Catalina 22 Keel eye bolt repair complete!

Last weekend I completed tapping the hole for the keel eye bolt.  This is the last structural problem I had to solve before beginning the blasting, sealing and shaping process.   Naturally, it went smoothly up until it didn’t.

Considering all that’s gone into fixing this keel, I was pretty nervous about screwing up the screw job.  That’s why I had my friend JP come over.  He’s really into cars and has tapped holes before.  I know I do a lot of stuff on my own (with the help of YouTube), but I also like to have coaches too.

We got right to work.  The first thing we did was level the keel.

Level keel prior to tapping

Level keel prior to tapping


I used the keel tap I got from Catalina Direct and a tap driver I got from Home Depot.

Starting the tap

Starting the tap

Cast iron seems very easy to work with.  From what I read, it actually self lubricates as you work it.  Pretty amazing.When we drilled the hole, we didn’t use any oil, and we didn’t when we tapped the threads either.

It didn’t even need to be backed out as we went deeper.  We just kept turning and turning till it was in deep enough.  Also, we only needed hand strength to turn it.

Deeper and deeper

Deeper and deeper

Once the tap had gone all the way in, the filings were all at the bottom of the hole.

tapping complete

tapping complete

I used my pancake air compressor to blow them out.  Yes, I closed my eyes.  No, I don’t want to go back to the eye doctor.

Now, here is the not so great part.  There is probably some trick here, but once it’s screwed all the way in, it’s perpendicular to the keel.  No amount of changing where I start screwing it in makes a difference.  All the way in = perpendicular.  This may have something to do with where the tap is when you start.  Not sure how we would be able to tell how it would wind up.  It might also be that the area around the hole is not quite level.



If I back it off a bit, I can get it parallel with the keel, but then the shoulder of the bolt is not flush

Parallel, but not flush

Parallel, but not flush

So what do I do?

A) leave it perpendicular

B) leave it parallel, but with a slight gap around the shoulder

C) see if grinding down around the edge of the hole will let the bolt go a little further and wind up with the shoulder flush and the eye parallel.   I’m a bit worried that I might screw up the threads and not make a different anyway.

OK you mechanically minded folks out there.  What do you think I should do?

P.S.  After we were done, JP gave me a ride in his race car – A lotus.  He’s been building it the last 3 years to actually race on the race track.  And wow, it does have some acceleration!  Pretty too.







15 thoughts on “Catalina 22 Keel eye bolt repair complete!

  1. Hey, Capn

    I just read somewhere that red Loctite requires heating to to 325 degrees F to melt the Loctite before you can loosen bolts under 3/8″ without breaking. Your eye bolt is bigger but it’s SS and therefore more brittle than normal steel, but I thought you should know in case you want to go with the blue instead. You might want to pull that bolt out someday for some odd reason.

    • Good to know. Since I have blue, maybe I’ll just go with that. Seems like I should be able to visually check it during annual maintenance to see if it’s rotating back out, so I don’t think it will be a real big problem.

      Thanks for the advice and for watching out for me!

  2. To chase the threads means to clean them. Just thread the tap back down the hole by hand to remove any burrs that you might have created. There shouldn’t be any unless you make some serious heat.

    Blue Loctite will work but it’s softer and meant for the bolt to be removed relatively easily. Use it all so the threads are sealed watertight. Inspect it more often to be sure the bolt doesn’t loosen up on you. Remember, when the keel cable is humming like a guitar string, it’s like a tiny impact wrench on the bolt. When you add the finish layers, run them up over the joint for a better seal.

    Don’t torque the bolt to more than 60 ft.lbs.

    • Thanks for the detail. I’ll grind it a bit more and chase the threads if I need to. Will watch for building up too much heat too. I’ll also pick up some red Loctite.

  3. I would use a locking washer.. this would give the bolt some resistance to backing out, and give you needed space to rotate the bolt the 90 degrees you need to get it sitting properly in the keel

  4. C. Grind or file the keel down until the bolt can turn parallel to the keel. If necessary, “chase” the threads with your tap. Apply red permanent Loctite. Done.

    Last year, a friend of mine gave me a ride in his nearly new Corvette. I’ll never forget it.

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