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Old 29-12-2007, 11:47   #1
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This Could be Serious

While tracing the wiring in our Cal 29 (which I am told is a Cal 2-29) I came across two steel tabs at the bottom of the main bulkhead that are seriously corroded. I missed these when I bought the boat. By the looks of them, they are for a significant structural application, but I don't know what.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery...php?i=3920&c=2
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=3919&c=2
By looking at how heavy of metal they were made out of originally, they were pretty strong. They appear to have been 3/16" - 1/4" thick. The bolts are either 7/16" or 1/2" stainless bolts.
I know just by looking at them that I have a project ahead of me. But I am completely lost as to what they are, where they go or how to replace them.
It sticks in the back of my mind that I read an article somewhere about someone who repaired this same item on their boat and indicated that while it was involved, it was certainly do-able.
Is there a thread on here that tells about this repair or can anyone here give some advice (Please don't give me the advice to get another boat! )
We really want to get this one in the water, but I think that this is a serious safety issue.
Thanks in advance
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Old 29-12-2007, 12:32   #2
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Metal expands 16 times when it turns to rust.
I may look worse than it is.

Get the pieces out and have cleaned up before you decide to put new ones in.
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Old 29-12-2007, 12:57   #3
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CSY Man - I really don't know how to get the parts out. They go down inside the fiberglass pan and I don't know if they are molded in or if they attach to something else below. I guess what I mean is that I don't know their function so I am pretty much blind as to where to go from here.
Thanks
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Old 29-12-2007, 15:41   #4
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firstly put some rust neutraliser on the steel to stop it corroding any further, this will give you time to research a solution without it getting any worse. there looks to still be a substantial amount of steel there, the crital point will be where it enters the fibreglass.
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Old 29-12-2007, 16:48   #5
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If they go down into the fiberglass, then they must be the main mounting for the bulkhead. I am surprised that they are steel, especially by a good builder like CAL.

Usually main bulkheads are tabbed/glassed in place. You might try pulling the bolts and cleaning off the rust and then power wire brush them the best you can. If there is good metal left then you could clean it with an acid and neutralize it with a baking soda and water solution.

When it's all dry as it could possibly get, coat it several times with a thinned out epoxy allowing it to soak into the wood as well. Put the bolts back in and give it a couple more coats making sure it's all sealed right down to and including the FG. Then coat it with a regular thickness of epoxy.

This will keep it as dry as possible. In order for the rust to start up again it has to get wet. Sealing it off will stop it as far as you can reach. What's below the surface you can't do anything about with out digging into the glass and that'll open up a can of worms.

Without actually being on site this is the best I can offer as a possible fix.

Is there an opposite side (port/stbd) to this bulkhead with another bracket??

You may want to log on to this site: Cal Owner Forums

There may be others that have had the same problem.

enjoy....................._/)
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Old 29-12-2007, 17:06   #6
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The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone...

Maybe I'm the curious type but I just cannot see what this substantial bracket connects.

I looks like it just holds the bulkhead to the stringer.

If it reinforces something like a chainplate then it may have to be dug out and redone (and do not use the boat until it is properly fixed).

I might be a bit cynical (being a steelie) but most bulkheads on plastic boats seem to be taped in place as a minor afterthought.

I would certainly loose no time in chipping, wire brushing and vacuuming away all loose rust and painting liberal amounts of phosphoric acid so that all rust is converted.

Then I would dry it all totally (maybe with an electric heat gun - be careful), coat with a good quality thin epoxy resin (get it nice and warm) so that the resin fills all voids and prevents water and oxygen from getting to the steel.

Mixing some of the leftover resin with microballoons to a toothpaste consistency and smearing this round everything to further inhibit water ingress might also be a good idea.

Some action to prevent what looks like water seeping into the base of the bulkhead is also indicated.

The above should not be relied on under any circumstances and is suggested as an emergency measure only to stop the problem from worsening while you seek appropriate professional advice.
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Old 29-12-2007, 17:49   #7
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Most of the Cal line uses a galvanized I-beam to resolve the forces of the mast and rigging. This beam runs across the boat, the fiberglass step in the cabin sole is wrapped around the sides and top of it. In the Cal groups it has been argued back and forth whether the original plans called for stainless.

Clean it up and see how bad it really is before committing to immediate replacement. I haven't done this job, but there are pictures and help out there to do the job. The mast or compression post sits on the center of the I-beam. The shrouds are connected to the beam using the main bulkhead, chainplates near the top of the bulkhead, the tabs on the beam near the bottom. The Cal 40 also has 1/2" steel rods to tie the chainplates to another set of tabs on the beam. One of the previous owners of my boat installed 4" deck ports in the sides of the fiberglass step to monitor the condition of the beam. A group of Cal owners were passing around a commercial version of an endoscope (camera on a flexible controllable stalk) to inspect their beams. There is also a Cal 40 owner here in the PNW that has done this job.

I don't remember all the details, but at the very least some disassembly of the cabin in front of the main bulkhead is required to cut the top and/or side of the fiberglass step out. Then the beam can be slid out. I believe that at least there are drawings if not even people working on group deals of beam manufacture.

