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Old 08-12-2010
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Rusty Keel Bolts - How bad is it?

Hi All,

I'm in the process of looking for my next boat and I've found a very nice 1985 Beneteau First 345. It's in great condition and I've gone over what I can using Sailing Dog's checklist and it has passed with flying colors so far. My only concern are the keel bolts. They are pretty rusty compared to my current boat and I'm wondering how big a deal this is and if it's a simple fix? I don't have a marine yard nearby so would attempt the fix myself first, if the consensus is it's possible. John Kretchmer's 'Used Boat Notebook' identifies this issue in this vintage of the First 345 and is fairly dismissive, but I was hoping for a broader view. I've done some research about keel bolts in general and Beneteau's keep coming up as examples of boats that are prone to this. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Is this a deal-breaker kind of issue or a negotiating point?

Thank you



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Old 08-12-2010
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OK, I'm an idiot. I didn't search long enough on this site for answers. Carry on...
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Old 08-12-2010
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I would highly recommend, if you buy this boat, that you DROP THE KEEL and inspect the keel bolts properly. Keel bolts can be deceptive in appearance, since crevice corrosion can lead to what looks like a good bolt, being actually quite weak. As an example of what I'm talking about, here is a photo by Maine Sail of a crevice corroded keel bolt.

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Old 08-12-2010
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The keel bolts on a Beneteau First screw into the keel. While the heads may appear wasted, given the snaps you have posted, they are not unusual for the yacht's age. A couple of wacks with a maul on the top of the bolts to dislodge the larger rust and little work with a wire brush chucked into your drill will clean them up well enough for you to loosen and pull the bolts. That can be done one-bolt-at-a-time in the water, the process recommended by Beneteau, or, shoreside during a haul-out if you're the nervous type. If you will PM me with your email address I will forward copies of Beneteau's procedures for replacing the bolts. Once the new bolts are in place, they should be thoroughly coated with a moisture barrier as described in their literature but it's not a big deal. You'll do fine.

FWIW...


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Thanks for the advice Sailingdog and svHyLyte. I read through Don Casey's sticky on keel bolts as well and it, along with your responses have reassured me. BTW, Sailingdog, thanks again for the Boat Inspection Trip Tips, I actually had them up on my laptop that I brought with me to the boat. The owner was impressed I was being so thorough and was proud of his boat.
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Good to hear Fodder, and glad to help.
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Old 10-05-2010
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These keel bolts are very bad and the boat is in danger of capsizing when the keel falls off. There are several ways of repairing the keel bolts. The first is to take the keel of and melt out the old keel bolt and weld the lead around a new keel bolts. This is kind of expensive but about 300 per bolt.
The way my company does it is to drill and tap in new keel bolts. This cost about 300 per bolt and does not require the keel to be taken off. This way if done by a company called Keel bolt Inspection and Repair can be done on most keels.
If you can't afford to have it done then you can pocket in the bolts your self. Use 316 Stainless steel all thread material and drill down into the lead with 1/2 " drills and work your way up to the bolt dia



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Fodder, the bendytoy keelbolts are totally different from traditional keel bolts.

"Real" keel bolts are big J-bolts that are cast into the keel, made of stainless or (better) bronze. Most of the Benes don't use lead keels though, and they don't use J-bolts. They usually use cast iron keels, and because cast iron is stronger than lead, they don't use the long J-bolts. Instead they use short iron bolts (iron in the iron keel, makes sense) that may only be 4" long tapped into the iron keel.

Yes, this means they can easily rust. it also means--and this is an intentional design feature--that you should be able to UNBOLT each keel bolt, one at a time, and REPLACE IT, one at at time, with new keel bolts. Without dropping the keel, without any fuss. Just a big big wrench and some penetrating fluid needed.

I'm not sure I like the concept, or cast iron keels at all, but I can appreciate the logic behind it. You'll also find the folks at Beneteau USA are very fast to answer questions about these features, and that includes looking at pictures.

For a Beneteau? This is supposed to be (almost) routine maintenace, not a deal stopper.
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Old 10-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Yes, this means they can easily rust. it also means--and this is an intentional design feature--that you should be able to UNBOLT each keel bolt, one at a time, and REPLACE IT, one at at time, with new keel bolts. Without dropping the keel, without any fuss. Just a big big wrench and some penetrating fluid needed.
So if someone left it go too long and you try to take them out and something twists off it sounds like a pretty big problem.
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Old 11-15-2010
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Would like to know if you ended up buying the boat and do the work. i have the same issue and begin to think seriously about doing it.
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