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keel repair

Pbenoit

New Member
Hello, posting to introduce myself as a new owner of an '79 M382, and humbly solicit some immediate advice!

Of interest in another recent thread was S/V Emanon (I understand the former owner was active here--he apparently passed away: the boat was listed for sale by "Capt Jim" of Portland, ME) for a rock bottom price. My brother and I are the happy new owners and she seems to be in fine shape, perhaps having sat in storage for a season or two. The primary reason for the low price (was not pictured in the Craigslist listing) is a relatively small crack in the bottom of the keel/black water holding tank. She seems to have been set down improperly on the cross-beam of a transport trailer. The keel itself and surrounding hull areas *seem* good, but from some other threads I've read here, I think a relocated poly-tank and some patching of the bilge is anticipated.

I'm curious, though, as to what experience others might have in repairing the bottom of the keel, especially specific types of resin and cloth that worked well.

Picture below, apologies for lack of scale/reference--it is about 4 inches long and prominent just on this one side.

Thanks for any tips, excited to be joining this community! -Pete

crack.jpg
 

dave_a

Dave Ahlers
I don't believe the holding tank is that low in the keel. I'd grind it out, put some tape or roving in to replace the fractured glass mat. A little filler and sanding to smooth it out and Bob's Yer Uncle.
Tap lightly with a hammer, you can hear where the tank starts and ends. Also look in the bilge. You can see where Morgan glassed in the "cap" for the holding tank (its the bilge floor). If the boats been improperly blocked, you can see delamination of the seams. Pinch the vent hose closed and pump the head, it will pressurize the tank. You can hear or smell the air escaping. If there's water in the bilge you can see bubbles escaping around the sides.
There are drawings in the Media area that show tank location.
It's not the end of the world if it leaks a bit. Bilge water can seep in, smell can get out. Much worse when the tank is full.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Welcome to the site and to the Morgan 382. This needs attention. With all deference to Dave, the crack you see may be just the visible damage, with compromised structure in other parts of the layup. The holding tank is at the very bottom after section of the fin. Good location in some ways, bad location if the boat is set down wrong. ( I substantially strengthened the sides of my fin to try to prevent this damage by having more meat along the fin itself, but I also make sure the yard doesn't set the boat on the back end of the fin.) I would have a skilled yard do the repair, with plenty of investigtion of the glass integrity in the aft end of the fin. You may find the damage is localized; or it may be more extensive. Only way to know is to expose the glass under the paint and gelcoat and sound the fin itself. Use epoxy-- more expensive, but worth it in strength and osmosis prevention. It is not the end of the world or the boat, but you want to repair it all and correctly. If you check the archives, I think one or two other owners dealt with this problem and their accounts may help.
 

dave_a

Dave Ahlers
Maybe you're right Terry (see pic). But its just fiberglass, and repair is straight forward if one is up for that fun work. Hey Pete, grab a free West Systems booklet at West Marine. The booklet goes the the rudiments of glass repair.
 

Attachments

mpearson

Mark Pearson
Staff member
Also some great videos on YouTube if you search for Boatworks Today. Even if you have someone else do the work, it’s good to know what they are talking about. Boatworks Today helped me learn about fiberglass & gave me the courage to do a couple big projects myself.
 

dickkilroy

Richard Kilroy
The original owner of your boat was a gentleman named Alan Shapiro . Was from Lincoln Massachusetts and later moved to somewhere in man. I think all of the guys above suggestions for Repairs are more than adequate. I personally would also use the west system epoxies.
 

struell

Stephen Ruell
Hi Pete:
I wondered if that stain in your photo is leakage from the holding tank? It looks like you have a crack all the way through and it would be more than cosmetic and you need to make sure you grind out the crack and build it up in multiple layers to a substantial thickness.

Part of your repair should consider the holding tank overall as you alluded to in your opening question. Is the holding tank to be retained or abandoned? The floor of the bilge is the top of the holding tank and weakly attached to the sides of the keel and many folks have had failures. The previous owner of our boat said he had paid big bucks to have it repaired but we found that didn't work. Access is miserable and it would be very hard for anyone to fix it properly.

I installed garboard drains through the side of the keel shell into the bottom of the holding tank and another higher up in the bottom of the bilge. With those I could see the inside of the holding tank and test it's integrity. With the boat out of the water you can test for leakage by putting water into the bilge after you empty the holding tank, then see if it leaks down through into the holding tank. Based on the results you could decide if you want to retain the holding tank function or move on.

