Challenges with mounting XAS/3 clutches on Hunter 23.5


New Member
Hunter 23.5 (1991) with sports interior (has an unremovable molded headliner) ... purchased 2 new Spinlock XAS/3 Power Clutches ... removed the old spinlock clutches today with the expectation that I was just going to do the balsa core epoxy hole trick seen on a number of cruiser channels ... seems the 4"x 3" flat area where the original clutches were mounted have no core between the headliner and the mount. Thinking this is just an embedded metal plate that the manufacturer drilled and tapped to mount the old Clutches
(clutches were each secured with 4 x 1" 10-24 SS bolts)

2 challenges:

1) drilling and filling the old holes with epoxy doesn't sound like an option as there appears to be an approx 1" air gap under the entire area of the mounting plates ... before mounting the new Clutches, should I add a couple of layers of fiberglass over these plates ... or ... use something like Sikaflex (sp?) to bond another 4"x3" piece of metal (Stainless, or Aluminium) ... would the gel coat need to be taken off before bonding anything.

2) the swing keel has a pulley anchor point mounted on the starboard plate ... as the XAS/3 completely covers the entire 4x3 plate, need another way to anchor this pulley ... was thinking of using one of the side bolts on the XAS itself (it has 3 x 3" 10-32 bolts that hold it together) but haven't found a source for a SS (3.5" to 4") 10-32 Panhead bolt ... another option might be to drill through the headliner and secure this anchor point using a washer and nut (might be able to epoxy the washer and nut) then use a friction plug of some sort to close the headliner

Even though there are 2 access points through the headliner to access the Winch mounts, it is impossible to access the bottom of the Clutch mounting plates several inches forward of these access holes

What if I filled the air void under these plates with spray foam (the expanding foam used for insulating window frames) perhaps that would provide a foundation to do the epoxy trick to at least seal the old holes? (a previous owner drilled over a dozen holes in the starboard plate for whatever reason and just filled them with silicon)

Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions you can provide