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Smallest keel bolt on '85, 35-3 appears to be leaking

bsangs

Old Newbie
Completely dried out the bilge last week, with the intent of "cleaning" it. Couple days ago, I noticed a very minute amount of water pooled in front of the dustbin keel bolt, but nothing behind it. Did the taste test and, uh oh, it was salty. The bilge always gets some fresh water in it following rain, and the taste test always confirmed that. So the amount in front of this keel bolt was never enough to make the fresh water taste salty. The bilge chamber in front of the dustbin is damp, but has no measurable water in it, and every other chamber remains bone dry. After searching around here, I only found one mention of this keel bolt (years ago), and the included picture of that bolt from the poster - who dropped the keel - was not pretty. In my case, it almost looks like one of the previous owners applied something to this bolt. It also looks like a washer was jammed into a very narrow space. I don't know if that was the original design, but I doubt it. Asking the Ericson/sailing experts around here how concerned I should be. There are no signs of leaking or water on any other keel bolt. Fire away - and thanks in advance.


IMG_2185.jpegIMG_2184.jpeg
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
This looks similar to the placement of rear-most keel bolt on the 38. Not always, but it can be a problem to keep dry. That said, the whole keel can go for three decades-plus before needing to be re-bedded. I had ours done much sooner because our rear-most bolt was seeping water and also because I was concerned about corrosion that happens between hull bilge and top of keel where water can sit with no oxygen.

As you noticed in the thread about keel bolt corrosion, this is rare but can be severe when it happens. Good news is that your keel attachment was designed with a large margin of safety. Bad news is that if ignored, the repair of the bolt or replacement is labor intensive and is one of the few tasks that only a boatyard is equipped to handle.

Aside: given the narrow place the "washer" has to bear on, I believe that I would install a 3" long half inch ss backup/'washer' instead when reassembling this part. There is an important thread here on the whole subject, and it contains photos of the repair to a sister ship.

Best of luck,
Loren
 

bsangs

Old Newbie
This looks similar to the placement of rear-most keel bolt on the 38. Not always, but it can be a problem to keep dry. That said, the whole keel can go for three decades-plus before needing to be re-bedded. I had ours done much sooner because our rear-most bolt was seeping water and also because I was concerned about corrosion that happens between hull bilge and top of keel where water can sit with no oxygen.

As you noticed in the thread about keel bolt corrosion, this is rare but can be severe when it happens. Good news is that your keel attachment was designed with a large margin of safety. Bad news is that if ignored, the repair of the bolt or replacement is labor intensive and is one of the few tasks that only a boatyard is equipped to handle.

Aside: given the narrow place the "washer" has to bear on, I believe that I would install a 3" long half inch ss backup/'washer' instead when reassembling this part. There is an important thread here on the whole subject, and it contains photos of the repair to a sister ship.

Best of luck,
Loren
Thanks Loren. Coincidentally, that's the thread to which I was referring in my post. The picture of that bolt gave me the shivers, even though I have to assume that only the tiniest of the bolts "going" will not send my keel racing down to the bottom of the Hudson.
 
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