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fasteners for inspection port

imported_Will

New Member
I want to install inpection ports on my two sunfish. I have seen the instructions at Windline and some other sites. However, no one states exactly what kind of fasteners are best to attach the ports. Should I use bolts or screws? And if so what size and type? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thankyou

Will
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Will said:
I want to install inpection ports on my two sunfish. I have seen the instructions at Windline and some other sites. However, no one states exactly what kind of fasteners are best to attach the ports. Should I use bolts or screws? And if so what size and type? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thankyou

Will
It's been awhile, but I believe the screws were included with the port I got from Windline. If you are in doubt, give Daniel Feldman/Windline a call.
You do want to use some 3M 4000 (or similar) sealant to set the screws and prevent leakage.
 

mike4947

Member
I've had both nylon and stainless BOLTS and nuts supplied with ports to attach them. The fiberglass deck material isn't the best to hold a screw. Note that anything Sunfish attaches to the deck has a back up block of wood molded under the deck to screw into.
 
I installed my ports with 3m 5200 and NO nuts and bolts or rivets. They work fine. There is no load on these things. The only load is if you were to try and crank the covers on with a lot of force, which they don't require to make a seal. 5200 is STRONG stuff.

Cut the holes, sand the deck around the flange and then lay a bead of 5200 in. Set the port into place and put a weight on it to hold it in place....you're done.
 

imported_Will

New Member
Hi Tim

Thanks for your reply. Your method sounds tempting. However, there could be an occasion where the ports may have to be replaced. I am not sure what occasion but the 5200 would definitely make for a permanent installation.

Will
 
There IS a product that will break the bond of 5200. It is out there. A friend in the industry told me the name, but I forget. Even so, I am confident I could replace them fairly easy with a razor blade as my only tool.
 

sailor3001

New Member
On all the sunfish the I have put inspection ports on (about 8), I always use stainless #8 x 1/2" round head self tapping screws. Nuts and bolt are way overkill on inspection ports. You can get the screws at most any hardware store. At Layline, we sell the 4, 5, and 6" ports and we also have the screws as well. You also will want to seal the screw holes with 5200 (you can remove it if you want to).
Trey
 

imported_Will

New Member
Thankyou Sailor:

So on those self tapping screws, do you drill holes through the hull just a little smaller than the screw diameter?

Will
 

sailor3001

New Member
Drill a hole that is the size of the shaft of the screw (not the threads mind you), and just put the screws in with a screwdriver (a drill is too much, it may strip the hole). Good luck!
Trey
 

supercub

Member
Hey a;;.

Just a reminder, Beckson has a flat bottom screw pocket that needs a round or pan head screw/bolt and Viking has a tapered pocket needing a flat or oval head screw. Just check the port you are using for the type of screw head needed, using the wrong type may cause the flange to crack. I have used 3M Marine silicon to seal the ports and they have been easy to remove. 3M 4200/5200 makes it very difficult to remove a port without damage. I used SS #8 machine screws, washers and nuts (nylock type) to secure my ports. Like sailor3001 sail, it is way overkill, but I like the look. Good Luck.
 

supercub

Member
jsd,

Thanks for the info on the debonder, I was unaware of the stuff and had been using the good all razor knife, figernails, Dremel tool and what ever. Again thanks.
 

Terry Ambrose

Senior Member
Will I just finished installing a port behind the coaming of my "fish" What you need are Stainless Steel "Pan Head" 8-32 x 1" long screws, also pick up some "Nylock 8x32 nuts, and flat washers. I found mine at "Lowes" Hope this helps
 

supercub

Member
Will,

You will have to look at the port itself to find out what kind of head you need. Some ports like Beckson have a flat bottom pocket and you need a pan or round head (the shoulder angle is 90 degrees to the thread). Sea Dog and Viking ports are cone shaped and require a screw with the matching shoulder under the head like a flat or oval head. The visible part of the head is up to your preference, although I prefer pan head for Beckson and oval head for Viking just for looks (with Phillips (cross) drive).

I agree with Terry about the machine screw, washers (I like fender washers, large diameter) and nylock nuts in 8-32 size. The brand I happen to have used (from a local "boat" dealer) are by "handi-man marine" although you should be able find what you need at the local West Marine, Lowes, Home Depot, local hardware store, etc. If in doubt, take your port with you when shopping and get the store sales person to help getting the correct screws.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I will say it again. Use pop rivets. Eliminates the whole choice of head thing, and trust me, you will NEVER, EVER need the extra security nuts and bolts provide. BB
 

Terry Ambrose

Senior Member
Hey Will

I've got a Bekson Port and in there instructions they specify the Pan Head screws. I really don't know if it makes a diffrence or not . The Pan Heads are flush with the port once you install them.


Terry
 

imported_Brian

New Member
I would recommend against using pop rivets to install inspection ports for the simple reason that if you ever need to replace the port you'll need to drill them out. I'm not a big fan of the 3M 4200/5200 stuff either. I have never used the stuff but the impression I get is that it bonds incredibly well. We are talking about an inspection port here. There is no stress so the 3M stuff seems overkill; a wood backing is overkill too. Certainly there are many ways to install one. I've done several and my method is to use stainless steel screws and 100% silicon gel for a water-tight seal. There are either six or eight screws holding the inspection port in place plus the silicon helps a little bit - it's not going anywhere.

Brian
 

supercub

Member
Brian,
I concure with you totally, sorry Beldar. Pop rivets might work for ports with flat bottom screw pockets as they are designed for flat surfaces for the head to seat against. A countersunk pocket puts a lot of stress along the rim of a Pop Rivet head and many times it deforms if it is an aluminum head, a steel or stainless steel head against the plastic will often crack the plastic as it pulls down the flange to contact the deck (also deforming the port flange which may afect the sealing ability of the port cover or make it hard to install or remove). The expanding part underneath (or in if you forgot the back up washers) the fibreglass puts a lot of stress on the fiberglass that may cause the gelcoat to crack in that area. Plus that little piece of broken mandril in the center is just plain ugly.

With screws, washers and nuts, you can tighten them just enough to be snug and seal (with a little sealant such as 3M Mairne Grade Silicon) without putting stress on the fiberglass deck or the port flange. A neat port installation with all the screw slots lined up just looks a whole lot better.
 

mike4947

Member
I'm with Brain and SuperCub with the exception that now I use one of the newer urathane caulks rather than silicon. The urathanes last longer, don't discolor or "dirty" over time, and stick better to most any surface.
The Poly Sulfide caulks like 5200 are overkill.
 

Whistler

New Member
I came up on a sandbar and had to pull the centerboard and rudder up to sail away from it. As I reached back to push the rudder down I put some weight on the inspection port and it gave way, breaking around the inside edge and falling inside. I had to sail very carefully home so as not to take on water. Obviously I need to replace the port, is there one that is strongest of those sold? This is a Viking marine six inch port. It really seemed to push through quite easily. The outside ring is still intact so it should be an easy replacement, but I don't want this to happen again! Thanks in advance, Bob
 

supercub

Member
Whistler,

Glad you made it home ok. How old was the port? If your SF has been stored outside deck up and uncovered, the sun may have made the plastic in the port weak. I have Beckson 6" ports and Viking 5" "catbag" ports in both of my SF and have not had any problems with either. Sea Dog, I think, is another brand that I have seen, but have no experience with.
 

weather-beaten Sunfisher

vintage Sunfish RULE!
I used #8 x 1/2" SS screws on my ports, along with Sika-Flex goop. I don't know if it's theoretically the best way to have done it, but since they've been in place for fifteen years and don't leak, I'm assuming it's an acceptable method.
 
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