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Old 19-01-2022, 15:08   #1
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What to do with these old keel bolts?

As long as I've had my boat the keel bolts have been covered in this rubbery sealant (see photo).

There was some water in the bilge due to recent rains and after drying it out I pulled off the sealant off the bolts to have a look at the condition of the bolts. To my surprise I found that a PO had abandoned the original keel bolts and installed new ones.

Each old bolt has a great looking replacement next to it except for the forward most bolt (see photo).

My questions are:

1. Why wasn't the forward bolt replaced like the others? should I add a bolt up there, or should I not worry about it? I've seen the boat out of the water and there was no catalina smile...

2. Is there a risk of one of these abandoned bolts springing a leak from seawater?

3. When I pulled the sealant off of the bolts there was moisture trapped underneath the sealant... wouldn't it be better to just leave the bolts uncovered?

Thanks!
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Old 19-01-2022, 15:55   #2
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

IMO...

In answer to #3: Yes. And try and keep the bilge dry (as possible).

#2: Yes, but if the keel is well sealed and you don't suffer a hard grounding, I would guess the leak would be manageable.

As to #1: Hard to say. I'm guessing this was a DIY job and the PO just gave up, or, there are clearance issues drilling threading and installing the new bolt. The other thing I see (that I wouldn't like) is the skewed washer in photo 3. You want that washer flat. I would remove the nut and grind the excess off the washer so that it fits flat to the bilge. Also, use a stainless washer. I would not remove the old washer. Try and keep as much integrity from the old bolts as possible.
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Old 19-01-2022, 16:28   #3
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

First things first ,is the keel iron or lead or outher materials ,those old bolts look like iron ,which is fine for an iron keel ,not so good in lead ,and yes the old bolts could let go or leek at any time , would not play with this except on the hard .⛵️⚓️
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Old 19-01-2022, 16:42   #4
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Slap a lot of rust converter on there as well !
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Old 19-01-2022, 17:25   #5
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Searles View Post
First things first ,is the keel iron or lead or outher materials ,those old bolts look like iron ,which is fine for an iron keel ,not so good in lead ,and yes the old bolts could let go or leek at any time , would not play with this except on the hard .⛵️⚓️
Thank for the reply.
The keel is iron. What would be a quick and dirty way to prevent those old bolts from leaking? Would there be a problem with simply laying fiberglass over them?
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Old 19-01-2022, 17:40   #6
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Glassing over doesn't solve he problem, of water intrusion, coming from the bolts, now or later ! Glassing over only hides a problem ! Also in pic 5 it looks like you already have de-lamination issues at the edge of the sole stringer, with the single keel bolt !
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Old 19-01-2022, 17:50   #7
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

cruisin123:

So far, good advice.

What I want to warn you about in case you've never seen it, is that if the leak's water gets into the iron in the keel, the iron +rust, expands, and eventually can burst the encapsulation for the keel. At that point, it is a huge amount of hot, filthy, work, to get in, open it up, get it dry and rid of the rust and eventually repaired. I sure hope you fix it before it gets to that stage! The one I saw was 2 weeks into the haulout, and lots more (unknown to me how long the whole job took) left to do.

Ann

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Old 19-01-2022, 18:22   #8
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisin123 View Post
Thank for the reply.
The keel is iron. What would be a quick and dirty way to prevent those old bolts from leaking? Would there be a problem with simply laying fiberglass over them?
There's no tried and true way that I know of. You might try cleaning with a wire brush (by hand) then using thinned epoxy and saturating the old bolts, repeatedly.

There's a place in New Hampshire called 'Epoxy Products', Paul Oman is the proprietor. You might get in touch with him and get his opinion. He has some product that can work in wet environments but I don't know if it can be thinned enough to penetrate in a situation like yours.

https://epoxyproducts.com/

The best thing would be to get the boat on the hard, drill out, re-tap and install new bolts. It's a pita job, but then you know it's fixed right.

In any case, I would not glass over them. That will just trap moisture and exacerbate the problem.
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Old 19-01-2022, 18:25   #9
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
cruisin123:

So far, good advice.

What I want to warn you about in case you've never seen it, is that if the leak's water gets into the iron in the keel, the iron +rust, expands, and eventually can burst the encapsulation for the keel. At that point, it is a huge amount of hot, filthy, work, to get in, open it up, get it dry and rid of the rust and eventually repaired. I sure hope you fix it before it gets to that stage! The one I saw was 2 weeks into the haulout, and lots more (unknown to me how long the whole job took) left to do.

Ann

Ann


This post bears repeating. Although if the keel is encapsulated I don't think it would have keel bolts (mine doesn't).
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Old 19-01-2022, 18:25   #10
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyfdl View Post
There's no tried and true way that I know of. You might try cleaning with a wire brush (by hand) then using thinned epoxy and saturating the old bolts, repeatedly.

There's a place in New Hampshire called 'Epoxy Products', Paul Oman is the proprietor. You might get in touch with him and get his opinion. He has some product that can work in wet environments but I don't know if it can be thinned enough to penetrate in a situation like yours.

https://epoxyproducts.com/

The best thing would be to get the boat on the hard, drill out, re-tap and install new bolts. It's a pita job, but then you know it's fixed right.

In any case, I would not glass over them. That will just trap moisture and exacerbate the problem.
Thanks for the reply
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Old 19-01-2022, 18:52   #11
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisin123 View Post
Thanks for the reply
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Old 20-01-2022, 17:03   #12
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

Another consideration is the washers.

Rather than use these relatively small diameter washers it would be better to use something a bit stiffer and larger to effectively spread the load.

If you're concerned about water ingress via the old bolts they could be ground flush and the new backing plates could extend sufficiently to cover them. They don't look like they are worth retaining anyway.

And that damage to the floor on photo 5 should definitely be examined and repaired with some thought given to how it occurred in the first place (hard grounding perhaps?).
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Old 21-01-2022, 05:59   #13
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Re: What to do with these old keel bolts?

A job worth doing is worth doing well...
I am reading a lot of shortcuts and cosmetic ideas.
Glass over and hide the problems and hope the new owner doesn't discover until you are out of town...
Boat on hard
Shore up keel so it won't fall over while you work
Remove all keel bolts, in your case studs / nuts.
Lift weight of boat without lifting keel.
Use any type of thin cutting tool to break seal between hull and keel.
Remove all old traces of sealant and the old studs.
Re-tap holes as required.
Make absolutely sure that the boat cannot descend on you as you work.
Replace those studs with high quality plated ones
( I am guessing/looks like someone got lazy and cheap and simply drilled and tapped those plated studs)
Inspect and make sure there is sufficient material around all threaded holes.
Use sufficient 4200 type sealant to re-bed the keel.
Lower boat onto bolts and add new washers and torque down the nuts.
Relax, pull up a lawn chair, drink rum with friends and admire work.

It took me 24 hours to do this on my Beneteau 345 in Green Cove Springs one year. also had a broken bolt.
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