The Self Steering
swing arm pivot should swing freely with the lines, rudder
and anything else removed that could restrict its movement. The rudder should also turn easily.
The older Aires had a problem with the plastic bushings/bearings expanding and seizing the axles and/or the rudder shaft . Ours began to seize up on the sail to the Marquesas
and progressed to the point of not working shortly after our arrival. First, the rudder shaft bearings seized and later the swing pivot axle. I pulled the vane and carved the bearings for the rudder shaft with a pen knife to create clearance. Looked like crap but worked. Did the pivot axle in Papeete. A machine shop let me use their hand reamer which gave a professional looking result. Worked fine for the 10 years we owned the boat
and for 2 SoPac cruises with the subsequent owner.
Biggest issue was getting the vane apart as the SS axle had corrosion
welded itself in place. Looks like your new Aires has been hard coat anodized so corrosion
will hopefully be less of an issue. While you have the vane off, suggest you disassemble it and coat all the SS fasteners, axles, etc, with LanoCote or TefGel and reassemble. Will save a mountain of headaches if you have to take it apart in the future.