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Old 01-14-2019, 09:28 PM   #1
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Rudder removal for maintenance

I had my boat recently on dry and I was thinking hard how to remove the huge rudder for bearings replacement? I am sure there is a way, I just want to have a clue, what tools will I require to do this? I attach photos of the rudder, when it was dry. These facility is available to me again, I just don't know, if it is possible to remove it and put it back there?
Thanks.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:50 AM   #2
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Unless there is massive slop, or it is damaged I would attempt to lubricate the setup and leave it be.


The lump directly under a prop blade (a zinc?) might do better further from the prop.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:50 AM   #3
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Unless there is massive slop, or it is damaged I would attempt to lubricate the setup and leave it be.
The lump directly under a prop blade (a zinc?) might do better further from the prop.
If I understand you correctly, I should just loosen up the top and bottom, lubricate it, but do not remove the rudder?

Yes, there is a zinc on both side, right under the prop. There are also two small ones on the rudder.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:51 AM   #4
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Hi LeoKa,

As it appears there is a flange on the top and bottom of the rudder shaft, it should be fairly straightforward to remove the nuts and bolts and seperate the flanges on the rudder shaft. This will allow the rudder to be slid aft and out of the boat. From your photos, it's impossible to know how easy this operation will be until the boat is, again, hauled for service.

Should the flanges be impossible to separate, and IF the rudder shoe is welded in place (as it appears from the photos), you'll likely have to resort to using a cutting torch to remove the rudder, and then completely rebuilding your steering system in a sound fashion. As I doubt the original builder was THAT stupid to design a steering system that can't be serviced, it's unlikely you'll need to resort to this. But far from unknown.

Removing the rudder is really the only viable method of servicing rudder bearings. Binding, slop, rattle, seal leakage, etc. are all issues that cannot be solved by simply lubricating the shaft. And given that you can't adequately plan this work in advance in detail with the boat in the water, I suggest you again haul the boat, and consult a professional in marine repair to at least provide you with a path forward for whatever issues you may have.

And it does not appear to me that there are anodes that interfere with the propellor in any way. The design of the rudder shoe is a bit odd, and should be examined to verify there is adequate propellor clearance in that area. And obviously, anode location, quantity, and longevity are vital for any steel-hulled vessel's well being. And well beyond the scope of your original question, and (in my opinion) well beyond the scope of a forum discussion.

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Old 01-15-2019, 12:10 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=jungpeter;731769]Hi LeoKa,
As I doubt the original builder was THAT stupid to design a steering system that can't be serviced, it's unlikely you'll need to resort to this. But far from unknown.
/QUOTE]

Pete

The original design is a Bruce Roberts sailboat hull. This is what the builder followed. The top of the boat is his own creation.
I was not able to locate the original design, yet. I searched Bruce Roberts plans, but I could not identify any. So yes, I will know, when I haul her out again, sometimes in the summer for cleaning.
I attach 4 more photos with closer view. See if that helps you to see the setup?
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:58 PM   #6
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Hi LeoKa,

From your photos, there are, indeed, flanges on the top and bottom of the rudder. Separating these flanges allows the rudder to be removed for further rudder shaft service.

What other information are your seeking?

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Old 01-15-2019, 01:06 PM   #7
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Hi LeoKa,
From your photos, there are, indeed, flanges on the top and bottom of the rudder. Separating these flanges allows the rudder to be removed for further rudder shaft service.
What other information are your seeking?
Pete
Once the rudder is removed, do I need to install brand new bearings? If so, will it be difficult to find the correct replacement?
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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Hi LeoKa,

As previously posted, I suggest you haul, remove the rudder, and engage a marine professional to point you toward a final solution to whatever issues you may have with your steering system. It's impossible to ascertain from a distance what parts you will or will not need, or what other steering service you require without additional information. And that information can only be gotten after the boat's on the hard.

To ease your anxiety, there is little that cannot be repaired or replaced as needed to fix rudder bearing and/or other steering issues. Even fabrication of custom bearings, if OEM replacements are not available, shouldn't pose a major problem.

By the way, what makes you feel you need bearing replacements?

Regards,

Pete
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:33 PM   #9
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By the way, what makes you feel you need bearing replacements?
Pete
Thanks for the encouraging words.
My goal with all these questions is to be prepared as much as possible. The haul out needs to be reserved and it is not always possible to extend the stay on the rail.
I suspect that the rudder can be removed on the first day and inspected. If there is bearing available, all good. If not, it would require another haul out, till the proper one is located and purchased. I also understand the importance of bringing in a professional, who knows about this area. I am working on it.

