Engine Access Made Easier

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • January 25, 2012 4:46 PM
    Reply # 807323 on 798100
    It sounds as though you have the better part of a solution, Mike. Perhaps Bud can give you an estimate as to the likely weight of this assembly, since it was at one time installed this way. The hatch itself is fairly heavy, but its weight could be reduced with the installation of an integral floor.

    Keep us posted on your progress, if you decide to tackle it.

  • January 26, 2012 3:53 AM
    Reply # 807652 on 798100
    Deleted user

    1) Dogging the cockpit. - This can be inexpensively solved by incorporating captured stainless steel nuts into the deck reinforcement.  The cockpit would be dropped in place and then stainless steel Allen button head bolts would be driven in using either a T-handle, speed wrench, or even a cordless drill to make quick work of it.  There would be no need to go inside the boat to secure or remove the bolts.  These bolts would have an o-ring at the top of the shank and the holes in the flange would have a slight countersink bevel to accept the o-ring which would then seal the bolt when tightened down.

    Hi All

    Some years ago I split my hatch into two sections which makes getting into the engine compartment much easier than wrestling with the hatch as a complete unit. I believe Bud reccommends this as one solution. I used some home made floating nut plates which idea I got from a Boeing 737 windshield. They are made from a SS nut, bolt, fender washer and two small nuts and bolts to hold the assembly in place underneath the flange similar to the above and are easily and quickly removed. Tools needed are a hammer, vise and drill. I will post some photos if anyone is interested. I have a slight leak along the seam which has yet to be adequately addressed.


    Last modified: January 26, 2012 3:55 AM | Deleted user
  • January 26, 2012 6:23 AM
    Reply # 807725 on 807652
    Werner Hamp wrote:

    ... I have a slight leak along the seam which has yet to be adequately addressed...

    I was thinking about your hinge, Werner. Having seen it firsthand, I think this might be a great long-term solution, with a good seal. At present, however, I'm in and out of the work engine room several times a day, working on the wiring, etc. As such, it's easier for me to have access to the entire opening.  But, with impending rain, I'm constantly removing and reinserting the floor.

    I might have a good solution for leaks around the conventional floor, with a little modification. Your situation is somewhat different, but perhaps the idea will work for you too. See what you think.

    As I see it, there are two primary requirements for sealing the floor.

    1. A tight fastening system
    2. A good weather seal

    A handful of bolts and nuts will handle the first requirement. But since this is so incredibly time-consuming, I suspect too many owners simply set the floor in place and don't bother to fasten it at all. Although I haven't installed them yet, I think the De-Sta-Co fasteners will end up being an great solution with regard to speed and convenience, as well as integrity at sea.

    The weather seal itself is always a challenge, since most of the stuff you find readily available permanently compresses and becomes useless, especially when use on a not-perfectly-fitting joint. The foam insulation that comes with peel-off sticky-back adhesive is probably the most used and least effective. A much better solution is a gasket made of rubber (preferably silicone), as it holds up much better. To be effective, it must be a hollow, extruded gasket, as this allows for greater compression, with positive return to its original shape. Avoid any of the foam gaskets. Although I know nothing about this company, this page has several examples of good possibilities.  Following are several examples (bad and good). My own preference would probably be the 2nd or 4th example.

    Good gaskets will help considerably. But since the surfaces of the footwell and the floor are NOT perfect, gaskets will still not be a perfect solution for those who choose not to securely fasten in the floor. I suspect that the majority of the water that finds its way into the engine compartment does so by simply running over the floor, around and under the edge, and on into the compartment... the same way that a leak on the deck manages to find its way to a number of unlikely places within the interior of the boat.

    If one were to construct a simple flange around the outer edge of the floor insert, the water would drip into the channel designed for this purpose and could not follow the lip of the floor and into the engine compartment. Even with NO gasket at all, this should stop most of the leaks... at least until the water was high enough to fill the shallow recess that drains into the scuppers. With a proper gasket, it should stop all of the leaks, even without fastening the floor. (I do not, however, think it wise to leave the floor unattached -- at least well enough to keep it from falling out should something unexpected happen.) This is basically the design that keeps water from leaking into a conventional lazarette.

    Werner - I have seen your hinged and split floor, but do not recall how it was constructed. Perhaps a similar modification would work for you as well. When you have a change, please post a photo of your hinge mod.

    Last modified: January 26, 2012 12:11 PM | Anonymous member
  • January 26, 2012 9:31 AM
    Reply # 807872 on 798100
    Deleted user

    I adopted Aaron's engine room tie-down method after sailing around with out any fastenings. It's simple, affords fast and easy access and is cheap if one has spare block and tackle lying around.

