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Old 08-08-2011, 10:12   #1
tsl
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This Will Keep You Up Nights

These are the aluminum bolts there were holding my steering system together. (O'day 39 1983) Edson uses aluminum bolts to attach the pedestal base to the floor of the cockpit and attach the pulleys (that lead the cables to the rudder) to the underside of the cockpit floor. The pedestal is bonded to the floor so it remains solid even with these bolts removed but the pulleys under the floor just drop down rendering the steering inoperable.
I discovered them when I tried to remove the pedestal to strip and repaint it. I broke one off by hand. Two were completely corroded through. My guess I had one bolt strong enough to hold the pulley plate on. I broke that with a wrench so I think I had another year or two before it would fail. This corrosion was inside the floor so the slot head and the nut on the underside looked fine. You must get a wrench on the nuts to check them.
Here is what I think happened:
The seal under the pedestal was leaking. Not bad enough to notice maybe only if the cockpit filled when the scuppers clogged. This saturated the core and likely got the core rotting. I see two deck cracks so I think the core is bad. I'd say the leak was on the port side of the pedestal since the two weakest bolts and the deck cracks were on that side.
The aluminum bolts have been sitting in rotted core for years.
The biggest concern is that you can't check this without getting access the the nuts under the floor since the counter sunk slot heads will not turn because the bolts are bonded in.
I understand that Edson is concerned about dissimilar metals but I would not mind using Stainless and insulating them. What's your thoughts?
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:06   #2
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

Anything that's hard to get to will not be subjected to regular inspection and maintenance. I opted for ditching our built-in manual bilge pump from one that was probably last serviced in the first bush administration to a portable one that inspecting is cake.

Funny enough though, I'm always surprised when I see things that are on the verge of snapping in half and think back to the forces that they were subjected to just a few days ago. Quality boats and quality construction techniques can really do a lot to keep things going even when all hell has broken loose.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:18   #3
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

TSL
I had the same problem. Except my bolts were stainless. Three of the four bolts broke when I put a wrench on them. I replaced with bronse.
Thanks
Ed
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:15   #4
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

No fear, ALL my bolts are bronze and attached to a bronze tiller head.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:30   #5
tsl
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

I purchased four new bolts fat $12.00 each and plan to treat each hole like any other thru deck fitting. Ream back the core, fill with filled epoxy and redrill. Should I coat the aluminum bolt with wax or grease to keep moisture away? Or is simply keeping the soggy core away enough to eliminate the problem? I'll log the photos and corrective action in my maintenance log. I'm beginning to understand the importance of the log. I wish P.O. used one.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:48   #6
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

Lanacote (anhydrous lanolin) should work well to keep moisture off the body of the bolts. Smear it on liberally then install the bolts. Lanacote is not a grease but dries with time forming a protective barrier against water/moisture corrosion.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:50   #7
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

Regardless of Stainless or Aluminum the big problem is the saturated core. Anything that is bolted through wet core will corrode. Good luck.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:56   #8
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Re: This Will Keep You Up Nights

Wrapping the bolts with plumbers Teflon tape, right up over the coutersunk heads is my standard practice.
Early this year, I removed Bluestocking's pedestal for repainting, and the st.steel fastenings, installed in 1994, came out no problem.
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