weeping keel bolts - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-18-2003 Thread Starter
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weeping keel bolts

A day after I got my Westerly Longbow - 31 feet, fin keel - back in the water I noticed that my bilges were rather full. Having gone through an exhaustive tracking process I now suspect my forward keel bolts are weeping.

I would like to deal with this problem without hauling the boat. But is this possible? Has anyone cured weeping keel bolts by simply torquing them down? If so, what should I torque them to - and is there a correct order to do it in?

I have a torque wrench that I''ve used on car engines, but will it be man enough for this job?

If you think I''ve got to bite the bullet and have the boat hauled and professionally treated please say so. I won''t be surprised. I was put on this earth to make boatyard owners rich!


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post #2 of 7 Old 04-18-2003
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weeping keel bolts

For the short haul you can get either make a rubber washer that fits snug on the bolt. Remove the nut and washer. Put the washer on and tighten the nut. This should slow or stop the leak but its not a permanent fix because the fiberglass fibers are exposed and getting wet in areas of the bolt holes.

In the big picture you are looking at dropping your keel and recaulking the keel joint. Its really not as bad as it sounds. I have done this a few times on different boats.

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post #3 of 7 Old 04-22-2003
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weeping keel bolts

I had good success using Life Seal (or was it Life Calk - whichever is for below waterline) on a prop strut with the same problem.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-29-2003
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weeping keel bolts

If you seal those leaks from the inside, you will trap seawater around the threads of your (stainless?) keel bolts. In the absence of oxygen, corrosion is a given, and early failure a possibility. This would be "a very bad thing".......

You do really need to drop the keel, check the bolts, and rebed with 5200. Then torque ''em down properly. This often involves a large socket and 4 foot breaker bar.
I went throuth this on my 34 foot sloop; it turned out that my bolts were OK, and that the factory had not cleaned off all the mold release wax from the mating area when they joined the keel and hull.
Dry bilge since the keel was properly reattached.
Good luck on solving your leak.

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post #5 of 7 Old 05-02-2003
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weeping keel bolts

Had this problem two years ago. Tightened forward bolt and it mostly went away.

When the boat was hauled at end of season it was apparent that the keel was very loose! Dropped, cleaned & rebedded using 3M 5200 (overkill but I like it). Keel never weeped since and the play in the keel went away.

Moral of my story is that weeping was a symptom of a much larger problem!

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post #6 of 7 Old 05-02-2003
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weeping keel bolts

Lots of good responses to this dilemma. First try a wet vacuum and get all of the water out from around the bolts. If you’re getting that much water, you should be able to watch and see where it’s coming in. If it is the keel bolts, you can follow the others ideas to get you through the season but you will need to re-bed it next year.

Provided the nuts are on good bearing surfaces and not just fender washers, you can try to torque them down to these specs. If your keel bolts are ˝ inch, try starting at around 50 ft./lbs. and work up to 75 ft./lbs. If they’re 5/8 inch, try 100 ft./lbs. work up to 150 ft./lbs. Start from the center and work your way out to the ends.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-13-2003
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weeping keel bolts

It seems to me that Jeff and others have said the same thing but heres my two cents,Tightening the keel bolts at this time is about as useful as having a frenchman in a war, No really the sealant is already set
and all the tourque in the world is not going to stop the intrusion of water thru a violated seam. For what its worth I would opt to drop the keel and reseal. Like the oil filter ad you can pay me now or pay me later.
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