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Old 11-21-2013, 11:05 PM   #1
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Willard 30 rudder removal

I am hoping one of you Willard owners can give me an idea of what I am getting into. My cutlass bearing is sloppy enough that I can rattle the shaft (a little) and I need to pull the rudder to remove the shaft. The shaft is 1 1/4" and I have no idea what size cutlass bearing I will need to replace it. I doubt my local marine supply has such an item, so I want to pull the rudder and shaft while there is snow on the ground. and get my parts on order.

What is the sequence of disassembly to pull the rudder? It has a S/S skeg with one large bolt through it horizontally, and the rudder is made of fiberglass (probably over foam core).

I plan to cut a hole through the rudder and close it back in on both sides with deck plates, so I will not need to drop the rudder to pull the shaft in the future. Just pull the plates and slide the shaft back through the holes. I saw a 40' Norhaven with that modification and it made good sense to me.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:57 PM   #2
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AkDoug, Sounds like you are on it. I have to ask. Why not just blow a hole in the rudder now and not after you remove it? Is there a rudder issue that is not being discussed? If it ain't broke why mess with it? Just saying.

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Old 11-22-2013, 12:20 AM   #3
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That is a pretty good idea. I could just loosen the shaft and slide it back through the cutlass bearing until it contacts the rudder, slide it back forward and take a hole saw to the rudder. Then slip the shaft out. I am not sure if the shaft of the rudder goes all the way through top to bottom. That would end the "cut a hole in it" scenario. I was planning to drill a small hole first to find that out, something easy to seal back up if there is steel in there.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:33 AM   #4
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Doug, Id be surprised if the rudder shaft is going to be in line with the rudder to be a problem. A hole through the rudder anyplace is not going to be a structure threat. wood or fiberglass maybe so, but not bronze or steel. In our prior boat and those I recall, having the hole cut and actually unless you are anal, the hole remains as a fixture for here on out, no need to cover it up or fill it in. Just saying Let us see what Eric has to contribute. He is a Willard Guru.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:47 AM   #5
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The shaft is in alignment with the rudder, so if the rudder post runs full length (top to bottom) the post would have to be in line with the shaft. That's why the rudder is supposed to come off to change the cutlass bearing. The Norhaven had a fiberglass rudder too, and the rudder post obviously didn't run all the way through. I can only hope... My rudder is probably glass over a foam core from the look of it. A couple of 6" deck plates to cover the hole might be $20 and might give me something look at to gauge the growth on the bottom :-)
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:26 PM   #6
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Yes, if you rudder is glass then I to would be some concerned to results. If there is an allowance for removing the rudder then by all means, follow the rule. Good luck with the project.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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Doug,
That is something my yard has always done but it would seem straight fwd. remove the big bolt in the shoe. Unhook whatever is necessary to pull the rudder shaft up a bit and after gouging out the adhesive tween the shoe and the keel pull the shoe back and remove.

Take off the rudder horn and it may drop right down. If not it should be obvious why it doesn't.

You must be prepared to drop the rudder and shaft by blocking the boat up high enough to have clearance or you'll need to dig a hole. My Willy is on the hard prepared in this way and it's considerably higher that normal.

I'm sure you can "wing" whatever I have left out. I could talk to my yard guys and see what they remember in your behalf. When do you plan to jerk the fin?

Your boat being so new there could be big differences but I suspect the only significant difference is the plastic rudder itself. All the old W30s had a cast bronze plate rudder.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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I have it on the hard now, but it isn't blocked up high enough to drop it out. I may be able to dig a hole behind if the ground hasn't frozen too hard yet. I hope it is that simple :-) I am inclined to go ahead and attempt to drill a small hole through the point in the rudder where the shaft hits it to see if that is feasible. If I don't hit anything solid a hole saw should make quick work of the glass and foam core. That would save me bunch of hours of assembly and disassembly. I have a few months to prep, winter is on us pretty hard now. I am going to try to mike out the diameter of the cutlass bearing on my next visit, the diameter is 1 1/4" but I have no idea what the outer, or the length is. Are those a standard length? I saw three sizes on line for a 1 1/4" shaft, all the same length (5") but different outside diameters. I am hoping to be able to do that and get the bearing ordered before pulling the old one. Shipping to Alaska has a terrible lag time built in...
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:30 PM   #9
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OK good Doug,
I have a bearing at home and can measure it if you'd like. My shaft and all W30 shafts as far as I know are 1 1/4" OD. I think my stern bearing is 2" OD. I won't be home for hours but when I get there I'll find my bearing in the garage and report.

