70P installation question

-- Last Updated: Mar-22-09 8:35 AM EST --

Installing a 70P in my fiberglass Valley boat last night . . .the instructions say that the rear half must float in the recess and not be tight. This is not the case, it is very tight and even before my washer/nut arrangement is not tightened. I can not rotate the compass at all for alignment for example, with the nuts only loosely hand tightened. Do I need to obtain an optional gasket to raise the compass?

(also instructions say not to store for extended periods in cold . . . which is what my garage is in northeastern winters. Do northerners remove these compasses from their boats every winter or is below freezing temps not an issue)

Don’t worry too much
We have 3 of them, and they’re all tight in the bezel once you torque the screws. Back the screws out a touch just enough to adjust the lubber lines, and then tighten them back down. The first one I installed said to bed the compass in sealant, so I’ve done them all that way. Never had a problem, and they’re all within a degree or two of each other.

We store our boats in a shed, where it gets below zero for a while in the winter – also not a problem so far. I wouldn’t keep it outside for a week when it’s -20F, but -10 for a short time hasn’t caused any issues.

Wayne’s right
Just use the parts that come in the box. Bolts and nuts are overkill, but if you’ve already drilled the holes, you can’t go back. For future reference, the supplied screws work just fine and are easier to install.

All set-done.

No matter what project I’ve done, I always seem to feel more secure with nuts and bolts vs. self-tapping screws. Just personal preference.

I Used Bolts Because
I didn’t want the self tapping screws to poke through dry bags, etc. They protruded pretty far into the cavity.

I just coat the tips
with Lexel. No problems.

Or snip 'em off flush
The supplied screws are more than secure enough, as there is nothing pulling the compass away from the deck. The screws only need to be strong enough to hold hte compass in place and prevent it from rotating, which as you’ve seen, doesn’t take much at all.

70P compass screws
Find 4 small nylon acorn nuts to receive the sharp screw ends-problem solved.

never mentioned in the screw vs nut/bolt debate, since my garage can get to 10 to 20 below during winter cold snaps, I like the idea of the nuts and bolts in case I want to remove the compass and store inside.

Install a Compass
You might find my tech article helpful:


I opted for bolts and nuts, for some of the stated reasons.

BTW, anyone stowing a spare paddle on the foredeck should be aware that the metal spring-clips used in older paddle ferrules can throw a deck compass off by as much as 30 degrees. Fortunately, most newer Werners, at least, use composite and non-ferrous metals, so no problems. Just check before rigging your spare-paddle mount.

Good luck!



your instructions

– Last Updated: Mar-23-09 12:37 PM EST –


Thank you. On the weekend, I had printed your instructions and followed it step by step. It was very helpful! The only feedback I would give on your instructions:

-the drill bit size you mention is just a wee bit tight for the bolt sizes you suggest, so the bolts have to be turned to go through the drilled holes. probably better to be tight like this for leakage but makes the compass pop up when tightening

- The brass plate that you need to drill bigger holes sizes for. . . Each of the 4 spots has the metal scored so when you drill larger holes, it tends to twist and tear off the entire stamped area if not drilling slowing and carefully.

-You don't mention anywhere adding silicone or equivalent to either the bolt heads or nut area. Not sure if a good idea or not. I guess a rolling leakage test will tell.

Overall, i am so appreciative of your web instructions to follow. My past experience with self-tapping screws is that sometimes that don;t bite and can be rotated forever.

I live

– Last Updated: Mar-23-09 3:08 PM EST –

where it always gets to minus 20 and below...many times to minus 30 and beyond...I never remove my 70P compasses from any of the kayaks...and they are stored on racks outside...

I've only ever had one get an air bubble in it and it was Warranted....once there on there...that is where they stay

Best Wishes

Great feedback
Thanks for the feedback!

  1. I do tend to prefer the holes be too tight than too loose, for a better waterproof seal, but I’ll certainly look at suggesting larger holes. I don’t seem to recall having a problem with the compass popping up, but will double check.

  2. You’re right about those little brass tabs; I don’t recall how I prevented the drill from tearing them up, but I suspect I just went slow and easy, as you suggest. I’ve also had good results by sandwiching such thin metal plates between small chunks of 1/4" plywood or similar, perhaps with a tiny pilot hole in the top layer to help align it properly. Held tight with a C-clamp, this prevents the thin metal from buckling and tearing as you drill.

  3. Since I used rubber washers beneath the washers and nuts, I determined that silicone or other sealant was unnecessary. It’s for this reason that I made the bolt holes mentioned above as small as possible–to provide a larger seating surface for the rubber washers, and therefore a better waterproof seal.

    The other option of course, would be slightly larger bolt holes, a good silicone sealant, and no rubber washers. Or take the belt-and-suspenders approach and use everything! So far, I’ve had no leaks, even with prolonged rolling sessions.

    I’ll review your suggestions, and I’m glad you found the article helpful!

    RE: Freezing

    According to the specs from Brunton, the 70P will tolerate temps as low as -30 degrees. The don’t say whether that’s F or C; if C, that’s about -22F ambient (wind chill is irrelevant).


rubber washers

– Last Updated: Mar-23-09 2:17 PM EST –


FYI, West Marine does not stock the rubber washers suggested but they were easily found at an Ace hardware store. The bin label was, neoprene rubber washers. I was immediately comfy when I saw the word, neoprene!

The compass is filled with…
…mineral sprits, so there’s no need to worry about it freezing.

All that can be avoided…
…simply by using the stock screws.

BTW, the spring clip in Werner - and other - paddles is stainless, so simply using stainless hardware is not enough to make sure that it won’t affect the compass. The key with any steel hardware is to have equal amounts spaced evenly around the compass, as is the case with the mounting screws.