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Old 12-03-2013, 17:44   #1
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Phantom Leak

Hello all,
I have just completed a complete refit of my 1981 Endeavour 32. We took it down to fiberglass on the interior and re did nearly every piece of teak panel and joinery. We have been working and sailing on her for two years.
Now the problem:
I have discovered a leak on the starboard side, mid-cabin. It appears to be at the top, where the wall meets the cabin top. I can see/feel the moisture on the teak panelling. This is well above any porthole. The only thing topside are teak handrails that run the length of the cabin top and I did not remove these. There is no evidence of any cracks or damage. There is not even any spidering. This have been dry for two years.
Any suggestions?
I have heard of "smoking" a boat to leak check but would love to have some details, especially on how to force the smoke through.
We are finally at the point of planning a trip down the ICW and across to the Bahamas. Now is not the time to rip out more teak.
Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:54   #2
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Re: Phantom Leak

Could be one of the bolts holding the handrails--chances are good they have never been rebedded. But then sometimes a leak in one location runs along something and drips out in another location. And there is Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure.
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:59   #3
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Re: Phantom Leak

leaks and drips travel downhill,but rarely uphill!
if it corresponds with one of the handrails it probably is!

unless it is condensation forming on the inside of the outer skin and running down to a batton,and thence through the deckhead.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:00   #4
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Re: Phantom Leak

I've been in boat repair for thirty years and have never heard of finding a leak with smoke. I usually systematically use a garden hose. Starting above the leak and moving outward. It can take ten minutes with the hose on a small leak before a small drip appears inside. Check each part of the handrails. Water can travel a long way across a headliner so don't rule anything out. It takes time, patience, and perseverance.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddedger View Post
I've been in boat repair for thirty years and have never heard of finding a leak with smoke. I usually systematically use a garden hose. Starting above the leak and moving outward. It can take ten minutes with the hose on a small leak before a small drip appears inside. Check each part of the handrails. Water can travel a long way across a headliner so don't rule anything out. It takes time, patience, and perseverance.
Going below to check for leaks. Right thats what I told my folks no worries Im checking for leaks. But whats all the smoke? No worries mon thats how we do that here.
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:13   #6
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Re: Phantom Leak

Danm I am working on this very problem on a friends Endeavor 32. His is a 1980. you will have to look on my web site to see the video of resealing his portlights. But back to your problem, i am pretty sure it is the mid hatch above and slightly forward of where you are seeing the water. The headliner is foam backed and wicks up the water. The leak takes days to show up after a rain so the garden hose does not work. I am going to check it with a ultra sonic leak detector in a few days but I am 99% sure it is the hatch. next week I plan to pull the hatch and reseal it. i am going to make a video of that if you want to wait that long lol. I will let you know when I do this, I think it is a easy job (yeah i know it IS A BOAT) and should take 2-3 hours tops.
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Old 19-03-2013, 17:47   #7
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Re: Phantom Leak

Capt Canning
2 things. Would love to see some pictures of the E32 you're working on.
Second - What exactly are you doing with that aft overheard hatch. I have already removed and replaced the lexan (twice). I have also removed the aluminum frame for the hatch are reset that. Are you pulling up the teak frame the aluminum anchors to? And where can I get one of these ultra sonic leak detectors.
Thanks for the help.
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Old 20-03-2013, 09:51   #8
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Re: Phantom Leak

Dave, you might want to look one additional place. When I replaced a stanchion last year, I found a channel that ran underneath the deck on the seaward side of the stanchion baseplate that allowed water from a break(open hole) in the molding of the bow rubrail to enter the boat. The channel was not in the cored deck but along the hull/deck connection. Check to see if your rubrail is sealed properly. However, I would probably check your handrails first, as others have mentioned, if they have not been rebed. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 20-03-2013, 14:26   #9
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Re: Phantom Leak

Dave, I finally got down there and did that hatch job today. The leak was defendantly coming for the hatch. Or at least one of the leaks was. The leak detector showed the 2 aft corners were leaking and sure enough when I pulled the hatch it was clear it was leaking. That wood they use is a really crappy design leaving little wood for the hatch to cover. The inside corner of the wood should be a radius to match the rounded corner of the frame. A square inside corner left the corner of the frame with nothing under it. Also using a miter joint is a poor joint for this. Miters only belong on picture frames on boats. The problem with miters is as they expand and contract with humidity the wood is forced to open up as each piece pushes against the other. A much better joint would be a half lap. On this project I was not able to replace the wood due to budget limits. If it were my boat I would replace that wood, use half laps and radius the inside corners of the wood to leave more wood surface for the hatch frame. if your hatch is leaking and it sounds like it is then I bet it is coming in at those miters.

I got my leak detector several years ago when doing some quality consulting for Cruisers/Rampage. i think I paid around $300 for it. You can find them on EBay for a bit less. They work ok and I have found some hard to locate leaks with it but it is not perfect. It works by placing a ultra sonic sound transmitter in the cabin and then going on the outside with a special receiver with a tube to listen for the sound leaking through. A poor mans way to find leaks is to place a box fan over a deck hatch and blow air in. you them use a garden sprayer with soapy water in it to wet things down and look for bubbles. You have to seal the boat up pretty good so that you and a good positive air pressure in the boat. Lots of taping of engine vents sliding hatches ect. Slow but it does work.
The owner has some pix on my site here jileshinson Gallery - Project Boat Zen Photo Gallery
I will work on the video and hope to have something done in a week or so. you can also see a video of me resealing his portlights on my site as well.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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