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Old 23-08-2009, 13:39   #16
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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
ok, so it sounds like I don't have bearings that can seize up, per Cal40John.

We might have 'something' that was added by previous owners to sheathe the rudder post shaft, but I won't know that until I open it up. possibly coke bottles... who knew sail boats liked soda??

I think you meant coke CANS? They are aluminum, right? And if the post is another kind of metal, I think that will eventually create a problem. Plastic of some kind would be preferable.

The rudder jammed against the hull, by being over rotated, issue is still floating in my brain as a possible or not... Could that have happened under these circumstances;

Boat is in slip, tiller is flipped forward in the standard position for use, out board is on and in reverse. I shift the tiller to starboard about 75° and she backs out, her stern leading to port, into the marina channel. I flip the motor into forward and swing the tiller towards port; at the center line it stops. I swing it back towards starboard and then back to port and it stops in the center position. I try to swing back to starboard and discover it is now completely locked up and will not shift in any direction. I am trying to get clear in my head if there is anyway this set of actions could have positioned the rudder so that it would bind up against the hull and then leave it all aligned down below when I inspected it.

Your tiller has a downward curve , so if it had been in anything but the proper position, I think you would have noticed it before starting to maneuver the boat. So I think it's very unlikely that the rudder is jammed against the hull, but this could be verified with a visual inspection if you can get a light and some way to get enough time underwater (eg. a breathing tube) to check it out.



I think the most likely cause is that something is jammed between the rudder post and the inside of the tube. Whatever it is moved as you were turning the rudder and went from partially obstructing the post rotation to completely obstructing it. Anyway that's my theory and if I am right the only way to fix it is to drop the rudder out of the boat and see what's inside the tube.

Wouldn't I have felt an impact thru the tiller if I had hit something? And keep in mind we were going in reverse... very slowly. not underway where a log fish can sorta bite ya.. I have had that happen on other boats... not fun... had to replace a dinged prop on that one.
Yes you would have felt an impact I think.

on edit: In the visual inspection, you would have to actually look for space between the top of the rudder and the hull all along the top of the rudder. Because of the rudder shape per your line drawing, just looking to see the rudder position won't answer the question as to whether the rudder is jammed against the hull.
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Old 23-08-2009, 13:50   #17
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I was wondering if the engine had moved back on its mounting and the shaft had moved sufficiently far aft for the propellor to make contact with the rudder, . . . then read that you had an outboard!
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Old 23-08-2009, 18:03   #18
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Your latest description of your nrudder problem only convinces me more that your rudder is binding on the hull due to a bent rudder post. If you did not have any problems with the rudder movement before, it may be a situation where the rudder is "boyant", as described by someone else, and it is now "floating" into the hull and binding. Have you attempted to push DOWN on the rudder post when it binds? Any down movement might release it to the point of freeing, and confirming the diagnosis of a bent post.
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Old 23-08-2009, 18:24   #19
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ok, I am praying for a warm day tomorrow and will go armed with my dive mask, shortie and a breathing tube.

First I will try pushing down to see if there is movement. I don't expect any. That sucker is locked tight, it doesn't wiggle one speck.

Then I will go under and try sliding the scraper between the hull and rudder and checking the leading edge of the rudder and surrounding hull for scrapes and indications of contact with anything that might have damaged it. While down there I need to fashion a rope loop around the rudder that feeds up both sides to be cleated to the boat so that when I get back aboard I can disassemble the tiller head and lift it off and see if I can see anything between the rudder post and the casing it passes thru. I guess I need to lower the rudder down the tube enough to find out if there are any worn groves or anything that would acount for it sticking. I am thinking a block of wood and a hammer to tap on the head of the rudder post to get it to drop down a bit might be handy to have with me in case it doesn't slide down of it's own free will.

Maybe I will be needing some material to line the tube with if tube wear is the issue. recommendations on what to use other than cut up coke cans. I don't drink coke ; -)

I know I will wind up needing something I haven't thought of... any obvious gaps?

man I sure hope it's gonna be warm tommorrow...

*sigh*
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Old 23-08-2009, 19:07   #20
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Keep us all in the loop and tell us what you find!!!!!!!!
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Old 23-08-2009, 20:18   #21
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ok, I am praying for a warm day tomorrow and will go armed with my dive mask, shortie and a breathing tube.

First I will try pushing down to see if there is movement. I don't expect any. That sucker is locked tight, it doesn't wiggle one speck.

Then I will go under and try sliding the scraper between the hull and rudder and checking the leading edge of the rudder and surrounding hull for scrapes and indications of contact with anything that might have damaged it. While down there I need to fashion a rope loop around the rudder that feeds up both sides to be cleated to the boat so that when I get back aboard I can disassemble the tiller head and lift it off and see if I can see anything between the rudder post and the casing it passes thru. I guess I need to lower the rudder down the tube enough to find out if there are any worn groves or anything that would acount for it sticking. I am thinking a block of wood and a hammer to tap on the head of the rudder post to get it to drop down a bit might be handy to have with me in case it doesn't slide down of it's own free will.

Maybe I will be needing some material to line the tube with if tube wear is the issue. recommendations on what to use other than cut up coke cans. I don't drink coke ; -)

I know I will wind up needing something I haven't thought of... any obvious gaps?

man I sure hope it's gonna be warm tommorrow...

*sigh*
When you are under the boat, I think it's important to check that there is clearance between the hull and the top of the rudder for the full length of the rudder.

And I would use plastic to line the tube if it's necessary instead of an aluminum coke can to prevent corrosion. You can cut up some of those thin plastic large water bottles for the plastic and fashion it to the correct size for lining the tube.

