^%#&* bailer leak (3rd time!)

  • MCImes
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1 year 8 months ago #38555 by MCImes
^%#&* bailer leak (3rd time!) was created by MCImes
I'll start by saying I love my Fenn Swordfish S. Best rough water boat I have ever paddled. The only boat that will ever replace it is a Vega or Vega Flex.
But man do Fenn's earn the reputation of leaking! This boat hasnt been water tight since day 1. I've fixed no less than 5 leaks, and Ive epoxied the bailer holes twice already, and now they're leaking again.

After my last outing I dumped out a lot of water - like 2 cups / 500ml of water after a 90 minute paddle. I leak checked it using soap and blowing into the blow hole and BOTH bailer tubes are leaking AGAIN!!!! ^&$^#&#%^@#$%^#%^*(_)(_)*(^#$%@#. Frustrating.

What the hell do I have to do to seal up the bailer connector tubes? I have painted West Systems 105 epoxy over them twice but it seems to break through quuickly, although the surface does not appear damaged. I know epoxy is not structural without filler or fabric, but I figured a good quality epoxy would fill in pinholes acceptably. My experience now says otherwise.

So now I am considering 2 options, or tell me if there is a better route -
1. Sand holes slightly larger (like 0.5 - 1mm per side) then mix epoxy with west systems cotton fluff filler and paint onto the walls of the drain tube. I figure the cotton thickener may provide some minimal strength to the epoxy and allow it to build thicker on the walls

2. Sand holes much larger (like 2-3mm per side - is there enough 'meat' on the tubes to take this much off??) then place 1-2 layers of carbon cloth around the walls.

Or do I just completely remove the bailer tubes and replace with PVC pipe? Or something better?

I know option 2 would be better, but I installed bullets so accessing the inside of the bailer is impossible and would probably require removing the venturi's. Id prefer to avoid this if possible.

So Ranga, Kirk, anyone who has done bailer surgery, what's the best way to reinforce this incredibly leaky area with the minimal amount of intrusion?

Last question - I have some spider cracks in the gel coat at the tip of the bow and one of the bucket rails. I didnt paddle for 6 weeks while recovering from a rib injury recently and noticed salt crystals growing around the spider cracks. This means the fiberglass mat is absorbing water? I thought laminate became hydrophobic after epoxy was impregnated in it. Am I wrong? Clearly the salt crystals tell me there is water in there slowly weeping out right?


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1 year 8 months ago #38557 by sarzelopez
500ml came out of the bung hole after just 90min?! Btw, was this salty water?

Have you soap checked the entire boat? 
When you checked the bailer tubes with soap, the bubbles where in or out of the boat?

I ask because 500ml seems like a lot to be coming in just from the bailer, maybe your rudder/bow is also letting some water in that can be related to the spider cracking

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  • MCImes
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1 year 8 months ago #38558 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic ^%#&* bailer leak (3rd time!)
It was probably less than 500ml, but it was definitely more than 250. It was a lot.

I checked the seams, spider cracks, rudder tubes, rudder post, and any fitting that went thru the hull. The bailer tubes are all that leaked.
One was significant, thus my cursing as its the same one I've half-ass repaired twice already

The area where it leaks is between the bucket and the hull, there is a tube or foam or something that connects the bucket to the hull. There were multiple sources of bubbles in each connecting tube, so the leak appears to be getting worse over time, thus I think I may need to do some major surgery and completely remove the tubes and install new/better/reinforced ones

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1 year 8 months ago #38565 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic ^%#&* bailer leak (3rd time!)
SO I ended up prying off the venturi's. They came off suprisingly easy with a thin putty knife. I mean, it took some work but they came off pretty clean in the grand scheme.

My venturi's were clogged with epoxy from previous repair attempts. I've cleaned that out now!

Even before doing anything to the drain tube area I oculd see cracks in it. THe biggest is shown in a pic below.

