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Old 18-02-2019, 08:59   #1
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Keel bolts in old boats

Hello All, newbie to the sailing community and have a question about keel bolts in a 1974 Columbia 41 I looked at to buy. The boat was in pretty good shape but the biggest issue I found was the extremely rusty keel bolts. I'm aware that on a boat of this age a rust problems would be normal. But I'm pretty sure it's a lead encapsulate keel with "j" bolt style keel bolts and the bolts at the visual inspection were very rusty. I wasnt able to use a wire brush to clean them for a further inspection so I'm not 100% sure of the quality of the bolts. I researched the cost of repairing/replacing them and was shocked at the cost to drill and tap or epoxy in new bolts. Does anyone have any feedback or knowledge of replacing or rebedding new bolts and is it possible to do this the CORRECT way for less than the $6000-$17,000 I found while researching it?
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Old 18-02-2019, 12:29   #2
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Re: Keel bolts in old boats

Columbia was not noted for the construction quality and quality of components in their boats of that era. Would have serious doubts if the keel is lead as that was the most expensive type of ballast and price for lead skyrocketed with the crazy inflation that was going on back then. Are the bolts really rusty steel or is it surface corrosion on SS bolts?? If the bolts are rusty plain steel it's another indication that the keel is iron.

Encapsulated keels don't have keel bolts btw. Encapsulated means the hull is laid up, keel and all and ballast added to fill in the hollow keel.
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Old 18-02-2019, 12:42   #3
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Re: Keel bolts in old boats

Thank you for the clarification on the encapsulated keel. I made a mistake. I wasnt abke to brush the bolt heads off to see if it was complete rust corrosion or just surface corrosion. I read that when a lead keel was used they generally would pour a set of "J" bolts into the keel for the keel bolts attachment point. I also read that most of the keels manufactured by Columbia in the early 70s were lead keels. Cant believe everything you read hence the reason for this thread. Thanks again, RJ
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