Window leak fix - a report after 9 years in the Florida weathers
The Happy Seal, Marv Kowalewski, Port Charlotte, Florida, USA
The windows on my 1989 Parker Super Seal 27 The Happy Seal always required tightening. Often trickle leaks persisted even as I added tapes, calks and seals. This problem persisted even after a couple years after I took the windows off, replaced with new bedding and new screws... of course at this point, I had to up the thickness of the screws (not length) because they all became stripped out. Certainly the Parker method of holding down 1/2 inch thick Perspex plastic was not well thought out. Age and vibration a problem I am sure but here in Florida, I have elongation of the plastic from the hot sun.
After Hurricane Charlie, I decided to purchase new windows. Removing the old and duplicating was an easy task for our local plastics firm; however, I made the holes a bit larger to just accommodate an 8-32 size (M4) screw (and some room for movement and stretch). Also, they advised, for purposes of less heat stretch, slightly smaller thickness. (I didn't question nor test their theory about stretch.) I do have to say I have a true fix..well at least for the past 9 years...
Here is what I did. To fix the stripping out I went to a hardware store and purchased the following:
- Wood Inserts (brass): 8-32 x 3/8 inches long (M4 x 10mm). Don't buy any longer or you'll screw through the inside of the boat..(ugly)
- Oval Head Screws (stainless): 8-32 x 1 inch long (M4 x 25mm). If you use the same window the length will probably work..but check the depth
- Finish Washer (stainless): #8
- Calk: Your choice......I used 3M Black
- Remove and scrape clean, window and boat ...clean means use ETOH but not MEK or anything that will hurt the plexi ... free of any wax
- Carefully drill holes for your wood inserts (I used 3/16) but practice on a piece of wood before you drill the boat. Also plan to put a drill stop, because after you drill through the fiberglass, you will hit wood and you may slip and drill though the inside of the boat (ugly)
- Screw in the wood insert; it will remain as your unstrippable anchor. At this point you may want to think about bedding the insert. I placed a drop of epoxy in each hole and it surrounded the insert into the wood, I know it won't ever move. But pay attention if you use this epoxy idea: the hole for the screw for the window will fill with epoxy, so be sure to clear it as it hardens. I used a bit of soap on an 8-32 screw and then kept it freed till hard; you could fill it with wax, but don't let epoxy set up in the hole or you will need to rethread the hole with a 8-32 die. (ugly)
- After you have all the holes done, test (you did check alignment didn't you?) You may have to slightly enlarge a hole or 2 on the window to center as you screw on the window. CAREFUL: there should be no lumps, window will lay perfectly flat with all screws down.
- Screw it down: you will need to draw a line around the window. double check for flat with screws pulling down
- Draw a line around the window: this will be taped so that you don't get all that black glue on the outside of your boat (ugly)
- Tape ON the line (yes ON) - the calk will ooze out a bit and you'll trim with a razor blade
- Tape seal the inside of the boat - you don't want all that black glue inside (ugly)
- Ready to finish? Find a helper, get your screws and finish washers (washer on screw ready to use), practice. Have the helper hold so that you can put a screw top and at each end. Practice before you do it - calk is tough to remove fronm hands, window etc.. (ugly)
- Calk (just the boat). Smear evenly, 1/8 inch or so, with a putty knife. Be sure no wax or oil on calk receiving side of window
- Get a couple of screws, lift window in place. Locate top and 2 sides, screw in place. (I added a small squirt of calk into each window hole) then screw evenly across top to bottom etc.side to side. Bed the window calk just oozing out slightly. NOT TOO TIGHT!
- Let it dry and trim off tape.
- Clean up and admire.
NOTE: I didn't touch the screws for a couple years, but you can to check still tight (remember I put some calk in the hole so I wasn't about to fix it if it wasn't broken.)