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Old 24-08-2010, 12:36   #1
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Loose Catalina 27 Rudder Post

The rudder post on my C-27 has a bit of slop to it. I remember hearing once about wrapping the post in Saran Wrap and pouring West System down the hole to fill the gap - that the epoxy would become the new bearing surface with just enough room due to the (now removed) Saran Wrap thickness.

Any experience with C-27 rudder posts (or similar) or this epoxy trick would be greatly appreciated.

John
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Old 24-08-2010, 13:04   #2
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A trick on some of the '60's-'70's era boats with GRP rudder post tubes that we used with good success on our 1976 Cal 2-29 in the early '90s involved dropping the rudder and throughly slathering the shaft with bond breaker and then drilling and tapping the bottom of the rudder shaft tube to accept a couple of Zerk fittings and adding one or two small "tell-tale" holes to the tube near the top. The rudder was then re-inserted and a dam built up around the bottom of the tube at the hull with plasticine of the type children play with. A thin mix of WEST Systems epoxy was then made up and loaded into a sacraficial grease gun that was used to inject the epoxy through the zerk fittings, alternating from side to side until the stuff began to ooze out of the holes at the top of the shaft tube. Once the tell-tale drips begin to kick off, the rudder was rotated gently from time-to-time to ensure there was no bond to the rudder shaft. After 24 hours or so, the epoxy is set and you have a full bore bearing of sorts. If your shaft-tube fit is very loose you'll need to true up the rudder carefully to avoid the rudder being out of alignment.

The foregoing does work and I'm told our old boat is happily sailing the San Francisco Bay with a tightly fitting rudder-shaft tube to this day.

FWIW...
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Old 26-08-2010, 20:31   #3
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Other experiences?

What is the "bond breaker"? I thought West System was rock-hard in 30 minutes!

John
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Old 30-08-2010, 15:26   #4
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The truth shall set you free!

After a chat with Catalina Direct (no shims available), I was directed to West Systems, where I got the audio crash-course in epoxy rudder shaft shimming. Say THAT 5 times real fast....

The procedure is this:

1) drop the rudder.
2) clean rudder shaft and tube thoroughly.
3) drill three holes (1/4") near the bottom of the tube, every 120 degrees.
4) coat the bottom 6" of the shaft with Vaseline and reinsert, without getting any on the walls.
5) mix up a small amount of West System repair epoxy with silica.
6) using a syringe, squirt a SMALL amount of epoxy into each hole - the spot on the inside should be about the size of a dime! Fill the 3 holes so that the epoxy is anchored to the tube AND so you don't leak below the waterline!
7) let epoxy cure, then twist rudder to break bond. If rudder is too tight, pull it out and hone the inside of the tube for a better fit and feel.

Now, I'm not sure if a dime sized "pad" is a long-term solution, but apparently only a little is needed to make a huge change in the clearance. Caveat - if your rudder shaft is bent, the limited clearance will cause the rudder to bind.

If you glue you rudder in place, don't blame me!

John
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