My holding tank leaked through the floor of the bilge and liquid could flow from the bilge downward as well as holding tank flowing upward, and no one including me wanted to try to fix it. So we installed a 15 gallon poly holding tank in the head compartment under the sink counter and cut all the pipes out going to the old holding tank. The boat was inside having the engine replaced and our yard suggested a product called Sea Cast. It comes in 5 gallon kit. They cut out the pipes and wires, cut holes through floor and the poured in one 5 gallon kits greatly strengthening the bottom of the keel, then some foam, and finally a second 5 gallon kit filling to above the floor of the bilge. Sea Cast is slightly buoyant and doesn't seem to have much effect on the boat trim. It made the bilge much more accessible for new bilge pumps as well. It was a big project but a final solution I think.
 

Coy McDonald

New Member
I dealt with the problem of the holding tank leak as well. My situation was the crack in the seam of the cap, a common problem it seems. I decided to have it repaired by a reputable yard. They had to modify the galley cabinet so part of it could be removed to gain access. They lengthened the the tabs around the cap to strengthen the bond and used multiple layers of epoxy for the repair. They also removed the PVC pipes that enter the holding tank and replaced them with fiberglass pipes that were epoxied into place. It is working well so far (over a year) but as the previous poster Struell mentioned it was difficult and it was expensive. I had read about installing another tank but was very limited as to where to put it.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Coy
After your difficult and expensive repair to the holding tank, you MUST pay particular attention to how the keel is blocked when the boat is hauled. Block MUST only be placed under the forward part of the keel where the lead is. Any block placed under the aft end of the keel (not under the lead) will destroy all the work that was done.

Jim
 

rickdowe2

Richard Dowe
I did the repair on my bilge and had success. Cutting down the pipes gave me access and I had a dozen different tools to grind the bilge and using a mirror part of the time to see what I was grinding! On the outside of the keel I had a stencil made that said “No Blocking” The second time I had it hauled they brought it to the yard and yes blocked it where it said no blocking. Luckily the block was at the very end and the driver came over and said he put a stand under the back of the boat. You have to watch them all the time. Rick
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I too am careful about how the boat is set down. But, I have a question. What if the boat were set down on a long supporting timber, the full length of the keel? (With a 6 foot draft, my keel cord at the bottom is smaller than the 5' draft.) Would setting the boat down on the whole keel also cause problems?
 

Coy McDonald

New Member
Coy
After your difficult and expensive repair to the holding tank, you MUST pay particular attention to how the keel is blocked when the boat is hauled. Block MUST only be placed under the forward part of the keel where the lead is. Any block placed under the aft end of the keel (not under the lead) will destroy all the work that was done.

Jim
Thank you Jim. I do know how to block her. The previous owner was very adamant about it thankfully. However, I was out of town during one haul out and even though I had been very specific about the blocking.....Rick is right....you got to watch them! I won't do that again.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Terry
I would not be happy with a lengthwise timber if it extended aft of the lead part of the keel. If the boat on that timber is not on perfectly level ground, it may squat back putting more pressure on the holding tank area then you would want to have. With blocking just under the lead, either athwartships or lengthwise, the boat will be perfectly supported and no damage can be done.

Jim
 

Pbenoit

New Member
Thanks all for the advice and insight! The dark color was indeed residue from the holding tank, while there were not visible cracks the bilge tray, water found in (and drained with a shop vac!) from the holding tank indicated the usual failure. . . We ground the crack down and were pleased to find the damage to be quite localized, contamination of the area from the black water was the biggest challenge, but an intermediate sealing and re-grind worked well to allow our layers of cloth to be wetted on with a good result. We went with polyester resin for its faster cure time, desirable properties in softening the mat to lay around the corner, and having access to good gel coat/barrier coating materials.

For the record and general interest, the holding tank (on this 1979, at least) goes to the bottom of the keel—while I didn’t indulge in a taste-test, the smell and color around the crack were definitely something other than bilge water. I also dipped/measured the depth of the tank through the pump-out tube, referenced it on the hull, and am quite confident (as @dave_a’s picture indicates) that that the “tank” is created by the simple void in keel with the (bilge) cap over it—there is no actual tank slipped down in there (an inaccessible void under such a tank makes little sense).

