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ChrisTup
ChrisTup

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:26pm

Post Subject: Greasing rudder bearings

My rudder is currently stiff, though loosens over time. I'm currently away from my boat, but looking at photos, there does not appear to be a grease nipple. The rudder mounting has four bolts at the "corners" and a bolt down the middle. Does this housing require disassembly in order to grease the bearings?

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:34am

Post Subject: Greasing rudder bearings

If there is no grease nipple and you are sure that it is not a nylon bearing then it is probably a ball bearing with seals above and below it. Look down the gap between the inner and outer parts of the actual bearing and see if you can see a rubber insert. If so it probably a sealed for life ball bearing and if it is a faulty bearing the ball bearing assembly should be changed. It should push out from the bottom of the square case. However it could just as well be a bent rudder stock binding on the rudder tube. Sometimes rings of a thick rubbery material are pushed down/op between the rudder stock and tube to minimise prop wash coming up the tube. If your boat has been treated like this it could explain the stiffness. Before doing anything else and if it is a sealed ball bearing try to destroy the upper seal so you can squirt oil and then spray (chain) grease into the balls. That should free it off and give a better idea if it is the bearing or a bent stock. The method by which the bearing is removed is difficult to know because some builders require the blade to be removed form the rudder and the whole stock and swan neck/tiller pulled out upwards while on others you can remove the swan neck from the stock. I think your centre bolt secures the swan neck to the stock so is the latter type. In that case tie or shackle a rope to the hole in the rudder so you can retrieve it if it falls out. Remove the swan neck, use emery paper to clean the stock above the bearing. Undo the bolts on the bearing and work it up off the stock without lifting the rudder out of the skeg. If you do have a bent stock you can now get into the water and (with help) lift the blade and stock assembly out of the skeg ad drop it down (make sure you have enough depth of water under the boat) to remove it. A couple of blocks of wood an a sledge hammer may straighten it enough but heating the bend to red hot will make the job easier so maybe get a yard to do it if the stock is bent. Tony Brooks

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