lexel for skeg leak?

drahcir

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I have a used boat with a skeg box leak, tolerable but irritating. I plan to test for the leak location, clean the surface there, retest, then apply lexel, test again etc. It's a hard area to get at to clean, but I'll give it a shot. My concern is that it may have been repaired with silicone at some earlier time. How well does lexel adhere to silicone, if a residue remains after cleaning?
 

red kite

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Plastic or glass? Do you expect the leak around the fitting? Can that be detached for cleaning?

From the TDS for Lexel: http://www.sashco.com/hi/pdfs/Lexel_TechData.pdf
Will not adhere to or is incompatible with
[...] silicone,[...]
(And yes, I am very conscious of the fact that polyethylene is part of that list too, and that we still use it as about the only thing that does stick to PE boats with the according time intensive prep work.)
 

drahcir

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Red Kite.

Thanks for the tech spec and quote, very useful. The kayak is a kevlar Boreal Design Ellesmere. it's currently in the garage where it's about +10 Celsius (but -11 Celsius outside). I'll poke my head in the hatch when the weather warms up and see what the rope skeg fitting looks like. I want to know how it's put together anyway ... in case I ever need to repair it.
Richard
 

Rpowdigs

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I also have an ellesmere fg with a skeg box leak. I think the leak is coming from around the hose that holds the control rope. It is a minor leak. Mostly just rain water gets in from keeping the boat upside down. Let us know how your repair works out!
 

drahcir

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Rpowdigs.

I'll try to remember to post concerning the result. The repair attempt will likely wait until the spring shoulder season, between skiing and kayaking. We use the water at least twice here, frozen then liquid.
 

red kite

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drahcir said:
Red Kite.

Thanks for the tech spec and quote, very useful. The kayak is a kevlar Boreal Design Ellesmere. it's currently in the garage where it's about +10 Celsius (but -11 Celsius outside). I'll poke my head in the hatch when the weather warms up and see what the rope skeg fitting looks like. I want to know how it's put together anyway ... in case I ever need to repair it.
Richard
Thanks for clarifying. I'm not familiar with the Ellesmere or the Boreal Designs skeg system(s) in composite boats.
Most composite boats have a metal fitting with inside thread glassed into the skeg box, and then the counterpart is threading into it, with some kind of friction or compression fit on the cable / rope housing on the other side. Depending on where the water finds its way into the boat you might want to use different techniques for your fix. Proper surface prepping is key to success.

- apply polyester resin or epoxy with a syringe into a crack between metal fitting and composite skeg box (however, this scenario usual means not just a couple of drops in the boat...)
- use Teflon seal tape (aka plumber's tape) if the water comes through the thread connection
- one option for the most common leak between fitting and housing is putting a tight fitting o-ring around the housing on the inside of the metal fitting.

Or, of course, you can just put Lexel on and around the leaky spot after a thorough scrubbing and sanding job. :wink:

Good luck!
 

drahcir

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Well it's now repair season and I've investigated the leak location. The skeg rope passes through a long plastic tube which is then inserted into a cylindrical fitting at the skeg box. The leak is between the cylindrical fitting and the plastic tubing. The prior owner patched the leak area with silicone.

Here is my plan:
1. remove the silicone to clearly expose the leak area - I'll try the 'Mckanica Silicone Caulk Remover Gel'
2. seal the leak
3. test

I'd like input on step 2, sealing the leak. One thought is to use Lexel. Another is to use a heat shrink marine tape. Or ... ?
If it seemd appropriate, I'll get a photo of the leak area after the attempt at silicone removal.

Thanks for any ideas.
 

drahcir

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I've completed the first step - removing the silicone from the skeg area inside the rear hatch with 'Mckanica Silicone Caulk Remover Gel'. It didn't 'work like a charm', but it did work. It seems to demoralize the silicone, so it's not motivated to stick quite as tenaciously. Because the silicone was kind of globbed thickly onto the leak area, it took repeated applications of the remover gel, each time waiting longer than the instructions suggested. This was as much fun as working on plumbing under the kitchen sink - you know, the kind assembled by tiny people with tiny, but incredibly strong hands (no room for wrenches). Actually the skeg work wasn't that bad; it just brought back evil memories.

My next step will be to retest for leaks in case my assiduous silicone removal opened up some other old leaks. Then I can start patching. I did order some heat shrink marine tape, which would nicely fit the geometry of the original leak ... if it works. Any other leaks will require lexel, but I must be careful not to make some future skeg rope repair traumatic. My understanding is that lexel is forever. There is even some in the interior of the sun that has maintained its integrity.
 