Why can't you dig frozen ground? When I worked in the gold mine near Bethel I dug lots of frozen ground. It's just a matter of hitting the ground in the right spot. You can hit the ground in the same spot 12 times and nothing may happen. Then hit 3/8ths of an inch off that spot and a big chunk may come up. I couldn't hit the same spot 3 times now much less 12 but I was good at it then. Also I was 19 years old.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:40 PM   #10
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They put my boat over "new" ground (gravel) saturated with water, so it may have frozen like concrete, or it may chip out in chunks. They expanded their storage facility after Seward closed down a yard. Snow down there today, so maybe next week I can run down with my pick. What you dug into at Bethel was probably mostly permafrost, it is a lot softer than frozen wet gravel :-) Never been to Bethel, lived here my whole life. Good for you!
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:08 PM   #11
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AKDoug- Wheeeeu! I was hoping that Eric would find the forum! He has it down pat with the Willard line. Been to Bethel, be glad YOU ARE where you are!
Now that you have an expert on the payroll keep the site informed.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:39 PM   #12
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OK I'm back home winding down from going out to dinner w 10 kids.

Where I was digging was in a penstock up above a powerhouse connected w a wood pipe. The ditch feeds the wood penstock .. a wood box about 30' X 80'. The other end of the penstock is connected to the wood pipe (5' dia) that leads down to the powerhouse and feeds the hydraulic turbine for power. Anyway the digging in the spring is easy at first w frozen slabs of ice 1' thick typ then solid ice. That was hard going and we thought it was the worst till we got to frozen sand. Frozen sand IS the worst. Took us 17 days to dig out the penstock. You both seem familiar w Bethel so I can say the penstock was at the mine at NYAC. And my time there was 1959.

I found the stern bearing in my garage and it's 2" OD. I'm quite sure your's is 2" also but I would have been quite sure the rudder was bronze too and it isn't. I'd bet on it as long as you didn't have to bet the whole farm.

A thought for you Doug. If you cut the rudder shaft in half in-between the hull and the top of the rudder you could perhaps weld plates on the shaft ends drilled for bolts like a flanged coupling. Many boats have such a setup so you can unbolt the lower part of the rudder w/o moving the upper part. Here is a pic of a Fisher (boat) w that type of rudder shaft. However if you have only one bearing above where the flange would go it wouldn't work and I think that's the case. None the less I leave this for thought and possible implementation some other time.

Cutting a hole in the rudder will work fine but you should consider that the hole would need to be larger than 1.25" dia or (most desirable) elliptical in shape to minimize the size of the hole. One also needs to consider that the hole should be cut (at an angle) so as to fit the shaft when the rudder is swung only one way. Another variable is that the FG rudder is probably tapered so the hole will be longer fwd and shorter aft. If you could get or find a tool that is 1.5" approx dia and has cutting edges or an abrasive OD you could insert the tool and rotate or twist the tool so as to elongate the hole.

Perhaps cutting out the hole w a saber saw and re-inserting it w adhesive or a light overlay of FG cloth would be the best alternative. I just had a really bad thought. What if the hole was right where the shaft is. Then you would have to pull/drop the rudder. Welcome to boating.

