Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

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tubeydude
Deckhand
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25
Location: Santa Ynez Valley (just above Santa Barbara)

Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by tubeydude » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:31 pm

Hi all. The time is near for me to get this boat on the water. Just a few more things to do. Among them is replacing the keel pivot bolt with a new one. I am also going to recondition the keel in a while, after I get out on the water and test things out a couple of times. The cast iron keel does have a lot of rust on it.

So I got the nut, washer and rubber seal off of the starboard side of the keel locker. However, the bolt is STUCK in the keel. I tried taking it off from the port side with a breaker bar and with a pneumatic impact drill. No dice... It will not turn at all. I'm pretty sure it is because of rust that has wedged the bolt inside the hole. The Keel winch cable bolt was also stuck in the same manner, and I ended up sawing it off and just re-drilling a hole through the keel for a new bolt. It was not fun, but it was do-able and now done...

I can't saw this one off and even if I did, I HAVE to get the bolt out or things won't line up correctly. Drilling a new hole is not really an option.

So...has anyone else had this happen? What did you do? What are my options? Is there some miracle rust eater that I can spray on the keel bolt hole that will actually work? (I tried a anti-rust penetrant on the winch cable bolt and that was less than effective)

Everything else is pretty much ready to go. This is one of the last details separating me from the water. PLEASE, somebody show me the way...

Thanks,

Erik

THE CUSCUS
First Officer
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:59 am
Sailboat: Venture 25
Location: North East River, MD

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by THE CUSCUS » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:29 am

You might try easing the down ward tension on the bolt by lifting the keel up slightly ( or down if you already have it supported). It might take 2 people, with one moving the jack up and down slightly while the other is inside trying to turn the bolt. You can also try "tapping" the bolt with a short handle sledge hammer on the starboard end while trying to turn the other end with a breaker bar. Good luck!

tubeydude
Deckhand
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25
Location: Santa Ynez Valley (just above Santa Barbara)

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by tubeydude » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:57 am

Yup, tried both of those already. I was using the impact air rachet while a friend varied the upward pressure on the keel bolt with a jack.

This is a bad situation. I'm really bummed about this. One stuck bolt is probably going to keep me off the water for about a month. If I can't get it in this weekend, the next two are out due to family stuff.

I'm not going to take it out until I know that bolt is good.

Erik

THE CUSCUS
First Officer
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:59 am
Sailboat: Venture 25
Location: North East River, MD

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by THE CUSCUS » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:09 pm

Wow, that's a real bummer! I would soak it good with a good penetrating oil (PB Blaster, Kroil, etc) and then get the biggest breaker bar (1/2"drive at least, 3/4" would be better) and a long piece of pipe for extra leverage. I would be worried if its in there that tight that in breaking it loose the keel might crack. Cast iron can be brittle and will crack easy. These boats are great, but the keel is definetly the weak spot (read pain in the ass, problem area). I just finished a complete keel rebuild and encountered all kinds of irregularities and problems. Good luck

John Jessie
Just Enlisted
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:21 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by John Jessie » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:38 pm

Can you get at the bolt with a torch? If you can, heat the bolt then try the breaker bar. Good luck!

tubeydude
Deckhand
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25
Location: Santa Ynez Valley (just above Santa Barbara)

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by tubeydude » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:31 pm

The head of the bolt is about .5 inch away from the fiberglass liner. The threaded end of the bolt is inside the setee hatch contacting the fiberglass keel locker that holds the bolt in place. I thought about a torch, but then had visions of the boat going up in flames. That would be a worse scenario than the one I currently pace. It might work if I'm careful, but I think it better to not try that.

I did think about one of those cans of compressed air and holding it upside down to try to cool the bolt. That won't hurt the fiber glass, but also stainless is not a very good conductor of heat and I need to get cold (lack of heat) to the center of the bolt inside the depths of the keel. I dunno.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

snotnosetommy
Engineer
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:37 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by snotnosetommy » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:13 pm

Man, sorry to hear about the stuck bolt. Never heard that one before, but it's probably not the first one.
Most of the time when I put that much torque on any bolt (like my trailer shackle bolts, for instance), it snaps off. If that were to happen, I can't see why you couldn't drill it out.
Best of luck. After you get out on the water, you'll kinda forget all this aggravation.

billstevens_1999
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:10 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by billstevens_1999 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:16 pm

Brainstorm. Enlarge your access on the port side which should be easiest. Take the smallest and longest diameter drill bit and drill several holes alongside the bottom of the keel bolt. Now slant drill the holes so that they connect. Harbor Freight has a small air file to clean this cavity shaped like a "C" below the keel bolt. Now raise the keel with a jack creating upward pressure at the keel bolt. Now take a sledge with chisel or drive pin and drive the bolt down and loose then remove bolt then keel. You should then with the keel removed remodel the hole using http://www.raka.com hard fiberglass and graphite to rebuild the hole. Note drilling below the bolt should not damage the strength of the pivot point. IMP

I have rebuilt the keel bolt hole and keel using their products with good results on my V25.

Tsatzsue
Deckhand
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 6:22 am
Sailboat: Venture 25
Location: Charlton, MA

Re: Stuck Keel Pivot Bolt Mac 25

Post by Tsatzsue » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:41 am

I just refinnished my keel and bolt assembly. I wouoln't touch the glass. Jack up the keel till the bolt has no weight on it and block up the keel. Then take a sawzall and cut the bolt on eith side of the keel. Be careful not to marr the fiberglass. There should be more than enough room between the keel and the keel locker to do this. Then remove the pieces of the bolt from the inside and drop the keel. Now you have options. Good drill bits. I would drill out the bolt if tapping it out fails. Start with small bits and work your way up. It is stainless so good bits and cutting oil are a must. Go slow!! I greased the crap out of mine when I put it back together. That is now going to be an annual event.

I would also check the keel locker for wear. The keel was turning with the bolt from what it sounds like. You may have an elongated hole. If the washers cover it I would worry about it. When tight they should support the keel. Hope this helps.

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