You need to sign up on the Yahoo group Cal_boats to see the pictures in the first link below, and to participate in the email list. These guys are a good knowledgeable group of Cal owners.

Pictures of Mariposa, a Cal 29 replacing the beam. He was also redoing the cabin, you don't need to gut the whole boat as he has done.

http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Cal.../view/c230?b=7

Here's someone I know that had to replace the main bulkhead, still can't see the beam except for the tab on top.

Jedediah Smith : photos : Main Bulkhead Replacement- powered by SmugMug

John
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Old 29-12-2007, 18:40   #8
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Thanks All! Now I have somewhere to go with this.
Itt sounds like you hit it right on the head. From all of this information I can see how the bulkhead ties the chainplates to the stringers. Your comment on "Don't use the boat until it is repaired" is my thought exactly. The pictures don't show the amount of corrosion clearly, but one of the tabs is pretty much just layers upon layers of rust with no real material left. I am amazed that they used plain steel for this crucial structural part. There is no indication of it having been galvanised, but that could have gone away long ago.
I see the water seeping into the base of the bulkhead. I will have to trace it out to be sure. Part of it is my fault - I am rewiring the boat (that is how I found the problem in the first place) and I allowed rainwater to run down the mast step into the wire channel. But it looks like there has been water there before.
Seeing the amount of visible corrosion, I can't help but wonder what is hidden under the step in the cabin sole.
I will sign up for the Cal Boats groups right now and the Cal Owner Forums if it is not the same thing.
Sure appreciate all of this information. I will keep you posted on how this goes.
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Old 29-12-2007, 20:08   #9
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Originally Posted by clausont View Post
Thanks All! Now I have somewhere to go with this.
Itt sounds like you hit it right on the head. From all of this information I can see how the bulkhead ties the chainplates to the stringers. Your comment on "Don't use the boat until it is repaired" is my thought exactly. The pictures don't show the amount of corrosion clearly, but one of the tabs is pretty much just layers upon layers of rust with no real material left. I am amazed that they used plain steel for this crucial structural part. There is no indication of it having been galvanised, but that could have gone away long ago.
I see the water seeping into the base of the bulkhead. I will have to trace it out to be sure. Part of it is my fault - I am rewiring the boat (that is how I found the problem in the first place) and I allowed rainwater to run down the mast step into the wire channel. But it looks like there has been water there before.
Seeing the amount of visible corrosion, I can't help but wonder what is hidden under the step in the cabin sole.
I will sign up for the Cal Boats groups right now and the Cal Owner Forums if it is not the same thing.
Sure appreciate all of this information. I will keep you posted on how this goes.
Maybe it's just a terminology problem, but there are no stringers. The steel tabs that are bolted to the bulkhead are welded to the top of the I-beam.

The bulkhead is tabbed (glassed) to the hull where the I-beam isn't in the way.

John
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Old 30-12-2007, 06:21   #10
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You are probably right John, I was assuming that the beam also attached to stringers in the hull, but reading more about the beam, I see that I am wrong. Very interesting arrangement with the beam where it carries the entire load of the mast so the hull does not have to.
Getting a beam made is not so much of a concern to me as much as replacing it. I have an inquiry as to the exact procedure to replace it. I am not afraid to dig in and do it, just need to know how. Really, it looks fairly straight forward, but before I start removing any of the lockers, icebox etc and cutting the cabin sole, I want to know more exactly what is necessary. I hate re-inventing a good wheel
Again, thanks everyone and I will keep you posted on the progress.
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Old 30-12-2007, 10:31   #11
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Transverse bulkheads are also there for reducing hull flex.
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Old 31-12-2007, 16:17   #12
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Cal40John - Thanks again for the info on the beam. I looked at the links that you gave and found that as you mentioned, there were a number of people there that had done this job already. I have found superb detailed explanations along with step by step photos and even machinist drawings and a dxf file for a new beam.
I do think that it will be involved, but no more so than I have already done.
Thanks again everyone here.
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Old 01-01-2008, 19:01   #13
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The Dreaded Beam

I removed the Dreaded Beam today (involved but really not too bad)
and the picture tells more than I can. Next will be installing the new one after I have it made and re glassing the floor pan.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/gallery...php?i=3936&c=2

I was trying to insert the picture into this post but I guess that I don't know how to. Oh, well.
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Old 01-01-2008, 20:04   #14
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the picture tells more than I can. .
Holy keelbolts, batman!

thats prolly why the old owner wanted it sold.
good on you for getting it and fixing the problem. You will soon have a fine boat!


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Old 01-01-2008, 20:40   #15
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Hmm, a bit too far gone..Black iron exposed to salt water for 20 years?

Fix them leaks before ya repair the metal and the corrosion.

Use a garden hose and go after every little deck/window/chain-plate leak.
Even one drop is too much...Then ya repair the damage the leaks have been doing over the years...After ya fix the leaks...

Had leaks on my boat too, and I take it personally...Not even one drop is acceptable..Stop every drop...
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