The adventures of the vessel "The Hard Six" and the man owned by her!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh this shouldn't be that hard...

When I got the boat, her starboard side cabin window was leaking... badly. It's an old boat. I expected some of these types of issues. It come with the territory.

This was to be the first project on the boat. It certainly was the one that was needed the most.

So I did a bunch of research, read blogs, read forums, everything I could find on the right way to do this project. 

It seemed simple enough, remove the screws, pry out the old caulk and the window should pop right out. Clean, prep, re-caulk, insert window, replace screws. Right?

So I was off....

 Picking and peeling away the caulk that was original to 1986 even after 25 years, the bead on the bottom was still very tight. 

After a while (notice it's now dark outside) of prying, prodding, peeling, and pushing, the window finally came lose.

Not without leaving a fair amount of the old sealant on the frame. I knew all of this needed to be removed, cleaned and prepped for the new sealant

Before sealant removal

After sealant removal.

The fiberglass frame, ready for the window. I removed as much of the old sealant as I could with razor blades, scrapers and even a wire brush wheel on my drill. Note: Be careful if you do this, it can really rip your fiberglass up, but if you are VERY careful, it will pull the old stuff off fast.

Here's the window out, and ready to be cleaned and caulked.

Now, the photos stop here... Why? Because it was now 2:15am, and I just wanted to get this thing DONE. It's pretty straightforward from here, just prime it with sealant, reinsert and you should be good (see the notes at below)

So here's what I learned for anyone that may attempt this project:

- The sealant that Chris-Craft used was some incredibly strong stuff. Since it's in a cabinside, it needs to be flexible, otherwise the glass could break. After reading everything I could find, it appeared that 3M 4000 UV was the best sealant to use for this job. 3M considers it to be non-permanent. As an aside, I wasn't happy with how the window seated and tried to remove it. Forget it. 3M has an insane idea of what "non-permanent" is I don't think that window would have come out with TnT. 

- The cleanup of the excess caulk is a bear. if I was doing this project again, before I pulled the window, I would tape the entire perimeter of the window with painter's tape to make cleanup easier. That way the caulk would come right off. Otherwise you are going to be scraping for hours.

- More is not always better.... It's hard to judge the amount of 4000 that you will need, I used a lot and when I put the window in, it was everywhere. It sticks to everything 3M does not make a solvent for it. 

- The original screws on our boat were #8. I replaced them with #10's since the holes are directly into the fiberglass and didn't have much bite when I put #8's in.


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