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Floor/stringer repair: how far?

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    Posted: June-27-2006 at 8:03pm
Today I started what I thought would be a relatively simple floor patch. I had a soft spot under the observer seat that I cut out, revealing some rotted wood. The wood located between the motor and battery box is rotted on the port side, mostly outwards of the main stringer.

Good news: Ive cut the fiberglass back and have found good wood. Only the board closest to the motor absolutely needs replacing- all the others span both main stringers without any rot. I think anything outside the main stringer can be replaced with foam and glass. Also, all the foam is dry. My boat must be new enough that its all closed cell. Most importantly, the main stringer feels solid.

Bad news: Since the foam didnt absorb any water, it had to go somewhere- my secondary stringer on the port side is rotted as far as Ive dared to cut back. Outside the 1'x3' area that was soft, the floor is solid. All the foam surrounding it is dry. I still havent found where that secondary stringer dries up (if at all) and Ive already come across one perpendicular piece that is rotted as well.

Question: Where do I go from here? Obviously I need to do something with the rotted stringer- can it be fixed or is replacing the only option? Seems a shame to tear in real deep since the foam is still dry.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fuelctrl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-27-2006 at 8:31pm
I1m doing a partial restoration so I can ride this summer and full restoration this winter. My boat is a 78 tique and it is better to do it rite the first time. I1`ve gutted al the foam from the seats back and only took 3 days. the web site I found is awsome and check it out for reference. The guys have done alot of these and it is not that hard. The work I have done so far is on the forum maintenance foam, rot and gut 2 days ago. Here`s the web page http://www.rotdoctor.com/glass/GLrotrepair.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote M3Fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-28-2006 at 6:26am
You're killing me with these pictures. I'd inject the secondary with GitRot or whatever... perhaps drilling holes along the secondary through the floor further back to inject it. Let it dry out and glass her over. I have no experience with this at all but I think tearing out the whole floor is extreme.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-28-2006 at 7:28am
I hope that replacing the whole floor wont be necessary. My main concern at this point is the secondary stringer. I am going to pull out the wood in the front and inspect the stringers on the starboard side. If they are solid (like I suspect they are) then Ill concentrate my efforts on the one rotted port stringer.

What I can see now is pretty well rotted (soaked with water and crumbling) so Im going to keep digging until I find it dry. Most likely I will have to replace the whole thing. All the foam is dry, so would it be possible to just remove the foam directly surrounding it to give me room to glass the new stringer in, then re-foam the void and glass over? Or is there some reason I should remove all the foam on that side?   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-28-2006 at 10:18am
That method will work fine and is a good plan IMHO. You may find water between the foam and hull. If so, you need to let it dry out and then find the source of water intrusion. Look for cracks in the fiberglass at 90 degree bends and corners (bilge area). Repair as necessary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tim D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-28-2006 at 11:25am
Looks like a classic case where water has entered the plywood on the edge and delaminated it.
Tim D
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-10-2006 at 1:12pm
I know everyone loves pictures, so I thought I would give a quick update with my progress.

After finding the rot, the first thing I did was remove the wood between the pylon and battery box.

Then I cut back the fiberglass over the rotted stringer until I found decent wood. Then I started removing the foam surrounding the stringer.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-10-2006 at 1:24pm
Once I was finished digging, I removed all the rotted parts. I only had to remove the entire depth of the stringer over a 2' section (right where the original soft spot was). I cut out as much wet wood as I could and shaved down the remaining portion of the stringer. I removed any foam that had come delaminated from the hull.








I then built the new replacement stringer and front flooring section out of 23/32" structural fir plywood (no pics yet). I treated all exposed wood (main stringers, starboard outbound stringer and the remaining part of the port stringer being replaced) with Rot Doctor CPES.

The boat sat in the sun all weekend, so the minimal water that was between the foam and hull seems to be gone now. Everything will dry out a few more days before I get to work on it again. The plan is:

1. Coat wood to be installed with epoxy resin
2. Glass down new stringer
3. Pour the foam, grind it level when it dries
4. Install front floor section
5. Glass everything over

Ill snap a few more pics as I progress. I cant wait to get this floor done so I can start working on the motor!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 79nautique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-10-2006 at 1:25pm
you should have covered the carb before you made the mess, now you'll have some of the foam in your carb.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeinNY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-10-2006 at 1:45pm
Whats a little foam in the carb amongst friends? Looks like good work here, I have some simliar work instore down the road with the "new" 1983 2001 I just towed home, doesn't look nearly as bad as the 67, the foam in there was of the sort where if it was wet anywhere it was wet everywhere. Whatcha doing with the motor.
-Joe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-10-2006 at 1:54pm
79, youre right- the motor is a real mess. Everything about this job is messy and rather unpleasant. Ill make sure I blow out the flame arrestor.

