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Rebedding companionway frame on 356

Jan 5, 2017
100
Hunter 356 SF Bay / Delta
Noticed I have a fair bit of water coming in through my companionway. The frame itself is dry, so it appears to be coming through the frame itself. Has anyone had to rebed this? Looks straightforward, but boat projects usually do until you get into the thick of it.
 

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Feb 2, 2006
452
Hunter Legend 35 Kingston
I have an 87 Legend 35. My aluminum trim look the same or similar. I too have had and currently do have a leak. I was unable to remove mine to properly re-bed mine. My problem is that on the outside, the aluminum frame is very close to the fiberglass. The gap under the aluminum is sometimes less than 1/32". Not enough of a gap to get enough sealant in that will also account to expansion and stretch. So ... the bond keep breaking, and there are leaks.

What I did was remove and dig out as much old sealant as possible. Then clean the area VERY well. Some sanding of where the sealant will go would be good too (i didn't do this the last time). Then I masked both the aluminum and the fiberglass and allowed for a big radius-ed bead of sealant. 1/8" - 3/16" on the glass and aluminum. This will allow for enough sealant to expand and contract with the two different materials at the joint. I applied the sealant, and used my finger to create a tidy radius, but making sure that I didn't remove too much sealant. Peel the tape and let cure.

I did mine 3-4 years ago. I can now see the bond between the aluminum and sealant has broken away. Barely visible, but there. This spring I will make sure the aluminum surface is cleaner and a little roughed up so a better bond is formed.

After a good solid rain, I get a few drips on the inside like you show in your picture.

Cheers and good luck.

Chris
 
Feb 2, 2006
452
Hunter Legend 35 Kingston
An excellent place for Bed-It butyl tape..
https://shop.marinehowto.com/products/bed-it-tape

and the "How To" article:
https://marinehowto.com/bed-it-tape/
Perhaps, but that would require getting the stupid trim piece off. On the outside it is impossible to get a tool in the gap to break the old seal (need a strong putting knife that can do a hard 90 bend), and on the inside only 1 of 3 edges is really accessible. I suspect, as I have tried, that really forcing the trim piece off would bend or damage it (or the surrounding fiberglass).

There are some screws in the trim slot all the way around. Make sure these are bedded well as they could be a source of the leaks as well.
 
Jan 5, 2017
100
Hunter 356 SF Bay / Delta
Perhaps, but that would require getting the stupid trim piece off.
That's my fear. Butyl is my bedding material of choice, but the question is getting to that point.

It looks like they don't have the trim piece in the store, so there's no backup plan either.
 
Jan 5, 2017
100
Hunter 356 SF Bay / Delta
Following up on this. Removed the frame yesterday. It came off with little resistance -- I just had to remove all the screws, and lightly pull each side, then the whole frame inwards.

After getting it off, it was pretty obvious that the sealant had failed. An hour or so of cleanup, a layer of butyl, and we're back in business.
 

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Jun 30, 2020
17
Hunter 356 Noank, CT
I'm about to close on a 2002 Hunter 356 and it has extensive damage to the top step, the berth locker and the common bulkhead between the rear berth and the steps... all from this same issue, no doubt. Thanks for posting this important information!
 
Feb 2, 2006
452
Hunter Legend 35 Kingston
Due to this leak before I owned the boat, the strbd companion way bulkhead was badly rotted, the step was badly rotted, and the port side companion way bulkhead had some damage.

After a big winter project of removing all this stuff, expensive teak surfaced plywood and templates and duplicating and working in awkward places/spaces it's better that factory original, and should last years if I can the leaks at bay. (Btw, my trim ring has a small leak again)
 
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Jun 30, 2020
17
Hunter 356 Noank, CT
Wow... thanks for the update on your project. Here is what I am looking at. The top step is warped and rocks when you step on it and there is rot on the cut edge of the bulkhead. Was yours worse than this...?
 

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Sep 12, 2015
75
2002 Hunter 356 Oakville
Hi Jerry, I also have a 2002 Hunter 356, when I purchased the boat I thought the frame was leaking however it was the companionway drop boards. The two teak boards that are screwed together was causing the leak I've since replaced the hatch boards and have been fine ever since, I suggest you investigate that first. Good luck.
 
Jun 30, 2020
17
Hunter 356 Noank, CT
Thanks! My wife and I are upgrading from a 1973 Ericson 32 with an Atomic 4... we have owned her for 28 years... She was getting a bit too wet and moldy for my wife's taste and we found that we had pulled in any desire to cruise due to the age of the boat. We donated her to a non profit that gets returning vets out on the water. So... OMG, I don't know where to begin with all of the new systems I will have to learn about like pressure water, hot water, propane stove, modern electronics, autohelm, in mast furling!, a Yanmar diesel (or any diesel for that matter) a shower with sump pump, macerator discharge, and on and on... scary.... having the forum for advice and support is huge. I might end up missing the simplicity of my old boat... but hmmmm... I need to learn how to enjoy a boat from the new century. One challenge is that we are on a mooring instead of being able to plug into power in a slip. Learning about possible solar charging and the limits of power consumption will be something to occupy me going forward.
 

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Jan 5, 2017
100
Hunter 356 SF Bay / Delta
Mine was not as bad as your picture. I didn't have to do anything with the step.

That said, I did have to cut out the subfloor and very bottom of that bulkhead, in my case due to a leaking water heater. But it looks like your leak was bad enough, some of that water may have ran all the way down the bulkhead.
 
Apr 8, 2011
323
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
Awesome job on rebedding the 356 companionway aluminum ring. I'm guessing that took a bit of a leap of faith in figuring out how to get it out, which was handsomely rewarded.

I also saw the post from Jerry Nevins above as well about upgrading to an H356. I just wanted to make a shameless plug for SBO here. They offer a phone consulting service for a very reasonable fee to answer questions about your Hunter and advise on how to proceed on projects.

I used it last year when adding a line clutch. I wasn't sure whether there was a metal plate in the coach roof, or whether the clutch bolts were inaccessible above the shower liner and if so what I'd do about that. SBO linked me up with one of their guys on staff who knew my H36 (I think he'd helped build them), capably answered all my questions, and gave me multiple options for doing the project and great advice on what would be the least destructive and still work just fine. I found their advice INVALUABLE, and the project ended up being easy (and I'm not a DIY guy), and looks/works great. It gave me a lot more confidence that what I was doing was correct.

I enthusiastically recommend this consulting service, and hope more folks will take advantage of it. Its essentially like calling the factory for a consult, for a reasonable fee. And since we can't call Hunter...

1594149266017.png
 
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