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Old 11-08-2019, 14:00   #1
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Inspecting Newport keel bolts

I have a project 1976 28' Newport and I'm needing to inspect the keel bolts. There's a small amount of water entering the bilge (about 1 gal./week).

The catch is that the keel bolts have an epoxy mixture poured over them in the bilge (standard Newport construction) - so most of the bolts are encapsulated. It looks like a previous owner inspected a few of the bolts by chiseling around the epoxy to get to the bolts.

I just want to see if anyone else has experience working on any Newport keel bolts (or any other keel bolts that are encapsulated with epoxy).

It's likely I'll need to remove all the epoxy to get a good look at all the bolts. This will likely be in tandem with a haul out to see where the water is coming from (probably the keel joint).

If anyone has replaced the keel bolts on a Newport - did you pour another encapsulation epoxy mixture over the bolts?

Thoughts or recommendations? Thanks a lot.
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Old 11-08-2019, 14:24   #2
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyappleseed View Post
I have a project 1976 28' Newport and I'm needing to inspect the keel bolts. There's a small amount of water entering the bilge (about 1 gal./week).

The catch is that the keel bolts have an epoxy mixture poured over them in the bilge (standard Newport construction) - so most of the bolts are encapsulated. It looks like a previous owner inspected a few of the bolts by chiseling around the epoxy to get to the bolts.

I just want to see if anyone else has experience working on any Newport keel bolts (or any other keel bolts that are encapsulated with epoxy).

It's likely I'll need to remove all the epoxy to get a good look at all the bolts. This will likely be in tandem with a haul out to see where the water is coming from (probably the keel joint).

If anyone has replaced the keel bolts on a Newport - did you pour another encapsulation epoxy mixture over the bolts?

Thoughts or recommendations? Thanks a lot.
I think the best inspection of these keel bots is to drop the keel and inspect the bolt where it was inside the hull structure, especially if you think there might be salt water coming in around one of these bolts.

You will have to remove all of the epoxy so that you can remove the nuts (in the boatyard) and probably the keel will need to be pried off. This is not an insignificant task but it is due if the boat is a 1978. After the keel is loose, and propped up, the boat is raised off the keel and the bolts can be better inspected. When putting the keel back on I'd recommend a good sealant, not epoxy, for ease of further maintenance.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:28   #3
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Johnny.

Could the water be coming from a loose stuffing box?
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:26   #4
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

DO check the stuffing box, as Gord May suggests, and any other source before you come out of the water.While you are still in the water, determine just where it is coming from - dry paper towels or similar markers in verious possible egresses, checked very quickly if it is actually leaking a gallon a week. If it is coming from the keel, it's not just getting to the bolt heads and tightening, it's like like Wingsail suggests.

Then, the fact that the previous owners dug out some keel bolts is concerning. Why did they do that? It's sounding, once again, like impact damage, which could be quite serious. Is there actually a keel joint? I would have expected the keel to be glassed in with an expectation that it would not be approached during the life of the boat.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:34   #5
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

Covering the bolts with resin (and it's probably polyester, not epoxy) is a bad idea. It more tends to hold water in rather than keeping it out. I'd chip it off even if they weren't leaking. If you do they in the water you might get a better handle on whether they're actually leaking or not. And try slightly loosening then retightening the nuts. If a bolt breaks off you've found your problem.
When you haul, look for a crack or at least a visible seam between the ballast keel and fiberglass, and whether any water weeps out of it. It's helpful to have a few gallons of water in the bilge when you check this. If the water weeping out is rusty, (and the keel is lead) then you know the bolts are degrading and must be replaced. If it's an iron keel it might be just the top of the iron rusting, but you still have to take it off to clean and rebed.
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Old 12-08-2019, 14:03   #6
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

It is not likely that the water comes from the keel bolts. It may happen but it is a very long shot. Check other options first...
As to the keel bolts, uncover them. As already suggested - it is better to have the bolts clean and visible.
And, IMHO, no need to drop the keel to check on the bolts. You may take them out one by one. Take one out, inspect and put back or replace. Than take the next one out, etc.
Of course it will best be done out of the water on supports, but the keel should hold perfectly well without one or two bolts of the full set, be it on the dry or in the water.
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Old 15-08-2019, 02:43   #7
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

Hi johnnyappleseed,

If it is the keel join (fingers crossed its not!) then the keel will need to be dropped off and both surfaces prepared/clean and put back together. Normally need the rig out prior to this exercise.

The water stays out of the boat from the initial gasket from the sealant that is applied when joining the keel back on. If water is getting in you want to know about it not hide it under resin at the bolts.

Good luck with it!

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Old 15-08-2019, 02:52   #8
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

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Originally Posted by meirriba View Post
It is not likely that the water comes from the keel bolts. It may happen but it is a very long shot. Check other options first...
As to the keel bolts, uncover them. As already suggested - it is better to have the bolts clean and visible.
And, IMHO, no need to drop the keel to check on the bolts. You may take them out one by one. Take one out, inspect and put back or replace. Than take the next one out, etc.
Of course it will best be done out of the water on supports, but the keel should hold perfectly well without one or two bolts of the full set, be it on the dry or in the water.
Apologies merriba,

Normally I would not say anything however this is potentially life saving and feel it important to speak up.

This is very poor advise to re seal the bolts with the keel still on. Although it will keep the water out of the boat it is not advisable.

Firstly all surfaces need to be fastidiously cleaned, this is not possible with the keel in situ.

Secondly, the bolts should be tightened to the correct torque setting. This is not accurate with extra surface area/resistance.

When it comes to keels, best to bite the bullet, pull it apart, clean it all and put it together. Should only need to be done once a lifetime.

Best regards,

Adam
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Old 17-08-2019, 11:20   #9
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Re: Inspecting Newport keel bolts

Hi all.


Sorry, I missed this post a few days ago. I have a Newport 30 with the same encapsulated keel bolts. Honestly, I think it's a good system. There is much less chance for water ingress to the keel bolts/nuts, UNLESS there has been a hard grounding.

I would suggest the OP check for water ingress from other sources as has been suggested. I do get water in my bilge from my pressure water system when I use it, and also from a small leak from the bow/anchor locker area when it rains hard. I also used to get water in the bilge from the shaft seal until I changed to a drip-less system. Also, haul the boat and have a close look at the keel/hull joint.

If you DO decide to remove the epoxy from the keel bolts, make sure you use a good mask: Newport used an epoxy/asbestos mix which is a known carcinogen if you ingest the dust.


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