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Discussion Starter #1
howdy folks. i am looking for some ideas. i ave a problem with access. i have a broken cleat and a screw that needs replacing, on the stern rail. not big issues in themselves, however, i can't even begin to reach the nuts, on the inside.

the screw in the rail base is too small and is missing the nut, in any case. i can't reach in to hold a nut in place. i tried to get to it from inside the boat but there is a bulkhead that walls off that section of the boat and it is just in front of that cleat, which puts it even further from the rail base. if it had been on the starboard side, it would have been ok because there is a storage compartment in the bench that would give me access to those bolts. no compartment to port.

there is a round access panel in the sie of the bench, on the port side, but it's too far from both things to even contemplate reaching them. worse is that space beneath these things is only 3 inches wide. even if i could get my hand under them, i don't think i could find away to start a nut or to hold it as i tighten the screws.

so, the only option i can think of is to cut a small hole for an access panel near these items. not sure i like that idea so i am wondering if anyone has a better one.


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you can clearly see the broken cleat and the rail base is just aft of it. in the pics, i believe you can also see how tight a spot it is, too. i was thinking of putting an access panel below them. i could cut the cleat off with a sawzall. removing it isn't the problem. putting a nut on the new screws is. thoughts?
 

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There are a few ways you can get it a part, but you will still need to install two new nuts for the new cleat. I don't think you have a choice but to cut an access hole. If you have room for storage, then install a water tight access port. If you can't fix it enhance it.

Good luck.
 

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There may be a backing plate already under the old one. Only way to know is to remove it. If there isn't one.. get a alum. bar thick enough for threads (stainless or bronze good too) matched to the new cleat. Loop a string through the holes after dropping it from the holes in the hull.. pull the ends up.. start a screw on one.. cotton string should let the screw start in the threads.. then do the other. It's called "working blind" You could use a single piece of string or line with a 3rd hole in the center sealed after.

Another way would be with really long screws that you can put the threaded backing plate and pull them up through the hull and new cleat, replace one with the proper length.. then the other.. working blind again :)
 

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For sure no access from the quarterberth below? or from the cockpit locker opposite (under cockpit and that way??) I expect you've checked that, but just asking ;)..

Know any small people that might get around/under the cockpit?

A cutout in the side of the cockpit backrest wouldn't be horrible, and you could buy a cover plate like:

Make sure it's big enough to get your arm through.. Might even create some useful storage space.
 

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How do you figure the manufacturer got the plate/nuts under there?
 

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Cut one of these in and you'll have plenty of room to work on the cleat. I recall you saying you were good with wood.

wood box.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are a few ways you can get it a part, but you will still need to install two new nuts for the new cleat. I don't think you have a choice but to cut an access hole. If you have room for storage, then install a water tight access port. If you can't fix it enhance it.

Good luck.
that's what i thought. was hoping i was wrong. lol.

love the avatar. i'm a big popeye fan. have been since i was a kid. the other night, after i was done working on the boat and the sun went down, i relaxed by watching old black and white popeye cartoons on my laptop. it seemed rather appropriate watching them in my sailboat; nice and dry ( it was raining ) with the companionway hatch closed and the hatchboard in place.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
There may be a backing plate already under the old one. Only way to know is to remove it. If there isn't one.. get a alum. bar thick enough for threads (stainless or bronze good too) matched to the new cleat. Loop a string through the holes after dropping it from the holes in the hull.. pull the ends up.. start a screw on one.. cotton string should let the screw start in the threads.. then do the other. It's called "working blind" You could use a single piece of string or line with a 3rd hole in the center sealed after.

Another way would be with really long screws that you can put the threaded backing plate and pull them up through the hull and new cleat, replace one with the proper length.. then the other.. working blind again :)
that may be worth a try. it would take allthread to reach far enough to grab the backing plate from the access port that is there. there is no backing plate, now. the screw in the rail base turns freely. and you can't screw the cleat screws out because the nuts turn with the screw when you try. but your method would be worth trying before i go cutting a hole in it.

although, thinking about it i don't think it will work for the rail base. which would leave me in the same position. maybe a method for the railbase can be devised using your idea, though. i will have to give it a lot of thought. no holes cut is a good thing. thanks. that's very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For sure no access from the quarterberth below? or from the cockpit locker opposite (under cockpit and that way??) I expect you've checked that, but just asking ;)..

Know any small people that might get around/under the cockpit?