    My floor has the lip and some water still gets in there, less with the tie-down. As a gasket, I was thinking of using either neoprene (from an old wetsuit) , or one of my favorite all-purpose items--fire hose. It can often be obtained free from your local fire house as they periodicaly sort through and discard leaky hoses which are still perfectly good for gaskets, chafe guard (hard dingy rubrail, spreader boots, dock/anchor lines etc), oar "leathers" and...you name it. It's super tough stuff, UV and abraision resistant, lasts forever. It's made to stand up to being driven over by fire trucks and dragged accross rough surfaces, dacron on the outside and rubber inside, usually three layers.

    There's even a company up my way, Duluth Trading Company, that makes pants and jackets out of the stuff (hopfully without the rubber layer).

  • January 26, 2012 11:38 AM
    Reply # 808004 on 798100
    When you say "my floor has the lip", we might not be referring to the same thing. By your term "lip", I think you might be referring to the thinner section of the floor around the outer edges, that slightly overlap the raised portion of the area into which it is placed. Or, perhaps you refer to the slightly raised portion itself. If so then we both (and possibly all) have that "lip".

    When I indicated the addition of a "flange", I was talking about the addition of a short piece all the way around the floor (attached to the floor), that descends far enough down to prevent water from following the floor structure between the floor and the "lip" and into the engine room. The area highlighted in yellow is the flange to which I refer. Are we indeed hung up on terminology? Perhaps my original explanation was not very good.

    I think the block and tackle method has merit and is a quick enough alternative to be worthy of consideration. It would take a fairly large downward force to the single pressure point (in the very center of the floor), to effectively seal the floor from leaks. While the mechanical advantage resulting from a block and tackle system could surely do this, my concern was that this continuous force might eventually depress the center of the floor itself, or possibly even lead to delamination of the 3/4" plywood or it's bonding to the glass. In addition, this force is ultimately applied to the entire cockpit, not only the floor. I just felt it would be better to have a force applied that holds the floor into the well alone. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

    As for the gasket material, your options might work just great. I personally think that the key to a good seal is that the gasket must be compressible under pressure, but it must also resume it's original uncompressed shape when the pressure is released. This is particularly true when the two surfaces are not exactly true and even more so when the area is large. A thick piece of neoprene might work, but it takes a great deal more pressure to compress than a hollow rubber gasket. Most of the other rubber materials you mention would likely not compress at all. This would work great on something small like a garden hose, but I don't think it will work as well on approximately 160" of linear surface surrounding the floor. Just a thought.

    Last modified: January 26, 2012 11:39 AM | Anonymous member
  • January 27, 2012 7:36 AM
    Reply # 808742 on 798100
    Deleted user

    Yea Jack, we're talking about the same thing, the flange/lip. In your top illustration there is no flange and the botton there is. Mine is like the bottom one, I assumed that your top illustration was an example of another version out there. Yes the tie-down puts stress at the attachment point, but it seems pretty solid, teak strips and all, no deflection detected. I never worry about putting all my weight on that cockpit floor, I've had boats where you could feel and hear the stressing of the floor when you stepped onto it. I like the tie-down because it's simple and easily replaced/fixed.

    As far as the fire hose and neoprene, there's probably better gasket material somewhere, I just like the idea of having a stash of a durable and easily obtained item that has multiple uses.

  • January 27, 2012 3:37 PM
    Reply # 809110 on 798100
    I see. The first illustration was actually a representation of the seal on my own cockpit floor. Your boat is a year newer than mine. Apparently someone already suggested the idea some 35 years ago. Great minds think alike... some just think a little slower than others  ;-)
  • February 02, 2012 3:56 PM
    Reply # 814918 on 798100
    For securing the hatch I have chosen to use  'Turning Lock Hatch Lift Handles' (on the side opposite my hinge) like the ones depicted here:


    Look about half way down the page for a pic.  I was fortunate to find a pair in Bronze.  Kinda tricky to install but they feel very 'positive' when dogging the hatch.
  • February 04, 2012 5:58 AM
    Reply # 815893 on 798100
    Deleted user

    Hi All,

    First Jack, thanks for a great post on the various types of seals. I split my hatch one day out of sheer frustration when working on the engine during intermittent rainshowers. I have yet to find a way to make the seam completely "drip proof" but it is only an issue when washing the boat as the cockpit canvas keeps most of the rain out. I made some modifications last week and maybe these photos will be useful for anyone considering the split hatch. Both sections are easily removable although for most work, only the aft portion is removed and the forward section becomes a handy shelf for tools etc.

    I fitted a new, wider brace and new engine room lights. Maybe the wider brace will help with the leak. I made "floating nut plates" to dog the hatch down, but the captive SS nut plates available at Ace Hardware that I used for the new brace would serve just as well. The brace is mounted on the underside of the flange..

    Posting photos on the forum finally brought me to my knees, so I succumbed to a Picasa account and larger photos are at:



<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software