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Old 01-12-2012, 07:35   #1
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Rudder, Steering Inspection

My boat's on the hard for the first time in 3 years. She's 12 years old and the mast is out for the very first time. I am pretty sure no one has ever looked at the rudder or steering gear in 12 years, either, so this would seem to be a good time to check these crucial systems.

What should I do? Drop the rudder out to check the seals and bearings? Or just check it for play (I do this regularly, seems ok). What about cables? Should they be replaced, or just inspected and lubricated?

Grateful for all tips.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:15   #2
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
My boat's on the hard for the first time in 3 years. She's 12 years old and the mast is out for the very first time. I am pretty sure no one has ever looked at the rudder or steering gear in 12 years, either, so this would seem to be a good time to check these crucial systems.

What should I do? Drop the rudder out to check the seals and bearings? Or just check it for play (I do this regularly, seems ok). What about cables? Should they be replaced, or just inspected and lubricated?

Grateful for all tips.
if it is a skeg hung rudder and there is little play and it is not leaking i would not bother dropping it.

you might want to repack the stuffing box if it has one,or tighten.

depending on what type of cables you have,ie solid(whitlock or morse) or 7x19

i would check for corrosion,loose/broken strands,worn sheaves ,cracked terminals,quadrant play etc

if it appears ok and in good condition,grease and adjust the tension then check again next year
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:35   #3
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
if it is a skeg hung rudder and there is little play and it is not leaking i would not bother dropping it.

you might want to repack the stuffing box if it has one,or tighten.

depending on what type of cables you have,ie solid(whitlock or morse) or 7x19

i would check for corrosion,loose/broken strands,worn sheaves ,cracked terminals,quadrant play etc

if it appears ok and in good condition,grease and adjust the tension then check again next year
Thanks, yes, the rudder is on a partial skeg, and seems to have little to no play. No leaks. How long can one hope for rudder seals to last? Is 12 years not pushing it?

I will go through the cables (they're solid, Whitlock) and sheaves. The quadrant seems fine - it's a massive piece of ironwork so not sure what could go wrong with it.

Stuffing box - do rudders have such things? Or do you mean for the drive shaft? I have a dripless shaft seal. Should I take that apart too? It has performed flawlessly in my ownership. I recently replaced the cutless bearing. I'm sending the prop off the Bruntons for a going-over.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:56   #4
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Thanks, yes, the rudder is on a partial skeg, and seems to have little to no play. No leaks. How long can one hope for rudder seals to last? Is 12 years not pushing it?

I will go through the cables (they're solid, Whitlock) and sheaves. The quadrant seems fine - it's a massive piece of ironwork so not sure what could go wrong with it.

Stuffing box - do rudders have such things? Or do you mean for the drive shaft? I have a dripless shaft seal. Should I take that apart too? It has performed flawlessly in my ownership. I recently replaced the cutless bearing. I'm sending the prop off the Bruntons for a going-over.
some rudders have conventional stuffing boxes with twin bolts that need tightening occasionaly,and repacking.

others have a screw down flange with locking nut and packing.

spade rudders typically have orings as seals.
(same as in hydralic rams that i have seen lasting over 30 years)

some the tube terminates above the waterline and have no seal.

look below the quadrant,i suspect you have a flange/locknut with packing.
(tighten 1/4-1/2 turn then re lock you might need a special c-shaped tool to do this)

on the quadrant you will have 4 or 6 bolts on the back face,or a solid bored section with grub screws,these need checking for tightness.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:01   #5
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

You could consider drilling a small hole in your rudder and see what comes out.... hopefully nothing.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:02   #6
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
some rudders have conventional stuffing boxes with twin bolts that need tightening occasionaly,and repacking.

others have a screw down flange with locking nut and packing.

spade rudders typically have orings as seals.
(same as in hydralic rams that i have seen lasting over 30 years)

some the tube terminates above the waterline and have no seal.

look below the quadrant,i suspect you have a flange/locknut with packing.
(tighten 1/4-1/2 turn then re lock you might need a special c-shaped tool to do this)

on the quadrant you will have 4 or 6 bolts on the back face,or a solid bored section with grub screws,these need checking for tightness.
So I'll have to take the quadrant out to do that? Christ I'll need a crane.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:03   #7
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

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You could consider drilling a small hole in your rudder and see what comes out.... hopefully nothing.
I actually think about doing that.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:20   #8
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

Have done a few rudder drops to 'check' bearings as suggested by the yard...J-160, J-133 and Jeanneau 52.2. Nothing good came out of it. Domino effect. If it aint broke..Hole in rudder makes sense..
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:20   #9
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Re: Rudder, Steering Inspection

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So I'll have to take the quadrant out to do that? Christ I'll need a crane.
found this on line,you may have something like it.
http://www.premiermarinas.com/downloads/view/416

lipseal assb from aquafax.co.uk

and technical drawing!!

you should have a handbook onboard from the builders as well ,that will list what system was used and inspection periods

also check the link below and speak to other owners

Untitled Document
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