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Old 12-12-2021, 02:06   #1
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Bent rudder shaft?

Hi all,

I am needing a solution for the best way to repair a bend rudder shaft. It appears that the top of the rudder shaft is bent about 15 degrees and steering feels resistive. Unknown cause - potentially from previous owner hitting a reef?
The boat is a full skeg. What is the best way to fix this? Has anyone had similar issues? And prices to fix? I am worried the rudder shaft will not be able to be removed without having the cut it.

Thank you for any help,
Thanks
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Old 12-12-2021, 02:30   #2
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

I expect cutting it out will be the only way to remove the stock,it’s probably bent between the bearing visible and the one where the stock exits the hull ,with no bearing above the ram connecting tiller ,I would consider it could be easily bent ,this installation needs a re draw ,this installation is not good ,any reasonable load will bend the stock .⛵️⚓️
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Old 12-12-2021, 03:57   #3
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Something isn't adding up.

"The boat is a full skeg" generally means, at least to me, that there is a pivot, aka a gudgeon or shoe, at the lower extremity of the rudder, which would protect the rudder from external impacts that would cause the shaft to bend.

Without going into a guessing game, we need pictures of the rudder configuration, or at least the model of the boat. Is it steel?
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Old 12-12-2021, 12:29   #4
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Thanks for your help.

It is a Cooper 416. I’ve attached the sailboat data diagram.
It has hydrolic steering - not sure if this is relevant?

Thanks
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Old 12-12-2021, 15:12   #5
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

It appears from your photos that the stock is bent immediately above - or just at - the upper bearing where it exits into the steering flat. How could that possibly have happened?

As JimBunyard said the boat has a full skeg, as your attached drawing shows. Stan Huntingford's designs were sound, and he would have designed the rudder arrangements well, and simple enough that Cooper Yachts could build them easily. That your rudder turns, even if it feels "resistive", would indicate that from the upper bearing right down to the gudgeon at the bottom of the skeg, things are alright. However, the friction that makes the steering "resistive" will be found where the stock goes through the upper bearing.

So it looks to me as if you are faced with a sorrowful situation:

The top bearing should be replaced, and a new straight stock should be provided. That cannot be done without withdrawing the entire rudder, c/w stock, FROM THE BOTTOM! That will require hauling to gain access to the gudgeon fastenings.

The bent part of the stock will not, obviously, go through the steering well and its bearings as it is. The stock must therefore be cut just above the upper bearing. The collar should come off to do this. Even when so cut it is likely that the cut end of the stock will damage the bearing at the bottom of the hull as you withdraw it.

Cutting with a torch would be extremely dicey working within the steering flat so a saw is preferable, but, as I'm sure you know, sawing through stainless steel - which is what the stock will be - has its own problems!

Even when the rudder and stock are out of the boat it is unlikely that welding a new piece of stock to the part still in the rudder blade will be possible because proper axial alignment will be a problem. It would be, if it is possible at all, a job for skilled professionals.

You ask specifically for a cause. This damage has originated from WITHIN the steering flat, I'm pretty sure. It has nothing to do with hitting a reef or any other such thing.

You ask specifically for a cost estimate. IMO - without doing actual costing - I would suggest something in the region for $40,000. If you do not already own this boat I would suggest you find another candidate for your ownership.

All the best to you.

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Old 12-12-2021, 15:41   #6
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Could an impact to the rudder have busted the it loose from the lower shoe and cause the shaft to bend up there? Something sure put a load on the shaft to do that.
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Old 12-12-2021, 17:39   #7
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Before you cut or do anything like that I would loosen all the parts of the rudder system, where the shaft has to go through to get it out ! Even taking the seal section out/loosening it from the hull, to get enough play to pull the shaft out/through the seal joint ! You will have to get all that stuff loose anyway,so why not take the chance to try it ! Then the issue is the shaft itself ! It's bent ! Remove it, and take it to a machine shop, and have them straiten it ! Either way you have some work ahead of you !
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Old 12-12-2021, 23:10   #8
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

V'been kicking this around in my head and can't come up with a real explanation; even if the gudgeon is gone it wouldn't explain the bend on the inside of the boat...

