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Old 05-08-2008, 09:19   #1
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Boat: Bruce Roberts Offshore '38 - "God Willing"
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Procrastination - Lower Bearing Problem

Hi there. My steel ketch is in need of a re-fit on the lower rudder bearing. Basically orange dust comes out of the bearing and collects around the rudder post. I've not been out to the boat in a few days, and dread looking at it again. Certainly I do not know the extent of the lower bearing is corrosion, and if the post is turning inside of the sleeve instead of the bearing. Or if the bearing is moving and piling up the orange rusty dust.

Either way, I'm not looking forward to discovering what the problem is. The rudder will come straight off by four upper and four lower flange bolts on the rudder post.

Does anyone recommend just flushing out the lower bearing with Penetrating oil, and leaving it? Or is the main consensus to remove the rudder and replace the bearing? What do you think? Many thanks.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:24   #2
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The bearing lubrication has failed. The rust comes from spalling of the rudder shaft. Since loosing a rudder at sea is generally considered a bad thing, I would consider it top priority to refit the rudder bearings and check the rudder post for damage.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:51   #3
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Hi, this an assumtion, but the bearing is water lubricated. It is outside the hull, and is located on a lowest park of the skeg, in it's own shoe. No obvious grease fitting or lubrication is there. It is the lower bearing, there is an upper babbet type bearing (greased), and the stuffing box.

Anywho, taking the rudder off seems to be the correct course of action. I was hoping to find a reply that confirmed a possible reality, that washing out a small amount of rusty powder was normal wear. And that water would correctly lubricate the bearing.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:16   #4
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Question: Are there gudgeon and pintle rudders on boats over 40 foot that displace more than 28,000 pounds?

After dissassembling the rudder and lower rudder shaft, there is no rudder bearing. It's just a large black rubber bushing. There is no lower bearing whatseover. The steel surface of the rudder post was moderately corroded, around 1/64th of an inch or so of scale. Very Minor. Corrosion control on the steel surface was just a single layer of enamel, which was entirely worn away. The rust particles were compressed into all of the 8 vee grooves of the rubber bushing which caused the tight rudder.

Anywho. The lower rudder shaft is going into the lathe tonight, to get cut down 1/32 or so, to be sized back up with epoxy resin to fit back into the bushing. There isn't enough clearance in the shoe to fit bearings. Thus an extra thick coat of epoxy with West 423 carbon powder, milled back to spefication, for the wearing surface of the lower rudder post, then back into place.
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