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Old 10-01-2011, 10:07   #1
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Help ! Looking at a Boat with Rusty Keel Bolts !?

Greetings,

I've been looking into and saving for a boat for a few years now and constantly browsing on the subject. My dream is the same as many others and I've seen the warnings and such. What I would like here is to know what people think about this. I've booked a flight to a boat and it is an 77 Islander 36. It seems to be in good shape for an old boat. I understand that this will be a labor of love and money will most likely poor into it. The seller contacted me today and let me know that there is rust on the bolts that attach the keel to the hull. First does anyone know if the islander is a bolt on keel or is it internal ballast? If it is bolt on how hard are these to replace? And what else would you as a boat buyer look at when looking into buying your first boat?

Thanks for your time.

Paul
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:20   #2
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If it was me I would pull the nuts off one at a time and clean the stud off to see how deep the rust was into the stud.You might have to pry the washer out too to get a good look at the threads.
Be sure to get the torque specs and retighten them with a torque wrench.
If they need replacing you might need a professional.

Phil
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:30   #3
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Dunno if you've ever used an extra long screw driver as a stethoscope for listening to tappets etc on a car engine to check they're ok... or to listen to your pistons but you can do a similar thing with keel bolts...
Place the blade firmly on the centre of the stud, ear to handle then strike the nut with a small ball hammer.. you'll get either a clean sound or more of a thunk...
Thunks are suspect...
But as below... if in water remove one at a time, clean round studs well and grease with vaseline then tighten back up before the next one..
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:32   #4
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Originally Posted by paulmccaige View Post
and money will most likely poor into it.
Freudian grammar slip? It's "Pour"....
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:39   #5
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Thanks!!

Oh that's funny! It was just a mistake but the truth as well. Thanks for the info guys and keep it coming I've gathered that it could be simple as cleaning and lubing. I've also found Don Husemand and seems in the past he fixed this for folks in the LA area. Does anyone know if he still does ths? I've emailed him and am waiting for a reply. Has anyone used him and have a reference or endorsement? Thanks again!
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:22   #6
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Rusted keel bolts

Friend of mine bought a lower quality sailboat with rusted bolts. (I advised against.) He checked a few yards, which suggested that instead of pulling the old bolts, drill new holes and install new bolts. Took him a weekend. Boat was 30 feet, with a fin keel. Keel seemed to hold ok, saved some money.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:33   #7
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ROFL...... Man I love the simplicity... gonna remember that one for sure....


Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzo123 View Post
Friend of mine bought a lower quality sailboat with rusted bolts. (I advised against.) He checked a few yards, which suggested that instead of pulling the old bolts, drill new holes and install new bolts. Took him a weekend. Boat was 30 feet, with a fin keel. Keel seemed to hold ok, saved some money.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:58   #8
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Paul, keel bolts aside which aren't a big issue but worth taking out one at a time to check, some of the other things you should be looking at is a book on buying second hand yachts. However, in no particular order,

What are the sails like? newish crispy and clean or stuffed in a damp locker covered in rust and mildew stains looking like something from Pirates of the Carrib

Engine? sitting in a pool of black gunge covered in rust with split hoses and furred up with corrosion, or polished within an inch of its life, dates on the oil and fuel filters within the last year. Starts from cold okay?

GRP hull and deck. Condition? cracks or crazing? any soft spots that sound dull? window and hatch seals and any other signs of water leaks.

Woodwork? difficult to restore woodwork back to original condition so is it badly marked or can you live with it.

Wiring? original or has a previous owner been bodging with cheap car wire and connectors?

Smell? does the yacht smell if so why because they don't have to and didn't when new.

Mast, straight when viewed up the main sail channel? leaning or curved? standing rigging newish or does it date from a previous century? running rigging clean or green and dirty.

Whilst none of the above and the end of the world, repairs take time and money.

Finally I presume you are going to have her surveyed if she passes initial inspection? if you haven't had a yacht surveyed before this is the sort of report you can expect:

Opinions on Survey Required, Please

Pete
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Old 12-01-2011, 15:21   #9
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It's old...

The questions that you need to ask before going any further are about total ownerhip cost.

This sounds like a cheap boat, but if it's what you can afford after saving for a while the ongoing upkeep could have you always working on the boat, but never going anywhere.

