What can I put on the porthole gasket to prevent the rubber seal from sticking to the framing on a porthole that isn’t opened too frequently? L.J., via e-mail
You really don’t want to put anything on the gasket, as this could degrade the rubber and exacerbate the problem. Simply keeping the gasket and frame as clean as possible is your best course of action.
As part of your regular maintenance regimen, open the porthole and clean both surfaces with warm water and mild soap, like Ivory liquid, then rinse thoroughly. Make sure there is no flaking paint or other debris in the channel. Thoroughly dry both the seal and the frame before closing the port. This is also a good time to check the gasket for wear.
I think water is entering my fuel tank. Where could it be coming from? O.A., via e-mail
First check the fuel cap and fill. Make sure the cap is seated properly and that the O-ring, whose job it is to keep water out, is in good shape. To do this you’ll need to remove it, but be careful, as it is relatively fragile and subject to tearing. If you have any doubts about its condition, replace it. Most chandleries carry a selection of O-rings. Make sure to take yours along so you get exactly the right one.
The next thing you should examine is the tank vent. Check for deterioration both inside and out, and make sure the vent is not plugged. Finally, look at the gasket where the fuel-gauge sender attaches to the fuel tank. If the area is at all subject to water, you’ll likely find rust and leakage.
Preventive maintenance steps to take for water in fuel include regularly checking and draining your fuel-water separators, keeping your tanks as full as possible at all times, and taking on fuel from sources that are reliable.
I use rags and absorbent pads to catch any spills when servicing my fuel filters, but do you have any other tips for keeping fuel out of the bilge when doing this kind of maintenance? P.E., via e-mail
I’ve placed a plastic refrigerator box—the kind for storing vegetables—under the filter to catch any spills when I’m changing them, but you may find other types of containers more suitable. If your work space is tight, try slicing off the top third of a one-gallon milk container. Note that gasoline can attack plastic, so this is strictly a temporary measure. In any case, dispose of all re-sidual fuel, rags, and containers in the proper fashion.
Need help with a maintenance problem? Write to Maintenance Q&A, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please. Or visit the maintenance forum at www.powerandmotoryacht.com.
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