Restoring Metal DePersia Bailer with Plastic Bailer Parts

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by oldpaint, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    For those of you who like a challenge and really have nothing better to do with your time you can restore the automatic bailer function to a metal bailer. You will need some 4200 or boat life caulk, the ball and its rubber seat from a plastic bailer and a rubber garden hose washer. The basic idea is to fit the hose washer into the groove in the shaft of the metal bailer and then insert the rubber seat from the plastic bailer in the hose washer. The hose washer will need to be modified for this to work.

    1) Cut the outside diameter of a rubber hose washer so it will fit in the grove in the metal bailer shaft. Its about 15/16 (inch). The groove is below the inner threads.

    [​IMG]

    2) Test fit. I found the washer was too thick so I sanded it down with 220 until it fit. It should be a loose fit to avoid any warping Making it watertight will be taken care of later in step 6.
    [​IMG]

    3) Take the washer out and make its inner diameter larger so the rubber seat will fit in it. I used a dremel with the tiny drum sander. Also you need to chamfer one side to match the angle on the outside barrel of the rubber seat. There was a lot of test fitting of the rubber seat to washer fit at this point. The fit should be loose enough to be able to rotate the seat in the washer to ensure the seat is not deformed. Once again step 6 will fix this.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    4) Assemble. Put the ball in the bailer. Put the washer back in the bailer, chamfer facing up and then put the rubber seat in the washer with its chamfer for the ball facing down.

    [​IMG]

    5) Try it out in some water. The ball should move into the seat reasonably quickly. There will be leakage around the groove that the washer sits in.

    6) Caulk the top of the washer to the shaft of the bailer to fix the leaks. Boat life or 4200 would be good. The caulk should be applied with a toothpick or dental pick to avoid getting it all over the place. After that, but before the caulk sets, Jam the ball in the rubber seat so it stays there (it keeps the seat from deforming as you work the caulk in) and move the seat with the ball and washer around a bit to make sure the caulk sealed up every potential water leak spot, including the seat to washer. Test the seal (after unjamming the ball) by submersing the bailer up to the top rim. After the ball moves to the seat the water level should not rise. It might take a few tries to get this right. It took me three.

    7) Install in your sunfish. Don't forget to use vaseline on the bailer threads when you go out in salt water.
     

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  2. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    You're several steps ahead of me. :(

    So far, I've only found the stock bailer ball will fit through the vent opening. :oops: My next steps will be to use stock plastic bailer parts to have successfully modified the indestructible DePersia body.

    I hope to mold new threads (from epoxy) aound a small PVC plug. One-inch and 1/2-inch PVC plugs are too big.

    A note on the standard hose washers: several versions are made--and made of different materials. I'm very far from my fully-equipped hardware store, but some other stores might have fat o-rings that'll work instead. I have an o-ring assortment myself, but none are big enough. :(
     
  3. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    Before starting I visited the hardware store , calipers in hand and bought about five different rubber things including grommets, o-rings and even a stopper. After none of those things worked out I finally looked into my plumbing parts box and found a rubber washer for a garden hose. It originally came from a sheet of them and you cut off the rubber sprues between the indivdual washers.
     
  4. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    :cool: I think I've seen those, in grass-green (less-often in transparent red or transparent yell0w). Viewed up-close, they have two little, raised, concentric, ridges.

    By eye—without a measurement—it appears as though some fat (older, and tough) hose washers in a salmon color would work. I've got a few right now. 'Think they're US-made—where to get those older washers today, I don't know. :(

    Regarding the stock bailer-ball, I meant that the ball had to be squeezed through the vent opening—and that it would be a perfect replacement—as it couldn't "escape". :)

    .
     
  5. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    I put the bailer ball in through the top before assembling. Therefore I could only apply the caulk from the top, not through the vent.

    Any of those washers should work as long as they are flexible enough to be placed in the groove.
     
  6. hilulover

    hilulover New Member

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    [QUOTE="Light and Variable Winds, post: 159508, member: 17570]...think I've seen those, in grass-green (less-often in transparent red or transparent yell0w).

    ... some fat (older, and tough) hose washers in a salmon color would work. I've got a few right now.

    .[/QUOTE]
    I am usually the first to say that color should be a top factor when making decisions about sailing parts and attire. But you are really pushing it to say color is important for the internal parts of the bailer! No one will see theirs after installation. Perhaps you just want the pride of knowing you are color-coordinated?
     
  7. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Yes, once I have decided on a color, I should paint the deck to match! :p

    My salmon-colored washers are not very flexible :oops: and would probably not seal well at all.

    I looked up the patent, but the sketch and measurements are illegible. :( So I made a silicone cast of the groove, and it comes out to 1/8" thickness x 1" overall. Perhaps a hose-washer was used to arrive at those dimensions? Besides the salmon-colored washers, I have one black washer ("China") that's softer and slightly fatter—but I have only one. :confused:

    I'd like to find something other than brass to fit those threads. Today or tomorrow, 'going to make another trip to the hardware store to see what possibilities there are. There's a teen-aged kid there who seems to know where everything is! :)
     
  8. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Well, the kid wasn't there yesterday, but I was able to pick up a flat-topped PVC plug that is a loose fit :confused: and they've stocked suitable hose-washers for washing-machine hoses. (Unless the check-ball falls through). :oops:

    I'll be without a Sunfish for several weeks, so this metal bailer project goes "on the back-burner". :oops: It's back to the 1¼" expanding freeze-plug for now.

