Originally Posted by Salzstange
Rudder problem on a Bavaria 44, 2002
Has somebody here experience with Rudder/bearing issues on a Bavaria 44?
The rudder on my Bavaria 44 is very tight. If this sounds familiar to you, would be nice to have a feedback.
I previously owned a Bav44-2002 and had this problem. The synthetic material used for the bottom bearing gradually absorbs water and expands while confined in its aluminium holder built into the hull
. This causes it to tighten on to the rudder shaft. As others have said, it can be improved by time back in the water and I have used various detergents to help clean/lubricate the bearing for short term effect however it really needs to be replaced.
The Bav44 bearing is like a doughnut, it is not a needle bearing. Once the rudder is removed the bearing is turned 90deg in its holder so that it can drop out of the 'slot' for replacement - BUT - in my case not only was the rudder difficult to drop, being held tight by the bearing and needing 'persuasion' from above, the bearing needed to be cut out of the holder as it was locked in by partial corrosion
of the holder. In fact, it is most likely that the aluminium holder was affected by anti-fouling paint
used on the rudder and nearby hull
area. I later used Trilux anti-foul for the top of the rudder and an area about 600x600mm around the rudder shaft to avoid further corrosion
Bavaria dealers sell replacement 'doughnut' bearings. In my case I researched materials and had a new bearing made from Vescanite, a synthetic used in mining and other wet working areas, but I had already purchased Bavaria bearings for the machinist to model the alternatives from. 10 yrs on it was still working well but did stiffen up a bit if I didn't use the boat
often (still left in the water). It usually freed up with a bit of dish-washing liquid poured down the shaft protector inside the hull.
The holder was still OK for further use once cleaned so I did not explore more radical solutions. A needle bearing by Jefa would be fantastic but I don't know if they make one to fit the existing holder or if you need to replace the holder too - a big and intrusive modification I would think.
I have since downsized to a Hanse with single wheel
and Jefa needle bearing steering
VERY smooth and free....ironically I find it TOO free for comfort when sailing alone and have to put a little bit of brake friction on it cos if I take my hand off the wheel
for an instant it can quickly veer away whereas even when new the Bav dual cable control added sufficient friction to allow a brief 'hands off' period without having to engage the autopilot
I know, some people are never happy! However, if there is a direct replacement by a needle bearing, it would be great solution for you.