Here is a pic of my W30 rudder. Through the center of the rudder the shaft dosn't exist so holes can be cut but not on your rudder w the shaft that goes completely through. Sure enough it looks like the rudder shaft on your rudder will go right through your rudder where the shaft hole would need to go. Back to plan A .... drop the rudder. Start digg'in.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:40 AM   #13
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The plan would be to disconnect the rudder and turn it 90 degrees to the shaft, and the hole will probably be way big, (the Norhaven had 6" deck plates on both sides of the hole, just plain white plastic deck plates...). Bethel in '59 was probably a lot nicer place than it is now :-) More rusting junk now and less dogs. I got here in '58, so I qualify as a pre-statehood Alaskan. Not a lot of those around, less all the time. There is plenty to see around here, and the boating is a lot better than in Bethel :-) Thank you for your help and tips. I will let you know what's in there when I find out.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:51 AM   #14
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Eric, Yep, your description and photo of your rudder formulates what is a normal process, turn the rudder, blow a hole where the shaft hits and in most cases, just leave the hole for the next time.
Bethel for me was a way stop for weather. I covered the Yukon river from Fort Yukon to Unalaklet as sales rep for then Standard Oil out of Fairbanks 67-72, Used Bethel twice for weather and once for aircraft emergency. No big deal.
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:06 AM   #15
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You saw it while it was really raw and uninhabited. Remember it that way! It's not like that anymore. That's why I enjoy my boat so much. That kind of wilderness is still only a few inches further away than most people want to travel :-)
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:43 PM   #16
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Just in case anyone ever reads this wanting to pull their rudder on one of the "latest" built Willard 30 PH's, here is the deal. The rudder shoe is horizontally flanged (inside) to slide over grooves formed in the keel (on both sides) and a single bolt horizontally to lock it. The plastic (Delrin probably) bushing at the bottom of the rudder post fits into a stainless cup welded into the shoe. The rudder and plastic bushing slide up tight as they can go and you drive the shoe rearwards off the keel. They clear each other by microns, or with a little foot pressure on the shoe. Once you are past the stainless cup on the shoe you are home free. The bushing locks the rudder post so that it can't escape the cup in the shoe, as it is longer than the cup is deep AND the rudder and bushing have to be lifted up to clear. Hindsight is 20/20. I kind of need a new bushing one of these days... The shoe was faired with resin and painted over, made a terrible cracking sound when I hammered the shoe back and broke the bond. I faired it back pretty much the same way, so expect "that" if you do the cutlass bearing/rudder job.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:19 PM   #17
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Thanks for the scope on that Doug. I opted to leave my rudder in place. To remove the shaft I cut a 2" dia hole in the rudder and I'm thinking of replacing the cutout w 3M vinyl ester filler. No great loss if it falls out. All seems well. The bearing at the end of the shoe is a cutoff from a stern bearing. It's unmistakably a pice of cutlass Bering. Mine's not tight but not loose either and the bearing on top should be easily replaceable should the need arise. My rudder was removed at least twice by the yard workers 9 years ago before we went to Thorne Bay.

I've got a new shaft now and new intermediate bearing. Replaced the PSS seal too. I'm looking into coating my prop w cold aerosol galvanize. Was going to do the rudder too but aborted that. I'm looking for a bead blaster to prep the prop now.
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Old 07-19-2014, 01:12 AM   #18
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I had neglected to mention my rudder does have the post all of the way through the fiberglass rudder, so no cutout is possible for me without major reconstruction of the rudder. I almost posted again with that point, but hate short posts :-) My bushing is definitely a hard plastic like Delrin, pretty hard, but channel locks will tear it up just a little... My dad is a machinist so I will just have him turn me up a new one in the garage. The new cutlass bearing did get rid of a bunch of vibration, I have about 150 hours on so far this summer since June. It's getting really good out there about now!
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:43 AM   #19
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We just tried pulling a Willard 30 Searcher shaft but were not able to get the transmission coupler off of the shaft. Tried wheel puller and some heat. Looked for threads but did not see any. Any clues?
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Old 07-02-2015, 02:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankw View Post
We just tried pulling a Willard 30 Searcher shaft but were not able to get the transmission coupler off of the shaft. Tried wheel puller and some heat. Looked for threads but did not see any. Any clues?
I would suspect your have a straight shaft with a keyway configuration. I don't think I have ever heard of a W30 with any other type of shaft/coupling in any of my reading.

Compass Marine has this tutorial on coupling removal you might find helpful.

Here is another from Cox Engineering.

And here is a great video that demonstrates how to cut off a coupler without damaging the shaft.



Hope these help.
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