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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Keel Bolts Repair/replacement
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Thread: Keel Bolts Repair/replacement Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-07-2006 04:53 PM
hellosailor Covering the bolts in 5200, bad idea. It can be a flaming *itch to get the stuff off. It's expensive stuff. And, you don't need the strength, adhesion, etc. of it. Lanocote is mainly lanolin (sheep fat/oil) and that, or bees wax, or tar, any of those will be a perfectly good moisture barrier that is much easier to get off. (The tar being the hardest to clean out afterwards.) Cheaper and easier, because you really SHOULD remove the rusted nuts and replace them sooner rather than later. Losing a keel can make for a very long day.
The keel bolts--always, AFAIK--are embedded in the keel and cannot fall out. Removing one nut while you are in the water "should not" be a problem, if the keel is engineered and attached well enough so that doesn't loosen it up and start it leaking. Your guess on that.

Sistering in new keel bolts (applying them in between the existing ones) CAN work--if the attachment is strong enough. If they are just going into the hull with no stringers, etc. to support them and spread the load...maybe, maybe not. If it is an external lead keel, in theory, you can literally drop the keel, clean out the gap *perfectly*, and glue it back on with 5200. The stuff IS that good. If you do that and then sister the keel bolts...you've got two fully redundant means of holding on the keel. I'd sleep easy on that kind of overkill.

Yard liability is sometimes just BS, sometimes a scared yard owner. It can be a real issue, i.e. if you scrape ten years of old paint off your bottom and it contaminates the soul because you didn't curtain off the boat and put drop clothes under it...The yard owner might have to do an "EPA remediation" involving a bulldozer and scraping off ten inches off the entire yard, plus pay a six-figure fine. These things HAVE happened. Or, some bozo uses a torch to loosen up a bolt and sets the yard on fire...and the bozo has no insurance, so the yard owner gets sued by fifty boat owners, each asking a hundred grand plus.
Bottom line is that you have to ask, yards that allow owners to do their own work are becoming harder to find. Party because too many bozos have been causing problems.
08-07-2006 04:21 PM
BM1 I did the Catalina fix with my C-27. All the bolts were rusty, so I clean them, and painted them. I put in 5 - 10'' lag bolts in the keel. I haven't had any problem in the 2 years since I did it, even in 20-25 Kts and 3-4 sea.
08-07-2006 03:44 PM
Jeff_H You might contact the Cal 20 racing association. This is a common problem. If I remember correctly, I believe that the Cal 20's have a cast iron keel with a flange that is bolted with galv. iron bolts through the flange and bottom. With the keel dropped off the boat, the bolts are pretty easy to remove and replace (if I remember correctly, the heads are countersunk into the flange but are not welded or otherwise connected. If you use liquid wrench or PB Blaster you should be able to remove the nuts. This is a actually a very easy and routine repair job compared to the so called 'Catalina Method', which is necessary on boats that have the keel bolts cast into the ballast keel, and which is not a very good way to make the repair lasting.

As to gooping up the bolts with 5200, that is a bad idea. It will not help and may cause crevice corrosion and will make the ultimate repair much harder. I would suggest cleaning the bolts with naval jelly or ospho and then painting with a zinc rich epoxy primer. Because of the way that the Cal 20's keel is bolted on, you cannot undue the nut while the boat is in the water.



Jeff
08-07-2006 01:40 PM
chartscharts Thanks for the replies everyone.

What do you think about covering the tops of the worst bolts in 3m 5200 adhesive/sealant? Since the repair options seem to be to either destroy the worst nuts or add new bolts, I'm not sure there'd be a disadvantage to covering it up with 5200.

My goal would be to prevent further corresion, and perhaps help hold what's left of the nuts together to keep whatever strength is left.

Lastly, does anyone know where I can find out if my keel bolts are imbedded in the keel or go through to the water? I'm trying to figure out if I take one nut off, if the bolt will drop out and flood my boat or if I can take one off at a time while it's in the water? I have a cal-20.
08-02-2006 05:11 PM
pigslo The keel bolts on my boat are imbedded in the lead.

Pigslo
08-02-2006 12:44 AM
Blue Eagle
Quote:
Originally Posted by chartscharts
I've heard, but haven't yet verified, that they don't let you do your own work on the boat after they've hauled it (liability in their yard, plus they want the biz).
I don't know whether it's a practical option, but I'd give serious thought to finding an alternative yard if this is their attitude. What additional liability are they worried about? the boat falling over while you're working on it? I know that in the US of A the frequency of mischievous litigation frequently makes people over-cautious, but this seems ridiculous - mind you, here in hong kong we have the opposite problem! lol.

Good luck!

Blue Eagle
08-01-2006 11:51 PM
chartscharts Thanks for the info! This is exactly the kind of helpful hints I was hoping for.

I hope you'll pardon my ignorance (new boat owner). I'm assuming that taking one of those nuts off in the manner described is something you'd only want to do when the boat is hauled? Is this because without the nut, the bolt will drop right out the bottom, through the keel and you'll have a nice new thru-hull to the sea?

Or are the keel bolts "imbedded" in the keel and you can remove one nut at a time without fear of the bolt dropping and flooding the boat?

Part of my problem is that I don't have a trailor for it. So I'll have to rely on a boat yard to haul my boat for me. I've heard, but haven't yet verified, that they don't let you do your own work on the boat after they've hauled it (liability in their yard, plus they want the biz).

Thanks again for all the replies!

-Charts
08-01-2006 11:50 PM
sailingdog I'd recommend Lanocote as a good anti-seizing compound for the keel bolts and nuts. I'd coat the entire keel bolt, at least as far as you can reach it, as it will help prevent crevice and galvanic corrosion from occuring. It will also prevent the stainless steel nuts and bolts from seizing or galling.
08-01-2006 10:43 PM
pigslo you can also tap the top of the bolts with a ballpeen hammer and listen to the sound (hollow or dull).

pigslo
08-01-2006 10:34 PM
Gary M I have a similar problem but with a 30 footer. In my case and likeley in yours the bolts will be stainless steel but the nuts are carbon steel and so rust rather badly. I my case I am going to try to get all 8 nuts of and clean up the threads. then install new SS nuts with a good thread lubricant and torque them. Hoping that will seal up the small leak into the bilge.

If not I will have to drop the keel and recaulk it.

gary
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