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Old 24-08-2009, 11:14   #1
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Keel Bolt Backing Plates Rusted

We are considering boats to purchase and came across one we really like in fantastic condition overall, except for one problem, the keel bolt backing plates are rusted. Our concern was a grounding, separated keel from hull at some point? We were told that the water tank hose was leaking and was what caused it. The boat overall seems to have been maintain pretty meticulously and had the bottom painted a few months back - which led me to question if they painted to fix/mask a keel/hull issue. A survey was done by someone else a few months back and shows under "maintenance" = "Address rust on backing plates of keel bolts." The keel bolts are not mentioned under "Detrimental issues" nor under " Safety issues". The Hunter marine site advices as proper maintenance for the keel bolts "tighten and clean".

Is this a normal keel bolts issue, for the plates to be rusted and I am over reacting or is this something that will have to be fixed immediately and could be more significant.

How much (more or less) does it cost to drop the keel unpon inspection to replace the bolts,plates etc. I read that stainless steel was not as good as bronze.

Any information and/or experiences you can share will be appreciated as we don't want to make a decision on this boat that could turn out to be a major safety hazard and very expensive to fix.

Thanks guys!

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Old 24-08-2009, 11:16   #2
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Also notice the different sizes of the bolts, is this normal?
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Old 24-08-2009, 11:30   #3
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When keel bolts fail boats capsize.

You should get your own survey and any purchase agreement should include the seller fixing the problem to the satisfaction of your surveyor.

If you are not using a broker then any deposit money should be held in an escrow account
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Old 24-08-2009, 11:44   #4
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I would be suspicious that the bolts are rusted too .. but it looks like the plates are gone and that should be addressed too.

how old is the boat? the keel bolts should be stainless steel and have no rust at all. maybe they used inferior metal here? keep looking.
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Old 24-08-2009, 11:49   #5
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[QUOTE=s/v Moondancer;322299]When keel bolts fail boats capsize.

You should get your own survey and any purchase agreement should include the seller fixing the problem to the satisfaction of your surveyor.

We haven't put an offer on the boat, just considering this one. We will definitely get surveys done when the time comes.

"When keel bolts fail boats capsize." I know, That is why I am asking all this questions, I am aware that this would have to be fixed but am concern about the cost of the repair and wether some underlying bigger problem could exist compromising the safety at sea that I should consider. Should this be a deal breaker, should I look for other boats and not consider this one? It looks like maybe they replace the screws and bolts but not the plates.

Thanks!
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Old 24-08-2009, 11:56   #6
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Is the boat a great deal? If not then given the current market I would look at something else. If you just lovethis boat just be direct and ask the owner how he willaddress the problem with the keel bolts. It looks like it would be easy enough to take off a nut and see what is underneath. YOu may need an im[pact wrench or better yet hire someone else to do the investigation. Ask Hunter irectly about the size and number of keel bolts that they installed to see if someone else has added a different set of bolts.
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Old 24-08-2009, 11:57   #7
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It's a 43 footer, 1996 but engine only has 600 hours and regularly maintained, very clean, hardly used and well maintain boat overall. Nothing is a great deal in California
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Old 24-08-2009, 12:03   #8
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Those bolts look like they're different sizes -- are they? That thru hull (is that what it is?) in the 3rd photo looks quite bad, too. Could that be galvanic corrosion on it? I do think that these are significant problems and must be addressed -- I wouldn't even take it on a sea trial with the bolts they way they are.

I don't know if these things would necessarily be deal breaker, if the rest of the boat looks in good shape, but definitely a survey and, if you decide to make an offer, write up that both items will be repaired to you and your surveyor's satisfaction.

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Old 24-08-2009, 12:54   #9
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Those bolts look like they're different sizes -- are they? That thru hull (is that what it is?) in the 3rd photo looks quite bad, too. Could that be galvanic corrosion on it?

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You are right, I think the screws and bolts ARE different sizes. Seems wrong, doesn't it? Could a thru hull leak (3rd. photo) have caused the corrosion of everything in this compartment, including the keel bolts or do you think the leak must have come from separation of the keel and the hull? I don't think I believe what they told me about it having being due to a leak from the water tank hose.
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Old 24-08-2009, 13:25   #10
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I just can't imagine why a builder would use different sizes. Plus, the small one -- looks pretty small! I just can't think that's right. Did you say it was a Hunter? If so, I'd get the hull # and contact the factory. Find out what it is supposed to be.

It's not what you can see from the inside that concerns me (though it does), it's what you can't see underneath it. About a year ago, we were at a marina next to a yard on the ICW and saw the yard hauling out a 30-something Hunter. The keel-hull join had a crack in it about the width of my little finger. You see the forward keel bolt through the crack - it had rusted to about a quarter-inch diameter. Scary, but they did get it out in time!

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Old 24-08-2009, 14:42   #11
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It is not a problem to have keel bolts of differing diamaters. I would however have the keel dropped and the washers replaced. Actually I would install a much larger backing plate.

Regarding the through hull. It is a skin fitting with a ball valve screwed on. That is not correct but I have seen more then one production boat builder doing that. A proper seacock should be installed and through bolted.

The Mrs. lapping in a tapered valve shown below.

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Old 24-08-2009, 15:17   #12
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[QUOTE=Joli;322400]

Regarding the through hull. It is a skin fitting with a ball valve screwed on. That is not correct but I have seen more then one production boat builder doing that. A proper seacock should be installed and through bolted."


Thanks Joli: Just to make sure I understand, the thru valves now should be replaced? Can you elaborate a little, I am not quite sure I understand or know what it would take. Pics or illustrations of proper seacock would be great! Thanks!
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Old 24-08-2009, 16:10   #13
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Not an engineer...

I'm not an engineer but my understanding is that the weakest component is expected to fail first, putting additional stress on the remaining components...

I'd strongly advise contacting the boats manufacturer and asking what size the keel bolts should be.

Replacing the bolts and backing plate may be essential.
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Old 24-08-2009, 17:03   #14
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Thank you so much for all your input. We don't have to go with this boat and are planning on looking at two other ones in the next few weeks. I think this one will go on the bottom of the list for now based on all your observations and feedback and my initial instinct. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to look at this. Safety comes first in my book and I don't want to compromise it when selecting a boat.
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Old 24-08-2009, 17:08   #15
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Hey, Joli -- the missus looks pretty happy doing that! Would you mind sending her over after she's done? I've got some boat projects...

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