View Full Version : caring for keel bolts

01-18-2004, 04:06 AM
Can anyone advise on the best way of caring for tops of keel bolts and nuts? It appears that they are iron/steel, new in 1985. Previous owners had painted, paint is peeling off. What is the best rust-preventative? Grease? More paint? Kind words? Most of bilge is mostly dry, most of the time.

Art Read
01-18-2004, 05:11 AM
Would this be a good case for a good scrub with a wire brush and a little OSPHO(sp?), followed by some "Rustolium" maybe?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-18-2004, 05:55 AM
I have the same situation as you. Iron bolts and nuts in a mainly dry bilge. Paint does not work. I have not done anything about it, (apart from changing the 1985 keelbolts in 2001, but that's just because I'm English and love bashing keelbolts out!)

I feel I should do something. Wire burch and OSPHO followed by a zinc rich paint, or wire brush and OSPHO followed by coal tar epoxy - I fancy the latter might be better, the bolts are bedded in coal tar epoxy and it seems to keep them nicely.

Ken Hutchins
01-18-2004, 07:38 AM
This is the process I used on TALLY HO II:
1. Sand blast or grind to remove all rust and scale.
2. Clean with an acid based metal cleaner, I used a Dupont product available from auto paint suppliers.
3. Immediately dry with a torch to get all moisture out of the metal.
4. Immediately paint with 2 part epoxy paint while the parts are still warm. I used Interlux.
5. Additional 2 coats of paint.
6. Apply heat shrink tubing over still tacky paint.
7. Apply more paint to seal the ends of the tubing.
8. Liberly coat with water proof grease, especially the threads.

I am still building the boat so I can't say how long it will last, but the basic cleaning and painting process I've been using for 40 years on cars drived in extreme salty conditions in our winters, without a failure. Important point is all rust be removed, I still sandblasted even though I was using new steel on my bolts. The acid cleaning and heat drying, followed by paint while still warm is critical to insure no rust gremelins are hiding in the surface just waiting to multiply when you are not looking. I added the heat shrink tube to insulate against the acid in the oak keel and floors. Then the grease, well why not?