brass inserts on splash rail


New Member
I just started working on an older (pre 72) fish. The splash rail is held by brass screws, 2 of which will not come out. I tried holding the insert and the screw will not budge. Any ideas? Can the insets be replaced? thanks for any help.
Yes, the inserts can be replaced. The problem is finding the tool (expensive) and or inserts (large quantities only?) at a reasonable price. A tool similar to a "Pop-Rivet" tool is used to place the insert. Some rivet tools can be converted to nut setters. Click or paste the following link ('RivetNutter') and you will be taken to a pfd catalog page for MSC ( ) with the kit at the top right. They have an assortment of inserts and kits (again $$$) With luck, they can recommend the correct insert for you. You may find a kit at the auto parts shop, JC Whitney or Harbor Freight for much less. Unless you have the tool, you may have to buy a kit. An Auto Body shop might be a place that has the inserts and may be able to install them for you if you bring you SF to them with the old nuts removed and/or holes repaired. Talk with them first. Good Luck.
Hello Gene -

Harbor Freight does indeed have a much much less expensive tool for the job -

McMaster-Carr has the inserts (and nearly everything else) for less than MSC.

Installing an inspection port is probably going to be your best approach. With access to the under side of the deck you should be able to grab the insert with slip-joint pliers and get the screws out. If all else fails, cut the insert and screw off from the underside with diagonal cutters (dikes). The soft brass cuts easily and the remaining insert will pull out with little or no chipping to the deck.

The threaded inserts always seemed to present problems. They pulled out, spun in place, or the screw corroded into them. We have always reattached splash guards using large pop-rivets and backing washers. We also calk the guard down with marine silicone. This method makes a secure installation that lasts for years - even decades without leaks. It's easy to drill out the rivets and separate the calk should the need ever arise.
One note if you go to the newer style hold down using pop rivets look for stainless rivets and what's called backup cups. These are like little cans that you put in the rivet holes befor riveting. They expand along with the rivet and since they are a cup they waterproof the center pin which can corrode over the years and form small leaks.
As for caulking we've switched to using a urathane or poly sulfide caulk. Both out perform the old reliable RTV silicone and are available at marine supplies and have become the marine industry staples in the last few years.
Megan and Mike,
Good answers, especially about using back ups on the rivets to keep the fiberglass from crushing. Mike, size for size, the stainless rivet have a much higher pull (squeeze?) than the aluminum rivet and are also a little more difficult to drill out. I have also used sealant (silicon, or 3M 4200/5200) over the rivet after intallation from the inside to waterproof the rivet and to bed the rail. Both of the 3M sealants have a tendency to make an installation permanet (had to replace a rail and port, the stuff was very difficult to remove with out damage to the deck or part) as they are adhesive sealants (polyurethane/acrylate polymers). Do the poly sulfide or urathane sealants you use "peel" off like the old silicons or are they of a more permanet nature (ie: the need to be cut or scraped off)? I have also used plumbers putty when I know I have to remove a port or rail later, but still want to sail "right now". One install has had ports with putty for about 3 years with no leaks. Ran out of other stuff and gave it a try (a happy "accident"). You can control the squeeze out (when screwing/bolting down the part), clean/trim up with a putty knife and be finished and ready for the water without waiting (the 3M's need to cure for as long as a week). It's also cheap for a small tub (plenty for a few boats) and has a long self life. Replacing the caulk every few years is not problem and should only take a few minutes per install. Good Luck
The poly sulfides are the "bedding" compounds they are using for marine applications. They tend to be "permanent" like the 5200 series 3M products. The Urathanes while they can be easier to remove won't peel or discolor like the older RTV compounds.
Plumber putty or butal caulk compounds are cheap and quick to use, but the major drawback is they can ooze out or harden and crack over time. And while they are a favorite of RV builders because they are cheap and easy to use they rarely last much longer than the waranty and aren't the greatest in "vibratory" settings like we see on fish both in sailing and towing.
For the average sailor the urathane works well as even a little leak over time in storage can find a half full boat come spring. Been there/done that.
Thanks for the answer. I just got lazy about replacing the plumbers putty after doing repairs inside the hull. Had it on hand, the other stuff had hardened in the tube. I do agree on putty getting hard and cracking (remove an old kitchen sink and watch the putty fall away in chunks). I will replace it this spring when the temp gets warm enough.