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Why do they do this?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by CR CRUISER, Feb 6, 2010.

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  1. CR CRUISER

    CR CRUISER Member

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    I was down at the marina to fix up some items on a customer's 5 year old, 45' cruiser yesterday. One of the items was related to the GPS/Chartplotter/radar display not working properly. The first thing to check is the connections on the back of the flush mounted display. So. how do I get to them? There's no access to the back side of the instrument panel from the head compartment. The whole panel is one piece that would be a huge endeavour to undo if it could be done at all. Maybe if I remove the switch panel closest to the plotter I can somehow reach in and get at the fasteners on the back side. I could just get to the nearest corner of it but there were no fasteners to be found.

    Then I found it. There were no fasteners. They glued the electronics into the panel with silicone! How in heck is someone supposed to get at them for service or repair without causing damage to the electronics or the fiberglass panel.

    This is not the first time that I have run across this dilema. I one other instance they used black Sikaflex to mount all of the electronics and instrumentation. Unfortuneatly, we did some expensive damage trying to get them out of the panel.

    So, a plea to the boat manufacturers out there. Please design the helms with access for service. And to the riggers, don't glue the stuff in. Thanks.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Tape off the area around the electronics display really well with 3M green tape, and then take a razor knife and cut the silicone away like a professional normally does, while applying light pressure to the display. The put silicone to help keep it waterproof......
  3. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    While many manufacturers hastily put boats together, it's part of the realm of things marine. Complaining here or posting suggestions here about how to build a "better" boat will not do any good. If you can't do the job, then perhaps you need to learn how to do the job or find another profession. Silicone comes off quite easily with a razor knife and soapy water and leaves no marks with proper protection as Capt J suggested.
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I recently spent over a day replacing the belt and impeller on a northern light 20 because the builder installed the genset in the corner of the er after having run the exhaust hose thru the hole in the shield. The was absolutely no way to the panel off with the hose in place... I had to use a dremel and cut the shield between the hole and the edge to get it off. That was holding the dremel with tip of my fingers in a gap about 6"

    can't beleive that a manufacturer like NL set up the shield that way...
  5. 84far

    84far Senior Member

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    CR CRUISER, fair call. I can see silicone been used, but Sika... That stuff is nasty. Well at least they didn't use epoxy glue.

    To make your work easier, would it be better for the builder to screw and use silicone? Or would a man hole be better option, so you don’t have to fiddle around with taking the instrument out? Cheers

    Far
  6. pbekker

    pbekker New Member

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    Location:
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    well
    i need to argee with cr

    why is it so hard to design service panels in the boat
    not only in the dash

    there is no use for sika to make it more waterproof
    ever display have a waterproof/flush kit in the box

    and you will never run the risk of damage any thing on board
    and it will save time and moneny (for the client if you work by the hour)


    @capj

    if the boat builder make there product with better eyes for detail
    than the professinal dont need to workt like a amateur:D


    tip for all never use sillicon it give a bad paint jobe !!
  7. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    I thought the old adage " never have silicone on a fiberglass boat" was still good advice?
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I don't believe that. I use silicone on panels that are meant to come apart again. For example, an access panel that you don't want to vibrate and be relatively waterproof. For other things I use Lifeseal or 5200.

    As we all know form comes before function on many yachts.
  9. CR CRUISER

    CR CRUISER Member

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    Wow, tough crowd here.
    I am a professional with 20 years of high end boat building experience and I know how to remove silicone. However, when they use so much adhesive that it forms a bead on the back side of the panel, there is no way to get at it to cut it loose. Prying on the relatively thin plastic flange of a $4000 chartplotter is not a viable option. I had done as Capt J suggested and eventually got the unit unstuck without damage. However it took close to 2 1/2 hours to re-attach a loose data cable.

