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Old 02-02-2016, 20:29   #1
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5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

While grinding out a blister on the rear/bottom part of the keel some blackish water came out, so we opened the blister. Looks like the PO's dumped oil in the bilge. There was about 5 inches of hard grease/oil in the rear bilge. See attached video.

Questions
  1. How clean do we need to get the rear part of the bilge?
  2. Should I seal up the rear part of this unreachable part of the bilge with spray foam?
  3. Is this a normal issue for a 40+ year old boat?

Here's me rambling about my concerns.
21:23, Tuesday, February 2, 2016 — QuickCast. Make. Publish. Share. 3 Minute Screencasts
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Old 02-02-2016, 20:50   #2
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

You need the bilge clean enough so when using a bilge pump there's no oil sheen. And clean enough to bond resin. You can buy 2 part expanding foam. Spray foam isn't really made for large voids. Usually the top of the foam is glassed over.
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Old 02-02-2016, 20:58   #3
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Quote:
Originally Posted by allanbranch View Post
Questions
  1. How clean do we need to get the rear part of the bilge? As clean as you can get it with a whole lot of work and hassle.
  2. Should I seal up the rear part of this unreachable part of the bilge with spray foam? NO WAY! That foam will soon turn into an oily mush that will make a mess ten times worse.
  3. Is this a normal issue for a 40+ year old boat? Don't know about normal but I had a similar problem to deal with when I bought my 1984 Pearson. It was a huge pain to deal with but I got it cleaned.
Lepke has very good advise. If you pump your bilge and leave the slightest oily sheen on the water you are liable to fines.
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Old 02-02-2016, 21:17   #4
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Scrub oil & grease :

(1) varsol(paint thinner) to cut the grease/oil
(2) methyl hydrate to wash away paint thinner & dry the substrate.
(3) hot water & Dawn dish detergent to clear last remains of 1 & 2
(4) Acetone to prep substrate for fiberglassing.

Fiberglas the hole.

Cheers/ Len
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:12   #5
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

I have used Zip-Strip to remove 35-year-old dried and hardened grease from a mast mounted and non-removable halyard winch. I could get the drum off, but not the base.I rinsed with turpentine, but the label of the can says water can be used. I used the gears to wind in folded paper towels and repeated the process until the paper came out clean.

I would brush a ton of Zip-Strip into the area you describe and then pressure wash it out from the inside out. Probably have to repeat it several times. Zip-Strip is recommended for removing paint from fiberglass.

Filling the void with foam sounds like a good idea, but I don't know about the expansion force created by the foam.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:14   #6
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Also, you probably can't or wouldn't want to install an electric bilge pump in that tight area, but you could fit a strum box to a hose and then the bilge pump. Buck-Algonquin makes strum boxes in all sizes and materials.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:45   #7
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Sounds like you have a Cheoy Lee. Some boats have grease gun lubricating systems that fill the stuffing box with grease to ensure the packing does not dry out and also to stop any small dripping from the stuffing box. The grease usually overflows and will build up under the packing gland; eventually moving to the bilge. Plenty of grease removers to do the job. Plenty of oil absorbing sponges will get the stuff out. Would recommend not covering the bilge since it is a vital part of the boat and you may need to access the entire thing at some point(putting heavy duty pump hoses down there to save the boat).
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Old 03-02-2016, 13:18   #8
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Allan,
If it were my boat, I would, as others have suggested, completely clean the contaminated area. Anything less than that is like "hanging earrings on a pig"--- they don't belong there. My question to you is why is there a void in your keel? And, how big is it? Ignoring issues will not make them go away. Perhaps there is something more serious you have not discovered. You should take it to the next level. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 03-02-2016, 13:53   #9
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

So much wisdom on this thread, thank you. I'll post updates and "fun new discoveries".
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Old 03-02-2016, 19:27   #10
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Clean the best you can as noted by the others. Consider then using a pressure washer and solution to do more. I added a 90 ELL to a pressure washer for getting the sides of confined spaces. Be sure to cover the top or the inside of the boat will be misted with gunk. Mind that you don't dig into the laminate with the pressure.
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Old 05-02-2016, 18:59   #11
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Re: 5" of Hard Grease/Oil in the bottom of the bilge

Go to Home Depot, and a gallon or 2 of liquid industrial degreaser. It has a purple color to it. Plug up the hole to stop liquid from getting out. Mix the degreaser with hot water. Then pour in, and let sit over night. It should soften the crud up so you can scoop out a lot with a spatula, and putty knife. Repeat as needed, then use a pressure washer, with hot water if you can, to get the rest out. I had a similar, though minor situation, compared to your mess. It took me 3 days to get mine clean!!!!!
And no what you have is not normal, just real sloppy p/o care/ownership!!!!
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