removable one. (Mine wasn't originally removable, but a little bit of work with a saw took care of that. Other E26s I've seen already have the panel removable.) Bear in mind that if you decided to pull the engine to remove the fuel tank, you could very easily tend to the exhaust hose at the same time. You'd have clear and clean access to everything that way. And, if you are really ambitious, you could take your engine home and give it a spiffy paint job!

The 1GM is a good little work horse of an engine. Once you get it up to snuff it should give you years of solid service.

I hope these initial observations might prove helpful to you and not make you feel overwhelmed. It may be that some of what I'm presenting here is a "full monty" approach, such as taking the engine home and painting it. I'm not sure you even have to remove the engine to get out the fuel tank; I don't know. But I guess that what I'm saying is that even if you have to--and it does sometimes happen that projects like removing a fuel tank can have a cascading effect--don't lose heart! This is all doable.
Thank you Alan, this info is so helpful! It's been overwhelming, but I think it's because there's just so much to learn. Your experience is taking the edge off.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Everything you mentioned is doable by new owners. Everything you mentioned has been done by members here, and most of the mistakes already have been made.

It helps to feel a little excitement and curiosity about plunging in and getting dirty, and to enjoy the learning curve, and to like the idea of knowing your boat inside and out, and to collect tools and knowledge bit by bit--and then have to store them both.

Many folks want no part of any of that, and who can blame them. But if fixing up an old boat makes you secretly smile, you've come to the right place to meet fellow travelers.
 

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
Thank you Alan, this info is so helpful! It's been overwhelming, but I think it's because there's just so much to learn. Your experience is taking the edge off.
I am very glad to help where I can. As I said, there are some really bright bulbs on this forum. I do happen to have some experience in certain E26-specific issues, so I might be in a good position to be of particular help there. But much of what you are looking at is true of all boats of this vintage, so I think you've come to a good place to get your questions answered.

If you should feel especially concerned about something and believe it would be helpful to talk it over, I'd be happy to give you my phone number through private message. But as I say, most issues that arise are not specific to one model of boat and there are some highly knowledgeable folks that hang out here who will delight in helping you.
 

Brad Johnson

Member II
I also have a E26 only a couple of years newer, I have removed the fuel tank thru the lazaret hatch when I had mine needed re welding, The bow pulpit is easily remove, I have resealed this area many times as I remove the pulpits and life lines each year before I cover the boat, I put Male /Female connectors on the wires and sealed the hole that goes thru the deck., I also have removed the anchor well pan when I repaired the bow cleat and removed the stem fitting when I put on a sprit bracket. All the things you mentioned are doable . Just take one project on at a time. Advice is all ways available here
 

Alan Gomes

Sustaining Member
I also have a E26 only a couple of years newer, I have removed the fuel tank thru the lazaret hatch when I had mine needed re welding, The bow pulpit is easily remove, I have resealed this area many times as I remove the pulpits and life lines each year before I cover the boat, I put Male /Female connectors on the wires and sealed the hole that goes thru the deck., I also have removed the anchor well pan when I repaired the bow cleat and removed the stem fitting when I put on a sprit bracket. All the things you mentioned are doable . Just take one project on at a time. Advice is all ways available here
Good to know about the fuel tank, Brad! I'll file that away for future info should I ever need to do mine.
 

PDX

Member III
I love our little 1984 Ericson 26, but we got some bad news recently. The engine is the original 1983 Yanmar 1GM. The fuel tank is shot as are the exhaust and raw water hoses. The engine still runs, but with all that air coming in, it's a hard start.

Like many others on here, we also have leaks in the v-berth. I know it's coming in along the wiring for the bow light, and I suspect the anchor locker needs rebedding.

The deck around the anchor locker isn't spongy (yet), but we had a surveyor come out and he determined that there's some rot. He recommended the aeromarine foam and epoxy fix. Apparently there's an E30 in PDX that did the same thing with success. Plus there are some good youtube videos.

We're new to boat ownership so I'm a little worried that these projects may be over my head, but I also really want to learn. Do y'all think this repair list is worth a shot?

In light of the rainy season coming up, I'm thinking we would need to rebed the anchor locker this week while it's still sunny. Then keep a dehumidifier in the v-berth all winter and watch for leaks.

The fuel tank I've heard can be done while the boat is in the water as long as you can empty the tank. What about the hoses? I'm wondering if we can do the engine work this winter while waiting on the aeromarine for dry weather? Doable for newish boat owners? Advice needed and appreciated!
I'm the E-30 owner in Portland with the complete rebuild. I agree with the post stating every project you mention is doable by a boat owner. Glassing takes some practice and skill. Replacing hoses/fuel tanks can be done by anyone who can swing a wrench so long as they have the patience to think things through carefully and measure carefully.

I can't give you any E-26 specific advice. My boat was designed in the mid 1960s and built in 1968. The only thing our boats have in common is the name of the manufacturer.

I can give you general advice about rebuilding a boat in Portland:

1. Avoid the rainy season unless you have an indoor shed in which to work. Working in the rain under tarps is miserable.

2. Avoid yards in general, in particular the one in back of Sexton's.

3. Tackle projects that are small enough that they can be spaced out sequentially with the most pressing projects getting priority. I know a lot of people disagree with me on this, believing it is better to put their boats on the shelf and get everything done at once. I think it is important to keep your boat functional and keep sailing as much as possible through the process to keep your morale up. I did not do this because the extent of the rebuild did not allow it. The only things original on our boat are the mast and the hull. Even so, I remember many beautiful sailing days on the river, with our boat still in the shop.
 

nquigley

Member III
Thank you Alan, this info is so helpful! It's been overwhelming, but I think it's because there's just so much to learn. Your experience is taking the edge off.
If you bite off one or two simple projects first, you'll gain enormous satisfaction, and the confidence to do the harder ones. My boat's the same age - I promise that you'll eventually transition from being overwhelmed by seemingly never-ending maintenance needs, to just being whelmed.
 

JPS27

Member III
Hang in there! I was right where you are about 7-8 years ago. Overwhelmed with my new to me 27 that I saw as some sort sundrenched beauty when I bought her, but quickly began to see her as a bucket of rusty bolts. This group saved me (a few have already responded to you above) and now I have a much better perspective on problems when they crop up. Just about everything is 'fixable'. It's worth doing yourself when you can. I will always consider myself a "new boat owner" having gotten this one, my first boat, at age 49ish. Most projects are my first and take me way longer than a pro. When haulouts are needed factor in the time it takes you to fix something versus what a pro could likely knock out much more quickly. I usually choose "me" in these cases for the learning (and I often do a better job in the long run). The point is, you pay more for a pro, but you also pay for having the boat sit on the hard while you learn, which can add up. So deciding between learning vs. not learning is also something to consider.
 
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