Andersen Self Bailer Repair

As I mentioned before Custard leaks a bit – not enough to be a real problem – I just need to make sure she is bailed out every day if she’s afloat. However, this isn’t ideal.

First step was sorting out the self-bailers. These are Andersen/Elvstrom Super Medium bailers made in stainless steel. My original idea was to remove them and blank the holes; however I thought it might be easier to repair the original bailers.

Repair kits are readily available although not cheap. I got mine from Force4. They include the two gaskets I needed plus rivets and thicker gaskets.

At first glance it looks like it is necessary to drill the old rivets out to get the old gasket out. However, this isn’t the case – the old gasket can be pulled out of the recess by prising with screwdrivers and pliers.

First job was remove the bailers from the boat. Issue here is that it is impossible to reach the inside and outside of each bolt at the same time unless your boat is very small. I didn’t have a helper so I used self-locking pliers which worked fine.

Everything is orange under the boat cover 🙂

On getting the bailers out it was very apparent that the leaking was happening where the bailer was fitted to the boat – leakage through the bailer itself was probably minimal.

The gaskets sealing the bailer – one inside the slot

These bailers are almost but not quite symetrical front and rear, so it helps to mark up everything before you take it apart.

Here’s a pick of taking the internal gasket out – fiddly to start with but overall easy.

Taking the internal gasket out

Once everything was apart the biggest job was cleaning everything.

I used silicon grease when putting it all back together. This stuff is very water resistant and doesn’t degrade rubber. The downside is that everything gets covered in the stuff, including the tools, and it is very hard to get off again. My self-locking pliers are now much harder to use with frictionless handles!

Silicon grease to allow everything to slide and keep the water out

For sealing to the boat I used buytl tape. This stuff never sets so allows movement over time while still keeping water out. It is easy and clean to apply – just use like blutack. The downside is that it will continue to squeeze out of the joint for a year or two so I’ll need to keep cutting off the excess.

Buytl tape under the gasket

I didn’t put any tape between the gasket and the self-bailer as this makes it much easier to get the bailer out again should that be necessary. I would hope that the gasket will provide sufficient sealing on its own – we’ll see. However the inside of the boat hull is rough so some sort of sealant is necessary here.

The butyl tape had enough stick to hold the bolts in place while I got the nuts on the screws. After that I could use the self-locking pliers again to help tighten everything up. I’ll need to tighten up again and clean off excess tape before I launch.

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