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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-27-2002
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Rudder Play

I have owned a 1985 Cal 35 for the past three years. It has (or always has had) a small(?) amount of play in the rudder - meaning when the boat is on land the rudder can be moved back and forth on its vertical axis, by hand. The rudder does not have rotational play (vis-a-vis no cable tension issues). I have noticed some involuntary rudder movement in a following sea.

Anyone''s thoughts as to the normality of this issue, diagnosis, the probability of future failure, cost to fix, etc. are welcome.
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Old 02-27-2002
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Rudder Play

There''s not quite enough information here. It sounds like there is either play between the rudder post and its bearings (bushings) or play between the blade and the rudder post. Some play between the rudder post and the bearings or rudder tube is fairly normal. You do need to try to determine the cause because if it is being caused by the post cutting through the glass of the rudder tube then it will weaken the rudder tube over time. More likely than not there are plastic bushings of some kind and they have simply worn or shrunk a little.

If the play is between the rudder post and its fins and the core of the rudder, that is much more serious and should be addressed.

Jeff
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Old 03-01-2002
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Rudder Play

Jeff_H - Thanks for the reply. Just to clarify, the play is between the rudder post and its bearing. There is no play between the rudder post and the blade. At what point should the bearings be replaced? The rudder was replaced by the former owner approximately five years ago, presumably, but with no way to confirm, the bearings were replaced at that time.
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Old 03-01-2002
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Rudder Play

I replaced the rudderpost bearings a few years ago on my vessel. It is not impossible to do this yourself however one must carefully plan the work and have a helping hand or two when dropping and reinstalling the rudder. When you replace the bushings, do remember to provide for a way to get grease to the bearing to lubricate the bearing/shaft area as this was most likely the cause for premature wear. Before you start, take some rough measurements to make certain that you have enough room under the rudder to drop it completely out of the boat. It is sometime necessary to dig a hole in the ground to provide the clearance required, that is to say a shovel may be one of the tools you''ll need to do the job.
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