If you'd care to tell us a little about yourself and your plans we could give much better advice. Things like your current budget, what you have available for upkeep, where you are, your experience, what facilities are available and your family commitments.
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Old 12-01-2011, 16:19   #10
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If you can, double nut the keel bolt and try to extract it to see if it is wasp-wasted - if it is, they all are more that likely. If you break it off, don't worry about it. You'll be able to see how badly it's wasted away. If it looks good you'll only need to replace the one you broke. If it looks bad, figure on replacing them all. Rent a 3/4" mag drill, find a heavy piece of steel for a base plate and start drilling and tapping next to the old bolts. Don't worry about trying to take the old ones out. Keep the metals matched close as possible. I cant remember if old Islanders had lead or cast iron keels. Probably iron.
Good luck
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:55   #11
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Originally Posted by lorenzo123 View Post
Friend of mine bought a lower quality sailboat with rusted bolts. (I advised against.) He checked a few yards, which suggested that instead of pulling the old bolts, drill new holes and install new bolts. Took him a weekend. Boat was 30 feet, with a fin keel. Keel seemed to hold ok, saved some money.
Bloke at our club did the same to his 30 footer I reckon 25+ years ago - nobody liked it at the time but he had a real problem with the keel then and neither he nor later owners have had a problem since. Seems a simple solution that works.

Of course it's easier still if the keel is the sort with a flange for the bolts like some of the old Van de Stadts and others in the 60s. In this case, replacing the bolts is a doddle.
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Old 12-01-2011, 19:10   #12
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The questions that you need to ask before going any further are about total ownerhip cost.

This sounds like a cheap boat, but if it's what you can afford after saving for a while the ongoing upkeep could have you always working on the boat, but never going anwhere.
Boracay represents a common approach on this forum and I don't want to knock it. But I'd urge you to continue along your current thought lines.

The Islander 36 is a solid boat, the ideal sort for a rebuild. A large number were built and there is a good online owners group that would be helpful for ideas and access to bits and pieces. Of course it will cost money, but a small outlay will get you started and you can build to your budget thereafter - while picking up necessary skills along the way.

For examples of others who are doing just that - and enjoying themselves and building top boats for little money - see postings by Ken Henry and ncarter under a thread running currently called: Is it worth the effort?

One final thing. Don't be fooled by those who argue that if you pay more upfront for a boat then your costs later are less. Boats will always be money pits, no matter what their current condition. If you've got dough in your pocket, there's always plenty of nice new things to entice it out. Allabest.
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Old 12-01-2011, 19:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by At sea View Post
Boracay represents a common approach on this forum and I don't want to knock it. But I'd urge you to continue along your current thought lines.

The Islander 36 is a solid boat, the ideal sort for a rebuild. A large number were built and there is a good online owners group that would be helpful for ideas and access to bits and pieces. Of course it will cost money, but a small outlay will get you started and you can build to your budget thereafter - while picking up necessary skills along the way.

For examples of others who are doing just that - and enjoying themselves and building top boats for little money - see postings by Ken Henry and ncarter under a thread running currently called: Is it worth the effort?

One final thing. Don't be fooled by those who argue that if you pay more upfront for a boat then your costs later are less. Boats will always be money pits, no matter what their current condition. If you've got dough in your pocket, there's always plenty of nice new things to entice it out. Allabest.
Gotta go along with that...
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Old 13-01-2011, 02:28   #14
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`Keel bolts on externally ballasted vessels tend to rust-out at the joint where the top of the ballast meets the bottom of the hull. They tend to look like two pencil points touching each other..very scarry. Often, when you try to back off the nut, the bolt itself will snap at that ultra thin point.
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Old 13-01-2011, 05:48   #15
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`Keel bolts on externally ballasted vessels tend to rust-out at the joint where the top of the ballast meets the bottom of the hull. They tend to look like two pencil points touching each other..very scarry. Often, when you try to back off the nut, the bolt itself will snap at that ultra thin point.
Pulled the keel bolts off a newly acquired boat once and found just that - they were all needle thin at the region suggested above. It was the flange type bolt arrangement so they were easily inspected and easily replaced. But it wasn't really unexpected - water in the bilge was a strong hint that there was a problem with the bolts.
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