cutlass bearings and rudders - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-03-2009
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cutlass bearings and rudders

We have been contemplating replacing our 2-blade fixed prop for a 3-blade fixed. But from what I have read, we really need to evaluate the current prop prior to replacing it (have never hit max RPM's, don't know if it can?)
Hard to do on land. Further, on our survey, it was noted that we had "slight" play at the cutlass bearing, it was also noted that it was not urgent but should be tended to at some point, whatever that means.
Was up to the boat today and tried to move it in all directions, with side-to-side movement a slight click sound can be heard but not felt,( no visible play). There seemed to be slight vertical play but no sound. While there, I was looking at the rudder, no side-side play but some fore/aft movement detected, also can move the rudder up and down about 3/32in.

Is this considered normal? How much is too much?

As for the application - 1985 Ticon 30 (dimensionally similar to a catalina 30), Volvo 2002FWC diesel, 9600lbs disp, fin keel, spade rudder with a wheel.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-05-2009
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I can't believe I have stumped the gods?
If only I had a virgin to offer up.
I even used spell checker.
Perhaps they have just missed my question?
Just to make it clear, my question was:
How much play is too much?
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Old 01-05-2009
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Are you referring to the play in the rudder, or the cutless bearing, or both?

With respect to the cutless bearing, I would follow your surveyors recommendation. He/she inspected it and found some play beyond normal tolerances. As the surveyor indicated, it does not amount to serious wear yet, so you might be okay for a couple seasons depending how much you use the boat under power.

In your shoes, I'd relaunch in the spring and evaluate the prop performance next season. Consider replacing the cutless bearing next winter, unless you plan to leave on an extended voyage this summer, in which case fix it now.
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Old 01-05-2009
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Thanks John

Surveyor noted play at Cutlass bearing, I noticed play at the rudder.
I am actually more worried about the rudder play, as to me it seems excessive, but I just don't know.

To compound my problem, the surveyor, while highly recommended missed several glaring issues. I really started to worry when we were going over the survey upon his completion and he had flagged it as RWC, after I showed him the coolant reservoir and heat exchanger he made the correction with an "oh, guess I missed that".
Not the sort of comment that breeds confidence.

I think we will go with relaunching as you suggest, we have no big trips planned and hopefully won't be motoring much of it anyways.

As to the rudder, any ideas on what is acceptable and what isn't. I don't even know what is in there for bearings or if anything is serviceable.
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Old 01-05-2009
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did the surveyor specifically look at/wiggle the rudder? or did he skip this too?
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Old 01-05-2009
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jj :

If your current 2-blade prop moves your ship well enough, then leave it.

Cutlass bearings are not expensive. They are just fiddly to remove sometimes.

That does not sound like excessive rudder lift to me. My own rudder has play. I guess all of them must have some play?
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Old 01-06-2009
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xort - good question, we got there late and he had already done his exterior inspection so I cannot answer. Aside from his notation on the cutlass bearing he didn't find anything I didn't already discover myself, except of course for the faded bow lights.

Rockter - the 2-blade is fine for calm seas but a headwind and waves can spell trouble, we can make 6knots in flat calm there are other times we have been hard-pressed to do 3, SMG.

Glad to know the rudder play doesn't seem excessive, that was answer I was hoping for.

I have heard some people say one should drill and install a grease nipple on the tube, but am reluctant.
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Old 05-14-2009
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rudder play

I had some vertical lift in rudder on our 1978 O'day 27 and cut a 'washer' from a stiff rubber gasket material that took the play out. I placed the washer over the shaft, at the cockpit floor. The tiller cap sits on that and it takes the annoyance out of it - it was about 3/8 and would clunk in a following sea.

That said, i've noticed more "clunking" lately in the following sea, but the up/down play was still fine. I suspect it is with the age of the boat I also have some play fore aft, when moving the rudder about on dryland. It seems excessive to me as it shifts about an inch or so back where the rudder shaft enters the hull. No movement at the cockpit floor level. Is it possible that there is that much wear in the steering tube that the rudder shaft sits in?

Any one else had this problem and any suggestions on a fix?
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Old 05-14-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skirlie View Post
It seems excessive to me as it shifts about an inch or so back where the rudder shaft enters the hull.
An inch or so!!!!! For that to be true, the bearing must be completely gone and you are wearing away the fiberglass. This really needs to be checked out. I once swa a friends Pearson 30 where the lower rudder bearing was gone and he had almost worn the hull fiberglass completely through. If I hadn't pointed it out to him, the boat probably would have sunk at the mooring.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Thanks JimsCal. Good point. I'll pull the rudder and see what is going on. Thankfully I'm on the hard for a while so no risk of sinking, but would hate this to be the cause!
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