    Seal: the stock plastic Sunfish bailer seal has a tapered surface, as you have described—and finished it—above. I'm trying to skip the Dremel steps (and caulking) you've described. Maybe a different hose-washer or o-ring would work? I'll be checking Grainger, NAPA, and maybe my friendly BMW repair shop.

    Interior threads: although epoxy won't normally cling to plastic, there is a product that "primes" plastic for epoxy. :cool: (Begins with the letter, "G-"). :confused:

    Inside the cockpit: So, once I get the plug to fit, a rubber ring under the plug lip might seal the plug. Then I'll drill the PCV plug for the stock plastic plug (and "keeper"). The stock flexible plastic cap (and "keeper") should fit the DePersia body, since it's going through the same spot in the hull. (But that should be a question). :rolleyes:
     
  9. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    Keep us posted.
     
  10. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    This conversion would make the modified DePersia bailer as effective at bailing as the plastic bailer, while a hardware store visit could resolve a repair in minutes.

    The black seal was one I removed from a garden hose "Y" diverter. That seal has a taper that won't permit the standard check-ball to pass through it; whereas, the other hose-seals could allow the standard check-ball to pass through.

    The o-ring is just a used one I found in my parts box.

    Fullscreen capture 10212016 83044 PM.bmp.jpg

    While the PVC plug is a loose fit in the metal bailer's threads, perhaps four "wraps" with Teflon® tape will be enough to assure a tight seal. Its base [uppermost], when fully snugged, could be enough to press the [tapered] black seal against its metal seat. If not, a different sized o-ring could take up the slack.

    Can you tell I don't have a Dremel® tool here, nor any 4200 sealer? :confused:
     
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  11. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    That tapered seal from the Y diverter is a brilliant. That would have saved me a lot of time. You're on the right track now. What is the diameter of the original DePersia bailer ball?
     
  12. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    :eek: I was going to ask you! ;) But...

    The rebuild kit for the plastic bailer includes a bailer-ball that is a very tight fit through the bottom "vent". Undamaged, it can't escape, so the DePersia bailer-ball must have been the same size or larger.

    For some background, here's a photo where the sun shines through the vent and is at an angle to illuminate the location of the rubber seal's groove. This shows its relationship to the exterior and interior threads.

    Fullscreen capture 10212016 82949 PM.bmp.jpg

    More "talk" on the bailers:
    On bailers and threads | SailingForums.com
     
  13. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Maybe I'm not sailing fast enough (kinda kidding as although I know I'm getting up on a plane with decent winds)...and I've just taken the cap off my Despersia bailer, and quite frankly, water was NOT draining out anything like the Anderson style bailers I've seen....or of course the plug in the transom on open power boats, etc. I don't have the ball in mine anymore, and the screw cap twists freely in the threads, so therefore isn't much of an issue to reach down and unscrew it a bit. But since the bailer really doesn't work all that well, so I typically just leave it screwed in and it's more a cockpit drain when the boat is on the trailer. The biggest waves when whitecapping on KY Lake usually are only 2+ft or so and I really don't get all that much water in the cockpit.
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Each of the three plastic bailers have all broken in my ['70s, Florida-based, UV-affected] Sunfish. Although the 1¼" automotive freeze plugs work OK, my ultimate goal was to replace them. (And avoid possibly "renting" three new $50 replacement plastic bailers). :mad:

    The metal body and screw-in plug (or rubber stopper) will work for me, mostly by allowing rain-water out more readily.

    Now that I think about it, I didn't check to see if CPVC (hot-water size) plugs fit the DePersia. :confused:

    .
     
  15. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    A buddy with a perfect Viking sent photos of the De Persia bailer—which was the correct "period" bailer until De Persia went off the market in 1975. This bailer is more than 42 years old.

    Photos 1162017 63641 AM.bmp.jpg
     
  16. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    Ah, now we are up to the mystery of the metal the bailer plug is made from, specifically the part that is stamped DE PERSIA. When did the plug stop being made entirely from bronze as in the above picture? That one looks like the one that came with my 1969 Sunfish. At some point after that the plugs seem to be gold colored anodized aluminum caps on top of a brass or bronze threaded portion underneath. (Just to be clear I'm only talking about plug, not the bottom piece that goes through the hull and holds the bailer ball.)

    The same question also applies to the deck hull drain.
     
  17. South Tower Demon

    South Tower Demon Member

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  18. oldpaint

    oldpaint Active Member

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    That cross configuration on the top of the plug must have been uncomfortable on the hand during prototype testing or too much work to produce.
     
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  19. Alan S. Glos

    Alan S. Glos Active Member

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    For what is worth, I have a few DePersia bailer assemblies (complete with rare screw-in caps) for sale. E-mail me at: aglos@colgate.edu for photos and prices if you are interested.

    Alan Glos
    Cazenovia, NY
     

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  20. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Coupla things:

    • The red arrow points to 16, and is mechanical-drafting-coded to indicate "wood" and not fiberglass. The blue arrow points to the lowest level that the bailer would normally drain. Fortunately, fiberglass boats have a distinct depression in that location, so the De Persia bailer would work much better than in the original wood Sunfish hull (pictured).

    [​IMG]

    • From the drawing (thank you, STDemon!) :), I see the check-ball (28) is much larger than today's plastic bailer replacement ball. :confused:
    (The modern ball, while it's unlikely to escape, only just fits the vent between 11 and 13).

    • Whilst moving some garden watering hoses around, I found a "different" hose seal in one of them. Cool that it has graduated concentric rings inside which could accommodate some size difference in a new replacement ball. The outside diameter of garden hose seals seem to be a very close fit in the De Persia bailer (at 17), even without modification.

    Photos 1182017 53829 PM.bmp.jpg
     

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