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post #1 of 5 Old 03-13-2008 Thread Starter
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keel bolts


I noticed some rust around the painted nuts securing the keel bolts on my 1984 Jeanneau Atalia. I informally consulted a surveyor who suggested rather than paying him $$ (really, quite an honest guy), I remove them one by one to inspect them. If they were found to be rust free, he suggested that the rust was probably from the nut/plate.

He suggested a 1984 french boat would not have used stainless, however I have records from a prior owner showing that they were replaced in the late 1990's with stainless.

Unfortunately, they are of the type without a bolt head (i.e., threaded throughout their length) so I could not remove them. I did remove the nut and the bolt under it seemed quite pristine. There is a metal backing plate.
The bilge is quite dry.

I tried to attach a photo of the two bolts in question, but although Sailnet says i may attach files, everytime i try i get "attachment fails". So, they can be viewed at:

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I know very little about keel bolts and was hoping to never need to.

My questions are

1. given these are stainless steel, no rust on the actual bolt, should I still be worried?

2. Can these headless keel bolts be easily removed?

I have reviewed the previous posts regarding keel bolts.

thanks profusely in advance.

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post #2 of 5 Old 03-13-2008
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1. You need not be worried, what is visible is some surface rust which does not go to the structure.
2. If you could remove the keel bolts the counterpart underneath your boat would simply fall off. The bolts will only slide through the keel once you have taken all nuts off and lift the boat up.

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post #3 of 5 Old 03-13-2008
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Photo posting on Sailinet is basically broken...always has been, always will be. I'd recommend you read this post to get the most out of your time on sailnet, and learn how to link external photos. You need a minimum of 10 posts before you can link external photos, since that is an antispam feature setup a while back.

My concern would be whether the keelbolts are suffering from crevice corrosion or not. If the rust you see is coming from the bolts, and they are rusting below the visible area, you very well may have a problem. Do you know whether they used 304 or 316 stainless for the bolts? If it was 304, you may have a problem, since 304 is more sensitive to chloride ion stress cracking and crevice corrosion.

How dry is the "quite dry" bilge. Is it dry or is it occasionally wet? Do you sail on fresh water or salt??

Pippifax is probably incorrect about the bolts sliding through the keel. Most likely, the bolts are either cast into the keel or they're made of threaded rod and screwed into the keel. Is the keel lead, steel or cast iron?


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post #4 of 5 Old 03-13-2008
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My advice is that next time you haul your boat...have the keel supported very well and remove the nuts and the plate to see where the rust is coming from and if the threaded rod is involved below where you can see right now. My guess is that it will be the lower side of the backing plate or washers or nuts but you have to rule out corrosion on the threaded rod. If it is only the backing plate, you can get another one fabricated out of stainless and be on your merry way with no worries.

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post #5 of 5 Old 03-13-2008
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Depending on the paint

Depending on the "paint" used you could be creating crevice corrosion. That "paint" could be epoxy that water has found it's way into thus creating an oxygen free environment for crevice corrosion.

The bolts look fine now but there is NO NEED to paint stainless or to coat it with epoxy or any other coating.

If it were me I take my Dremel and a stainless steel brush attachment and clean the paint off then you can always see what is going on with the surface of the stainless...

These are the original keel bolts from our 1979 boat! Note the condition and the lack of any coating on the bolts... the photo was taken in the spring of 2007 or 28 years old...!!

-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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