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Old 07-24-2013, 10:05 AM
ScrewPull ScrewPull is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Boat: 1979 MasterCraft Stars & Stripes
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BOW EYE REMOVAL HOW-TO: 1979 Stars & Stripes

I just posted this in another thread, but thought I'd start a new thread with a more clear Title. If the MODS want to delete this one, I have no problem with that. Everyone I've personally known to own an old Stars and Stripes has had this problem. In the other thread, "ThatsMrMasterCraft" mentioned this method that he used, but no photos were included. Anyway, thanks to him, here ya go...

I've been concerned about my bow eye for quite some time now. One of the external bolts failed a couple years ago and the entire apparatus has just been working itself loose. So, last night, I thought I'd tackle the issue.

Removing the Vent Cover is simple. It's glued on and simple to remove. Just get a good box cutter/sheetrock scoring knife and cut the glue. Mine came off quite easily. Just don't pull on the piece too hard and you'll avoid breaking it. If yours is anything like mine, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily it can be removed.

After trimming as much of the excess glue from the borders of the vent hole, I grabbed my RotoZip tool, took a deep breath and mounted my attack. I was originally planning on operating the bolt removal tool (ratchet/socket with a long extension) through a smaller hole, but I soon realized that wasn't going to happen - the angle just isn't there to begin with.

So, I thought I might be able to get my hand through a larger hole and went to cutting. My hand is rather wide (wear XXL - XXXL glove size), so, as long as you're not a pro football lineman, you should be able to make a large enough access hole without cutting into the vent hole fairing, itself.



The original hole was very rough, as if it were a mouth with teeth, so I used both a DeWalt grinder (with a sanding wheel) and a hand file to smooth it out.

Took some photos of the interior backing plate.



After cutting the hole, I took my compressor and blew the cavity out as much as I could. The Roto tool created a great deal of dust, so it helped with visibility. But I had a more important reason for blowing it out... Sticking my hand into a dark place isn't my favorite thing to do, especially if it's a great habitat for spiders, scorpions, snakes, etc (found a scorpion on my boat a time or two while in storage). I could see webbing in there, so I decided to heft that "ounce of prevention" in lieu of the "pound of cure." I know too many people who've spent time in the hospital due to nasty (Brown Recluse) spider bites. I later took a series of under-deck photos that picked up what looks like a healthy multitude of spider eggs, so I'm glad I did it.

I then took my smallest ratchet and a 9/16" socket (the longer one - the threaded excess of the bow eye requires it) and stuck my hand in. The angle is tough, but I had just enough room, although my forearm got chewed up pretty good even with the smoother edges. Put some painter's tape (or whatever) on the edges of the hole if you don't like fiberglass in your skin. Being kind of a "Bull in a China Shop," stuff like that doesn't bother me.

Anyway, that's about it. It didn't take long at all to get the eye out - the entire process took maybe thirty minutes, if that. Most of that time was spent debating on whether or not to do one thing or another. Actual tool time was probably ten minutes.

You may have some difficulty actually pulling the eye out. My remedy was to grab two hammers. I stuck the business end of the hammer through the eye. With the other hammer, I gently struck the top of the one through the eye. It slowly came out with zero issues.

When I pulled the eye out, it was bent. The threaded part of the new eye and the old was the same OD, but the actual smooth part - the eye itself - was thicker on the old one, so I decided to wait and get a heavier duty version.



When I replace the eye, I plan to recover the hole in such a way as to be able to gain access if needed, but also to keep any water from flooding in.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:51 AM
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thatsmrmastercraft thatsmrmastercraft is online now
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Boat: 1977 Stars & Stripes
Location: St. Paul, MN
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I just used a sawzall to cut the bow eye out. My forearms are to large to allow me to do the work by hand. I used a mirror, a flashlight and a swivel-socket and an extension.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:51 PM
ScrewPull ScrewPull is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Boat: 1979 MasterCraft Stars & Stripes
Location: Houston & Austin Texas
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I nearly "Sawzall'd" my arm off through that little hole. It was actually pretty nasty, but fortunately, I've lost twenty pounds recently, so I was able to get it done. I thought about using the extension and a swivel, but I kept thinking, "Heck, just cut a little more out and I can jam my arm up in there!"
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:22 PM
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thatsmrmastercraft thatsmrmastercraft is online now
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Boat: 1977 Stars & Stripes
Location: St. Paul, MN
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U used the sawzall on the outside and just pulled the pieces out with a magnet. Nice stainless bow eye with a zinc-coated nut. Stainless nut and they would still be good. the new stainless bow eye came with plated nuts, but they just got tossed in the hardware drawer. I bought stainless nuts and lock-washers so I don't have to do this again in another 36 years.
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Tandem Axle Wheel & Tire Package $629
4 Matte Black T08 14x6 wheels, 4 ST205/75R14 Kenda Loadstar tires

Single Axle Wheel & Tire Package $379
2 Matte Black T08 14x6 wheels, 2 ST215/75R14 Kenda Loadstar tires
MOUNT, BALANCE & FREE SHIPPING INCLUDED IN BOTH PACKAGES



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LED lights, Hubs, Spare Tire Carriers, Chrome & Powder Coated Lug Nuts - Red, Blue & Black


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