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Old 19-09-2020, 10:35   #1
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Rudder Bearings

I replaced the bearings in both rudders, two years ago. And have only done a few hundred miles since. After being lifted out of the water for a short time. I checked the bearings and there is no play. The starboard side has seized completely. Two strong guys struggle to move it with the emergency tiller. Has anyone else experienced this problem after such a short time.
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Old 19-09-2020, 10:57   #2
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Re: Rudder Bearings

Why did it seize? Did you use a non-stainless ball bearing set? Is the starboard rudder shaft bent?
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Old 19-09-2020, 12:09   #3
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Re: Rudder Bearings

Hi. What kind of boat, how old, photos? Just not enough info here.
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Old 19-09-2020, 12:10   #4
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Re: Rudder Bearings

Hi. Please post more info on make of boat photos, anything more.
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Old 19-09-2020, 12:40   #5
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Re: Rudder Bearings

She is a 2004 Fontaine Pajot Lavezzi catamaran. The bearings fitted two years ago, are composite JP3 bearings as specified by FP. Some people have suggested that they can swell. But my question is why only the starboard side. We have not grounded her, so no damage to the shaft or rudder. We are in Sant Carles marina Spain, which is known for excessive growth. And due to Covid we have not been on the boat for eleven months. Although this hasn’t happened in the previous six years we have been here. Does anyone have any suggestions for a non corrosive cleaner, that I could pump between the stainless shaft and the aluminium water ingress tube. If by any chance it has been caused by growth. Even though the boat was lifted and jet washed last week
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Old 19-09-2020, 13:23   #6
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Re: Rudder Bearings

Hi. Sorry for the double post. The bearing manufacturer has quite an extensive web page and maybe they can make some suggestions. There maybe some owners who can help.
Marine growth includes little critters who love to make stone houses. Barnacles actually walk when they are tiny. One suggestion from the manufacturer is hot vinegar but Im not sure if it is for your bearing model. I love aluminum, but if one relies on anodizing, remember its very thin. A scratch will result in oxidation which is why aluminum hulls and mast are different series aluminum. Vinegar is just an acid and might help break down whatever is in the bearing but Id do a little more research first. Sorry I cannot help more...I have solid bearings and Tef-Gel which seems to keep the gremlins out.
If you drop the rudder and pull the bearings, please post photos. Till then
Happier trails to you.
Captain Mark and his fuzzy faced manatee friends
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Old 19-09-2020, 13:57   #7
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Re: Rudder Bearings

Hi. I called a friend who simply replaced everything with what he termed normal bearings. He found an article on wellfoundyachts.com about your model FP and replaced everything. Apparently FP says the shafts are Inox but by that they include stainless other than 316. A magnet will tell you if its 316.
Anodizing breakdown in the outer bearing is, as I guessed, the start of the problem. The bearings should be replaced as a set. Im assuming they checked the shafts two years ago. One shaft snapped in the bearing but I think its a rare event. Most complaints are rudder clunk at anchor.
Happy trails to you.
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Old 20-09-2020, 05:07   #8
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Re: Rudder Bearings

If you need to kill stuff a bleach solution is the way to go - nothing survives it. Do be careful with that shaft - the two big guys on the emergency tiller sounds like an Oh, SH*T! moment in the making.

Aluminum alloys used in corrosive environments are often aluminum clad. That is, the alloy is plated with pure aluminum. Pure aluminum forms a self-protecting oxide, while the much stronger aluminum alloy will deteriorate, often in filiform corrosion - the familiar layers situation.
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Old 20-09-2020, 07:48   #9
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Re: Rudder Bearings

I believe my Mahe 36 has the same kind of bearings. The problem with mine was really the aluminum race starting to corrode. The aluminum oxide takes up a lot more room than the original aluminum and eventually it's packed so tight it freezes. It took a lot of careful cutting and chiseling to get my bearings out. Not sure of a better solution except replacing the races with a better material.
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Old 20-09-2020, 12:32   #10
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Re: Rudder Bearings

OK. RN Rob gets a gold star cause his Mahe 36 rudder bearings look like a common problem. Using Mahe 36 to search, I found a lot about the bearings. On 19-04-2011 a poster named Cotemar put up a drawing of the whole rudder bearing and shaft...an engineering drawing of JP3 type 1 bearings. He has a Mahe 36. I guess he got it repaired in Newport RI . So you can replace the same bearings or chuck the JP bearings and have a boatbuilder get rid of the aluminum tubes. Id definitely go to any simpler system. The JP bearings might give you nice rudder feedback because of the rollers but there seems to be case after case of freezing issues and even their web pages tells the owners to pull the bearings after 5 years. That seems ridiculous. And then there is the documented case of a rudder shaft snapping. Yikes. In any rudder bearing repair, Id have a good look at the shafts. Any decent builder or yard ought to be able to chuck this whole system and epoxy in glass tubes and good bearings.
Clunking rudders at anchor at night? Frozen rudders from sitting? Pour hot vinegar as a solution. Those FP guys ought to ease back on the vino at lunch and just drink beer or a gin and tonic when you watch the sunset. All the manatees just gave a big paddle slap on that idea.
I have Mamba all gear steering, my rudder shaft is 3 solid aluminum with bottom bearing support. It will give any orca a beating. I hope the catamaran owners will fix their rudders so they wont drop out and hit some manatee on the head. If you like this post, please buy any friedly manatee some romaine lettuce and support save the manatee.org Manatees build boats. Orcas eat them.
Captain Mark and his beer drinking, pizza eating manatee friends
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