    The purpose of my post was to point out that some manufacturers attempt to reduce their costs but make it much more expensive for the owner in long run. I charge by the hour for repairs so it doesn't make any difference to me how long it takes to work around these design flaws. The owner paying the invoice may have a slightly less positive attitude.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yeah but if everything were easy nobody would have a job. Manufacturers do things a certain way to save them money and it all boils down to the bean counters and the bottom line. Manufacturers also install a lot of things when the boat is not completely assembled so most of the time the employees just mount new parts and they never even think of having to touch it again after the other parts are installed behind it. However the better the builder, generally the better the access is. But, not always.

    On most yachts the electronics are installed at the dealer level or mostly after the sale on the customer level as there are many choices and each customer is different. So who used what product to glue the chartplotter down depends.
  11. geriksen

    geriksen Senior Member

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    I agree with you CR. A quick tour of your typical boat builder's plant quickly reveals the problem. Most of the assembly is done with the deck off the hull.
    Engines drop straight in, railings are through bolted while the deck is off etc. etc. One builder was saving time by building whole modules such as (the complete head compt) out of the boat and then dropping it in.
    I understand why they do it to speed production and increase efficiency etc. however.... Serviceablility (after warranty) becomes "someone else's problem" There is little incentive for them to add access doors or panels since they just increase costs.
    That said, I will also agree that higher quality builders do spend more time and money thinking about and providing for future repair work access.
    Buying a cheaper boat usually means encountering problems like you saw.
    We are constantly cutting access holes and installing access ports to do what should be simple repair work. A loose cleat means cutting a hole. Air horns mounted on the deck with the bolts and hoses glued under the headliner. Hope you never have to replace a bow railing or pull engines on an aft cabin cruiser.
    This short term thinking by boat builders increases the cost of boat ownership down the road which drives people away from boating and often gives owners the impression that yards are overcharging for simple jobs.

    When choosing a new boat it is something to consider. There is no free lunch. Sometimes paying a bit more for a better boat pays off in the long run. It also could send a message to the builders who cut corners.
  12. Captd13

    Captd13 New Member

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    Cruiser, Just be happy they didnt use 3m 5200. I had a person around here ask how to remove his Northstar that he sealed in place with it. he said its what he had layin around and piled it on. it was an awesome weekend
  13. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    Guess I'm lucky because I have access to the back side of my electronics. Mine are sealed with silicone around the edges to prevent water getting into the helm area where alot of wiring and equipment is located.
  14. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    You're right - it is a tough crowd. I have a hard time believing a 20 year yard veteran working on high end boats is bemoaning a chart plotter being silconed in place. This means you are at least or close to 40 years old. You've posted a complaint for someone 2 years on the job. By year 20 you ought to be well past small issue like this, and seen this hundreds of times. I used to think Viking stuffed 10 pounds of $*** in a 5 pound sack when I worked there, but EVERYONE does that. Some jobs I had to do yoga for hours to finish a job in the lazzarette, but I learned in short order that complaining about any job did nothing but make yourself look like a complainer. Every job is tough- otherwise the owner or some hack would be doing the job. If you have to cut a access hole to do a job- then do it and explain it properly. If you have to ruin another part to get your job done, and there is no other way, then do it and fix the other part. If you don't, then the owner will sooner or later find someone that can do it.
  15. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    When the silicone gets black from the dirt and dust in the area, then the fancy expensive helm station don't look to good, and when the installer happens to let some esilicone drop on the finished gelcoat and does not see it for a while, well go figure..the only silicone I allow is silicone grease on the boat. Well manufactured components do not need sealing with sticky **** stuff, after all, are not hand held radios submersible now ?
  16. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    Personally I don't use that much silicone that it squeezes out from around the unit. If it does I wipe it off, so I don't have a problem with it getting black or moldy. What it does do is seals the unit to the gelcoat and prevents water from running inside your helm. I have alot of equipment, fuses and wiring in there that I dont want water dripping on. In the end each to their own.
  17. Captd13

    Captd13 New Member

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    IPX 7 rated radio wwwhhhhooooaa! greatest invention yet.