I taped off the area, took a dremel with coarse sandpaper and sanded out the hole by 1/8" / 3mm per side enlarging it to almost the same diameter as the venturi cone

As you can see in the last pics, I was having leaks because the foam/cement crap under the bucket is crumbling!

@Ranga what's the best method to repair this? I was considering taping off the bottom tight to the hull, making a pool of epoxy in the drain hole from the top, then carefully suck air out of the hull to pull resin into the cracked matrix of foam cement crap and hopefully create a strong water tight seal. After I've sucked epoxy into the cracks, I would let it gel, then add a single layer of 6oz carbon cloth to the perimeter of the drain hole to further reinforce it.

ANy better idea?

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1 year 8 months ago #38568 by sarzelopez
I would  mask it generously and work from the bucket instead the hull, get a dowel or something, rolling it along the hole pushing some super paste into the crack until it oozes back out so it's completely full. Then closing the hole completely with the same paste before it gels and drilling it open the day after. 

Or doing as you said but ending again with more epoxy, closing the hole completely. 

I think trying to add glass on that small of a radius would be sorta weird and it might suck some epoxy out of the crack

We have a tendency to solve everything with the PC Super Epoxy here. Damn that thing never fails

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  • MCImes
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1 year 7 months ago #38569 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic ^%#&* bailer leak (3rd time!)
I proceeded with my plan it so far its worked perfectly.

I taped tight across the bottom of the hull.
Flipped the boat over, taped off carefully around the bailer holes
Then I took Aluminum Foil tape (the stuff used for HVAC ducting) and made a riser cylinder. I taped the riser to the previously taped perimiter around the hole with more masking tape.

I mixed 12g of West Systems 105 epoxy + 205 fast hardener and poured it in the riser. 12g was only enough to fill one riser flush with the hull, so I mexed 24g more epoxy and put half into the empty tube and double filled the other side, which had the significant cracks.

I let the epoxy heat up in the sub to aobut 70f, then let it sit in the cup for about 2 minutes before pouring in. When epoxy sits in the cup as a large mass with, low surface area it begins to heat up and cure very quyickly, due to its exothermic reaction. I intentionally let it heat up like this to speed its curing once poured, as even the fast hardner can be liquid for a half hour if its cool (<60f) and spread out (like  when glassing fabric). I wanted it to cure fast.

I inhaled a half breath through the vent hole and epoxy rapidly sucked into the cracks. I saw it happen and relieved the slight negative pressure.
The epoxy continued to run in slowly over the next 5 minutes before it finally gel'd and quickly cured.

After about 10 minutes it had a hard crust and after about 30 minutes i sliced off the chimney left behind by the over-fill. at aobut 30mins in the direct sun it was fully hard, but not final-cure hard. I was able to cut through it with a thin utility knife. If it went any longer, it would have been impossible to cut through and would have required grinding, which is much tougher/more messy.

I let it cure in the sun for another hour. Then I took out my 1/2" counterbore bit and drilled a 1/2" pilot hole.
Next I used the dremel tool with coarse sandpaper to enlarge the hole so there was just a little epoxy left surrounding the enlarged hole, about 1mm / .050" per side.

Now Im letting the epoxy cure out fully. This evening I'll use some 1 minute epoxy to re-attach the venturi cones and take her for a spin tomorrow to see if she's finally water tight!

Overall this fix took 3-4 hours in all, but was not very hard. Hopefully this works as a long term fix. I'll report back as time goes on with the results

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1 year 7 months ago #38570 by zachhandler
I feel like that was a love letter from you to your SFS!

nice work on the repair!

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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1 year 7 months ago #38579 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic ^%#&* bailer leak (3rd time!)
I only saw this today but there was a much simpler way to repair, I have done many of these. Basically drill out hole 16mm and insert 16mm SS tube and epoxy in with West 105, all from the cockpit.

You are quite mistaken to think the laminate is epoxy, and yes epoxy will seal the laminate however they are not epoxy so all bets are off when the gelcoat is cracked.

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