I would hate to drag my boat all the way to New Orleans next fall just to find out it is not OD compliant. So... I've measured the positon of the mast step and it appears to be about 1/8" - 1/4" too far forward when measured from the outer edge of the step. When measured to the inner ledge that sits inside the mast I am within spec. In other words I am off by about the wall thickness of the mast. My issue is that before I tucked the boat in for it's long winter nap, I tried to move the step back. I tried to loosen the screws (phillip head). I even tried using an impact driver to no avail. I am afraid of snaping off the screw heads. I have tried beating on the mast step with a 5 lb sledge (a block of wood was in between hammer and step) As a last resort, I saturated the screws and mast step with WD-40 and left that to sit over the winter.
I'm worried that over time that perhaps the stainless steel screws have been corroded/welded into an aluminum plate that is below the mast step. If I break the screw heads off, is there a way to tap for new screws? Other than the danger of igniting the WD-40 and setting the boat ablaze, would heating up the screws help? Any thoughts?
I too struggled to move my mast step. I believe what happens is that the machine screws are so tight into the solid glass, creating so much heat, that they recure the resin each trip in! I believe that resin hates heat (ironically) & so you will have luck with a torch. However...please DO have a bucket of water handy!!!
Mine proved difficult with an impact wrench but it came out. I would recommend that you install new screws after you move the step. Mine are pretty worked over after reinstallation. Getting them back in was not a ton easier than removal.
When you get the screws out, you'll see that all we have are incredibly long screws run into solid glass. I cannot advise if it would be wise to increase the diameter of at least some of the pilot hole but it seems like it be easier to move the step if so.
I see no problem with Dell's suggestion of enlarging the hole or drilling new holes. The load is in the shear direction, not pulling on the threads. You might consider over-drilling and installing a stainless threaded insert
My boat (#112) had the same problem. The bolts were seized into an aluminum plate under the mast step. I'm not sure you want to re-drill, as then you'll have to tap the aluminum again. Also, that's a lot of stainless to drill through.
Min ended up getting rebuilt. The steel into aluminum caused a good portion of the plate to corrode, so after the mast was off for about a month, the upward pressure from the increased volume of the aluminum oxide cracked the step. I ended up digging out the entire mast step, and having it replaced... No aluminum this time.
The mast step installed in Hull # 87 was not centered in the boat. Keep in mind, a 30+ year old boat can have a possible subtle change in shape. We established center-line from above and with the assistance of a leveled boat with a plum bob moved the step slightly to port. The position front to back was just fine. We drilled (with a level indicator) new holes in the aluminum and used a tap and die set to create new threads. Be sure and use some oil when taping.
I would not recommend rebuilding the step without aluminum. I like machine threads for extra strength.
My Boat )Hull #25) had the same problem, when measured in for the NA's in October, the mast step was too far forward. Larry Christie gave me a pass, because performance wise it is actually better to have the mast step further back. That being the case, and as it seems there are a number of boats with this problem maybe it would makke sense to change the rule.
Thanks folks for the suggestions and input. My mast step has adjustment slots. In the spring I'll work at getting the screws out and it sounds like if I snap the screw heads off there is a solution. I like Bill's idea of a stainless threaded insert. Although I don't intend on moving it again once it's properly located, at least the next owner could relocate the step with a bit less frustration.