There is a fair amount of play in my tiller. Looks like the bolt in the tiller head has worn the hole in the rudder head. Would the best repair be to drill out the rudder head hole and insert a bushing? If so, any tips from someone with experience doing this?
Such tiller head wear was quite common on tiller heads on Pearson and ODay, etc. boats.
If only the bolt hole in the tiller head is worn due to abrasion, then a very thin walled bushing insert would be fine. However, the amount of reboring can cause a further weakening of the typical bored 'lugs' on the typical tiller head; so, alternatively a carbon filled epoxy repair can be suitable ... the carbon acting as a dry-lubricant on the MIRROR POLISHED bolt shoulder. (A few 'spiral' wraps of TEFLON dental floss (GoreTex®) included in the carbon epoxy repair will help with the abrasion resistance).
Before the loss of the PearsonCurrent website, this sort of repair was listed in detail - perhaps a detailed websearch can recover a re-quote of this technique.
All the above implies that the hole enlargement (egging) was caused by abrasion rather than 'hammering' (aka - brinnelling or 'fretting'
due to repetitive micro-impact).
If there are signs of repetitive micro-impact, then there has to be a remedy to stop the bolt from 'skewing' inside that hole ... Eg.- welding LARGE fender washers to the bolt head, etc. ... and carefully taking up all side-slack along the axial direction of the bolt using shims/large washers between the tiller head and its mating device.
Got some pics ?????
An aluminum rudder stock???? many historical failures of aluminum rudder stocks. Valiants, etc. usually have solid stainless rudder stocks.