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Old 23-04-2012, 17:46   #1
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Problems bedding fittings with butyl

I recently installed two bronze pad eyes to attach my boats running backstay's to. I used butyl rubber to seal the assembly to the deck, holes were counter sunk and enough fresh butyl was wrapped around the bolts that when the padeye’s were tightened down plenty of material squeezed out from under the base. After assembly I thoroughly sprayed the fittings to check the work for leaks and there was no indication of any water coming in under the deck, good to go right, wrong. We had rain the other day in New York while I was at the boat so I decided to inspect the water tight integrity of the installation again and low and behold both padeye’s were leaking.
I have to say that after reading Mainsail’s postings on the methodology of countersinking the bolt holes and using butyl to seal hardware it was like an ah hah moment for me and really believed in the idea of this procedure. I have removed one of the fittings and reinstalled and it is still leaking and as the location of the bolts are a real pain to get to it would be great to figure out what is causing the problem.
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Old 23-04-2012, 18:02   #2
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

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Originally Posted by cburger View Post
I recently installed two bronze pad eyes to attach my boats running backstay's to. I used butyl rubber to seal the assembly to the deck, holes were counter sunk and enough fresh butyl was wrapped around the bolts that when the padeye’s were tightened down plenty of material squeezed out from under the base. After assembly I thoroughly sprayed the fittings to check the work for leaks and there was no indication of any water coming in under the deck, good to go right, wrong. We had rain the other day in New York while I was at the boat so I decided to inspect the water tight integrity of the installation again and low and behold both padeye’s were leaking.
I have to say that after reading Mainsail’s postings on the methodology of countersinking the bolt holes and using butyl to seal hardware it was like an ah hah moment for me and really believed in the idea of this procedure. I have removed one of the fittings and reinstalled and it is still leaking and as the location of the bolts are a real pain to get to it would be great to figure out what is causing the problem.
Cburger, I have had this discussion with Mainsail online in another forum and I will not discuss the pros and cons of his method but tell you what I use that has been bulletproof for me for 20 years of installations. Whenever two dissimilar hard surfaces meet (metal and fiberglass) one surface, in this case metal, will yield less. And, to expect to have two perfectly flat surfaces on a boat is asking for much. The solution I have found is to cut a piece of plumbing gasket (1/8" or 3/16" mil) slightly smaller than the base of the fitting and position it between the fitting and the substrata using a sealant of your choices on both sides of the gasket. I then torque the fitting 3/4th tension, allow the sealant to cure, and retorque the remaining amount for the final seal. Any flexing of the fitting or the substrata will be absorbed by the gasket and will allow the joint to adjust to any movement or imperfections in the mating surface. I have never had a deck leak in 20 years with this method and it is the only method I use to mount hardware on my deck. The gaskets will last indefintely since they are not exposed to uv deterioration and have never dried out. Try this on one of your fittings and see if it works for you. Good luck and good sailing, Ron
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Old 23-04-2012, 18:04   #3
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

I'm no expert but did you tighten down the bolts again the next day? I believe the butyl oozes out slowly while under compression and loosen the space inbetween. I think you keep doing this until it stops oozing.
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Old 23-04-2012, 18:16   #4
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

I'm a skeptic... and the jury is out (in my mind anyway) on Butyl as a general purpose sealant. I dont think I've ever experienced a leak using 5200. OOh those poor people that bought my boats trying to get that stuff off though!
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Old 23-04-2012, 18:52   #5
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

I re-read Mainsails site and appears that I need to revisit the tightening procedure, was supposed to to successive small tightening's allowing a couple of days for the butyl to squeeze out then re-tighten. I just tightened the fittings down rock hard and didn't re-tighten when the material squeezed out. Thinking I will try tightening a little further to see what the result will be and if required will remove the padeyes and start over. For all the suggestions regarding traditional sealants I have been using these for years and feel if I can get Mainsails methods to wok that this has many advantages over using tube sealants.
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Old 23-04-2012, 19:00   #6
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

Id think that with the initial full tightening all the sealant was forced out, thus more tightening will not help. May be best to start back over so it can set up and be tightened in stages, preventing all the sealant to be squeezed out on 1st tightening.
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Old 23-04-2012, 19:04   #7
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

What I find funny is I can spray the fittings with the full force of a garden hose and have no leaks, but leaked when it rained.
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Old 23-04-2012, 19:21   #8
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

Interesting problem .... Not sure if Blue Crab will get in on this post but member think I'm going overboard by glassing over the backing plates I'm using on my stantion bases and filling the holes with marine anti-sieze because I'm using stainless steel parts and bolts.
After reading your post I'm all the more convinced that I'm doing the right things.
Scroll down through my blog to see where I installed my cabin top rail stantion.
The Rebuilding of Chasing Summer
Good luck on your water problem and Happy Sailing :-)
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Old 23-04-2012, 19:30   #9
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

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Interesting problem .... Not sure if Blue Crab will get in on this post but member think I'm going overboard by glassing over the backing plates I'm using on my stantion bases and filling the holes with marine anti-sieze because I'm using stainless steel parts and bolts.
After reading your post I'm all the more convinced that I'm doing the right things.
Scroll down through my blog to see where I installed my cabin top rail stantion.
The Rebuilding of Chasing Summer
Good luck on your water problem and Happy Sailing :-)
I never would seal or glass the underside of hardware as this will trap water from topside leaks and excellerate core rot. The idea is to prevent the water getting past the fittings in the first place and want to see that happening in order to correct the problem.
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Old 23-04-2012, 19:56   #10
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

Solid deck and hull ... old school fiberglass. Also, marine grade anti-sieze won't wash out. If glassed carefully on the bottom side there are no air gaps for water to get into.
Anyway, this is how I'm building my boat. :-)
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Old 23-04-2012, 20:06   #11
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Re: Problems bedding fittings with butyl

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What I find funny is I can spray the fittings with the full force of a garden hose and have no leaks, but leaked when it rained.
If you can direct spray it, and no leak, you may also have a channeling leak. Meaning it is getting into the deck somewhere else and escaping at your pad eyes. To see if this is the case remove the pad eyes and tape over the holes with Gorilla Tape or a UV Duct tape. When it rains see if water is coming out your holes on the inside. If it is then it is not getting in there but is escaping there. I have dealt with this a number of times and it can be a real PITA to track down...

Try rebedding and see what happens too, but tighten slowly over a few days.... To test it you can surround the hole with butyl and make a butyl dam, sort of a small swimming pool rim around the fitting. Then fill it with water and let it sit and see if it begins to leak.
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