F 30 propane locker lid

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F 30 propane locker lid

Postby mike cunningham » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:06 pm

My propane locker lid started loosening up some time ago. I had it on my to do list but was finally spurred into action when I stepped on it and heard some cracking in the hinge area. Some interesting findings. I should have known this but the lid is cored and the core around the hinges was quite wet for about an inch out from the hinge screw penetrations which had been sealed with silicone sealant. Simple SS sheet metal screws had been used to fasten the hinges to the lid. This is one of the gripes I have about the original build. Some corners were cut in areas like this, it's irritating.

I pulled the lid off and drilled a series of holes (from below) around the screw pattern, my plan was to through bolt the hinges so I could do my core expose drilling through the bottom laminate without touching the exposed and visible top surface of the cover. I gouged out all the wet core and filled the void with epoxy. I then re-drilled holes in the epoxy fill and used bolts and nuts to re-secure the hinges. There was no need to seal because the bolt holes are through the solid epoxy and the propane locker itself is not sealed from rain or spray. I did seal the hull side hinge screws with byutl tape which is my go to sealant these days.

If you start having issues with loose hinge screws, don't put the fix off. While not a critical structure it is just BAD to have wet core anywhere on the boat IMO.
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Re: F 30 propane locker lid

Postby Ereiss » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Thank you, Mike. I step very gingerly over my locker lid as it is giving every sign of coming loose from the hinges.

Would you have a picture of the drilling pattern you used?

Thanks for the information. Now I have another spring project (no sarcasm used or intended).
Ed Reiss
Being There
F38 - #154
out of Marion, MA
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Re: F 30 propane locker lid

Postby mike cunningham » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:23 pm

Ed,

What I did re the drilling:

Removed the lid and put it nonslip side down on my workbench. Worked a dental pik into the original screw holes to investigate whether they had been properly insulated from the core. No, they had not and I extracted some wet core that proved it. My practice has been when I find wet core around a screw hole I will get a small diameter drill, say 1/16 inch and drill some test holes around the "wet" hole. I do this from the unfinished side of the laminate. The bits of balsa material which come out as the drill penetrates the core will reveal the condition of the core. Be really careful not to penetrate the finished side of the laminate for cosmetics sake. Black core is no good, darker brown is wet and nice light blonde is dry. So I will just start drilling small holes about every 3/4 inch in an expanding pattern until I hit dry core material in every direction. I'll then go to a larger 3/8 or 1/2 inch drill bit to get a couple large holes. I can get a pick into these big holes so I can remove all the rotten and wet core in a pretty good size area. A pick or a small nail head or some such really helps gets the core out.

Once all the wet and damp core is gone and you are hitting dry balsa wood you can stop with the core removal. You wind up with a fairly good size cavity between the original screw holes on the visible side and a few gnarly holes on the underside of the part. Maybe a few small holes that were dry balsa too when you were doing your original investigation. These excess dry holes can be filled with epoxy at your leisure.

With regard to the large cavity. Tape the bottom of the part with something really sticky like duck tape. All the gnarly holes should be covered so you have a pretty epoxy tight seal. Then flip the part good side up and carefully pour epoxy into one or more of the screw holes until the cavity has been filled with epoxy. Make sure the part s nice and level so you get even distribution of epoxy in the cavity. Wait for a day or so until all the epoxy has hardened and re drill your screw or bolt holes. Voila, you have a pretty solid fix and no more core exposure to water. Make sure you put a plastic under the part when you do this (trash bag works fine). I always get a leak or two and you don't want epoxy all over the bench.

Another tip. Re-seat your hinges boat side of hinge first. Then fit the lid make sure it is straight and aligned. Drill only one hole for one hinge and set it up with bolt and nut before you do any more drilling. Then re-check alignment. drill one hole in the other hinge and set that one up. Alignment still OK? If everything looks good and aligned and the lid opens smoothly then drill out your other holes using the fastened hinges as a drill guide. If you goofed you can re-tweak without having drilled all the holes. Worst case you have to fill screw ups with epoxy and try again.

I have used this approach on the deck as well. works great. If the impacted area becomes too large, this would become impractical but I have used it up to about 8 square inches or so in the cabin top where handhold bolts were leaking and it worked well at least up to that size repair.
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