Rudder head wear - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-26-2017 Thread Starter
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Rudder head wear

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?

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-27-2017
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Re: Rudder head wear

Fill the hole with epoxy and colloidal silica or graphite, When cured drill a new hole.
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Re: Rudder head wear

Ream out the hole to clean wood. Coat with epoxy. Ram in a plug and leave to set overnight. Drill a new hole to match your tiller bolt and you're ready to go.

The only dumb question is the one that you didn't ask because you thought it would make you look dumb.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-27-2017
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Re: Rudder head wear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlas View Post
Ream out the hole to clean wood. Coat with epoxy. Ram in a plug and leave to set overnight. Drill a new hole to match your tiller bolt and you're ready to go.
Sounds to me that he is talking about wear in the hole through the aluminum rudder stock rather than the tiller, in which case his "bushing" idea is the correct one.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-27-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Rudder head wear

Quote:
Sounds to me that he is talking about wear in the hole through the aluminum rudder stock rather than the tiller, in which case his "bushing" idea is the correct one.
Yes boatpoker is correct, that is the issue.

What bushing material should I use? The tiller head is aluminum.

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-27-2017
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Re: Rudder head wear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
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.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-27-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Rudder head wear

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
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.
I'll look at it again, when we are out there. I bet it is SS rather than Aluminum. Is this the process you are talking about with the carbon epoxy? (this was actually a rudder shaft repair, where mine in just the rudder head bolt hole). I like the idea of adding material to do the repair, rather than drilling it out.

Quote:
I picked out the old rudder bushing with the smallest inside diameter. I then sanded the inside surface with 400 paper to a smooth finish.
I applied a coat of wax to the entire surface of the smoothed rudder bushing to prevent the epoxy from adhering to it. I waxed the inside and outside. The epoxy can get everywhere when your working with it.
I cleaned the surface of the rudder shaft and sanded it with 80 paper to give a good surface for epoxy adhesion. I also cut a couple of vertical grooves in the shaft surface to help lock the epoxy collar so it would not be able to rotate on the shaft. I think now the grooves were a waste of time and I would not do it. And they probably weaken the shaft a bit.
I etched the aluminum surface following the instructions in the West System 860-8 Aluminum Etching Kit.
I coated the entire rudder shaft with straight West System epoxy to protect it from corosion since I had sanded off the anodizing.
I mixed the epoxy for the bushing surface. I used 3 pumps worth and added 3 heaping tablespoons of West System #423 Graphite Powder until I had a consistency between mayonnaise and peanut butter - smooth but not too runny.
I applied the epoxy to the rudder shaft spreading it a evenly as possible to a thickness just a bit larger then I needed.
I slid the waxed rudder bushing over the shaft and over the epoxy and turned it to smooth out the epoxy surface. I ran it all the way down on the shaft and cleaned up the excess by scraping it off with a putty knife and wiping it up with West System 850 Solvent on a rag. I did my best to center and align the bushing on the shaft.
After the epoxy had set up I removed the bushing. At first I thought I had permanently attached the bushing to the rudder shaft but after getting it loose it came off fairly easily. I used a Vise Grip Quick Clamp with rubber caps to grip the bushing and rotate it. An oil filter tool (the band type) would also have worked well.
The epoxy surface was very smooth but there were a few voids where the epoxy did not quite fill the gap. Another application of epoxy filled these in easily.
I lightly sanded the epoxy surface and installed the bushing with lithium grease.

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Last edited by Barquito; 06-27-2017 at 12:18 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-27-2017
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Re: Rudder head wear

"I picked out the old rudder bushing with the smallest inside diameter. I then sanded the inside surface with 400 paper to a smooth finish.
I applied a coat of ..........
......"

This is pretty much Dan Pfeiffer's (Pearson Current) method of building bushings in place. Id recommend to add some finely milled fiberglass strands to the mix for added compressive, etc. strength and abrasion resistance ... predominating with the chopped and milled glass strands in the 'mush'.
Glass-filled FRG bushings that are only occasionally turned, are commonly used in agriculture, mining, heavy industry, etc. .... and with a wee bit of waterproof grease on the rotational surface, with the above method the wax used as a release agent will become the 'lubricant'. Reinforced FRG bushings are relatively free from causing any mixed metals corrosion.
The only other added recommendation I can add would be to don't wait until a FULL hard cure before breaking the parts loose; but rather, just wait until you can't 'dimple' the epoxy with strong pressure from a thumbnail, screwdriver tip, etc. ... and then turn it or break it 'free'.

;-)

good luck on your project.
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Last edited by RichH; 06-27-2017 at 12:56 PM.
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