Joe, Ive got some GT40p heads, a Weiand Stealth intake and a Cam Research camshaft waiting to be installed. I think that work will be much more enjoyable!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim_In_Houston Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-10-2006 at 11:25pm
Nice work. Installing the cam, heads, and intake will be much more enjoyable. For me, turning bolts is always more fun than running a saw. Besides, the stringer repair is necessary maintenance - the bolt-ons are for fun and elected performance upgrades. Sort of like mowing and raking the lawn compared to laying out the foundation for a new room expansion.
Happy owner of a '66 and a '68 Mustang
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-11-2006 at 8:19am
TRBenj,

Your floor repair looks like a mirror image of what I am going through on my 89 SN right now. I started out repairing a couple of soft spots on the port side of the boat, but then found the wood had rotted out under the driver seat and that I had water in the foam on the starboard side of the boat between the primary stringer and secondary stringer.

One thing I noticed in your pictures, is the perpetual wet spot in the bilge, just behind the bulkhead. I too had this. I finally had to take a look, and removed the battery box and dug the foam out. The top of the foam was dry, but the bottom few inches was totally saturated. The bulkhead was leaking water into the bow of the boat. The joint between the bulkhead and hull had cracked, and the caulking around the battery box hose had failed.

I don't know if it something you have to repair, but I thought I would point it out. I have questioned myself on it many times, but once I started there was no going back. There was really no wood in the bow that was harmed by the water as the level was below the stringers. However, the water does seem to wick its way around. It has turned out to be the hardest part of the repair though. It is still ongoing, but I should be done in about a week.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-11-2006 at 11:25am
Mark, thanks for pointing that out. I will inspect the bulkhead more closely- it sure isnt secured very well at the sides. Not sure how well the bottom is sealed. Youre right, that spot has constantly been wet, so there may be some water between the foam and the hull in the bow. I will stick my hand down in between the battery box and see if anything feels wet- I might as well fix anything now while its apart.

If it is in fact wet up there between the foam and hull, I *should* be OK if I can get it to dry out and reseal the bulkhead. Ive noticed that my foam is in excellent shape everywhere- nothing is waterlogged. Must be good closed cell stuff.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-12-2006 at 2:16pm
Mark,

I reached my hand down under the battery box and there is some standing water there. The foam I could touch doesnt seem too bad- so Im hoping that Im OK. I want to pull the battery box to see the condition of the foam towards the front- any tips on how to get it out? Ive cut it out from the fiberglass floor and seperated the top edge from the foam. Still stuck in there- Im afraid if I force it out Ill crack it since its only fiberglasss. Any hints you can provide would be appreciated!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Munday Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-12-2006 at 10:06pm
Man I hate to see that,since my 92 is just like it.I have a small soft spot below observers seat also and I ain't gonna look at it very close now till after this season is over.I was planning to recarpet this winter so
now I'll be alot more prepared for what I uncover.

Looks like your doing a nice job,think I'll go ahead and pull my motor out of the way when I
do mine.

Good luck Munday
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-13-2006 at 8:03am
Tim,

On my boat, the battery box had four small nails in the top edge, two in the front and two in the back. I was able to use a small pry bar and work under the edge to lift the heads. I was then able to pull them out.

The foam has a pretty strong hold on the battery box. I had to dig a fair amount of it out, around the box, to free it up enough to pull the box out. I mostly worked on the left side, digging down to the bottom of the box, then was able to rotate the box toward the left to pull it away from the foam on the right. In the process of removing the foam, I destroyed the vent hoses. I am not sure if there is any way to do it without damaging the hoses. They are very thin and brittle, and they run right next to the battery box.

Your getting into the same situation that I was in. I ended up removing most of the foam in the bow, digging a tunnel up to where the vent inlets are, so that I could replace the vent hoses. I also cut an access hole next to the vent inlets so that I could work from the top.    If your careful, you may be able to splice in new sections of hose and not have to go to the same extreme that I did.

Hope this helps,
Mark

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-13-2006 at 8:07am
A soft spot under the observer seat will likely require the same attention as my boat. Once that wood gets wet, the rot spreads to all the wood it touches. Removing the motor may make it easier to move around in the boat while youre working, but its not really necessary.

I decided not to pull my battery box. There was no foam directly underneath it (where the standing water was) and all the foam I can reach is dry. I stuck a hairdryer down there for a while just in case. My bulkhead was cracked, so I will repair and seal it well with 3M-5200. Im also replacing the battery box drain hose.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-13-2006 at 12:25pm
I kind of wish I wouldn't have pull mine out. But I did have a lot of water in the bow that extended to about a foot in front of the battery box. Also, one of the vent hoses was in the wet foam and it had deteriorated to nothing more than black dust and rust.

I am doing the same with my bulkhead plus I am going to use a thru-hull fitting in the bulkhead for the drain hose. I think the fitting will maintain a better seal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-14-2006 at 6:26am
I broke 2 hoses trying to remove the battery box as well. I reattached one to the bulkhead, but the other broke too far up. I dont trust that I can get a good seal back to the bulkhead so Im going to seal the hole.

