Friday, January 30, 2015

Portlight Gaskets

When bashing back from a recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, I discovered that our portlights did not seal very well and sea-water leaked into the boat.  Unfortunately, this was most noticeable from the v-berth portlights, and soaked both closets and their contents.

On Intuition, 2000 3500, #115, the portlights are supplied by Manship, LS Stainless

The replacement gasket material is 7122 at $6.03/ft.  and only seems to be available through Marine Depot Direct.

Intution has 10 portlights,

6 @ 10 1/2 x 4 1/2      15'
4 @ 15 1/4 x 5 1/4      14'
Order 4' extra          4'

Total                   33'

7122 @ $6.03/ft =   $198.99

Wow, that adds up pretty fast.

Looking for alternatives, I found Wefco Rubber, here in the San Fernando Valley which makes custom rubber.  The size needed was 3/8" round by 7/16", with an inside diameter, at less than $2.00/ft.

Installation was tricky.  The rubber from Wefco was a harder than the seals removed from the portlights.  This made it somewhat difficult to press into the frame,

I used SuperGlue to glue the ends together. On the larger portlights, I needed to use a drop or two of superglue to hold the rubber to the frame.


Notice the compressed and malformed rubber?


Since the rubber is harder than expected, at first, it was somewhat difficult to close the portlights.  I found that by loosening the set-screws on each hinge, it became easier to open/close the portlights.  After about a week, the rubber began to conform to the frame and now is much easier to open/close.  I'm hoping that after a while, all the portlights will get easier to open/close.  The rubber does seem to be conforming to the frame, so I'm optimistic.

When talking to the folks at Wefco, I didn't realize the rubber would be harder than what was on the boat.  Consequently, I ordered an 1/8" inside diameter hole, with the idea that this would provide more rubber to conform to the frame.  Note in the before picture above, the rubber is pretty misshapen and in some cases torn.  I thought that extra rubber on the face would help!

Time will tell - I'm 85% optimistic that this will be OK, the portlights will seal and will be easier to open/close.  The funny thing - about 3/4's of the portlights open/close nicely, while the others are a bear to close.  A good hot S. California summer should do the trick!

Intuition - 3500 - #115


  1. That is good that you were able to get the hard rubber to conform to the exact shape of the windows. There are other types of gaskets that can be used, but rubber tends to do the best by far. It would just be bad if you found out a new gasket didn't work by finding a pool of water in the bottom of your boat. Although they live on the water, you don't want water on the inside of the boat.

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