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Old 12-20-2006, 11:06 PM   #1
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Default T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Ok, I had a local guy put a tee top on my World Cat @ 4 years ago. It is a great design and was built like a brick house. Unfortuneately, the two front support posts ( floor mounted) have become loose from the deck. It appears he installed them with 5200 and some heavy duty ss self tapping screws. The holes are all worn out. I tried to fill them with glass matting dipped in epoxy. Stuffed it in the holes, let it set, re-drilled and re-installed the screws. The are already coming loose after 5 trips. At this point, I am considering ss toggle bolts. Has anyone installed these in this application? Any other tips? I was just gonna drill the holes out, install the toggle bolts and then stuff some 5200 in the holes before I tighten them all the way. I am, however, open to suggestions.
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

I have used the toggler bolts to hold a bench/flip-flop seat down in place of captains chairs. At least in my experience..they sucked. What happened is the contact points for the toggler "nuts" are VERY small (like 1/16" wide by 3/4" x 2 on either side, times 2), so after I tightened the screws, it pulled the "nut" into the clegecell floor basically cutting a hole in the floor. Because it kept sinking into the floor, it never would stay tight.

Eventually (3 months or so later) I removed the togglers, and had some SS nuts welded to some fender washers, and cut holes large enough under the bench seat to fit the welded washer/nut assembly. After installing them, I filled teh holes up with resin and fiberglass. That held well, and is still in use today.

If you can get behind the bolts ANY WAY to put some backing to it (washer, fender washer, aluminum or SS strip etc), that's always better IMO. The toggelrs just won't allow teh load to be spread over a large enough area.
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:37 PM   #3
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Default RE: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Is there any way to access the back side of where they connect to the floor? If so, then you can put in threaded backing plates (best) or bigazz fender washers with stout bolts.

If there isn't presently a way to get your arm down there to access the back side, then I would consider cutting a hole for where the new stereo speakers or in-side tackle station will be installed, and using that new hole for access to install the backing plates. And if there's zero access to that spot, because of a bulkhead or something, then you can consider epoxying in tee nuts inside oversized holes. Not as pretty, but that may be the easiest solution if you do it yourself.

Have you takled to the local guy that built the top about servicing his installation? He may have a quick and easy (for you) solution.
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Thanks for the info... I really do not have any access and do not want to cut holes in the floor at this point. The T-Top guy is actually in Georgetown and I have not called him. If it becomes a big deal I may...
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Old 12-21-2006, 02:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

A couple things to consider......When you put a self taping screw into fiberglass, you start by drilling a hole the size of the minor diameter of the screw. You then force the screw threads down into the fiberglass, which breaks a lot of the fibers by forcing them out of the way. Some fibers remain intact and serve to hold the screw in. Wood is not much different, except the fibers are more flexible and most of them push out of the road instead of breaking. But, If you put enough load on it, the fibers do eventually break and the screw pulls out. If you make the holes bigger and fill them with a resin and fiber mix and install the screws while it is wet, that matrix is made up of unbroken fibers and should hold better. I don't know if you filled and re-drilled the holes or put the screws into wet material. The key is to put longer screws than you are going to use into the wet material, so threads are molded into the material. If the hole is big enough, you'll have to find a way to hold the screws in place, since you cannot tighten them into a hole full of liquid. Once the resin is almost hard, remove the long screws and install the shorter ones. Don't tighten them completely until the resin is hard. You use longer screws so you have more threads than you need. That way, the screw does not bottom out in the hole. If the screw is longer than the hole is deep, it will hit the bottom of the hole and cannot go any deeper, so it strips its own threads.
Another thing you can do is to make the mounting feet bigger with more holes so you spread the load out over a larger area. If I am driving screws into glass that will need to withstand a load, I'll put them in, then take 'em right back out and wet the hole with epoxy, like West 105. I then put the screws back in a tighten them up on the theory that the epoxy will restore the strength of the broken fibers in the hole.
Oh, after you wet the hole, put 5200 on the bottom of the t-top feet and screw it down. The 5200 really adds a lot of bonding strength. I recently removed a leaning post that had 5200 under the feet and two of the feet pulled off gelcoat and glass. That 5200 is tough stuff..
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:20 AM   #6
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Default RE: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Cracker
It sounds like you have a problem with the integrity of the floor. I too have a Seacat with a t-top. It is a hard top and very heavy. It is also mounted with sheetmetal screws intpo the fiberglass floor without any type of backing plate. It mounts to the floor in the front and to the console in the aft. The screws in my boat are fast to the floor and the legs do not move but when I push on the top the floor will actually gives. The screws do not pull out of the floor and actually tighten up without stripping but the top will move quite a lot due to the floor flexing. I think the screws willl eventually come loose.
Unless the person installing the top drilled holes too large this sounds like the floor is in question.

I was thinking of cutting an access cover, deck plate, into the floor in close prox. to the t-top leg to gain access so I can place a backing plate under the floor. We did this on a friend's Grady for the same reason. It worked well. This will also serve as a inspection access to the bilge if ever needed.

