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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-30-2008
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Rudder Bearings

My boat's on the hard for the winter and I've pulled the rudder out to replace the cutlass bearing (a design flaw -- can't get the shaft out with the rudder in place). As it's not everyday that the rudder is out, I thought it might be a good time to replace the rudder bearings as well.

Questions for the sage ones out there: What's the normal life of rudder bearings? What are the signs that they need replacement? Are rudder bearings something that "goes" slowly, or all at once?

The boat's 13 years old and has done 55-60,000 nm. The rudder bearings are original equipment.

With the boat blocked up, there was no "wiggle" in the rudder (side to side) and I've not noticed any 'slop' in the steering. The only thing that seems out of the ordinary is that sometimes when we're reaching along at near hull speed I can feel a slight vibration in the wheel. It seems to come and go and may be caused by a "harmonic" of some sort when the boat's at speed.

Any thoughts? Is this a sign that the bearings need replacement?
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Old 01-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
My boat's on the hard for the winter and I've pulled the rudder out to replace the cutlass bearing (a design flaw -- can't get the shaft out with the rudder in place). As it's not everyday that the rudder is out, I thought it might be a good time to replace the rudder bearings as well.

Questions for the sage ones out there: What's the normal life of rudder bearings? What are the signs that they need replacement? Are rudder bearings something that "goes" slowly, or all at once?

The boat's 13 years old and has done 55-60,000 nm. The rudder bearings are original equipment.

With the boat blocked up, there was no "wiggle" in the rudder (side to side) and I've not noticed any 'slop' in the steering. The only thing that seems out of the ordinary is that sometimes when we're reaching along at near hull speed I can feel a slight vibration in the wheel. It seems to come and go and may be caused by a "harmonic" of some sort when the boat's at speed.

Any thoughts? Is this a sign that the bearings need replacement?
If there is now slop or shaking when you move it by handm the vibration you feel could be due to turbulence at the trailing edge as the rudder may be too thick or have a characteristic that may cause it to flutter. If ruddrs are too thick or have s section of the leading edge that is too rounded, it creates excessive turbulence at the exit point.

If you pass hull speed and start planing, you will like to feel that "flutter"..its cool...warp speed
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Old 01-31-2008
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Giulietta,

Thanks for the reply. From the general lack of response to "rudder bearings" I might infer the following:

1. Rudder bearings are not interesting (as interesting say, as the debate about battery banks going on in another thread)
2. Rudder bearings are not controversial (again, the 12V vs 6V debate springs to mind)
3. SailNet contributors have little experience with rudder bearings (for with experience come opinions and we know SailNeters are not shy about sharing opinions , which is why we all hang out here looking for good and cheap advice).

If the above inferences are correct, then one might conclude that rudder bearings don't get replaced very often and mine are probably not about to disintegrate. Nonetheless, I'll open my wallet and ask the yard techies get out their micrometer and have a look at bearing and shaft diameters and let me know what they think. It cost a small fortune to get the rudder out so I might as well take advantage of the situation.

And, I agree...speed is fun. I have a sailing dinghy that planes and when it gets up the centerboard whines like a turbine engine.

Last edited by billyruffn; 01-31-2008 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-31-2008
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No idea on questions but thought I would pass this on to you:

http://jcruiser.org/37/Eos/eos_rudde...eplacement.htm

Has a great write-up, pics to boot...
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Last edited by artbyjody; 01-31-2008 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 01-31-2008
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Billy

I just had mine changed a month ago...I had a few problems with them, not because of the fact that bearings were the problem, but because of what was done that caused the problem.

I don't have much to say about the bearings only that if you have no play in the vertical, (rudder moving up and down) axial (swinging sideways) and longitudinal (swinging back and forth), you are OK.

These bearings altough exposed to a lot of motion and work, are considerably sturdy and suffer relaitevely low wear.

You need to have your boat in the dry to check the bearings.

If you suspect them as being in need to replace, take them off and see if they have dug "channels" where the balls go or the needles if they are needle beraings, then change them.

I use ACC needle bearings 2 of them

If you suspect, change

See here
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Old 01-31-2008
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What kind of bearings are they? If they are Harkens and have been in salt water for several years, you may have some problems. I know on Jboats (mentioned above) this is very problematic and many of us have changed these bearings out, but when you have bad bearings, it is pretty evident, or at least mine were. Good luck with them!!
DD
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Old 01-31-2008
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What kind of bearings are they? If they are Harkens and have been in salt water for several years, you may have some problems. I know on Jboats (mentioned above) this is very problematic and many of us have changed these bearings out, but when you have bad bearings, it is pretty evident, or at least mine were. Good luck with them!!
DD
YES!!!!!!!!

YES!!!!!!!!!


I had problem wuith the Harkens too!!!!

Good post!
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harkens BTW no longer produces rudder bearings from what I hear and why is it when I contribute to a thread I know nothing about it makes more sense... sigh... back to bearings as I lost mine...
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Well, if the rudder is out, and you don't have to chop the boat up to get the bearings out, then go for it.

Personally, if there is little play in them, I would not do it. You do not complain of slop in the bearings. Sometimes it is better to leave well alone.

If there is a problem, the problem will be that both surfaces will have worn. I am not familiar with the design of your rudder. Could you post a wee picture?
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Oh, yes, make sure that the steering is roped off to one side.

A rudder that can wobble with the wave action in the marina wears out the bearings much faster.
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