Author Topic: Loose lower rudder bearing  (Read 6331 times)

lazyjacks

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Loose lower rudder bearing
« on: October 13, 2009, 09:18:23 PM »
We just hauled the boat and upon inspection noticed that the lower rudder post bearing was loose.  Does anyone have any experience with repairing this problem?  It appears that the bearing is stainless and is glassed into the small skeg and is now breaking away.

tmack

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 07:25:27 PM »
Have you removed the bearing yet?  Do you know what it looks like inside the skeg?  Please ignore the following if you have.

I had to remove mine this spring to get the rudder off for some repair.  The bearing is two-pieced, fastened in a clamp-like fashion to a piece of "plastic" glassed into the center of the skeg.  It is also secured via two bolts.  The bearing/clamp resides not under glass; rather, it is covered by some type of fairing-like compound.  When I started looking at mine, I found the filler around the clamp could be chiseled away fairly easily.  Once removed, you can get at the bolts.

It sound as though it may be something as simple as tightening the bolts or applying some epoxy to the bearing were it seats to the skeg and and then tightening the bolts.

Tim

tmack

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 07:43:47 PM »
This is what mine looks like...

lazyjacks

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 09:47:46 PM »
Thanks for the information and photos.  I hadn't started to work on it yet.  I can wiggle the bearing back and forth horizontally inside the skeg by moving the rudder with my hands.  I had (wrongly) assumed that the clamp was glassed in place but you say there's a plastic (Fiberglass?) piece glassed into the center of the skeg which holds the bearing in place.  Is the plastic piece glassed into the skeg fore & aft or vertically or both?  Is the bearing suppossed to move horizontally? I had intended to glass the bearing into the skeg which means I would have to chisel it out if I had to remove the rudder in the future.  Thanks again.   

tmack

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 10:09:42 PM »
The piece inside the skeg is some type of synthetic material.  I do not know what exactly it is.  Obviously it was chosen because it would not rot under water.  The bearing is in two pieces that actually clamp around this structural part inside the skeg, which runs the length of the skeg.  My bearing does not wiggle and I'm quite sure that's the way you want yours when you are done.

Once fixed, the only thing you will need to remove when removing the rudder in the future is the filler you put around the bearing hardware.  I have not yet refilled mine, but I intend to use something "soft" in nature that will be easily removed in case I have to remove the rudder again.  This is one of the few aspects of the boat's design that I do not like.

By the way, if you remove the bearing, I'd consider taking the rudder off at the same time and inspecting it.  I removed about a cup and a half of water from the rudder last spring when I first got the boat.  The seam between the rudder post and the rudder had opened up, allowing water inside the rudder along the post.  While I had it off, I took the time to dry it out and fill in cracks on the top of the rudder in and around the post with epoxy.  It get's cold enough in northern Minnesota in the winter to split a rudder if there is too much moisture inside it, and that's one repair I don't have too much patience for.

Tim

Jocelyn

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2009, 11:18:14 PM »
Thanks Tim for your pictures of the rudder bearing. As we talked before, my skeg has a crack along the lenght of skeg that I will need to deal with next spring. I suspect that water got in some time ago and split the plastick box. I looked at it again today and it sems to be easy enough to repair. Since I want to give her an epoxy bottom anyways, I will likely remove the rudder to give it a good look over, and seal her up with West System. Where did you drill your holes to drain the water out of the rudder?     

tmack

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2009, 08:17:50 AM »
I drilled hole in the top of the rudder, then let it sit for a couple of weeks in the garage upside down before sealing.  There is probably still moisture in there, but not the cup and a half there was previously.  A better solution would be to drill the holes and let the rudder sit next to a heat vent over the winter.  I drilled a couple of test holes lower this fall and did not find any moisture down lower.

Tim

lazyjacks

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2009, 09:41:37 PM »
Tim, Thanks for the heads up.  I chiseled around the bearing today & both bolts were so loose I could turn the nuts with my fingers.  Were your photos before or after, because I notice that both bolts heads are backed up by washers and are on the same side.  On our boat the 2 bolts go in from opposite sides and don't have washers.  Depending upon their condition when I remove them I'll probably replace them with washers and perhaps lock washers & Locktite.  I've pulled rudders alone before and find that they often come out suddenly when loosening what has been holding them which can result in damage and that replacing them is usually a 2 person job.  Any hints here or should I look for an assisitant?
Ken   

tmack

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 07:58:03 AM »
You are correct, I added the washers last spring.  The rudder is heavy.  I disconnected it up top first, then removed two of three bolts on the bearing.  With the third loose I was able to support the rudder in one hand and remove the third bolt, lower the rudder to the ground.  Having a help would be useful for this step, but it can be done alone.  Note that the rudder post is very long.  I have a trailer, so I can tip the boat forward to get the rudder out.  Alternatively, you could dig a small hole under the rudder.  If you are on a cradle on the hard, I'm not sure what you do, short of lifting the boat.

Tim

lazyjacks

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Re: Loose lower rudder bearing
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2009, 09:04:45 PM »
I pulled the 2 stainless steel bolts and both were badly pitted & corroded, like partially corroded zincs. I'll try to post picts when I get a chance. Replaced both bolts with type 316 stainless, washers and lock washers.  Upon tightening, all play was removed from the bearing.  I may try coating both bolts with 3M 4200, to protect them, before sealing up the skeg with Interlux Tite-Bond fairing compound.  Oddly the cap screw had no corrosion at all, but I replaced it anyway.  Thanks Tim