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Thread: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oxford, MD in Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    21

    Default Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    The cockpit of my Devlin built boat has two Freeman hatches in the cockpit sole.
    I am aware of how to adjust the tension on the locking arms to get the cover tightly down on the newly installed replacement gasket. But I'm failing to get the "just right" balance between so tight it won't close and just slightly too loose. If even one of the 8 arms is slightly loose a small leak can be revealed by pressure hose testing of the cockpit sole.

    Any suggestions?

    I may try trying to match all 8 locking arms distance between the arm and the locknut with a micrometer, but that seems to assume the arms and threaded stud lengths are precisely equal, which would seem unreasonable for a heavy aluminum casting.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    3,400

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    Crayola washable markers may be your friend here. Try marking the inside edge of the lip with the marker. Where it leaks will wash the marker off and show you which dogs need to be tightened a bit. Other'n that I have no ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oxford, MD in Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    Thanks, sounds helpful and simple to do.
    I'll report on results.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Seattle, W.A., U.S.A
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    When I have replaced the gaskets on them I have always had both the hatch and the rim off the boat in a jig do I could dial both in. Of course that's a pain to do but if space allows maybe get a buddy who's willing to adjust from below as you tighten.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oxford, MD in Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    Yikes!
    The idea of removing the well installed framing of the hatches that were installed in the cockpit sole at the time of Devlin build 28 years ago would likely damage the epoxied edge opening.
    Sounds like that would turn the minor fresh water leak nuisance into a major project.
    I agree the adjustment from below idea would be an ideal way to achieve balance between struggle to close and small leak, but there's no room below for me.
    So, I'll persist with ongoing repeated tuning for now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    23,091

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    Could it be that, over nearly three decades time, the structure of the boat has moved enough to now inhibit a rigid metal hatch from sealing?

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oxford, MD in Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    I tried the dry erase marker idea suggested by Hugh McD.
    It was somewhat informative, but when I adjusted the 4 separate bolts that control tension of the extended arms of the hatch cover only got an indifferent result - still small leak.

    Next I brought all 8 bolts of the two hatches into precisely the same position using a micrometer as carefully as cramped access allowed. Then successive loosening by 90 degree changes of each hatch 4 bolts to adjust from too tight to close to just barely able to close with lots of force. Result: one hatch no leak on low pressure testing, but 1/2 circumference leak on the other.

    Still fussing the the one hatch using only empirical trial and error. Multiple sequences still not right. This is a tough problem to solve, and I am dedicated to keeping fresh water poison out of a wooden boat - even just a little.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,105

    Default Re: Freeman Hatch tension adjustment - HELP?

    Maybe give Freeman a call? They likely have an engineer who could help. But I’m with others who are suggesting that the structure may be the problem here. If the frame is warped because the surrounding wood has changed then it’s possible that no amount of adjustment will help. Loosening or removing the frame as Nicholas suggests would help reveal any warp in the hatch frame, although likely at the cost of some repair needed. It might also be worth putting in a call to Sam Devlin. He may have some advice as well.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

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