SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
All right you boat repair geniuses, put on your head scratching caps. I got one for you.

The strut for my prop shaft got bent by a rude mooring line and now has a little banana curve, and my cutless bearing has been long overdue for replacement. I was able to realign my engine cockeyed to meet my new shaft angle, but this is more a triage repair than something I want to trust for the 4,000 mile journey home from Panama.

My mission: to detach the strut and slide it off the back end of my prop shaft, hammer/press it back straight, replace the cutless bearing, reinstall the strut, and realign the engine.

The complication: The nearest place to haul out is 500 miles in the wrong direction, and I'm just poor folk anyway so I'm trying to save my haulout money for surveying and reinsuring the boat when we get home. I want to do this project in the water. I have previously removed our rudder and replaced our propeller in the water, so I have some experience going in.

The real rub: The strut is bolted through the chine of the boat using soft metal carriage bolts embedded (as far as I can see) in an epoxy plug. For reference, the boat is cold-molded and the chine is wood with a glass skin. Because they're carriage bolts, there's nothing to grab a wrench onto on the outside of the boat, and on the inside I've already sheared two of the bolts at the chine level because the nuts were more stubborn than the bolts.

At first I attempted to pop the carriage bolt out from the inside with a hammer and a punch, with my wife underwater outside to jam a bung in the hole (eat your hearts out :)), but the threads are interlaced with epoxy and wouldn't budge. I was concerned that if I hit too hard, I might crack the epoxy or break out a fun new hole in the bottom of my boat, so we gave up for the time being. Now I'm looking to climb that hill again.

Let's set aside the point that I am reckless and/or stupid. For the moment I'm entertaining the notion that I'm stupid like a fox. Where I do need help, though, is with inspiration! How do I get these damn bolts out?

So far I've thought of a few things to try:

-- Heat the bolts with a soldering iron in hopes that the expansion/contraction of the bolt will break the epoxy bond, then hammer or twist the bolt out. The ocean temperature is in the 80's - would it dissipate the heat too rapidly?

-- Drill a 3/8" bit through the center of the bolts from the inside, essentially destroying the bolt entirely. Obviously I don't want to electrocute myself by drilling into the ocean, so I'd stop after 1/2" to an inch and try again with the hammer/punch strategy.

-- Carve out a bowl in the epoxy around the bolts on the inside to allow grabbing with a wrench or drilling a perpendicular hole + adding a makeshift T-wrench bar. My fear is that a T-wrench would bend, but at least it'd give me something to grip with a wrench if that turns out to be the case.

What am I not thinking of? What cleverness would you bring to bear on this problem? Help me sailors, please! You're my only hope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Can I beach a cold molded fin keel boat without causing structural damage? It doesn't help me get the bolts out, but I wouldn't be opposed to it necessarily.
 

·
One of None
Joined
·
8,040 Posts
The laminates are going to be wet and have to be dry again to not rot when you put the new strut on. the epoxy seals the end grain of the holes. No option, the boat needs to be dry for any kind of through hull fastenings or valves.

lay her over.. on air bags or lots of inner tubes? I don't know anything about your boat. you don't even say what size it is so it's all guessing at this end.
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
or not do anything and slap on an outboard till you get to a correct and appropriate yard

you can also simply hip tow out of ports and anchorages with your dinghy and outboard and simply sail the boat as is

think about it...

also do you have access to a machine shop or anything? cause if you dont the chances of you realigning and unbend the strut arent really likely to happen without some chances of still having a badly aligned shaft after all is said and done

good luck man

wish you the best

ps. as a last ditch effort with the bolt issue do you have hole saw bits? if you have enough of them you can hole saw the bolt completely but then you would need bungs big enough for the holes while you try to fix the strut...then you can insert new bolts that are bigger with a qiuick setting epoxy, but through bolting them if you can though since you say its in the centerline...

if thats not possible I would not risk it and simply sail the boat, and hip tow out of places...

nothing wrong with that...

x2 on what boat you have and pics go a long ways in helping for sure...
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
im going to have to say the same...even if you do get it off you are simply going to destroy yous shaft again no matter how well you think you have realigned the engine

basically your option is to hip tow and sail...untill you get to a proper yard to haul out or beach or grid tie, or whatever...

hop on over to rio dulce or go all the way back to the states...

etc...

ps. I can see my strut bolts too from the inside, they are easy to access and take off, but all it takes is one that wont budge and thats the end of trying to take off or adjust the strut for me!
 

