Stuck Drainplug

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by wev162, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. wev162

    wev162 New Member

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    I recently acquired a '76 Sunfish in fairly good shape that had been sitting for 15-20 years according to the prior owner. It had apparently been taken overseas to the Persian gulf while the owner had been a contractor and sailed recreationally.

    Salt water seemed to hit the bronze fittings especially hard, they all look pretty rough. I've not been able to loosen the deck-top drain plug. I put a lot of effort into unscrewing it but the bronze is so corroded the screw slot on the top is starting to strip off in chunks without any noticeable movement off the plug itself.

    While I know the best option is to probably replace the entire drain assembly with a newer plastic one, I'd really like to get the boat on the water this summer and deal with cutting an inspection port over the winter. It's also an Orange/Yellow hulled boat so a white inspection port wouldn't match the hull color very well.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to get the bronze screw plug out? Thanks!
     
  2. 67stang

    67stang Member

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    ...I have a '64' and it has 2 brass deck drain plugs,(at the both ends of the coaming). Both were stuck, and there was no point in destroying them, I could tell that they were not going to budge. Someone, prior to me ,had cut in another, (plastic one), and when I refinished the deck, I replaced the plastic one with another one, (I riveted it on) unfortunately the one I had ordered (on line) was black. I didn't want to send it back, and spend more money, so I just kept it. All three look fine, even though only one really works!
     
  3. ylojelo

    ylojelo Member

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    The drain plug takes minutes to replace with a new plastic one. Just take a pin punch or nail set and tap the two pins into the boat (to be lost forever), ream the hole a bit with a file, drill two pilot holes , apply some caulk and screw it in. Clean up excess caulk. APS sells the assembly for under $5 and they ship fast. The plastic drain plug is easier to use anyway.

    Ihave the same color boat (orange top, yellow hull). I put a white inspection port on the deck. It looks ok, but since then Ive seen where someone put theirs inside the cockpit, bow side and off center. Do a search and you'll find it.
     
  4. PBA

    PBA Member

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    The deck drain plug unit on the older models, at least my 72, is easy to pop off with a screwdriver. It has the two pins mentioned, and the whole unit will pop right out - frozen drain plug included. If this is the deck drain plug in question, and if it applies to you, I'd try it, and then let the whole unit sit in a cup of PB Blaster overnight. Or just order a new one.

    Standing on the left side of the boat with the drain plug in front of you at 12:00, the two pins holding the unit are at 9:00 and 3:00...
     
  5. wev162

    wev162 New Member

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    I don't see any pins to tap out, I've attached pictures of the drain plug to show what style it is. Is there anyway to remove the assembly without an inspection port?
     

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  6. 67stang

    67stang Member

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    ...Yeah, I don't see the pins in mine either, I checked my other hull, a 72' and it has one deck drain opening,but the drain assembly is already missing. I measured the opening and it comes out to be 5/8" if that helps you.
     
  7. ylojelo

    ylojelo Member

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    the pins are small and flush to the trim piece. This is what it looks after it is removed:

    [​IMG]

    Tap the pins into the boat and the drainplug just lifts off.
     
  8. PBA

    PBA Member

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    You can't see the pins as they are under this whole assembly, and are actually what is attaching the whole unit to the boat hull. All they are these two little stick-pins - there are no little screws or bolts that are holding this assembly to the bolt. Just these two little stick pins tapped onto the hull.

    This assembly is really easy to pop out. Just take a flat head screwdriver, and gently pry all around the assembly. It will slowly pop its way out.

    I mention the location of the two pins because its very easy to break them if you do not know where they are. This way, if you can pop the assembly out unharmed, and then soak the assembly overnight, you could possibly get screw-nut unfrozen, and if so, thus just put the whole thing back on the boat. The two pins are about 1/4-1/2" long, and are micro-skinny (almost as skinny as the screws on a pair of eyeglasses).

    In these above pictures, if you are standing on the side of the boat right right in front of the aluminum deck trim, and the assembly is right in front of you (like a clock), those two pins in question should be at 9:00 and 3:00 on the dial of this hypothetical clock.
     
  9. ylojelo

    ylojelo Member

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  10. PBA

    PBA Member

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    Great stuff - pictures tell a thousand words.

    With regard to inspection ports, do any of these screw-tops come with a lock such that some wise-ass kid can't come come along, twist it open, and thus dump sand and assorted scrap inside?
     
  11. ylojelo

    ylojelo Member

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    You parking this boat in Brooklyn?:confused:
     
  12. Oceanfish

    Oceanfish sailing addict

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    I have gotten several sunfish with seized drainplugs and have found that if you take a large screwdriver or even a chisel and place it on half of the plug the n lightly tap the chisel until the plug begins to turn.
     
  13. johnkent

    johnkent Member

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    Thanks for the close-up shot of the plug assembly, Now I think I know what's going on with my boat. Using a large washer (acting as an oversized screwdriver) and a set of vise grips I was able to get one of my plugs to turn, however that's all it does is turn, it does not tighten or remove. But now I believe what's turning is the plug flange (or whatever that piece is called). So maybe I sheared the pins off? The boat is not here w/me so I can't run out and look. As for not being able to see the pins, I think years of corrosion may be part of the problem. I will see if I can wiggle the assembly out and replace it w/a plastic version. Thanks again, I'm so glad I found this site!
     
  14. ylojelo

    ylojelo Member

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    glad to help the little I can. My SF only exists because of this site and the yahoo user group:D
     
  15. wev162

    wev162 New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice, this group is fantastic resource!

    I finally decided to pop the whole assembly out as was recommended. I worked a very think screw driver underneath the edge of the drain and slowly worked it loose from the hull. The assembly was completely corroded, I doubt I would have ever managed to unscrew the plug if I'd left it in the hull. I've attached pictures showing the location of the pins on my plug and the amount of corrosion on the assembly.

    I'm going to soak the fixture in Gasoline and see if I can get the corrosion off but it seems like a good idea to install a new plastic fixture to avoid this issue from popping up in the future. I see there are several style of plastic drain offered on most of the sunfish parts websites, does anyone have any suggestions on which style to go for?
     

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  16. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Fantastic photos... Thank you for the follow-up !!!


    Might penetrate, but gasoline has no corrosion dissolving qualities. That thing is welded with oxides... better to trash it. Not worth any further effort or expense.


    There are hundreds of variations to choose from, shop around. It's probably the least expensive boat part you'll ever buy.

    http://ronstan.thomasnet.com/viewitems/general-marine-hardware/drain-plugs?&forward=1

    http://www.defender.com/expanded.jsp?path=-1|294|299770&id=583031
     
  17. petersarazin

    petersarazin New Member

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  18. johnkent

    johnkent Member

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    Thanks for the info and resources. My older boat drain plugs are pre-pin plugs, not really sure what holds them in place. Once I wiggled my first one out, I saw no evidence of silicone, or adhesive. I'm going to tap out the second one next week after I install an inspection port. I replace my first one w/a 1" plug set from West Marine $4.50. The new one requires a 1" hole, slightly larger than the original hole, which is not that easy to drill when you already have a 3/4" hole. But I managed to do a clean job.
     
  19. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    I've heard rumor the threading is different between the original and the current replacement. Did your new plug fit OK?


    When I've done this hole enlargement I drew a circle around the original hole for the new plug housing and Dremeled, filed, or sanded the original deck opening out to the new outline. A Dremel tool with a small sanding drum opens the hole in just a minute or two of work.
     
  20. johnkent

    johnkent Member

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    I like the tip w/the dremel tool. I think I'll give it a try on my next plug. Thanks.
     

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