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Old 08-01-2006
chartscharts chartscharts is offline
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Keel Bolts Repair/replacement

Hi all,

I just bought a Cal 20. It has 6 keel bolts. The forward 2 are in good shape. The middle 2 are fairly bad (rusted). The aft 2 are awful rusted and are one is starting to look more like a rounded rust knob than a bolt/nut.

I believe this got this way due to water in the keel bolt area that the other owner didn't keep dry. There was a bit of water in there when I bought it.

I don't believe the keel bolts are leaking. After I dried it out, I've never seen water there in the few months I've had the boat.

So I'm thinking about budgeting for keel bolt replacement at the same time I haul/paint the bottom. I've talked to 2 boat yards who quoted between $1200 and $1800 to fix the keel bolts. Both proposed leaving the existing bolts in place and just drilling 4-6 new ones in the same area to hold the keel on. One called this the "catalina fix."

My questions are:

1. Does the fix sound right? Does the price sound right for the fix?

2. It will take me a while to save up for that. In the meantime, what can I do to keep the bolts from getting worse/mitigate the damage?

For question 2, I'm tempted to knock the rust off the bolts and paint them. That will work fine for 3-4 of them. However, 2 are so bad, I'd be afraid that I'd crack the nut/bolt right off if I scrubbed it too hard! What about covering the bolts up in something like sealent or a hard caulking? Something that might prevent further corrosion and keep the bad ones held together for whatever strength they might have left? Since it doesn't sound like we'll try to remove them as part of the fix, then covering the bolts in goo may not be a disadvantage to the permanent fix.

Thanks for the hints!

-Charts
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