@struell, I saw your nice write up on garbord drains in another thread! I’ve always appreciated them/thought they make a log of sense and give cheap peace of mind that a rain water leak over the winter won’t flood a boat, and definitely am considering adding one! I‘m not familiar with SeaCast, but just looked it up and it seems like a good alternative to the QuickCrete option I saw one exasperated owner Joke about somewhere on the site! But, yes: we are definitely abandoning the bilge tank—pulling up the sole boards and trying to re-tab it looks like definitive “type 3 fun”. I don’t foresee needing more capacity than could be achieved in a poly tank or perhaps a bladder in the head cabinetry or under the forepeak berth.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I would love to fill my holding tank with epoxy slurry, but I don't see how to install a substitute tank anywhere. I have a LectraSan in the space behind the toilet, and the space under the head sink and vanity is full of hoses to direct "waste" in various directions. The space under the lower port forecastle berth might work, but that is where I store beer. Plus using the current tank allows me to void it overside when legal to do so. I was sounding the area just the other day and determined that the back end of my fin seems solid for at least 4 to 6 inches. Do others have the same solid aft fin section? Since I have a 6 foot draft, the bottom of my fin is shorter than the 5 foot draft. When the yard blocks the boat, they put a wood block under the lead. But then, to balance the boat, they put a support under the run from the fin to the skeg. Inevitably, that changes the shape of the boat and my engine hatch doesn't fit quite right. Once she is back in the water, the engine hatch fits again. My sense is that the aft hull is not very thick. When I put a new through hull in for a water maker, the layup below the turn of the bilge in the port cockpit locker was only 5/16" thick, if I recall correctly.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Terry

Sounds like you need to make a decision about that port V-bunk locker. Do you want to store your beer there before you use it or after!

Jim
 

struell

Stephen Ruell
There are several ways that you can get a 15 gallon tank under the sink counter. I think that may be the limit in size but matches the old tank in the keel. Todd tanks are polyethylene tanks sold by Jamestown Distributors and others, They make one with the ports all on one end which you face toward the sink, so all the hoses are on that end and accessible. You loose the laundry hamper/wastebasket but can use the opening to help move it around. You have to make a shelf support for it to sit upon. The beauty is that the bottom of the tank is above the waterline and the tank self drains (where it is legal) so the plumbing of the tank is pretty simple, eliminating a lot of the old plumbing that is in there now and don't need a Y-valve. Don Casey's book shows it and gives his recomendation of it. You could possibly use the old pump out pipes and hoses that go to the rear starboard quarter but it is much shorter to abandon those and go out through the port side deck through the head cabinet shelf unit for the pump out line and the vent.
Getting the tank in:
1) How I did it, if you remove the small wood door under the sink then enlarge the opening with a saw, then remove all the hoses inside the cabinet, you can the get the tank in under the sink and then turn it and work it to the outside of the hull and up against the bottom of the sink counter. That worked but took a lot of time, not so much money. Had to make a new door and a closure panel for the hamper opening. I may have some photos of it.
2) Jeff at SV Pilgrim, if you can find his old postings, had a lot of pictures of his where he cut out the side wall of the cabinet next to the head and slipped it in just above the head, then you have to make a panel for that hole you cut.
3) One of the other members replaced the countertop with Corian and that looked really nice and would cover up any of the cuts. I am not sure if you can get the tank in from above due to the way the fiberglass is shaped, but maybe judicious cutting would make it in. The Corian looks really nice though and a real upgrade, I wish I had thought of that.

The V berth can be used for a tank. Some the 382 -384 boats have a water tank there that is pretty large, forget how much. You can buy poly tanks that would fit. I investigated a water tank addition there and found some trapezoidal shaped bow tanks in the catalogs. I am not sold on using a bladder tank for a holding tank but they do have them for sale. I think you could put this under the V berth by cutting out the cabinetry and building a smooth lined chamber to support the tank, just at the aft end of the V-berth. That could be a larger tank - 35 or 40 gallons if I remember right.
Steve
 
I did this project this past winter, found a 25 gallon polyethylene tank that fits perfectly in the space under the "L" extension of the port settee. Needed to sacrifice some storage space, but advantages of this approach include relatively easy plumbing through the galley sink bulkhead, and no need to make a new deck fitting or vent. I replaced all of the hoses with the most expensive stuff I could find.
More details here: https://www.morgan38.org/morgan38/index.php?threads/winter-projects-plumbing.15694/#post-132077
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Thanks all for the advice. I will consider the settee location. I can't fit any big tank up forward (unless it is purpose built) because I have the over under single berths. Stephen, can you fit the tank under the head counter high enough to still have good access to to the main head discharge thru-hull? But then you are putting 120 pounds of weight pretty high up and off the center line of the boat.
 

struell

Stephen Ruell
Regarding our holding tank under the sink counter the tank is hard up against the bottom of the counter. The thru hull for the holding tank is directly below the outlet from the tank and the discharge hose runs vertically and the valve is very accessible. I put a tee in that hose and ran the pump out hose under the tank and then up through the cabinet to the deck fitting. The sink drain thru-hull is further outboard and a little harder but I leave it open most of the time. I have cut the door opening larger and made a new door to get the tank in so that helps with reaching under there. Now need to install a light behind the semi-transparent tank so I can see the level inside.

I can't say we let the tank fill up very often, but it doesn't seem to effect the stability that we would notice. It would be the same as one small person sitting on the head I think, not something that would tip the boat or anything.
Steve
 
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