So I'm trying to remove my rudder/rudder post. I have a 30' 1974 steel boat
with some quirks (to say the least), and the whole rudder
assembly is a bit unique. There is no particular reason for the removal
besides inspecting—the boat
was a total refit
a couple years ago and I had issues with some hidden steel corrosion
that put me on the hard
for a month, and I never explored the rudder
post during the refit
so it seems prudent to take a look at it in case it's degraded. It is attached at both the top and bottom—the bottom bracket, which was connected to a guard extending from below the prop, came off with no issues. The rudder is now completely loose on the bottom, but I cannot figure out how to detach it from the top. There are two different pieces of metal in the cockpit
between the tiller and where the post disappears into its tube—a clean metal bracket that the tiller attaches to and a rusted piece below it. There was a vertical bolt in the tiller bracket (the top one) that was removed, but nothing happened, the two pieces are still firmly attached. There is also a tiny screw in the bottom piece that does not want to come out. My working theory is that the vertical bolt in the tiller bracket should have been what was holding the tiller bracket down but that over time the two metals have pressure sealed or corrosion
sealed together (I have no idea what alloys the two metals are), and that the screw that does not want to come out could be a set screw for a key system that connects the internal rudder post to the two metal pieces that extend into the cockpit
. If this is the case, how do I go about removing the rudder/rudder post without potentially damaging it (I don't want to do any cutting if I can avoid it because it's all custom)? And if this is not the case, what else could be holding the rudder up? Last question: I don't want to put myself in a position where the damage from exploring is greater than the amount of degradation that may or may not exist on the rudder post. The boat was on the hard
for 30+ years before I did the refit and I've only had the one corrosion issue, so is it worth the risk to potentially damage custom components in order to see what may or may not be inside?
Photos attached include the whole rudder system (solid steel rudder & post that are one component), the bottom after the bottom bracket was removed, where the post enters the hull
, and some shots of the cockpit side of things (you can see the two metal pieces and the tiny screw).