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Old 04-08-2016, 12:56   #1
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Replacing Rudder Bearing

The upper rudder bearing on my Hood 38 is out of alignment with stuffing box and lower bearing and needs to be moved a bit, and replaced. I don't know if this is an original manufacturing problem that finally caught up to me, or if something has shifted. Either way, a new delrin bearing seems to be the answer. The original bearing is glassed in, in a fiberglass sleeve that extends about 6 inches below the aft cockpit seat, directly aft of the steering pedestal. The boatyard wants to cut out the fiberglass and the bearing, and reset the new bearing in new fiberglass. This sounds really messy, and involves critical fiberglass work in a difficult to access area.

I think a better solution may be to split the existing bearing longitudinally by cutting it from the top (emergency tiller access point) with a sawzall or similar tool, and try to extract it without removing the fiberglass sleeve. The new bearing could then be reset in the existing sleeve, floating it in epoxy or other binder.

Does anyone have any experience with the upper bearing on a wauquiez? I appreciate any insights.

Tom
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:10   #2
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

Kinda surprised no-one's responded to this one, so here goes...

Three immediate questions;

How much is the misalignment?

What caused it?

Is there damage, obvious or not so obvious?

If there is no damage, it would make sense to remove the old upper bearing and reinsert the rudder shaft to try to determine the amount and direction of misalignment. After that has been done, repair options could be kicked around, ranging from offset drilling a delrin (or other of several engineering plastic alternatives) blank cylinder to the appropriate dimensions, to cutting out the existing fiberglass tube and realigning and reglassing a new one, to custom building a flanged upper mount, through bolting it to the deck and installing a standardized (size-wise) bearing (if the misalignment is large, probably, with reservations, my preferred method).

Have no experience with your boat, but have made and replaced the upper and lower bearings in my boat (along with the rudder, which was also non-existing when I got the boat). For my bearings I measured the ID of the bronze tube they fit into, the OD of my rudder shaft, bought a piece of 65mm x 35mm Vesconite and had a friend with a lathe machine 2 six inch pieces to press fit in the tube. For a press I just used a 4 foot piece of 3/4" threaded rod with big washers and nuts on each end...
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:04   #3
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

I like your idea of cutting out the old bearing with a sawzall and re-setting the new one in glue. Their way is worth a lot more money. Does epoxy stick to Delrin?
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:12   #4
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

A bearing glassed in? Really?

Bearings are supposed to be replaceable.

Very odd someone glassed it in.

I would take off with removing the old one while trying to avoid any damage to the tube. Then see what ensues.

b.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:24   #5
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

[QUOTE=barnakiel;2183880]A bearing glassed in? Really?
Bearings are supposed to be replaceable.
Very odd someone glassed it in.

Some new bearings are made from carbon powder etc. and resin and are totally "glassed in".
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:30   #6
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

Delrin is not a good choice of material...it swells with water and grows with heat.

Had the task of replacing rudder bearings in a 59' Wauquiez Centurion with tight/seized rudder bearings. Upon discovering evidence of a major rudder strike, I turned it over to a Naval Architect friend, massive damage....beyond my pay grade!

Replacement bearings were Torlon, I believe...





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Old 07-08-2016, 09:58   #7
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Re: Replacing Rudder Bearing

Delrin is not a great choice, consider Vesconite. Normally pressed in to the fiberglass tube so in can be removed.


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Old 07-08-2016, 09:58   #8
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

Thanks all for replies. I'm returning to boat in several weeks and will try the bearing extraction.
Jim, There doesn't seem to be much damage. There is some recent internal scoring on the side of the bronze stuffing box, and the upper bearing is abraided on (the opposite) side. The upper bearing is roughly 1/4" off center, but slightly angled so that if you extend the centerline of the bearing ID down about 2 ft to the stuffing box, the misalignment is about an inch. The shaft itself is bent 1/16" over entire length, which is essentially straight (it's since been fully straightened.)
This problem became apparent when, after years of a slightly stiff steering, the rudder suddenly became almost impossible to move. Very strange. Either the bearing is nonsymetical, and rotated in the sleeve, or after years of slow wear, the shaft came into contact with metal stuffing box.
Your idea of a flanged bearing mount bolted through the deck sounds like a solution if the existing fiberglass sleeve cannot be reused. If you have any ideas on material or design, send them on.
Guy, Not many things stick to Delrin. Which may make extraction easier. I'm thinking of creating some indentions in the outside diameter of the new bearing, so the epoxy would have something to bite into (sort of an epoxy set screw).
Thanks again. Tom
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:18   #9
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

[QUOTE=Guy;2183889]
Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
A bearing glassed in? Really?
Bearings are supposed to be replaceable.
Very odd someone glassed it in.

Some new bearings are made from carbon powder etc. and resin and are totally "glassed in".
On a Hood 38?

Making a carbon (and why carbon? why not just graphite?) bearing as you described one may end up with having a 'single use' boat.

yes/no?

b.
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Old 07-08-2016, 11:43   #10
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

[QUOTE=barnakiel;2183924][QUOTE=Guy;2183889]
On a Hood 38? Making a carbon (and why carbon? why not just graphite?)

Both are a carbon but graphite is more the slippery, maybe?
Our 1971 boat had a fiberglass top bearing so no surprise at the other ways of doing things.
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:12   #11
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Re: Replacing Rudder Bearing

This may work on an Opti, but on big boats with spade rudders and big loads having a 'fiberglass' bearing that cannot be removed, inspected and replaced is just an economy shortcut.

Anyways, if the stuff is glassed-in, you are going to make some surgery. Think twice, cut once. Envision more than one alternative way of how you want to fix the thing before you even drop the shaft.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 16-08-2016, 00:40   #12
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Re: replacing rudder bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom1340 View Post
Thanks all for replies. I'm returning to boat in several weeks and will try the bearing extraction.
Jim, There doesn't seem to be much damage. There is some recent internal scoring on the side of the bronze stuffing box, and the upper bearing is abraided on (the opposite) side. The upper bearing is roughly 1/4" off center, but slightly angled so that if you extend the centerline of the bearing ID down about 2 ft to the stuffing box, the misalignment is about an inch. The shaft itself is bent 1/16" over entire length, which is essentially straight (it's since been fully straightened.)
This problem became apparent when, after years of a slightly stiff steering, the rudder suddenly became almost impossible to move. Very strange. Either the bearing is nonsymetical, and rotated in the sleeve, or after years of slow wear, the shaft came into contact with metal stuffing box.
Your idea of a flanged bearing mount bolted through the deck sounds like a solution if the existing fiberglass sleeve cannot be reused. If you have any ideas on material or design, send them on.
Guy, Not many things stick to Delrin. Which may make extraction easier. I'm thinking of creating some indentions in the outside diameter of the new bearing, so the epoxy would have something to bite into (sort of an epoxy set screw).
Thanks again. Tom
Hi Tom,
Any chance you could take some pictures and post? Would like to follow your project. All the best to you on it.

And thanks in advance if you can grab any photos.
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