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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Replace cotter pins with welding rod
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Thread: Replace cotter pins with welding rod Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-15-2013 11:33 AM
SloopJonB
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Plus they can seize up, which is really aggravating when you want to adjust things. I have lock nuts on the lifelines on my current boat and they are seized - It's going to be a job to back them off without screwing the threads.

Some sort of pin is more secure and can't seize.
07-15-2013 07:22 AM
Roger Long
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
I have done a lot of sailing on different boats including several blue water passages and I have made a point of doing my turn buckles with lock nuts and I have yet to have one come loose when I didn't want it to or not come loose when I wanted it to.
YMMV, as always. However, the locknuts are counter to basic engineering since any strain on the rigging will be in the direction that will loosen them. I'm sure they work most of the time.

For maximum reliability, they probably should be applied with a torque wrench. You need to produce some deformation and stretch in the turnbuckle threads. This gets added to rigging strain. You want about 75% of this preload to come out at maximum rig load. It all just makes my head spin and I could never be comfortable looking at them on my boat.
07-15-2013 07:16 AM
Roger Long
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
I have a jar of lanolin ....
I wouldn't use it anywhere else but on those threads it works better than anything I have tried.
My practice and experience as well.
07-15-2013 05:32 AM
Omatako
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
You'll probably get away with locknuts in casual weekend duffing around but not if you drive the boat hard and frequently as you will in deep water sailing.
I must have a lot of credits in my black box.

I have done a lot of sailing on different boats including several blue water passages and I have made a point of doing my turn buckles with lock nuts and I have yet to have one come loose when I didn't want it to or not come loose when I wanted it to.

I guess I need to start turning to religion or something because my assorted lucky streaks will have to end sometime.

Ah well . . .
07-14-2013 10:55 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

I have a jar of lanolin for coating the threads of turnbuckles. It works well and is dirt cheap. Won't wash off either. I was surprised at how sticky it was - I expected it to be like a thick soap but it's more like very thick honey - VERY sticky.

I wouldn't use it anywhere else but on those threads it works better than anything I have tried.
07-14-2013 10:17 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Don't want to derail the thread but has anyone tried Toss' idea about using lanolin to lube and protect rigging parts? I picked up a jar of the smelly stuff (it smells like....well...sheep) but have yet to smear it on any of my old bronze turnbuckles. I have those PVC tube turnbuckle covers. They do protect the turnbuckles but the only thing I don't like about them is they are a pain to keep up when trying to work on them. I usually use a spring clamp to keep them up out of the way. I also routinely forget to put the darned things on when stepping the mast.
I use Lanocote (Tef-Gel would probably work nicely, as well) on turnbuckle threads to prevent galling, but I've never thought there was any need to smear it elsewhere... Keeping the external stainless or bronze surfaces clean/polished seems a far better strategy, to me...

One of the reasons I favor turnbuckle covers, in the tropics or extreme heat, they help inhibit the liquefying or thinning of the Lanocote on the threads...
07-14-2013 09:51 PM
Roger Long
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
Having said all that, there doesn't seem to be any comment in this thread on the concept of simply putting a lock nut above/below the turnbuckle.
Locknuts create significant risk of galling the threads if tight enough to rely on. Heavy rigging strains will stretch the turnbuckle enough to let the locknut loosen and turn. To prevent this, you must have them tight enough to be right up against the yield stress of the metal, not good.

You'll probably get away with locknuts in casual weekend duffing around but not if you drive the boat hard and frequently as you will in deep water sailing.
07-14-2013 09:34 PM
smurphny
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Don't want to derail the thread but has anyone tried Toss' idea about using lanolin to lube and protect rigging parts? I picked up a jar of the smelly stuff (it smells like....well...sheep) but have yet to smear it on any of my old bronze turnbuckles. I have those PVC tube turnbuckle covers. They do protect the turnbuckles but the only thing I don't like about them is they are a pain to keep up when trying to work on them. I usually use a spring clamp to keep them up out of the way. I also routinely forget to put the darned things on when stepping the mast.
07-14-2013 09:04 PM
Omatako
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
I've seen 1/8th inch and larger s/s cotter key heads bent over and wedged into the turnbuckle; I don't see how the welding rod would do much to stop the turning on bigger boats.
The open cavity type turnbuckle with a divider between top and bottom has the welding wire running from the shroud end to the chainplate end and it runs from one cavity into the next (see earlier post with pics)

Given that the chainplate side can't turn, only one part of the assembly turns, the shroud end and that means that the welding wire will go tight - there isn't an awful lot of pressure on the turnbuckle to turn so it doesn't take a huge effort to stop it. And to pull a piece of 316 SS TIG wire straight when bent like shown takes a very considerable effort.

Having said all that, there doesn't seem to be any comment in this thread on the concept of simply putting a lock nut above/below the turnbuckle. That way it is neat, no snagging, easy to undo and will never come loose (assuming it is properly tightened) and it also provides an instant reference as to where the turnbuckle was before you started undoing it. I have mine like this.
07-14-2013 05:17 PM
capta
Re: Replace cotter pins with welding rod

I've seen 1/8th inch and larger s/s cotter key heads bent over and wedged into the turnbuckle; I don't see how the welding rod would do much to stop the turning on bigger boats.
The threaded bolts seem to be even more labor intensive than cotter keys when adjusting the rig and lots of small bits to keep from going swimming.
I use rings in many places, lifelines, main & mizzens sheet tackle pins, but, though I've thought of them for the rig, I'm just not sure if they are strong enough and, as mentioned above, would be a bear to remove if bent.
Tape and turnbuckle covers may be rather nautical and esthetically pleasing, but every time I walk around the deck my eyes fall on the turnbuckles and I can see if anything is amiss, if uncovered.
We do most of our 2500+ miles a year hard to weather in 20 to 30 knots of wind, so I think I'll stick with the cotter keys on the 70' mainmast turnbuckles. Perhaps I'll try the welding rod on the mizzen, it's much more lightly rigged. Thanks for the idea.
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