Looking for Mr. BadLeak

So Now I am ready to Reinstall the counters, but I don't want them to be destroyed again, so now I have to figure just what is leaking that is allowing all that water to come in under the aft bulkhead, and then under the counter tops.

  Sounds easy enough, but, as I soon found out, nothing is quite that easy on a boat.


The port Lazarette... Very deep... I can stand in it...
First of all, to get to where the water was coming in, I was going to have to get in the Port Side Lazarette.  I mean, ALL the way in.  It is a good thing I don't have claustrophobia....

So that meant everything in there was going to have to come out.  At some point during this unloading process, as I am removing Item after item, it felt a bit like all of those clowns coming out of the tiny car.... or like Hermione's purse with the extension charm in Book 7 of  the Harry Potter books... I didn't know so much stuff was in there....



Finally it is cleared and I clamor in.  then I have to duck down, and wedge myself behind the line locker (Do you see in the photo where the long handles attached to the brushes are?  That is where I had to wedge myself) which was a bit of a tight fit.... I gotta start going to the Gym again....

then it was a matter of trying to trace back the flow of the water from the point that it went under the aft bulkhead.  My first thought was that it was coming from the port stanchion.  So While I was wedged in the port Lazarette, I had my Brother in law run water over the Stanchion in question..... Dang, no water dripping anywhere.

The next logical culprit could be the Shore Power connector.  We Unplugged the shore power, secured the cap and ran water over it for awhile.... Nope! still dry! (I was a bit relieved when I saw the shore power connection was in good shape, as there was a fire on one on the boats here in the Marina that was started by a corroded shore power connection)  Now What?

After a lot of discussion, we decided to try running water over the Compass that is mounted in the aft bulkhead. But it COULDN'T be that, because it wasn't in the right place, and because there was no way for water to get down below... it was a solid wall (or bulkhead in mariner lingo)  But, whatever.... my Bro started running water over it, but I still didn't see water where I thought it should run... but then I turned my head to the right and BINGO... dripping water.  We had found the leak!  but, how? I had forgotten that water rarely runs in straight lines.... this one ran to starboard to almost amidships BETWEEN the outer Fiberglass sheet and the Plywood core.  It then dropped dropped below into a "trough" then back to port, dropping on the horizontal surface that runs under the aft bulkhead...Reminded me of part gopher (because of the tunneling down the bulkhead) and part Pinball machine.


yeah, let's put the opening in the gasket at the TOP, so we can funnel water in...
The next step was to remove the Compass and do an inspection.  It was pretty easy, remove 4 screws.  Then we had to push a bit from inside the cabin and it popped off.  Hmmm.... it LOOKED like it was sealed OK.... but water was DEFINITELY running behind the fiberglass on the aft bulkhead.  It took a LOT of hemming and hawing, and pulling out the directions for installing the Compass (believe it or not, I still HAD them even though this compass must have been installed over 30 years ago...) before we finally figured out WHY the compass was leaking... Whoever installed this compass (I have really no idea how long ago this was installed) didn't follow the instructions, and installed the gasket (which was horseshoe shaped) UPSIDE DOWN... with the opening at the TOP.  this caused 2 problems.  1. It actually worked as a FUNNEL to trap water behind the compass, and 2.  The gasket blocked up a weeping hole at the bottom, which was designed to let any water that did get behind the compass to weep out.... So it was the Weeping hole that couldn't...

See that notch at the bottom?  that area is NOT supposed to be covered up.. 

















the area in front is where the water went.....






I got out as much of the wet, decaying plywood as I could with a flat head screwdriver, and then started drying out the area as best I could with my heat gun.  I made sure to keep the gun moving back and forth, as I didn't want to compound my problems by melting the fiberglass, or catching the plywood on fire....the would be a bad thing.

A closer look
Looking from the Inside you can see there is about a quarter inch of wet plywood...
I wasn't going to be able to do much more to this for a few weeks, at least, until it completely dried out.  I didn't want to reinstall the compass, but how was I going to keep water from coming in this hole from all the rain we are having now?  I thought for a bit and then it hit me.... as they say, "Duck tape'll fix at!" .  So I pulled out my CostCo sized roll of Duct tape (which, ironically, should NEVER be used on ducts... but that is another story) and taped up the hole in the bulkhead.  Well, I was told that Duct Tape was one of those MUST HAVE items on a boat, and it worked quite handily!


I will have to figure out how to fix the area the core came out of.  I am guessing a couple of batches of Epoxy, probably using an injector, but that will be a project for another day...

JEM












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