·
One of None
Joined
·
8,040 Posts
Beach Legs! The British are very up on this type of beaching because the huge swing in tides
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
sure you could do that...

james baldwin has some nice designs for them too

my issue is I dont see what beaching would help with unless he has access to machine shops or tools for the job
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
8,954 Posts
IMO there is no way you are going to be able to straighten your strut enough to get your shaft anywhere near true, by hand. What you may do, trying to do that unprofessionally, is crack the strut and ruin it. So that part of the job really needs to be done by a professional metal worker with the equipment to accurately straighten the strut.
Removing the strut bolts in the water may allow water to enter between the layers of cold molding and possibly ruin your boat, in the long run.
Bottom line, with 2 of the strut bolts already broken, it is no longer a safe option to sail for the states, IMO.
I would suggest finding a crane and put the boat on the hard asap, near where it will be possible to get the professional help you need to do the job properly. I would be pretty surprised if you could not accomplish all this in Panama, considering the amount of mechanical talent and equipment involved in the widening of the canal, that's going on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
While at a marina in Isla Mujeries, I needed to replace the alloy stove bolts that held the strut to my boat. The old ones were failing due to electrolysis. I drove the old bolts out with a hammer. I did this with a mask and flippers. Use a bigger hammer and good luck.
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
what boat, hull type and construction and type of strut? good to know you did it...
 

·
Bombay Explorer 44
Joined
·
3,619 Posts
Not thought this through BUT what about using a hole saw. Cutting a neat plug with the bolt in the middle.

You can preprepare some plugs and have them to hand inside and out in case.

Refitting the strut can be done with slightly longer bolts and large washers or backing plates inside. Marinetex would be your friend.

However it would be so much easier and safer and less stressful out of the water.
 

·
One of None
Joined
·
8,040 Posts
None of that is proper.. it's a wood hull (cold molded) All penetrations need epoxy to seal the wood that HAS to be dry.
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
that applies to many boats not just cold molded

the issue is wethet or not he wants to take that risk and or risk fixing it where he is as is or better not do any further damage while trying
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,672 Posts
If you do find yourself (in a moment of madness) banging away on the carriage bolt in the water. Just have wooden plugs handy .as bolt drops out (you hope) and plug da hole. One plug per hole??? If you've pulled the shaft, have a secure line around the strut. If banging with the bigger hammer threatens hull integrity, grind (wait until you've hauled ,which is good idea anyway) the heads of the carriage bolts and centre punch .drill out to the square bit on the bolt. While the strut is being fixed try to lock nut bolt (back off a bit first) from the inside and work forth and back with wrench as you lay on the hammer Once it starts to move remove nuts and drive it on out. As for hauling ,I.ve never been to a place that didn't have a crane somewhere and heavy lifting men. Dig a slot in the ground ,place keel in slot,fill slot.Rubber tires and 4x4s to protect from lifting cables. Just a thought!
 

·
ancient mariner
Joined
·
439 Posts
i had this problem on a vagabond 42 in spain. the owner would not haul the boat, so i moved the engine to line it up with the shaft. we sailed from spain to antigua with no problems. the next year he had me come to granada & we sailed to fort lauderdale,fl still with the shaft & engine lined up like i had done it it spain. after that he sold the boat.
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
Best to careen the boat or at least get it onto a tidal grid and work on the strut while it is in the air.

Or, you might try moving all ballast forward, adding another 500# of ballast all the way forward (55 gallon drums of water at 460 pounds each?) and see if that will put the boat bow-down enough to get the strut out of the water. Perhaps with a couple of tractor inner tubes under the strut to help lift it and leave it free in the center for you to work on.

But then you'd also have to apply a patch (I'm thinking more inner tube and rubber cement, and perhaps filling the holes with epoxy in case you can't get back to bolt in the repaired one same day) as insurance while you are at a machine shop or a smithy for some hours trying to straighten the mount. It might pay to find out if you can get a replacement expressed to you, and not screw around with "is it straight yet?"

4000 miles...even if you have to haul the boat, it might be worth having a reliable engine & prop.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top