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Old 30-04-2013, 12:42   #1
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Serious Bilge Cracks

Hello all,

On a 1981 CD 27 (new to me) after TSP'ing the bilge in preparation for epoxy paint, a crack running the length of the bilge was discovered. It appears to be as much as 1/4" wide in places with another arm shooting off about 1/8" wide. The bottom is blistered and has been prepped for a barrier coat. There are a couple of small impact repairs low on the keel that continue to weep moisture though they are not in proximity to the bilge. Photos of bilge and one repair low on keel attached.

Anyone experience cracking of this nature in the bilge?

Does this look like de-lamination issue due to the bilge being constantly saturated or does it look like a structural (ie keel impact...etc) issue? Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!

I plan to grind the cracks to see if / how far the crack extends into the laminate. Then if the problem doesn't appear too serious (ie. structural) fill, glass and epoxy paint

Should I be more concerned about a structural issue at this point?

Dave.
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Old 30-04-2013, 13:06   #2
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I just dealt with a similar issue. I was horrified originally but as I attacked it with a chisel it quickly became evident it was just some type of bilge filler that had cracked. Rain water in the bilge and -40c Canadian winters don't mix.

Once I reached actual laminate the crack stopped. I ended up just removing the filler and replaced with some layers if cloth and some HD to level it off. Simple enough.
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Old 30-04-2013, 13:17   #3
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Re: SERIOUS BILGE CRACKS

It might be just excess layer of resin that pooled up at the bottom of the keel and that is what is really cracked.
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Old 30-04-2013, 14:30   #4
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

I'm with Guy. It's not unusual to have resin pool in the bilge and produce a superfluous crack at construction. I've seen this in Florida boats that have never been exposed to freezing temperatures. I'm far less experienced with leaving a boat out of the water in the frozen north. Even though I believe this crack was produced at construction, I don't like the idea of leaving water in the bilge during a freezing season. Maybe it should be sealed from water intrusion,- I don't know. I'm more comfortable with gators and hurricanes than expanding freezing water! That's scary stuff!
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Old 30-04-2013, 14:38   #5
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

I've seen it often. I think in many cases it is a thick accumulation of sprayed gel coat that shrinks and cracks. Not a concern.... if that's all it is...
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Old 30-04-2013, 19:32   #6
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkinzie View Post
...I plan to grind the cracks to see if / how far the crack extends into the laminate. Then if the problem doesn't appear too serious (ie. structural) fill, glass and epoxy paint...
Dave.
Dave I also have those cracks and it seems they are as stated - some kind of a filler. But... how do plan to grind it? Upside down? My bilge is at least 5 feet deep, I cannot picture someone with a grinder head under heels down there...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Freerider View Post
...Once I reached actual laminate the crack stopped. I ended up just removing the filler and replaced with some layers if cloth and some HD to level it off. Simple enough.
I am interested - how did you reached the laminate?
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:32   #7
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

Thanks to all for the input, much more at ease. Probably is freeze damage in a thick filler / gelcoat skin. The boat lived in Illinois for the first half of her life. Has been taking on bilge water into the laminate through the bilge crack via leaky deck fittings for quite some time. Thus the blistered bottom. The good news is the deck still feels very solid with no soft spots.
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Old 01-05-2013, 14:34   #8
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

After grinding with a dremel the cracks can be seen extending significantly into the laminate.

Question is....(after removing surrounding gelcoat /filler )

"V" the cracks now...

or

continue to grind looking for solid laminate?

I plan to fill with (Watertite, Marine Tex..etc....) and laminate with epoxy resin...

Grinding will lead to more filling and not necessarily improve overall strength of the area as epoxy laminating will....Correct?
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Old 01-05-2013, 15:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkinzie View Post
After grinding with a dremel the cracks can be seen extending significantly into the laminate.

Question is....(after removing surrounding gelcoat /filler )

"V" the cracks now...

or

continue to grind looking for solid laminate?

I plan to fill with (Watertite, Marine Tex..etc....) and laminate with epoxy resin...

Grinding will lead to more filling and not necessarily improve overall strength of the area as epoxy laminating will....Correct?
A crack is nothing but air. Grinding it out only widens the gap that is already there. You need to repair with fiberglass to restore the strength for the damaged laminate only, then you can fair with a filler.
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Old 01-05-2013, 15:34   #10
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

Fill the bottom of the keel with something. Looks like a gallon or 2 would do it. I don't see the lead in your keel, where is it?
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Old 01-05-2013, 16:42   #11
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

I would dry the area thoroughly, abraid with 46 grit, fill crack with hi-density epoxy filler,
Then as soon as that has kicked laminate several layers over with DB or uni with the uni at 90deg to the crack. ie athwartships. Or db +_45deg to crack.
Carry the glass at least 100mm up the sides.
Keep an eye out for any other signs of movement inside & out.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:33   #12
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

Unless you have external cracking, I think you are chasing something that's not a problem. As said before, often a thick layer of gel coat runs down there and cracks from over shrinkage (caused by it being thick) strictly cosmetic. The other thing is that yard workers often dump any excess resin, gel etc into the keel cavity be fore it finally gets covered over. Are any of your cracks into the hull laminate?
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:52   #13
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

What type of ballast is this? Lead, Iron, concrete? The reason why this is important is that concrete can get water saturated, freeze then crack adjoining fiberglass. Iron can rust, expand then crack adjoining fiberglass. Lead is usually OK and hopefully that's what you have.
Most internal ballast is encapsulated in in resin and glasses over at the top which looks to be cracked on your boat. If you ballast has been compromised, you may have a more severe issue on hand. If you do have lead, you should be fine with letting this area dry, fill the crack with an epoxy slurry then maybe put a layer of glass or two over it just to be safe.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:06   #14
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

Good news, I just read a copy of the 1984 owner's manual and it says that it has three individually cast lead ingots placed in the bilge. So you should be OK in the simple repair job
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:45   #15
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Re: Serious Bilge Cracks

Thanks all for the input...especially Tortuga's Lie, feeling good about the lead!

The boat lived in Illinois for most of its life so likely freeze damage. Hope so. There's a couple of weeping keel repairs that I don't believe are related by impact damage etc. Wet laminate is likely sending bilge crack moisture through the path of least resistance in the keel repairs.

Grinding the small and deep bilge is becoming a pain. Sanding is not aggressive enough.

I'm thinking paint stripper but concerned about it's effect on the polyester resin in the laminate, especially if it makes it's way deep into the crack during application or removal. I could grind the crack out again after stripping but might not get it all. Caution is advised that 8 hrs or so is the maximum you want non (methylene chloride or caustic agents) strippers on glass or gel coat.....

Any advice ? Keep grinding ?

Also, filling the crack, should I consider un thickened (no HD filler) for the first injection to achieve better penetration deep into the crack (but less strength), then after cure following up with a filler batch?

Only want to do this once
Dave.
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