Moody 422/425 Moody 425 / 1988 keel bolts

Marko Pomerants

Marko Pomerants
Temporary Member
Hi,

I'm looking to buy a 1988 Moody 425.
Unfortunately got a bad surprise after opening the floors plates and saw the keel bolts.
What do you think of them?
I will order a full survey but has anyone had an experience with that before?
I have heard that some moodys has this kind of issue.
How much approximately this could cost to change all the keel bolts?
 

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Dick Holness

Dick Holness
Member
GC Support Team
Boat name
CANTATA
Berth
East Coast
Boat type
Moody 36(90s)
Cruising area
East Coast France Belgium Holland
This is very common on Moodys that have salt water left in the bilges. The bolts, nuts and plates are all mild steel.
It is usual to find that the bolts (which are M24 threaded rod) are perfectly OK when they are unscrewed.
Hard to tell from your photos but they do look particularly bad.
So long as water has not penetrated down them, it is OK to change them one at a time without removing the keel, using new 6mm steel plates, and would not be an expensive job. If the keel has to be removed you are looking at several £'000's.
I would suggest that if you decide you want the boat, you make your purchase conditional on the owner having the job done first.
 

Peter Sims

Peter Sims
Member
Boat name
SIRI
Berth
Lefkas Marina
Boat type
Moody 44 (90s)
Cruising area
Ionian
Hi Marko
Agree with all Dick has said but these do look unusually bad. You can see the boat has been left for some time with water (presumably salt water) in the bilge and mild steel is not meant to put up with that kind of treatment.
Usually the studs themselves are in good condition when unscrewed and if the bilge is clean/dry when they are drawn they can be replaced with new studs, nuts and backing plates one at a time without any problem.
There is endless debate about whether the keel bolts should be mild steel or stainless steel and only you can decide which to use. There are good arguments for both.
The keel of my boat was dropped to rebed and replace studs soon before I bought her. Total cost of materials and labour was a little over £2k in Greece in 2014. The previous owner agreed to the work even though he was given completely wrong advice about why it was necessary by the boatyard.
Regards
Peter
 

Marko Pomerants

Marko Pomerants
Temporary Member
Thanks!
If anyone else has something to add would be appreciated.
The boat should be at dry dock if i want to change them one by one or it could be done in the water as well?
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Member
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
Hi Marko,

That 's nothing like as bad as you imagine - what you're seeing is surface rust on mild steel components which as Dick says, is an inevitable consequence of leaving sea water sloshing around in the bilge. The chances are that the studs, from the top of the nuts downwards are in perfect condition. Remember that the rust occupies a volume several times the steel that is corroded away, and the only structural issue here is loss of steel thickness.

If you were watching her when her weight sat on the keel in dry dock, it's useful to note whether any water gets squeezed out between the grp keel stub and the cast iron keel. If that doesn't happen, the hull to keel joint is in good shape and there is most unlikely to be salt water access to the keel studs. If water does squeeze out in any quantity, the hull to keel joint is likely to need remaking in the next year or two. Before you start on renewing keel nuts etc., it's worth forming a view on the state of the keel joint because, if you drop the keel to remake the joint, changing studs, nuts and backing plates adds very little to the cost or work involved.

Assuming the joint is in good shape, the nuts and backing plates can easily (one exception) be replaced while afloat or ashore by addressing them one at a time. Replacing the studs is a bit more involved because you have to make sure you seal the new stud into its hole properly to prevent any future bilge water getting down the hole and starting corrosion there.

If you just apply a socket with a long tommy bar to the nuts to get them off, it's likely that the stud will unscrew from the keel as the nuts are rusted on, to avoid this problem, you can drill and split the nuts off, rather than trying to turn them. If you do intend removing studs, it's worth getting the bilge clean and dry before you start to avoid dirt and water getting down the stud holes into the tapped thread in the cast iron keel.

The aft most keel bolt is not easy to access - it's partly hidden inside the hollow frame immediately under the engine's oil sump, so probably just possible to get some sort of spanner on, but not easy with the engine in place. For this reason, when we replaced the engine on Wild Thyme, we took the opportunity to drop the keel and remake the joint, replacing all the keel studs, backing plates and nuts. The jolnt was not oozing water, but there was rust on the top face of the keel at its outer edges and digging out mastic, cleaning up and refilling seemed to last barely a year. Since we did the job, no more keel rust. We chose to replace the studs, plates and nuts with type 316 stainless, some are against this because of the possibility of crevice corrosion (I believe this was Moody's original reason for avoiding stainless) but I judge that to be unlikely in such a low stressed joint - that's your choice.