As I plan to glass in the stringer, I thought of some questions:

- How long do I have to wait to pour foam around the stringer? Can I pour while the resin is still tacky? Or do I wait until its dry to the touch, or until its fully cured?

- How many layers of glass should be used on the stringer? Is 3 enough (mat/cloth/mat)?

- What is the proper method for piecing the fiberglass section of the floor together? The section I am replacing is large and irregularly shaped, so I would like to do it in pieces. Do I just overlap the edges by a few inches and stagger the joint on the next layer?

- How much resin should I be using with the glass? Do I want it fully saturated and dripping off? Or just coated? Should I be soaking the cloth/mat in resin or can I put it on with a paintbrush?

Any tips would be appreciated!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-14-2006 at 7:20am
Three layers at the stringers is probably plenty depending on the weight of material used. Remember, the first should be narrow and each subsequent layer wider so each layer is getting glued to the hull and not just the first layer. You should start with mat, but it does not really matter what you end up with since you are not apply a final finish coat.

Yes, overlap the butt joints slightly and stagger joints on subsequent layers. Since you are doing a large area, you might consider using a paint roller to apply the resin. First coat the foam, then lay the dry glass then saturate with resin until soaked. Apply second layer dry, roll on the resin until saturated. Use your grooved resin roller to force out air bubbles. Do not press so hard that you force out the resin or air will get back in. Repeat for each layer, rolling each second layer. You need a minimum of 1/8" thickness of the floor over foam. I would go a bit thicker, especially at high traffic areas.

Do not worry too much if the floor is not very level, you can always mix up some thicken resin as a fairing compound to level it out. Simply trowel it on. Don't worry about getting it perfect as the carpet will hide a lot of imperfections.

Don't forget to taper the edges of the existing (old) floor on a 12:1 taper to receive the new fiberglass. Walk the layers up the taper or up the sides of the boat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-15-2006 at 10:39am
Thanks DavidF!

Ive got the stringer glassed in and Im ready to pour the foam. I have a question:

The US Composites pourable foam I have says I have 45 seconds of working time. I assume I mix parts A and B very quickly and pour... is it alright to do the foam in layers? Will the foam stick to itself if its not all poured at once? Or should I try and get everything in one shot?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-15-2006 at 8:33pm
Tim,

US Composites has a FAQ that answers your question. Yes, you can do multiple layers but need to wait 15 to 20 minutes between them.

http://www.shopmaninc.com/faq_foam.html#7
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-15-2006 at 8:44pm
marks, thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I should have known to check their FAQ. Now I have a good plan for tomorrow!
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Update: This weekend I made a little bit of progress. I coated the stringer and flooring with epoxy resin prior to installing. I dried out the area underneath the battery box, made a new drain for it, then sealed up the bulkhead with 3M-5200. I then fiberglassed the new stringer in with 3 layers of glass (mat/cloth/mat). I also glassed the bulhead in place. I then poured the foam and trimmed it flat with an angle grinder. Its starting to look like a floor again! All that is left is to glass everything down. Many thanks to DavidF and marks for all the great tips and advice! Pics:









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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-17-2006 at 8:12am
Your work looks very good and you are making incredible progress! I was going to suggest you glass in the bulkhead and forget the sealant, then I scrolled down and saw you did just that. It is precisely these 90 degree corners that crack and let the water in (in many instances). So, a good fillet is helpful to turn the 90 degree bend into an easier transition. It looks like the sealant is acting as a fillet, so you should be good to go. Check other critical areas around the bilge for cracking. Also, make sure that any hole created in teh plywood for fastening is again sealed with epoxy resin...simply pour a bit over the fastener before you lay the first layer of fiberglass mat.

Keep up the good work!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-17-2006 at 8:50am
Thanks DavidF! Youre right- the 5200 makes a nice fillet for the glass on the bulkhead. Its secured in there a lot better than it was from the factory, so I think its good to go. The only other critical area in the bilge that I can think of is where the main stringers meet the hull- thats really the only other joint, right? Good call on the fasteners. On the screws in the rear, I predrilled the holes, filled them with epoxy, screwed everything down and then coated the top. I plan on doing the same for the screws on the front floor section (1 at a time).

This project is taking me a little longer than I would have liked, but its coming out pretty decent, I think. I sure dont want to be doing this repair again any time soon!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mgswed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-17-2006 at 9:02am
Good work TRBenj. Everything looks perfect so far. Cant wait to go for a ride!!! -MG
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote M3Fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-17-2006 at 11:20am
Absolutely amazing. All the more reason to fly out there for a ride one of these days!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-17-2006 at 11:53am
Originally posted by M3Fan M3Fan wrote:

Absolutely amazing. All the more reason to fly out there for a ride one of these days!


Unfortunately, Ill be in Japan for most of August for work. September can be a little chilly, but fall is a beautiful season in New England... come on out!
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