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kyle

1979 26 robalo

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Considering buying a 26 robalo.  The only foam I can see is wet.  The transom doesn't flex and has no cracks.  The only stringer i can see sounds dry.  Where all on these boats did the manufacturer install foam?  Is it just around the fuel tank?  If not, can a person remove the entire top cap to access all the stringers, foam and rigging?

 

Thanks all.  Not going to make an offer until i figure out how to get at all the old wet stuff.

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Hi Kyle and welcome to the site!

Where is the foam that you are seeing wet....around the fuel tank?

All areas below the cap are foamed.  Over time, the closed cells of the foam will rupture where it is contact with the bottom of the hull or wiith the cap, allowing for some water absorption.  Vibration between the foam and contact point in the boat is what ruptures the cells.  Water will only migrate into the foam where the cells are ruptured; the remaining part of the foam structure should stay dry as long as the surrounding foam cells are intact. 

What year is the boat?  I can see if I can locate the hull weight, then you can weigh it at a truck scale and get a rough calculation if it is holding water.

 

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The foam i can see through the access port is in the bilge just forward of the motors.  it is a 1979.  I have dealt with wet foam before and my experience has been that it all gets wet, at least on boats this old.  Can the cap be removed?  When it was originally married to the hull, was wet fiberglass or some kind of adhesive used?  My preference is to remove every bit of foam and see whether the stringers and transom are ok.  If the deck is glassed/glued down, then the only option is to make cuts in sections to get access.  If so, I would probably have to pass on this project.

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Forum member Mr.Robalo is the one that needs to let us know how the cap and hull were bonded together back then as I do not know.  He worked for Robalo a number of years and knows how the components were assembled, including the foaming of the boat once the cap and hull were mated together.  If they had the foam injected once the cap was in place, the foam would also act as a bonding agent between the parts.  Bond strength would not be that strong over a small area, but when spread over the entire bottom of the cap, it could be a challenge breaking the cap loose from the foam.  

Try sending Mr.Robao a PM or email as he may check this site weekly.  If he does reply by email, please update this thread so the information will be available for future reference.

I don't think they had the high performance bonding putties back then that were applied on top of the stringers prior to setting the cap, so if I had to make a guess, it would have been a polyester resin/cabosil putty.  The cap is screwed around the perimeter under the rub rail where it overlaps the hull. 

I have only used 2 part foam since 1985 on, so I don't have any knowledge on older foam formulations.  When I was tearing apart my 1988 Robalo, the only wet foam as at the bottom of the hull and on top between the cap and foam where there were voids that had allowed condensation to form.  Move an inch or so from any cross members, stringers, or hull and the foam was relatively dry due to the closed cell nature of the product.  Another thing that can come into play is if different boat manufacturers had different specs for the foam they injected into the hull.  Saturated foam does happen, though, as I have heard enough "horror stories" from others that have torn into their hulls on other web sites.

 

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