Sunday, February 3, 2013

Leaking Propane Locker - CHECK!

A few weeks ago we had a torrential downpour that overpowered the drain hole in the bottom of our propane locker.  It's outside on the aft deck Starboard side so why would this concern us you ask?  That would be because the water rose to the level of some unused screw holes and began pouring down the inside of the hull and into my bed!

Now this is a seriously irritating thing, but it could become a deadly thing, as a fellow member of the SSCA pointed out to me later.  If water can get inside the boat, so can propane!  This must be FIXED!

I had done some reading about the wonders of Butyl Tape and placed an order.  I figured this was a good opportunity to see just how easy it is to seal these holes.  Bruce got everything disconnected and I went to work cleaning the areas around the holes so that I could apply sealant to the unused ones.  My original thought was that the holes we used to mount the gauges were the culprits.  Once everything was out, I discovered four other unused holes situated lower than those.  I applied a quick cure polyether multi-purpose calk to all of the holes except for the four mounting holes we are using.

Once that was done, I got to play with my new toy.  I had seen an article that showed the way to use Butyl tape so I was READY!  I had a bit of help in applying the tape to the four new screws (found amongst the pounds and pounds of spares that came with the boat).

Notice the box of spare screws
Jezabelle had to put her two cents in.  Once she gave her stamp of approval and retired back to her sunny spot in the cockpit, I moved on to the next step.
I applied more butyl tape to the base of the mounting bracket.  Maybe this is overkill but you can't be too careful in dealing with propane OR seeping water!  The butyl tape was also great as it held the screws in place making it very easy to hit the holes.  I screwed them all down, then it was Bruce's turn again.

He quickly hooked up both tanks, then he did a "bubble test" with a glass of soapy water to see that there were no leaks once he opened the valves.  No bubbles!  We're done!

Well, that isn't exactly true.  This job led us to investigate the locker on the opposite side of the boat for holes.  We found no holes, but it was full of scuzz which now had to be cleaned out.  Tack on another hour and a half...  But, now we are all clean and safe from death by propane asphyxiation.  And we have that warm fuzzy feeling you get when a job is ticked off the list!  Now, on to the next one...

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