The last option is to have the wooden floor replaced. This is also an option I am entertaining. If anybody knows what the cost might be and also the success rate of such operation please chine in

Good luck
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Cracker, you would think that this would be a simple fix, however, screws have a way of working out of fiberglass that flexes even when secured with 5200 or epoxy. I've gone thru this same ordeal and found that my best success for a permanent fix was using a toggle bolt. I did use 4200 on the 'nut or toggle' portion to secure it to the underside of the deck and put a release compound on the bolt so I could remove it if needed. I replaced the bolt with one that had a head that matched the foot of the tower and I used a marine silicone (GE I think) to seal everything including using it as a threadlocker, after cleaning off the release agent. It has held up well over the last 3 years with no movement. What gets me is that some boats get by with just plain old self tapping screws and some require extreme fasteners. I found my SS toggle bolts at a local hardware store near the coast. Good luck, Frank
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:06 AM   #8
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Default RE: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Cracker,

1. Is it a cored floor or solid fiberglass?
2. Are the screws going all the way through so that some of the screw is hanging between the deck and hull.

If you are drilling into a cored deck, you must swab the clean holes with a hardener and let it cure. Also, I have seen some screws stop in the middle of the core if they are too short. Make sure your screws are long enough to go all the way through the floor and a little beyond.

Either way, cored or solid, inject the holes with epoxy resin/hardener mixed with a filler to make a paste.

Cover the screw threads with the resin paste and screw them in making sure the screw penetrates about .5-1.0 inches below the deck, especially if it is a cored deck. All of this will bond together and the resin on the bottom of the screw will act like a lock nut on the bottom side.

Not as good as backing plates but it prevents you from pulling out the saw. You will need:

West 105 Resin
West 206 Hardener
West 404 HD Adhesive filler
You may need the cheap West mini-pump system and a few plastic syringes.


Good Luck,
Alan
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

I have used the stainless toggle bolts with success on seating and my T-Top. They are 1/4 inch bolt type. That "wood" Parker floor held up fine. Use as many as you can, add the 5200 on the bottom of fixture being bolted to floor and only tighten about 1/2 way at first. After the 5200 has set-up a good bit then tighten down completely.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Make your own toggles out of nylock nuts and strips of steel or aluminum. They will be much stronger. You can marine tex the nuts onto the strips to hold them in place. Once you tighten them down the strips will act as a washer distributing the force. You may have to under-cut the floor with a bent nail in a hand drill so the force is flush with the underside of the floor. I did something like this on an Edgewater. We were also able to atach nuts with fender washers to a length of straightened wire coat hanger to move it into position from inside the console and were a fuel vent line ran. Look for any type of access such as for your fuel sender and invent a way to get ot the position you want. If it is done right you will only need to do it once.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

I heard that if you mount an E-Tec on the transom the entire boat will fix itself.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Yea... those E-Tec's are the ticket!

If you can't access the backside, then I 2nd kerno suggestions.
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:03 PM   #13
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

I just did this repair on my old whaler seat. Clean the holes out and dry them the best you can. Go to baoters world and get a pack of resin syringes. Mix up some epoxy resin. Load up the syrynge and stuff it down the hole. slowly shoot epoxy into the hole as you withdraw the syringe to the surface. When dry drill out the resin and rescrew using longer screws and 5200 liberaly.
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

I did a similar repair as barrell but I added milled fibers to the resin and injected it into the holes. I then threaded in the machine screws while resin was still wet. I removed the screws when the resin was set but not totally hard. I replaced the screws with ones that were 1/4" shorter then tightened them after putting 5200 between deck and feet..
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

While were on the subject, I have a T Top that is mounted to the console, as this is a classic SeaCraft I'm sure that console is tough but Mr Potter didn't envision T Tops bolted to it. So can I have the existing tubes cut and have legs that go the floor added at a reasonable price or can't you do that. I just re fastened the console since those where small screws and a crappy job, I just think I will have problems with the T Top.
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Old 12-23-2006, 09:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Screws into plastic, with our without adhesives, will likely fail with vibration and heavy loading. Consider getting one large or two smaller pry-out or screw-in access plates, and install them where you can reach under and through bolt with good size aluminum backing plates, stainless fender washers and nylocks.
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Old 12-24-2006, 06:27 AM   #17
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Default Re: T-Top floor mount repair advice requested

Quote:
crackerasscracker - 12/20/2006 11:47 PM

Thanks for the info... I really do not have any access and do not want to cut holes in the floor at this point.
I ran into the same "type" of problem this past spring, after fishing one day I wanted to pull my boat through the car wash, which I have used before) and clean it out however I forgot I had the elbows in top for my outrigger. Yep you guessed it I hit a beam and while I was barley moving it still took a pretty good lick. I got out and inspected everything and it SEEMED ok till the next time I was on the water and I noticed the front legs moving. All other anchor points were rock solid but the front two legs would move.

I went to W Marine and discussed this, I also have zero access under the area and I did not want to install hatches just for this. I used their 2 part expoy with filler and filler and some filler. I stuffed some wood dowels in the hole and then the filler and loaded with 2 part epoxy(I only used the dowels so that I would have a bottom in the screw hole. I let it set up for a couple of days and then drilled pilot holes and reinstalled my original screws. I also put some of the 2 part epoxy under the legs(for what ever that was worth). I then used a ratchet strap and went from cleat to cleat and which pulled the front legs snug and kept them dead still. I let that sit for a couple of days and all is well. They are rock solid again.
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