I too would be reluctant to break out the cutting tools until I had a good survey of the rudder from the outside.

The only thing that makes any kind of remote sense is that the upper part of the stock above the intermediate bearing, but below the upper bearing has corroded seriously due to crevice corrosion from water trapped in the rudder shaft tube, and something either jammed the rudder and some zealous cranking on the wheel caused the shaft to bend, or the shaft is so far gone that just normal use put enough load on it to bend it.

If that is the case, it is likely just 'hangin on by a thread' and the shaft could break at any time.

Rapping on the shaft with a metal hammer might give you an idea as to it's integrity, or it might tell you nothing at all. Removing the steering link and trying to turn the rudder with a big wrench after it's reached it's travel limit might also give you some information...
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Old 13-12-2021, 00:21   #9
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Trying to think outside the box...could the prior owner somehow tried a come-a long in the lazerette to move something and bent it? If the rudder was hit or grounded, it would have bent at the exit point under the boat.
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Old 13-12-2021, 20:04   #10
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Thanks everyone for your replies. Lots of good options and ideas.

Update: Hauled out the boat and no damage to rudder or skeg below the water line.
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Old 13-12-2021, 20:53   #11
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

That scares the hell out of me. That for sure looks like a solid ss stock (not tube).

The force required to bend that was tremendous. I simply cannot believe there was not significant other damage .... perhaps patched over and covered up ?

Didn't your surveyor say anything about this ?
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Old 13-12-2021, 21:59   #12
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

I agree with BP: that is a solid rudder post and it would take an immense force to bend it. Hard to imagine... but are those cracks running vertically along both sides of the tube that the shaft runs through? If so, perhaps they are evidence of some great trauma that did the bending. Only thing that comes to mind is the hydraulic cylinder operating against a stuck rudder, or with the rudder up against its stops. Seems unlikely, but sumpin' did the deed!

Hard to tell if the rudder will willingly drop out, but if you can get the shoe and bottom bearing off the skeg then perhaps it will come. Only way to find out is to give it a go.

Obviously, some time on the hard is in your future! Not envious am I...

Good luck,

Jim
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Old 14-12-2021, 00:14   #13
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunnins3 View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies. Lots of good options and ideas.

Update: Hauled out the boat and no damage to rudder or skeg below the water line.
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
That scares the hell out of me. That for sure looks like a solid ss stock (not tube).

The force required to bend that was tremendous. I simply cannot believe there was not significant other damage .... perhaps patched over and covered up ?

Didn't your surveyor say anything about this ?
Then I'm still going with the force exerted from the inside.How much force? That depends where the force was placed. Less force at the top of the arm then at the exit point of the shaft up through the hull and bulkhead. If there are no impact markings, you can bet it was done intentionally. Not so to bend it but maybe used to come-a-long a resistant engine in place. Just a theory.


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I agree with BP: that is a solid rudder post and it would take an immense force to bend it. Hard to imagine... but are those cracks running vertically along both sides of the tube that the shaft runs through? If so, perhaps they are evidence of some great trauma that did the bending. Only thing that comes to mind is the hydraulic cylinder operating against a stuck rudder, or with the rudder up against its stops. Seems unlikely, but sumpin' did the deed!

Hard to tell if the rudder will willingly drop out, but if you can get the shoe and bottom bearing off the skeg then perhaps it will come. Only way to find out is to give it a go.

Obviously, some time on the hard is in your future! Not envious am I...

Good luck,

Jim
I suspect the only way the rudder is coming out is with a sawzall from the top. Or, since the whole shabang has to be replaced anyways, you could cut it outside at the hull and drift the stock up if you have the room inside the boat.
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Old 14-12-2021, 00:17   #14
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

Another theory might be the rudder jammed initially some how and the hydraulic drive cylinder bent it, It's a long shot I know.
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Old 14-12-2021, 01:38   #15
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Re: Bent rudder shaft?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Another theory might be the rudder jammed initially some how and the hydraulic drive cylinder bent it, It's a long shot I know.
See post 12 above:"Only thing that comes to mind is the hydraulic cylinder operating against a stuck rudder, or with the rudder up against its stops. Seems unlikely, but sumpin' did the deed!"

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