Good luck!
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Old 23-08-2009, 20:42   #22
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You should get a couple of those cargo straps: wide webbing with those tensioning thingies on them. Put them around the rudder and tie bowlines in the bitter ends and rope to those loops and on to a block (or just something metal not sharp like a cleat) and on to the cockpit winches. Now you have control over the rudder.

I would completely remove it. Use halyard for hoisting up on deck. You might need a weight to pull it down when it actually floats.

There's ways to fix a worn tube, but I don't recall them from memory. I can look it up when it turns out to be a worn tube. Measure shaft and tube diameters!

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Old 23-08-2009, 22:56   #23
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oh my god, am I REALLY gonna take the rudder off my boat????
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Old 24-08-2009, 00:45   #24
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Sara,

Why not? You have a standpipe so you can do it in the water without risk. As you can't move the rudder in any direction now, dropping it is the only direction not tried yet. And what's the difference between a couple of inches or all the way? When you take it out, you can inspect the shaft and pipe much better. I don't see how that would work with just dropping a couple of inches.

Just make sure you don't loose it. I really don't like the idea of just 1 line under the rudder!

Also, I don't see how the rudder can work without bearings. Other posters must think about roller bearings only, but there's more than those. If the shaft just fits tight in that pipe, anything can jam it and you would just have to clean and grease the shaft.

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Old 24-08-2009, 01:21   #25
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If it had been swollen nylon bearings, I would have expected them to have become more and more difficult to move over time, rather than suddenly sticking. It is that sudden sticking that suggests something has suddenly broken/bent/collapsed.
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Old 24-08-2009, 01:22   #26
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Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. We bent a Cal 28 rudder on a heavy air run in from the lightship about (my god) 40 years ago. We fixed a bit of line to the top of the rudder post and pushed it down the tube and it popped up next to the boat--it definitely floated. Then we took it over to Sausilito to a boat yard for help. No one was there on the weekend, but we saw a nice heavy full keel cruiser up on blocks, slipped the shaft under the keel, borrowed some heavy pipe, and bent it back straight. Then it was back to the marina to reinstall--tied some fishing weights on it to get it near neutral boyancy and the bottom down, and I ended up going in the water to guide it back in.

In your case, I would first look for a rope jammed between the rudder and the hull.
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Old 26-08-2009, 18:10   #27
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Im not familiar with the boat type but looking at the set up for the rudder shaft and tube its similar to my old Grampian. Looking at the photos, and based on everyone saying the rudder floats, I'd say its shifted up in the tube and is binding between itself and the hull bottom, probably right at the exit point for the tube at the bottem end. Usually when you look at the shaft as it exits the rudder, there is sometimes a bit of glass n resin that curls upwards around the shaft. Some manufacturers will grind this off, so the top of the rudder is dead flat, and the junction between shaft and rudder top is dead nuts 90 degrees like it was machined. Sometimes that blob is still there. It may be grinding its way upwards into the shaft log and now causing the binding.

On the Gramp, the rudder will not float and its got a sleeve bushing at the top and bottom of the shaft for rotational friction control and a large flat washer on the deck which the rudder retaining pin rides on. The rudder is pushed up into the tube, the pin is inserted and then the rudder head is put on and clamped tight. The shaft is keyed to the head.

In this case, I see the flat bearing or ring but no sign of a retaining pin to hold the shaft up. So either the rudder is truely bouyant and floating and the rudder head can be taken off, or the rudder head should be down on that ring. I'll go with the rudder being a bit higher than it should be for some reason and would suggest first thing to do is to step on the rudder post and see if that frees it. If not, then take a block of wood and a mallet and give it a couple of whacks. It should move downwards given the amount of shaft that is sticking up out of the log. If it does then it becomes important to find out why it suddenly floated upwards.

I'd discount the bent shaft theory, as there appears to be no evidence of an impact. As for bearings, I'd be surprised if there weren't any sleeve bushings in the shaft tube. If you have the shaft diameter and the tube inside diameter any machine shop can make you a couple out of nylon or some other plastic.

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Old 26-08-2009, 18:35   #28
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I just removed the rudder from my boat while in the water. It had a large delrin washer on the rudder post that acts like a spacer between rudder and hull. If you have a floating rudder, I suspect you should have a spacer washer also. If it broke and fell out, it would allow the rudder to jam up against the hull. One more thing to look at.
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Old 26-08-2009, 21:52   #29
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ohhhh... now that washer concept makes LOTS of sense to me... doesn't conflict with any part of the experience... a washer breaking and coming off might bind up quickly like it did...

I have the wood block and hammer to try tapping the whole thing down. But it's clear to me even if that frees it up I still need to get it out and investigate further, because until I know WHY it happened I can't depend on it not happening again and Murphy would be certain to ensure it happens the second time in far less convenient circumstances.

I was all gung ho to go on Monday, but the days have been chilly and I want to do it when I can have help on the dock, which is looking like Friday at this point.

I have been reading and thinking about this issue ALOT of course, and all the great feed back and advice you all have provided.

In addition to the hammer and block I have 2 ratchet straps to wrap around the sucker to tie a rope to so I can (hopefully) do a controlled assent and then later on (with the addition of my dive weight belt) an equally controlled descent and reinstall.

If I have a bend I will have to find someone who can straighten it for me.

If the tube is grooved and it's binding up on that I will see about a new lining for it. If it's none of those things and pushing down on it frees it up I will be making a ring/washer for it to provide a gap between the rudder head and the hull. Would I have to get a Delrin spacer, or are there other materials that will work as well or better?

love this stuff.... ; -P
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Old 26-08-2009, 22:57   #30
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Delrin would be perfect for that.

good luck Friday!
Nick.
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