Rusted Ball of Chain in the Chain Locker


karkauai
 

I've also discovered that the last 100ft or so of my anchor chain is rusted into a huge solid mass in the chain locker.  I've sprayed a ton of PB Blaster on it and beat it with a hammer without much success.  Right now I'm soaking it in Vinegar.
Any ideas?
Thanks,
Kent
SM 243 Kristy
Currently Tiger Point Marina Fernandina Beach, FL


Craig Briggs
 

   Bummer, Kent - I'd try 10 or so gallons of muriatic acid (HCl) - block off the drain first so it will pool around the chain.  Fumes can be aired with a fan as you go. 
   If that doesn't work, you could use a "multi-tool" high-speed oscillating sander with a cutting blade and cut out the bottom of one of your bow lockers about 3 or 4 inches from the side of the hull in a nice square-ish or trapezoidal shape. That will give you a big access hole and you can get a hammer on the corroded chain. 
   When you're done, you can then easily screw in some wood supports around the underside of the perimeter to hold up the cut-out piece and either glass it back in or leave it as a removable chain locker access cover - could be handy for cleaning in the future and it won't compromise any structural strength. 
  (I had to do this on my boat, not because of rusted chain, but because the unvented chain locker caused the plywood locker floor to rot out. It's really a good fix. I did have a louvered cover made for the chain locker access panel to give it fresh air and only use the solid one when we go off-shore.)
   What in the world do you think caused this?  Just age on failed galvanized chain?  Maybe a good argument for stainless chain.
Rots 'o ruck!
Craig Briggs,
svSangarisSn#68



---In amelyachtowners@..., <karkauai@...> wrote :

I've also discovered that the last 100ft or so of my anchor chain is rusted into a huge solid mass in the chain locker.  I've sprayed a ton of PB Blaster on it and beat it with a hammer without much success.  Right now I'm soaking it in Vinegar.
Any ideas?
Thanks,
Kent
SM 243 Kristy
Currently Tiger Point Marina Fernandina Beach, FL


Craig Briggs
 

Kent,
PS - I see several posts are expressing concern about HCl (aka muriatic acid) damaging fiberglass.  It doesn't.  Think back about glass beakers in chemistry lab, no problemo.  Hydrochloric acid is our friend. Get the highest concentration you can - "Brick cleaner" Muriatic is good at 30%-ish concentration - not the wussy diluted "cleaners" at 10-ish%. Run it through your toilet plumbing regularly.  Wash your hull with it to remove the brown stains. Scrub those pesky rust stains on the deck with it. Do sip it in moderation, although it will perk up a Rum Sundowner and we've already got lot's in our stomachs.  And it instantly dissociates in sea water - so when you pump it out with your bilge pump it is "green" as can be.
Cheers,
Craig


karkauai
 

Here's some follow up on my ball of rusted chain...

I talked to two more companies who discouraged me from doing the EDTA treatment, Derick.  They both said it might work if I could completely cover the chain and let it stand for a day or two...or more.  The cost of that seemed prohibitive.

I went back to the boat this weekend and used a pneumatic powered needle gun which got the rust off the top layer of chain, but didn't do much for underlying layers.  Fortunately the boat is immediately adjacent to the yard's big air compressor, which they let me use. I doubt that the electric rotary hammers with hammer function only (no rotary action) would be powerful enough or last long enough to do this job.   I then switched to a pneumatic chisel ($20 at Home Depot!), which concentrated the power much more efficiently.  The pointed chisel only found it's way between links and got stuck frequently, but the 5/8" wide flat chisel seemed just about right.  Two of us alternated between squeezing an arm and head into the chain locker or working on the deck where we kept tension on the chain with an extra halyard and the chain snubber hook.  I stuck the hose from my shop vac into the hawsepipe alogside the chain to get some air circulating through the locker...that worked well in getting the fumes down to a minimum.  A few times we had to bring another line down the hawsepipe  and put it through a link on a loop of chain that had fallen over the part going out through the pipe and further trapped it at the bottom of the ball.  We were then able to get tension on that part of the chain which made it possible to loosen it with the chisel.  After 9 hours we were able to extract about 40 ft of the stuck chain out through the hawsepipe.  That included two trips to Home Depot for different chisels and a broken spring.  Much of what is left now is in smaller balls of rusty chain that will have to be broken up to get them out through the pipe, but it should be easier than what we did this weekend. 

We are both pretty bruised up from laying across the two cabinet openings that access the locker, in spite of 4 layers of a firm rubber matting between our ribs and the wood.  I will fashion some kind of wooden plank to lay on next time.  You will need ear protection while using the pneumatic chisel.

I've already vacuumed about 25 lbs of rust chips from the locker and there will be at least another 25 lbs to clean out when we're finished. 

I'm not sure how much good the PB Blaster did, but I sprayed another can on the chain before I left in hopes it will loosen it some more before I go back to get the last 50 ft or so out.

If there's anything different to tell by the time I get it all out, I'll let you know.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...when it's time to turn your chain end-to-end, it's time to get it regalvanized.  Make sure your chain locker is draining properly.  Rinse with fresh water when ever you can.  Let the whole chain out at least once a year and have a look at it.

Kent (call me "Rusty")

SM243 Kristy Tiger Point Boat Yard Fernandina Beach FL  


karkauai
 

I managed to get the rest of the chain out of the locker but by different method.  The pneumatic chisel I used the first time wasn't available so I bought one.  Unfortunately it was a "medium throw" tool that moved the chisel almost an inch with each thrust...that was too much to allow me to hold it in one place and it was not very effective.  If you have to do this, get a "short throw" tool.

I was able to lift the port ball of chain with the halyard, and cut it below the ball with a grinder/cutoff wheel.  Then swung it to the access port, pulled it out through the port, and tossed it over the side.  The second ball on the starbord side came out in one piece, too.  Unfortunately the line that is shackled to the bulkhead was tangled in the ball of chain, and I had to remove the shackle at the bulkhead...no easy task one-handed.  I had to stop several times because of a totally numb arm.

Then, I sucked out about 40-50 lbs of rust debris from the bottom of the locker with my shop vac, and when I looked for the opening to the drain pipe, I discovered that there is a false bottom glassed in with a dozen or so holes to allow water to drain from the locker into the forward most part of the bilge.  I can't access the bilge to remove all the rust that has fallen in through the holes....Grrrrr.

So I'm hiring a 12 year old farm kid to climb into the locker, cut out an access port in the false bottom, suck out the remaining rust particles, try to clean the rust out of the drain pipe, and replace the cutout port.

I already have about 30 man-hours in this project, haven't finished yet, and still have to buy a new chain.

Kent/Rusty
SM 243 Kristy
Tiger Point Marina, Fernandina Beach, FL