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Old 18-10-2009, 05:42   #1
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What's Wrong with My Rudder and How Do I Fix It?

I just had my boat hauled and noticed some small cavitys in the rudder. Whats wrong and how is it fixed?
Heres some pictures for refrence .




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Old 18-10-2009, 07:42   #2
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Take a look at this thread:

Possible Rudder Rebuild Questions

The entire thread is worth reading but if you look at post #39 and following, you'll see a similar situation and the resolution.

FWIW...
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Old 18-10-2009, 12:23   #3
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I'll be reading that thread soon but first question would be what's under the glass? Looks like plywood?
regards,
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Old 18-10-2009, 20:51   #4
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Not having read the aforementioned thread on rudder repair (but just having built a new rudder due to a similar case of water penetration into a fiberglass-encased wood rudder with similar splits in the fiberglass skin), and just going otherwise by the attached photo, it appears that the fiberglass/resin has been penetrated by moisture, the wood has swelled and/or rotted, and the leak has grown into a fissure by the wood expanding with moisture and splitting the glass coating.

The problem with fiberglass encased rudders is that you can't easily tell the condition of the wood inside without tearing them apart. In the least case there is localized rot near the fissure(s). In the worst case the entire inside of the rudder is a punky, waterlogged, pile of wood mush.

Stick something sharp and pointy into the crack and poke around. If it's soft then there's rot inside. If not, maybe not.

What I did was bought a slab of white oak at the local hardwood supplier and used the existing rudder as a pattern to make a new rudder. I now have the option of simply patching up the fissures in the old rudder and repainting it as a 'spare' rudder (which I'll probably do, if for no other reason than to save as a pattern for future new rudders if needed), or just s**t-can it.
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Old 22-10-2009, 05:27   #5
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So I dug a little deeper, The cavity in the picture is where the epoxy used to seal the seams between the shell halfs has come off. I opened it up along the whole back of the rudder. I did get some water out but it wasnt alot less then a cup full.
The rudder appears to be made of 2 plastic shells. There is some foam in side and a steel frame work. The foam doesnt appear to be destroyed and the steel that I can see looks sound. I drilled a few test holes in the rudder and found no water more then 2 inchs from the the tailing edge. Im thinking that Ill be ok to let it dry out, then clean the seam and reseal it. Any problems with that plan? Any advice well heeded.
Thanks
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Old 22-10-2009, 11:01   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-rad View Post
So I dug a little deeper, The cavity in the picture is where the epoxy used to seal the seams between the shell halfs has come off. I opened it up along the whole back of the rudder. I did get some water out but it wasnt alot less then a cup full.
The rudder appears to be made of 2 plastic shells. There is some foam in side and a steel frame work. The foam doesnt appear to be destroyed and the steel that I can see looks sound. I drilled a few test holes in the rudder and found no water more then 2 inchs from the the tailing edge. Im thinking that Ill be ok to let it dry out, then clean the seam and reseal it. Any problems with that plan? Any advice well heeded.
Thanks
It is doubtful that epoxy was used in building the rudder. Probably polyester resin instead. You might also look carefully at the top of the rudder to see how the shaft is sealed around the fiberglass. That is often the point of entry for water.

IF the foam core is dry and the steel structure and welds are intact you could probably seal it up with epoxy and a couple of layers of glass and epoxy over the whole thing. I would be concerned with the possibility of crevis corrosion to the steel internal structure and welds. I don't think it would be that hard to cut it open around the edges, and Magnaflux the steel inside.

Good luck with it,
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Old 23-10-2009, 02:24   #7
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And your plans...

It sounds like you have an older fibreglass boat.

At some point you may have to pull the rudder off the boat, take it apart, check all stainless metal and welds, and put it back together in an approved manner.

If you tell us you boat manufacturer, model and age we could make more useful comments.

Other members may know more about this than me.
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