Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 287 Times in 220 Posts
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About a month or so ago you posted pictures of your keel bolts with the comment " Not bad looking for a thirty year old boat" (Paraphrased) I almost replied " Ya but that dosent mean much, its what you cant see that you have to worry about" but I knew you knew that so I didnt say anything...
Mine also look brand new like yours ...but I wonder???
Someday I may peal my hull...If I do.. Im dropping the keel to find out.
Now the $1.98 question...How the heck does one install new bolts?
But, I've removed the nuts, checked the threads and I know the keel to hull joint is bone dry and my keel bolts don't leak. My boat has been in the water for a couple of weeks and my bilge still has dust in it...
Keel Bolt Replacement:
The best, strongest and safest method of keel bolt replacement is done by Mars Metals and a few others. This is the description from Mars:
"The bolt replacement process goes through these general steps:
• The damaged bolts are identified when the keel arrives.
• The bolts are removed through one side of the keel. This is done with a great deal of skill with a torch taking
the upper surface of the lead away.
• The old bolt is used as a pattern for the production of the new bolt. Most keel bolts are J hooked or bent in
• Once the old bolt is removed there is a “saddle” of lead remaining, creating the position for the new bolt to
• The new bolt is fabricated from new matching material.
• The new bolt can even be welded back into the bolt cage right in the keel.
• The new bolt is fused into place. Lead is melted back on top of the new bolt, fusing the original lead and
the new lead, making the repair as strong as the original keel.
• The entire surface of the keel is faired, both sides.
• The root cord is cleaned.
• The remaining original keel bolts are cleaned and readied for installation on the boat."
Here is a more detailed description: Keel Bolt Replacement
Anything other than completely installing new J-bolts is a band-aid at best. I should know I used a band-aid approach on one of my old boats and would never, ever consider doing it again!! This was before I, or my boat yard, knew of the Mars Metal process for replacing keel bolts..
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 05-25-2008 at 01:34 PM.