I don't know, if the bearings are good or bad. It was suggested here on the forum by knowledgable people, when I complained that my steering is very stiff. The boat has hydraulic steering, so it should move smoothly. It was suggested to test the rudder by removing the hydraulic cylinders and try to move the rudder by hand. I did the test and I could not move it at all. The upper housing of the rudder shaft is full with grease. I did not open it, but I could see it. So, the culprit must be something below waterline. I suspect, there is nothing else there, but the bearings. This is the reason, why I want to look into it and see, if it needs replacement, or just lubrication?
My steering requires 8 3/4 turns end to end. That is a lot of turning, when I try docking and need quick rudder movements. I don't have a rudder indicator, so many times, it is hard to locate the position of the rudder, because I keep turning the wheel. I also want it to run smooth and easy.
I plan to install an autopilot with a rudder indicator. It would be nice to have a rudder assembly, which runs easy and fast.
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Old 01-16-2019, 05:59 AM   #10
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"If there is bearing available, all good."

If not, locating a machine shop and obtaining new bearing material in advance might be wise.
With material in hand turning a bearing is no big deal.


AS the weight of the large rudder may be concentrated on the bottom bearing ,
I would try to move the rudder by hand and see if there is binding there.


Lifting the rudder a bit with a car jack might be informative.


8+ turns lock to lock is very slow , the question is how far the rudder gets moved , usually 35deg to either side is fine , more becomes a speed brake
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:31 AM   #11
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This does not seem to be an impossible project, however, a good marine mechanic should be able to figure this out. Heck, one with mechanical skills and metal working could figure this out.

And, I'd bet, unlikely to fix without removing it and looking at the bearings.

The stiffness could be caused by just dirt or crud which is most likely or perhaps the bearing is spinning, but we don't know the design of the bearing, yet.
It would be pretty unlikely if you needed new bearings as long as they aren't pitted or corroded, but making new ones is dirt simple. I've done it on my lathe, but smaller ones for the most part. Just be sure to use the right bearing material, and you could find that out with a few calls to a good bearing supplier. Guessing a bronze with impregnated lube of some sorts.

You could start by removing the lower flange.

Also, do you have pix of the inside where the rudder is?
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Old 01-16-2019, 05:06 PM   #12
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And, I'd bet, unlikely to fix without removing it and looking at the bearings.
You could start by removing the lower flange.
Also, do you have pix of the inside where the rudder is?
Yes, I have photos from inside. I'll attach them.

It seems that this will be a two stage process. At the next pullout for cleaning, I'll try to open the bottom flange and take photos. Based on that, I can go to a shop and see if they can make a bearing for me? You guys are correct, the weight should be at the bottom, so that is the first point of interest. If I have time, I'll also open the top flange, just to see what is going there? I have a 3 tons carjack, so it could lift the rudder enough.
On the second run, towards the year end, I will pull her out again, but with the goal to replace the bearings, top and bottom.

I want a smooth running steering wheel. Turning it by the middle finger would be nice. Lol
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:51 AM   #13
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Any chance the difficulty in moving the rudder comes from an over tight rudder stuffing box?


With the hyd rams disconnected , back off the packing till it leaks a bunch and attempt to move the rudder.
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Old 01-17-2019, 03:10 PM   #14
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Any chance the difficulty in moving the rudder comes from an over tight rudder stuffing box?
With the hyd rams disconnected , back off the packing till it leaks a bunch and attempt to move the rudder.
Sounds good. Let me try it this weekend. I'll get back to you.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:42 PM   #15
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Any chance the difficulty in moving the rudder comes from an over tight rudder stuffing box?
With the hyd rams disconnected , back off the packing till it leaks a bunch and attempt to move the rudder.
Perhaps, I came to a conclusion too fast.
I disconnected the rams today and I gave a bigger push to the rudder. It moved. Was not easy, but this rudder is heavy and large. It moved smoothly, but it was stiff. I suppose the hydraulics should not have a problem to move it.
I still think the steering is a little hard. Having hydraulic steering, should make it much easier. Am I wrong?
Either way, I think the rudder removal and bearing replacement is not urgent now. I still want to know, if an autopilot will work good enough, with my system? I know they make autopilots for hydraulic systems. I just need to see, if I need something robust, to move the rudder smoothly?
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:50 AM   #16
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"Having hydraulic steering, should make it much easier."

Yes, But , its a System , where the helm pump , hose sizes and rams must be selected/matched to have the proper number of turns you desire.

A hydraulic auto pilot will have a DC pump that is selected to move the size rams installed , at a required speed.

Too small an output and the helm will be too slow to respond to the AP commands for good steering..

The many AP mfg have install instructions you should review before buying Anything!
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