Bilge cleaning and paint

Toolate

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Boat is coming home tomorrow to have engine removed and get started. Bilge is full of oily sludge and I want to clean it the best I can and potentially paint it.

Any suggestions on the best way to clean it so it would accept paint? Dont want the paint, if I do it, to be peeling off in chips because it was applied over oil impregnated glass. I am planning to sand the entire area so give it some tooth and eliminate any wax/blush from the original glass and do the best I can to get the paint to stick but I have to clean off the oily mess. I have used simple green with some success but feel like I will need 20 gallons of it for this one so would like something stronger.

Hull is cored except for keel and I wonder if it might not be better not to paint it so I can see the condition of things. Read a bunch of old threads and bilge coat seems to be the recommended goop with some votes for awlgrip and gelcoat. Just want it to stay put. Thoughts?

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captainlarry84

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Go with bilge coat great stuff & easy to touch up. To clean it I would get a gallon or two of Grease Lighting. Plug all the bilge holes so the boat can hold water. Next I would pour the cleaner in the bilge along with hot water. Let is sit for and hour or so. Next scrub the bilge, then drain her out and flush with fresh water.
Sand her good with 60 Grit. Give it a good acetone bath and the paint way nice and heavy. Once all done apply some heat lamps and leave them on over night. The paint will get rock hard with adhesion thanks to the sanding and the acetone prep.
 
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Keelboater

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CL gives good advice. Acetone is critical, and use plenty of it. Wear gloves and a resperator, and be sure to ventilate the area. I opted to use vinylester gelcoat in the bilge of my Bertram after I replaced the rotten motor beds with new ones, and removed all of the old thru hull transducers. The acetone treatment ensured that it's stuck on there for life. I preferred the light color after looking into that dark bilge for so many years, and didn't want to worry about flaking paint down the road. Also, it has leaky hatches and water is always finding it's way below deck. Bilge Coat or gelcoat, the choice is yours. Have fun!

Bilge Before.jpg

Bilge After.jpg
 

Lion's Paw

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One suggestion I have is for you to get as much of the oily goop out first before you start with the cleaning products. Get yourself a bunch of wiping rags and use them first to get up all the heavy grease and anything that comes up that way then go to the cleaners with a scrub brush and wipe that off with rags. Then go with cleaners and water rinse. Going right to the cleaners and water can really spread the goo around a lot and leaves you pumping tons oil water out someplace.

The bilge coat product is very easy to use and surprisingly durable. It does not need a lot of tooth, if any at all, just clean and dry as possible. Goes on very well with good cover and has a nice easy to clean gloss. I have used it several times and prefer the light grey over the white. It is what I will use on this boat when the time comes and the engines are out.
 

Toolate

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WIll see if I can find Super CLean or Greased Lightning locally. Think I will need a couple passes with Brakleen when that is done for the nooks and crannies. Will also definitely get the big stuff with a bunch of rags first. Think that was my plan before I even thought about it but its not a good idea to pump it all out into my yard. Great advice.

Will sand with 60 all over and probably do a little fairing/glass repair to make it all smooth. Nothing worse than those little needles of glass that stick out and catch your rag or finger when cleaning.

Any value in not painting though? See this shot of the inside of my hull? You can clearly see where the hull changes from solid glass to cored and I wonder if I might want to preserve my ability to see the cored areas? Just in case some water intrusion were to start- not sure if I would be able to see it through the glass anyway and the current plan is to remove all thru hulls and make sure the openings in the hull are all treated correctly (core removed and filled and sealed). Was thinking I would maybe just paint the engine room under the house and leave the portions under the cockpit.
 

Toolate

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The picture didnt load- tried 3x but no luck.
 

starrfish

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then...when its all said and almost done.. glass in a shallow drip pan under your motor. with about a inch lip for and aft
 

Sailorgp

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"Fantastik" brand household cleaner works well too. Buy it by the gallon at Home Depot.
 

Keelboater

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Super Clean works great. I used that prior to acetone for the grimy stuff too. Just beware that it will begin to eat aluminum if left soaking for any good length of time becasue it is extremely alkaline. Rinse well!
 

Toolate

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then...when its all said and almost done.. glass in a shallow drip pan under your motor. with about a inch lip for and aft

Great idea though maybe with the deep keel I will make some mounts for one that is removable. Pretty sure it will stay put at the speeds she runs.
 

Toolate

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so I have been at it trying to get this thing ready for a coat of paint (engine is in the cockpit, fuel tanks etc. are ordered and on the way) and I have to wonder, how clean is clean enough for todays 2 part paints?

If you look at the first pic at the top and the one here you will see that I have been scrubbing my knuckles bare. Wire brush on cordless drill seems to be the tool since it turns slow enough not to burn/grind the glass but still removes the scaly gunk on the sides of the deepest section of the keel.

image.jpg
 

Toolate

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So its pretty clean compared to what it was, but up close there is still a hard (really unbelievably f'n hard) layer of scuzz that only comes off with a wire brush in the drill. See this pic of my stringer? The lower part has been wire wheeled and the top has not and you can see a little layer of grit and what looks like paint spatter and glitter or something (think the old owners had a GOOD time on this boat- red hair all over too:confused: = fun). Do I need to grind that off so the new paint will stick? Wish I didnt care about painting because it has cost me a few good days of my life.

image.jpg
 

Toolate

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Here you can see where I have wire wheeled the heavy woven glass from the stringers and stopped up under the tanks.

How much more should I do? For the record, if I didnt know about this place, I would wire wheel the whole thing until it was clean enough to deliver a baby on but I am hoping someone with more experience in bilge painting will save me a couple hours....or at least 1.

image.jpg
 

Old Mud

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Toolate

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TL, the only thing I would question was if that balsa is rotten in this pic around your transducer and Bolt?. Or is that solid glass ?

Good question but that is Keelboaters pic from his bilge re-do not mine. Think he will be around to comment though. My hull is cored and looks nice around all the penetrations but will be checking more carefully before buckling it all up.
 

CEShawn

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Call me crazy, but what if around the penetrations you didnt paint, every year just clean up and get a good look at the coring around it?

Too late, great pictures, good luck with it...
 

Keelboater

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TL, the only thing I would question was if that balsa is rotten in this pic around your transducer and Bolt?. Or is that solid glass ?

You caught me off guard there Old Mud. LOL. That dark spot is just solid glass on the bottom of the Bertram. That old transducer has been ripped out and the holes have been re-glassed. Nothing to worry about in that department. Everything is fine.
 
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