A cutout in the side of the cockpit backrest wouldn't be horrible, and you could buy a cover plate like:

Make sure it's big enough to get your arm through.. Might even create some useful storage space.

lol. yeah. you should have seen me trying to stuff myself into that locker. no way i could fit through there but i did try. leave no stone unturned, i always say. i tried to get to it through the quarter berth. there is a wall about 3 inches before you could reach the cleat. i had considered trying to cut a hole in that and reaching through but i don't know how wise, structurally, that would be...plus, i'm not keen on reaching my arm, blindly, into a small hole into an unknown space. but if you think that would be better than an access port through the backrest...

that's the kind of access panel i was speaking of. they make them to where they have to be pried out, aswell. there is one in the side of the port bench, in the cockpit, already, but i can't even get near those screws that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How do you figure the manufacturer got the plate/nuts under there?
they probably installed the hardware before the deck and hull were bonded together. someone correct me if i am wrong but, i believe that is usually the way they do it.

it's like the way auto manufacturers install the egine before the body is put on the chasis. that way it's only the repair mechanic that has to cuss at the hard to reach parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Yes, and they don't need to be wood....

that's a good idea. i could fabricate one out of azak. works like wood. already white. never ever ever rots. no UV deterioration, either. have to make sure to put drain holes in it, though. otherwise it would just be a place to trap water.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Stainless toggle bolts
another good idea. you're good. i had considered toggle bolts but they take a bigger hole than the bolt and i was worried about play because they rely completely on bolt tension. but those are toggle straps. i looked them up. never seen them before. that's seriously worth checking out. a shelf or an access panel might be good but not cutting a hole is better.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
lots of great input. i think i will look into checking out Denise's ideas, first. if one, or both, of them solve the problem, i won't need to cut any holes. if those ideas dson't fix it, i will have to decide if i want an access panel or a storage compartment. one benefit of the storage compartment is that it looks like it was intentional and not just an access hole. :)
 

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Even if the toggle bolts work for reinstall, you still need access to remove what's there, if a bolt spins you're back where you started.

Going through the aft quarter bulkhead has the advantage of not risking a deck leak, but it has the disadvantage of turning this into a two-person job. A temporary cutout near the work means you can do it yourself.

If you build a pocket shelf just make the floor angled down, with drainholes in the facing, as they've done. Not sure it's worth the time and effort depending on the cost of one like that pictured. Marine consignment stores often have that sort of thing fairly cheap.

Those pocket shelves are a great place to toss a winch handle ... (remember? you're in the winch world now ;)) or the odd bit of line, a handheld GPS, VHF, etc etc.
 

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they probably installed the hardware before the deck and hull were bonded together. someone correct me if I am wrong but, I believe that is usually the way they do it.

it's like the way auto manufacturers install the engine before the body is put on the chassis. that way it's only the repair mechanic that has to cuss at the hard to reach parts.
Correct. Very common on a production boat. When I replaced the fuel tank on my CS27 I also replaced the hoses. The vent was installed high on the transom and the cockpit well is only about 3" from the transom at the bottom and tapers to about 2" at the top. I cut a hole and installed an access plate like the one posted earlier.

The toggle bolts are probably the best least invasive solution. We sell similar ones where I work, have been meaning to buy a few for the toolbox.
 

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This is what I would try as to removing the existing bolts.Try turning the head of the bolt with an electric drill as fast as you can, and pull up on the broken part of the cleat. This will jam the nut to the underside and with some friction and the bolt turning fast enough, it might come out. If you could use air tool and it was a hex head bolt that would work, but I am sure you are dealing with a slotted flat head bolt. That will be harder to spin. If that does not work then I would take a sawzall with metal blade or dremel and cut through the cleat and bolt. You may not be able to retrieve the stud or nut, but what harm can they do?

Now to fix without cutting access....Blind Rivet Nut will do the trick. Counter sinking holes deep enough so the head of the blind rivet will sit flush allowing the new cleat to sit down flush. Be careful not to over counter sink and weaken the hole or larger counter sink than the base of the cleat. Also, countersinking holes in fiberglass is know to help prevent cracking. See Blind nut rivet info here... Blind Rivet Nuts - Bolt Products, Inc.
I see SS 304 and 316 listed here... http://www.sherex.com/pdf/Dejond TUBTARA Catalog.pdf

And don't forger to bed the new cleat.
 
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