If you search this site (search facility at top right of the page) you will find plenty written on keel bolts, including a photo of the replaced aft most bolt, but with no engine in place. You will see I favour putting a second nut on keel bolts as a lock nut.

Of course, the best way is, as Dick says to get the vendor to put things right before the sale, or recuce the price so you can pay for a yard to do it, but it helps to know what's involved.

Peter.
 
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Brian Hawkesworth

Brian Hawkesworth
Member
Boat name
FIRST DEGREE
Berth
Gouvia Marina, Corfu.
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
Mediterranean
Marko,

I had all the keel bolts replaced except for the one under the engine in 2015. I was on the hard in Gouvia, Corfu. It cost 1500.00 Euro, but I am particularly friendly with the engineer. As mentioned previously, the bolts in the keel were fine when extracted. It’s just the surface rust on the nuts which looks bad.

I’m no expert, but I think you could replace the bolts one by one whilst the boat is in the water. However, I would want the boat lifted on to the hard to be able to observe if there was any movement between the hull and keel when she is put on to the ground as Peter says above.

The aft bolt was replaced when I had the engine renewed last year.

Brian.
 

Marko Pomerants

Marko Pomerants
Temporary Member
Thank you all for the good info!
But what do you think how fast they need to be replaced?
I mean the plan would sail with it from the Mediterranean to Estonia and fix them there. But would they last?
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Member
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
Hi Marko,

I'm afraid I am not willing to make a judgement about the suitability of the boat's keel bolts based on a single photograph on a website. I have already offered some guidance on how you may asess the condition of the keel to hull joint to make your own judgement and you tell us you will have a professional survey. Based on the surveyor's report and your own inspection, you need to make your own judgement.

Peter.
 
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Peter Sims

Peter Sims
Member
Boat name
SIRI
Berth
Lefkas Marina
Boat type
Moody 44 (90s)
Cruising area
Ionian
Hi Marko
I completely agree with Peter above. Only you, advised by your surveyor, can make such a judgement.
Regards
Peter
 

Craig Hallett

Craig Hallett
Member
Boat name
BLUE DANCER
Berth
Greece
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
Mediterranean
Hi Marko,

I am a new Moody 425 owner myself and have also had to assess my own options in this regard. I do tend to think they are in the 'look worse than they are' category in terms of rust, but this is just my opinion on a photo. You have received good advice above that if negotiating the purchase of this boat as others have said, rather than wondering whether to or not, I would simply ask the vendor to address or cost it into your agreed figure and get a yard to address and move on.

In terms of your question about 'whether they will last' for a time, I hope you can understand the reluctance of others to give you any kind of guarantee in this regard across the internet. However this isn't necessarily a condemnation of their condition, just an acknowledgement that the decision to sail is always going to be yours to make.

If you go ahead with the purchase and subsequent work I for one would be interested in how it all goes.

Fair winds,

Craig
 

Robert Cardinal

Robert Cardinal
Member
Boat name
MOODY MISTRESS
Berth
Vancouver
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
Mediterranean
Hi there,
I just replaced my keel bolts on our Moody 425. If you can access the regular forum I describe the process and include pictures.
Here's my 10 cents.....if you can see that the nuts are still intact and the studs are still showing proper threads through the rust plus the backing plates are all in one piece it's quite likely that things are still ship shape. The boat I bought had very rusty assemblies on the studs and the surveyor was questioning the condition. I had read that this was somewhat common although sometimes it's a heads up on the general maintenance as a boat that is being well looked after will not look this way. In my case it was simply an owner that had not used the boat in awhile and the boat had a leak a d overtime the bulges filled partially and everything rusted.
If you take a wire brush, bronze preferably, and you have a go at one nut/stud/backing plate and you can find good metal below the rust then my worry meter would go down very quickly. I gave ours a good cleaning with a hand wire brush as well as one attached to a drill and in a couple of hours they showed bright steel. I gave them a little acid etching and applied several coats of epoxy and called it a day as most people that do change the studs find them in very good condition. That was 7 years ago and other than cleaning and repainting every couple of years I've had zero issues. Every time the boat was hauled I would always carefully inspect the keel hull joint to insure there was zero water coming from the joint meaning the seal was still intact. Last week I decided that I was going to change them, which I did. The studs below the surface rust were in perfect condition and would likely have lasted an other 20 years. That said, that was my experience, which was the same as a close friends on his 425 and others but yours may be different so it's a decision only you can make. The 425 if well kept is a wonderful cruising boat. We spent a couple of years in the Med, crossed over to the Caribbean and have sailed pretty much right around the Caribbean. The boat is a beautiful sailing boat and not slow plus it probably has one of the best thought out interior layouts of any boat that size.
If you do find one you like that's been well kept it's hard to go wrong, good luck in your search. Robert
 
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