Not What I expected

Armed with “Purple Power,” scrub brushes, sponges, and warm water, I cleaned the engine compartment this morning.  Twice.  I am now a fan of Purple Power.  I had no idea it would be that effective, or that fast.  I don’t know what’s in it, but I used gloves, like the label recommended. Anything that cuts grime like that needs to handled with gloves.

From now on, Purple Power is my go-to-gunk-getter.  Stuff's amazing.

Thought I was kidding about “Purple Power” didn’t you?  Who would name a product that?  But, from now on, Purple Power is my go-to gunk-getter. This stuff’s amazing.

After a lunch break, I loaded the angle grinder with a cut-off disk and outlined a window in the glass on the starboard in-board engine bed.  After prizing off the slab of glass with a big screw driver, I exposed a black surface.  Pretty much what I expected to see.  However, when I attempted excavate, the black material scared, but resisted my assault.  Very un-rot-like.  I expected it to crumble out, like mulch.  It did not.  Not even close.  I tapped it with my hammer – but it was solid.  I scraped some of the black stuff off with a chisel, and noted that it came off and left clean streaks behind.  So the next step is to really take a dig at it.  With difficulty, I chiseled a chunk out of it.  It was solid wood. Apparently, this part of the bed is wet but not rotted.  I put a flap disk on my grinder and took off the black surface material and came up with this:

Those dark places are where I wasn't thorough with the grinder, or where I had excavated a digit and couldn't get the disk in there to thoroughly clean it out.

Those dark places are where I wasn’t thorough with the grinder, or where I had excavated a divot and couldn’t get the disk in there to thoroughly clean it out.  The cross hatches near the upper left are where I dug into the surface with the cut-off disk.  It’s solid wood in there.

I haven’t explored the other bed yet, but the lag bolts on that side were solidly gripping into the bed.

I think what I’m going to do is leave the right side open for a while to dry, then glass it in again, as well as insert a new piece of wood in the aft portion where it was mulch.

  1. Anonymous said:

    Have you considered using penetrating epoxy? You could have some crack(s) that are allowing the water ot permeate into the wood. If you tape off most of the opening for the lag bolt, leaving a small opening so you can pour the penetrating epoxy into the lag bolt hole. If is drains down, then it is following a crack(s) and filling them in. If it does not, then it’s not a hard job to drill it out of the hole. Just a thought, while you have everything accessable.
    Either way, best of luck and you can work on my boat anytime!! :-)

    • Yes, I’ve been thinking of various schemes to seal the bolt holes, and epoxy figures prominently. I’ve thought to pot the holes, then drill and tap for studs – I actually like that idea best, but don’t see an easy way to mark the holes for drilling with repositioning the engine in the compartment, then removing to install the studs.

      I’ve also thought that I would simply seal the holes with epoxy after drilling them – that is, fill with epoxy, then syphon the resin out with a syringe, let cure, then install the bolts. That has the strongest possibility in my mind. It may also be possible to install the bolts into uncured epoxy, but treat the bolts with a non-stick substance – like tefgel, or even Pam – for future removal. I think that idea has merit as well.

      Regardless of how epoxy figures in, I will bed the bolts in Boatlife when reinstalled – that will keep water from seeping down through the top for a while, and epoxy will provide a barrier inside the hole if any does seep down.

  2. Eolian said:

    The engine mount bolt holes are surely a likely source of open contact with the wood. But where is the water coming from?

    s/v Eolian

    • Rainwater leaks around the cockpit sole. I’ve discovered the offending leak, and likely location during this project. . . while sitting in the engine compartment and having it drip on me. Yesterday I bought the sealant to fix it. The sole has been replace by a previous owner. Whoever did the work “sealed” the perimeter with silicone. I fixed a huge leak at the aft end of the cockpit 9.5 years ago when we bought the boat. It was a lot of work, and took a lot of sealant, but that section has never leaked again. I’m just realizing there are a couple of small leaks in the forward end too.

      • Eolian said:

        I hate silicone.

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