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Old 08-05-2021, 10:48   #1
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Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

I have badly leaking S.S. opening portlights. The wood trim surrounding the opening is no more than 1/4”. This is what the male end male of port light was screwed into.
I made some 3/8 and 1/2” teak spacers. would like to epoxy the spacer to the existing interior wood trim. That would give me something more decent for the portlight screws to bite into. Any reason I couldn’t epoxy the spacer to the interior wood trim?

In fact, would prefer to seal off the entire window opening to help prevent water intrusion. Presently there is a slight gap between wood trim and the glass hull. Does the interior wood trim “float”, compared to the fiberglass hull?

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2021, 11:03   #2
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Hi Chris, do you have any pictures of the situation? Seems like the sealing needs to take place 'outdoors' so to speak between port light frame and the hull.
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Old 08-05-2021, 11:42   #3
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

[IMG]6B0C48B7-BF8C-44A2-BBA0-F9D9…BD08.jpeg[/IMG]

[IMG]682AFE2E-F2FB-4E8C-9D15-0BB4EEF3F503.jpeg[/IMG]

hope pics work
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:15   #4
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uulf66h33a...F503.jpeg?dl=0
Sorry this should work:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9m9904pere...BD08.jpeg?dl=0

In the second pic, I have already added some thickened epoxy to the existing cutout, still have to light sand.
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Old 08-05-2021, 14:02   #5
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Ports are normally through bolted not screwed into the cabin side or wood trim. Looks like there is a bevel on the port light to run flat head machine screws in from inside to outside. I've always used machine screws or bolts the other way with nuts on the inside. Through bolting and Butyl caulk has worked every time. Before discovering butyl used LifeCaulk which also worked except where the port light opening was grossly miscut and there was almost no overlap of the trim ring
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Old 08-05-2021, 15:09   #6
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Here's a copy of the pictures. These ports look like each part (exterior frame and main housing) should screw into the hull as the screw holes look like they do not line up as they would need to for bolt holes.
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Old 08-05-2021, 16:29   #7
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Thats weird.

Any idea who manufactured the portlights?

I am replacing 12 portlights. The old and new are both very different from the OP’s. i looked at a lot or portlights while selecting my new ones, none looked like these.

Hard to even imagine what the advantage would be. Something special in the installation???
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Old 08-05-2021, 18:17   #8
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Appreciate the great comments. She’s a Caliber 38, ‘89.

Previous instal had s.s. wood screws cut purposely cut short. These secured the inside of portlight to the narrow depth interior woodwork. This could be a redo, as there were holes through all the way through the hull, but the cut off screws didn’t reach that far. Butyl secured the outer ring, as well as silicone calking.

Through bolting would be a great way to secure and seal. However, what about the nuts protruding the outer hull? How could I make it flush so as to hide everything with the outer s.s. trim ring? Like the idea of installing bolts pointing inward. However, the portlight inner part is recessed to accept a bolt head.

I have experience with butyl, main issue is how to secure the portlight.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-05-2021, 18:40   #9
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

I can think of several possible options, pretty difficult to express adequately in writing.

I am no expert and will gladly bow to more experienced posters opinion. That said....

I would be less than thrilled with that installation. A solid wave could push in the whole mess. Not good. The port-lights I am changing out were better than that. Something tells me that this is some kind of a botched after market fix, just my gut. It is just so simple to do through bolting, which is much stronger.

Options.
1-drill out the outside rings to the same pattern as the inside rings and run bolts from outside to inside. Leaves exposed bolts on inside. Have someone weld the unused holes closed. Can be done very neatly.

2- have someone weld nuts to the inside rings to match the existing outside holes. Put the nuts on the underside of the ring. Then run in bolts from outside. Bolt length must be just right and aligning bolts with nuts a PITA. You would need to cut reliefs in the wood trim to accommodate the nuts. Then put short screws in the existing holes just to fill them.

3- Have someone make exterior rings with the correct bolt spacing. You could do it yourself, holesaw the four corners and cut off wheel between. Then clean up with a 120 grit flap disk and polish. Lots of fun shop time but not real expensive.

New Found Metals has a video of how to install their lights. Basically you pack them with butyl, cram some more butyl in, then get serious about forcing in butyl. That might give you some ideas.

I am assuming your inner piece has a spigot that sticks out through the outer ring. If true then the length/depth of that spigot will determine the maximum wall thickness and thus maximum spacer depth.

Hope this helps.

Even more, I hope I am wrong and there is a more simple solution.
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Old 08-05-2021, 19:46   #10
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Through bolting is much preferred. Through bolts with v-head on the inside an acorn nut on the outside should suffice and look professional. I like butyl tape for this too. What is the spigot depth?
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Old 09-05-2021, 06:45   #11
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Thanks for the great feedback. I don't see a spigot (drain) on these S.S. opening portlights.

Looks like through bolting is the best option. I really appreciate everyone’s time. Looks like might be heading to a machine shop to get the outer trim ring in line with the portlight (have 12 portlights!).

Thanks again!!!
Chris
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Old 09-05-2021, 16:02   #12
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

My understanding is that the spigot is the part, perhaps a lip, of the pane side that extends through the cabin wall and extends to or beyond the trim ring on the outside.
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Old 09-05-2021, 17:11   #13
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

Atkins Hoyle port light showing the trim ring and the light. The spigot is the extension on the light facing left.
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Old 09-05-2021, 17:33   #14
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

I just changed 14 port portlights, well still working on it but almost done. I was VERY size restricted (my cabin sides are pretty short) and could not use any of the various brands in the normal configurations. The only unit that would work for me was a Vetus portlight. Even at that I had to a enlarge the cut outs. 3/16” steel so not trivial.

Vetus has been very slow to ship due Covid sucking up all available glazing.

Normal quality lights (NFM or AH for example will run $450-$600/ light.

Vetus was about $180, closer to $160 with a Defender First account. The Vetus lights are very highly rated, for in hull installation. They are not maintainable like the other lights but at that cost it is less to replace than fix, should that ever become necessary.

You may be better off, maybe even cheaper, to replace than to mess around with what you have. It is hard to tell exactly how your ports mount, but from the photos they don't look so good, poor design. I could easily be wrong, but it is what I see at the moment. One mans opinion only.

My concern is that you will spend a substantial amount of money and effort and end up with a leaky light due poor design. Do you have a spigot on the inside part that fits into a lip on the outside part?? If yes good, cram that full of butyl. If not, not good.


I can tell you more about the Vetus light installation if you are interested.
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Old 16-05-2021, 13:30   #15
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Re: Portlight spacer: epoxy in place or float?

If my problem is the same as yours - flat portlights on a curved surface - ultimately the answer is build up a flat surface for the ports to land on using thickened epoxy. And unless your boat is pig ugly, there wont already be dead flat surfaces to get a portlight to fit to perfectly. Oh, and use through-bolts and butyl tape because someone, someday will need to remove them.

That said, my portlights were installed 40 years ago with at least 1/4" deflection from flat at either end. A bit of a bodge but the boat has done tens of thousands of miles and the portlights are among the least of my problems. If I was intending to round the southern capes I'd replace them with solid 8mm or 10mm acrylic windows. What I wouldn't do is try and make a new portlight conform to my notably curved cabin sides. I'm buggered if I know why a decent yacht designer (Ian Anderson) thought that was a good idea in the first pace
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