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  #1  
Old 09-15-2006
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keelbolt help needed

my home port is Goldsboro, NC, and I am looking at a boat in M.D. that is said to need keel bolts. a local fellow said it appears that the keel was not supported very good when the boat was left on stands and he thinks that has done damage to the keel bolts.
it is a 1970 Columbia MKII 26'er. I believe these boats were iron keeled, but I could be wrong. (it happens every so often, lol)
can someone please give me step by step instruction on removing keelbolts and replacing them? I figure that I might can get this boat extremly cheap, and if thats the case then spending a few hundred in repairs would be well worth it.
thanks,
Bill
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Old 09-15-2006
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I think that you are correct that these boats have an iron keel. What I can't recall is whether they have a flange or bolts directly into the iron casting. If the boat has a flange then the keel bolts are comapratively easy to replace.

BUT if the keel bolts go directly into the keel casting, you are looking at a massive and miserable job to do. I did this job on a Folkboat back in the 1970's and it was a real bear. If the bolts are in the keel rather than a flange, a Columbia 25 mk II is not valuable enough, and is not a good enough boat, that unless you got her free or already owned her, to be worth doing the job professionally.

The step by step job is first figure out whether you are dealing with a flange or not. In either case the first step is to carefully block up the boat and brace the keel, and then back off the existing nuts. With a flange mounted keel the boat is then lifted off of the keel and the stubs of the bolts driven out the bottom of the flange. Some may be bound in which case you, cut the bolt off flush, drill down the center of the bolt with increasingly large drill bits (5/16 in 1/8" increments on up to 3/4" or even 1") and then use a chissel to split the bolt so that you can drive out the pieces.

If you are dealing with internal bolts it gets much harder. Typicially, in that era there were bolt pockets in the side or bottom of the keel. You have to open the pockets, remove the nut, and with any luck at all extract or drive out the bolt. The times that I have been involved usually a few come out easy and then you go to war with the rest. You either end up drilling them out, or else drilling new holes into the iron, tapping them and then screwing in new bolts. This latter solution is a course of last resort as cast iron does not hold bolts very well. Boat building manuals discourage that as a rule and the only manual that I ever saw that recomemnded it as a suitable repair suggested that the threaded holes generally need to be 12 to 16 bolt diameters.

It is a much easier to this if you can drop the keel and if you have access to a good drill press and can set up some kind of portable boring rig. Working in the bilge, even with the industrial 3/4 chuck drill that I was using, was months of back breaking work. It was the worst job that I have ever done on a boat.

Jeff
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Old 09-15-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hearsejr
a local fellow said it appears that the keel was not supported very good when the boat was left on stands and he thinks that has done damage to the keel bolts.
Bill
This is the part that stumped me. Why would this hurt the keel bolts? I would want to check it out for myself to see what the real problem is, it could be a hull issue. Hard to speculate on just hearsay.
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Old 09-16-2006
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thanks, the lady said that the boats was nomore then $800..I asked what she wanted and that is what she said..
I think it is sounding alot like bonfire waiting to happen at this point.
Hay Gene, I thought the same thing, which is way I mentioned it it. I thought maybe that the stress of the keel hanging below with not enough support might could do damage, but, dosen't the keel hang below without support when the boats in the water anyway?
thanks for the advice.
Bill
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Old 09-16-2006
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The Columbia 26 mkII has a cast iron keel with the keel studs threaded directly into the keel. That being said replacing the keel bolts is not that big of a deal check the following forum
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Columbia-26MKII/

With out getting into a lot of detail here
Apply 70 ft-pounds to the stud/nut if nothing happens great leave it alone

If the nut comes off remove the washer check/clean the stud apply sealant replace the nut and washer with new nut and washer tighten to 70 ft-pounds

If stud come out replace with new stud/nut/washer

If stud stud snaps -Bummer but not the end of the world or boat- drill out hole, retap replace with insert and new stud/nut/washer also drill and tap a sister stud within 3" of original stud

This is just a basic idea more details plus pics can be found at the forum
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Old 09-18-2006
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thanks Nathan.
I was thinking it was like close to the end of the world there with that keel stuff. kinda scary after seeing some of them on boats that were for sale.

Bill
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Old 09-18-2006
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My Yard Neighbor has a 1970's era 30-35 foot sailboat that I want to say is a Columbia, but I can't be certain. (I know it was one of the first fin keel race commercially produced boats). Anyhoo, I watched him remove his keel, put in new bolts and rebed it. Let me walk you through the steps I observed:

1. While the boat was still on blocks, the keel bolt nuts were removed on the inside of the boat. (In the bilge). Then forms were built around the keel to hold it in place.
2. The boat was lifted in a cradle and the keel was pryed off the bottom of the boat.
3. It sort of popped off in one shot like a scab tearing off.
4. Then new keel bolts were threaded onto the keel.
5. The owner also fabricated new stainless steel straps and replaced the old straps that straddled the inside of the boat. These were installed.
6. He applied fiberglass resin around the top of the keel and then the inside of the opening on the bottom of the bottom to ensure water-tightness. (This dried for a few days and was sanded and shaped).
7. The boat was then lowered back onto the keel. I believe he used 5200 but I am not certain.
8. The keel bolts were attached with 200 lbs of torque.

I guess that you can argue that it was easy. Frankly, it looked extremely difficult, messy and time consuming to me.
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Old 09-20-2006
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Thanks, Surfesq.
I'll have to look the boat over. it sounds like a tad too much work if the boat is in poor shape anyway.
It almost sounds like it will need to be in a boat yard to do the work where you would have a crain available which is beyound my means.
thanks for the advice all.
bill
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