Rebedding Beckson Ports
by Chuck Hughes, Sand Save #223
Q: How do I Re-Bed Leaking C34 Beckson Ports?
Here are the Basic steps to re-bed leaking C34 Beckson ports if working in a perfect world.
Farther down the page you will see the reality that we all find is quite different.
Photos of the Removal Jig
Can be found at this link to the Message Board: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,3241.0.html [Stu 11/09]
All ports are 5 x 12.
- Remove the mounting screws from the inside side of the ports.
- Remove the trim rings from the exterior side of the ports.
- Remove the ports by pushing them into the boat from the outside.
- Clean the old adhesive/sealant from the hole in the boat and from the old port.
- Dry the hull hole using denatured alcohol.
- Fill any existing gaps in the hull with closed cell sealant foam.
- From inside the salon, hold the port in place and rub dishwashing liquid around hull/salon areas just adjacent to the port, to prevent sealant from sticking to unwanted areas.
- Repeat the dishwashing liquid process around the trim ring on the exterior of the boat.
- Put new sealant on the clean port; reinstall in the existing hole, screwing the screws in all but the last turn.
- Force additional sealant into the gaps between the port and the hull, both from the inside and the outside of the boat.
- Put new sealant on the new trim ring, then press into place from the outside.
- After the sealant has cured for 24-48 hours, turn the screws the final turn.
- New trim rings from Beckson
- 3M Adhesive/Sealant Remover (available at West Marine)
- Silicone Sealant (1/2 tube per port)
- Dishwashing Liquid
- Denatured alcohol
- Closed cell sealant foam (available at West Marine)
- Dremel Tool with wire brush attachment
- Sharp knife
- Various flathead screwdrivers
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Hammer or small sledgehammer
- Piece of heavy plastic, like a paint bucket lid
- Paper Towels/rags
- Some short lumber if you use Capt Al's removal method
The reality is quite different
First, I removed the gaskets from the ports, just to get them out of the way. Then I unscrewed all the screws, marking each one with a piece of white electrical tape and a number corresponding to the hole it came from, to be sure they went back into the same holes. (As I removed them, I cleaned all of the screws by rubbing/turning in emery cloth to remove any rust that had formed.) As far as getting the trim rings and ports off, unfortunately there's a bit more than just unscrewing the screws (at least on the first one I did). The sealant Catalina used is extremely adhesive (or perhaps the previous owner used adhesive, if he re-bedded the ports). I ended up using a sharp knife and then progressively larger screwdrivers to pry the trim ring away from the outer hull. (By the way, I definitely recommend buying all new trim rings from Beckson before starting the job. They look great and there's no fear of damaging the existing ones in the prying process. They’re about $13 each, if memory serves Me.).
After prying off the trim ring, I used 3M Adhesive/Sealant Remover on a rag to soften the adhesive between the perimeter of the port and the exterior hull. I then used the knife (outside the boat) to cut as much of the adhesive as I could that was between the perimeter of the port and the hull. Unfortunately, the port still didn’t move. I then used the knife inside the salon to try to cut as much of the adhesive as I could from between the port and the inner hull. Still no movement.
Here was the scary part, standing on the deck, I took the thick plastic cover from a paint bucket, held it against the outside of the port, and smacked it repeatedly with a hammer toward the interior of the boat. Eventually, it broke loose. The port seems to have stood up to the abuse with no ill effects, as did the hull. I suppose there is a danger of damaging the fiberglass inside the boat if the adhesive doesn’t give way. If someone has a better way of breaking the port loose, please let me know.
--- A tip from Capt Al Watson:
I have a sketch that will help others out…for you, it is too late. SORRY!
I took a few pieces of 2x3 lumber as shown in the sketch and tighten the bolts, putting pressure on the window till the caulk breaks. You might be able to help the process along as you said, freeing the caulk with a sharp knife first.
As far as getting the old adhesive off, I used the 3M Adhesive/Sealant Remover, a knife & sandpaper to clean off the hull, inside and out – basically, elbow grease. Removing the adhesive from the port is a two-step process. The perimeter (or circumference) of the port is smooth plastic. The Sealant Remover and knife does a good job of taking the adhesive off these areas, though it’s still a chore. The portion of the port that rests flush against the interior of the hull (in the salon) and through which the screws are mounted has a grooved pattern where it meets the hull. The grooves will be completely filled with old sealant. I originally spent about two hours trying the Sealant Remover and knife on this part of the port, with only limited success. I then went out and bought a rotary tool (like a Dremel tool) and some wire brush attachments. Worked like a charm! I saved hours on the remaining ports, plus I had a valid excuse to buy the rotary tool I've been wanting and putting off. The process now is to use the Sealant Remover on the smooth portions of the port and the Dremel tool on the grooved portions.
Before re-installing the port, I used a piece of 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper to clean up the portions of the port that had become weathered and discolored.
To re-install, I first held the port in place from the inside, then rubbed dishwashing liquid on the surrounding areas of the salon. This is recommended by Beckson and prevents excess silicone sealant from sticking to visible portions of the salon wall. I did the same thing with the trim rings outside the boat. I then spread liberal amounts of silicone sealant on the port and pushed the port back into the hole from the inside. I screwed in the screws all but the last turn or two (again recommended by Beckson). Don’t bother trying to clean up any excess sealant that squeezes out from the port at this point. It’s much easier to just cut away with a sharp knife after it cures.
I then moved to the outside of the boat, adding more sealant to the hole between the hull and the perimeter of the port, using a knife to force as much sealant as I could into the hole. Then I added another bead of sealant around the perimeter of the port. I put a generous amount of sealant to the underside of the trim ring and pressed it into place. Again, don’t try cleaning any excess sealant at this point.
After 24-48 hours, turn the screws the final turn or two, cut away any excess sealant and enjoy dripless ports.
I’ve got the re-bedding process down to about two hours per port.