Astoriadave

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No, Lexel remains flexible and pliable longer than other caulking materials, and is easier to remove. Silicone based sealers harden to a greater extent and are tougher to remove. Do not like them. I sealed all the floorboard contacts on the cockpit sole of a 20 ft powerboat with Lexel, incorrectly, and 4 months later had to remove all five sizeable sheets of plywood. It was nasty because of my incorrect placement of the Lexel, but doable. With silicone, would have been much nastier. But, 5200 or 4200 would have been very much worse.
 

drahcir

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I grew impatient for the heat shrink tape to arrive so I have attempted the leak repair as follows:

1. Recap: The skeg rope slides within a stationary plastic tube which then enters the skeg box (we're inside the rear hatch) at a cylindrical fitting. The leak was where the plastic tube entered the fitting.

2. I didn't just want to smear lexel at the leak location. So I bought a short length of flexible pastic tubing of diameter large enough to go around the fitting and long enough to easily encase the fitting and some length of the skeg rope tube. It would be like a sock around the leaking joint.

3. To affix the sock I made a single cut down the whole length of the plastic tube, so I could slide it onto the fitting and enough of the skeg rope tube so that the leak was about in the middle of the sliced flexible tube.

4. Finally, before mounting the sliced tube, I filled it with lexel. Then I slid it over the fiting and skeg rope tube and taped the slice shut (probably didn't need to tape it).

5. Now I'm waiting for the lexel to harden and afraid to look at where the lexel may be migrating.

6. I'll leak test after a few more days and if all is OK, I'll head to the lake. If all is not OK, I cleverly saved the razor blade used to trim the flexible plastic tubing. It can be used on my wrists.
 

Tongo-Rad

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My fibreglass Ellesmere from 2005 which I've owned second hand for 3 years now, has a leak in the skeg area where the cable housing meets the skegbox's metal connector fitting. Given the age and use of the kayak, I'm guessing I should expect a seal of 16 years to become brittle. I'm just glad I found this leak while close to home and shore! :whistling:

ellesmere skeg leak 1.JPG

Here, you can see the separation that happened on my Elle which allowed water intrusion. The smooth cable housing was held in place by putty alone.

ellesmere skeg leak 2.JPG

What it looked like after peeling away some of the brittle black putty, revealing the threaded connector. From the clean-cut end of the housing, it looks to me that it never had a compression nut which seems like a lost opportunity for a more secure connection like what's shown below.
rumour skeg connection.JPG


My girlfriend's CD Rumour, which looks to have a compression nut on the male connector [not kryptonite :biggrin: but bright green from the camera flash].

My kayak repair skills are minimal and experience on skeg repairs nonexistent, so I'd really value some input from others who've built or repaired connections. For example:
  1. Would adding a bit of teflon tape to the housing end, reinserting into the threaded male connector and then re-puttying be a practical approach?
  2. Is the compression nut addition overkill?
  3. Is Lexel still a good go-to for putty, or is something else more appropriate?
I'm tempted to call on a local boat repair shop to replace the cable, the housing and reinforce the connection which would definitely give me a lot of confidence in the quality, but I also recognize the opportunity to learn how to do it myself so I can either help myself or others 'in the field' for an unexpected similar break. Thanks in advance for your help or suggestions.
 

red kite

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comox valley
My fibreglass Ellesmere from 2005 which I've owned second hand for 3 years now, has a leak in the skeg area where the cable housing meets the skegbox's metal connector fitting. Given the age and use of the kayak, I'm guessing I should expect a seal of 16 years to become brittle. I'm just glad I found this leak while close to home and shore! :whistling:

View attachment 9890
Here, you can see the separation that happened which allowed water intrusion. The smooth cable housing was held in place by putty alone.

View attachment 9891
What it looked like after peeling away some of the brittle black putty, revealing the threaded connector. From the clean-cut end of the housing, it looks to me that it never had a compression nut which seems like a lost opportunity for a more secure connection like what's shown below.

View attachment 9892
My girlfriend's CD Rumour, which looks to have a compression nut on the male connector [not kryptonite :biggrin: but bright green from the camera flash].

My kayak repair skills are minimal and experience on skeg repairs nonexistent, so I'd really value some input from others who've built or repaired connections. For example:
  1. Would adding a bit of teflon tape to the housing end, reinserting into the threaded male connector and then re-puttying be a practical approach?
  2. Is the compression nut addition overkill?
  3. Is Lexel still a good go-to for putty, or is something else more appropriate?
I'm tempted to call on a local boat repair shop to replace the cable, the housing and reinforce the connection which would definitely give me a lot of confidence in the quality, but I also recognize the opportunity to learn how to do it myself so I can either help myself or others 'in the field' for an unexpected similar break. Thanks in advance for your help or suggestions.

John, Nick and yours truly had a recent related discussion over here that might complement this one?

Is the cable housing long enough? It can shrink a bit over time which then can be a contributing factor for connection failure, which might have been the case here.

I'm not sure if I envision the same Teflon tape as you do, but the stuff I use does not stick to the housing itself, it's creating a tight fit between male and female part of the connection. Also, while the black putty (3M 5200?) might have done the trick for a long time, it also prevents easy accessibility if you ever get in the situation to disconnect - and reconnect - that cable housing for any reason.

I believe that the compression fitting (or the quick release fitting like in your picture of the Rumour) is necessary to prevent accidental pull out of the cable housing if you are pushing gear around that skeg box, or if there's tension between cable and housing due to a kinked cable, etc.

My main concern with that missing compression nut is: SAE or metric? Both are possible and, while the difference is small, it's tight enough in that part of the kayak that you don't want to mess around with a thread that might or might not fit, and... If it's the later, good luck with actually finding a replacement (?) locally.

Personally I'd probably take that fitting right out, clean that black goop off and replace it with a complete new unit, with the according resin work as outlined earlier in this thread.
In theory, if the resin work and the Teflon tape in the compression fitting are creating a proper seal around the right length of housing that comes out of the skeg box fairly straight, Lexel or any other other sealant should not be necessary.


BTW... Out of curiosity, are those black plastic blocks an original part of the kayak?
 

mick_allen

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Don't forget that the housing is under repeated tension with the tubing in order for the skeg to be deployed - the cable and the housing are 2 necessary opposing parts of the deploy duopoly. That repeated stress as well as the cable orientation change causes repeated working against the housing/tubing intersection: no wonder that just a 'putty' or 'sealant' or 'stiff goop' might eventually crack and work loose.

And as the tubing likely does not adhere too well to a glass approach, it might make some sense to lengthen the adherence distance somewhat, roughen the surface, and maybe add a few linear pcs of kevlar [for flex] to help hold the 2 together. . . the threaded housing side is great for adherence to that side, the tubing needs the help.

I don't know too much about the specific repair, but all semi-similar skegs have the deployment/actuation issue of the deployment on the tangent of a circle based on the radius of the actuation axis to the housing fitting in contradiction to the straight actuating line fixed by the housing top fitting. Ideally that fitting should rotate so that it is always be linear with the skeg attachment, but that is in opposition to the bending, so that in turn contributes to both potential wire kink as well as work stress on the fitting. [Reg Lake's skeg internal guide is a great solution to this dilemna where the fitting line is always tangent to the arc of actuation plus the cable is fully supported as well]. And if the skeg ever gets partially stuck in the down position by grit etc, opposite bending forces on that same fitting arise when you try and pull the skeg back in. It's a tough situation for any wire/cable and fitting orientation to deal with, poor things.
 
Last edited:

Tongo-Rad

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Thank you @JohnAbercrombie, @red kite and @mick_allen for your suggestions and insights.

To answer some questions, from what I can see, the cable housing is just long enough to connect to the skeg box but isn't forgiving with being knocked due to the high tension. I'm not sure what those black boxes are on either side of the skeg box but I've asked the previous owner if he knew anything about them. I'd be happy to remove them or at least file down those super sharp corners to save my drybags!

After talking with Matt at Blackline Marine near Sidney, I've decided to bring it into the shop there with the goal of replacing the connector, cable, housing plus using a compression fitting as you recommended @red kite. Given the age of the kayak, it's a good time to have this cable properly secured and updated anyhow. I'll post a follow up here once it's been completed.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I'm not sure what those black boxes are on either side of the skeg box but I've asked the previous owner if he knew anything about them. I'd be happy to remove them or at least file down those super sharp corners to save my drybags!
You could get Blackline to remove those black blocks and add some glass reinforcement around the base of the skeg box, since you are going for the 'full treatment'.
 

red kite

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You could get Blackline to remove those black blocks and add some glass reinforcement around the base of the skeg box, since you are going for the 'full treatment'.
^^^ this!
Obviously it's not always easy to tell from pictures (although you did a really good job on these, @Tongo-Rad !) but they look like a black variation of UHMW or acetal to me... that's heavy stuff in that size. So the question is, why are they there?
If they prevent the skeg box from moving laterally, that's a weak spot in the lay-up that should be taken care of with resin and fiberglass.
If they are there to add weight to the stern, bagged or bottled water does the same for day trips, and for camping you just adjust the trim with your gear. Doesn't look like much, but that's valuable real estate on a boat like the Ellesmere.
 

mick_allen

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I wouldn't be so sure or so hasty . . .

they sorta look to me like those alien forbidding presences that suddenly appeared in the deserts all over the world and in the movie 2001. So maybe the best thing is to leave them there and submit periodic offerings of gratitude, food, drink, and obeisance - and of course never use that skeg again and let the overlings have their way with whatever direction they want with you.
 
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