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question Stuck rudder (Zschofield)
Posted: 2:46:41 pm on 10/22/2013 Modified: Never
Well long story short I canít get my rudder out of the boat. The top of the rudder shaft is now lodged about 3 inches into the rudder shaft tube, and I can get it no farther. I have tried shaking it from the outside while some one hits the top of the shaft with a mallet and pipe from the top, letting it soak in penetrating oil for several days then repeating and itís still stuck.
The rudder took some damage when I hit a shoal several weeks ago so I pulled the rudder (which only took 10 mins), had the shaft straightened at a shop, then reinstalled. When the yard put the rudder back on they did so without grease so it was quite stiff. When I got back to my home port I opted to pull it again, grease everything then put it back, but when I went to pull it this time no luck.
My understanding of how it is made is that it has no real bearings just a stainless steel shaft in a brass tube.  What can I do to get it out?

Zach Schofield
Savannah GA

  Re: Stuck rudder (YellowJacket)
Posted: 10:53:34 pm on 10/22/2013 Modified: Never
Hi Zach,
Reading from you post I'll have to assume a few things.
1) You struck your rudder on some bottom structure to the point you felt you had to pull your boat.
2) you pulled the rudder out yourself and it only took 10 minutes.
3) You determined it was bent and sent it to a shop to have it straighten.
4) you let the marina put it back in, but you weren't there to see them do it?
5) you have no measurements before or after as to how much the shaft was bent or where the bend occurred.
6)The rudder was stiffer than before you pulled it and the marina said something along the lines that "umm sorry we forgot to grease it before putting back in"

Now you tried to get it back out to lube/grease it and it's stuck way more tight than the first time you removed the shaft.

My conclusion assuming the above is mostly correct is that you bent the rudder below the water line and the shop made it worse by trying to straighten it above the water line and the marina that didn't see how easy it came out just jammed it up to send you on your way.

End result? you need a new rudder and shaft. To fix it you will have to cut the rudder shaft and pound the stuck portion out the top.

I really hope I'm wrong and you just forgot to remove something you removed the first time.

I'm curious. was the rudder stiff before or after the bottom strike? or just after the repair?

In my experience in the automotive manufacturing field, bent shafts, spindles, broaches we just toss them on the scrap pile. They can't be straighten to original tolorences. Boat rudders are a different.

Try using a machinists straight edge and feeler gauges to see how straight the shat is. Let us know.

Hope this helps.
  Re: Stuck rudder (Zschofield)
Posted: 10:15:41 am on 10/23/2013 Modified: Never
Well to answer some of your questions no I did not pull the boat, myself and the repair guy pulled it while she was in the water still. The bend in the shaft was directly above the top of the fiberglass of the rudder its self. I did not see it get put in but it was done while still in the water with a swimmer in the water, and the maintenance guy using the main sheet connected to the boom to pull it up.
Due to the bend I could not move the ruder after the grounding, as it kicked up the top rear of the rudder and it was jammed on the hull, but it was moveable after we brought the rudder and shaft down an inch.
When I tried to drop the rudder this time and had these difficulties I call the marina maintenance I used and he told me that when he put it in it was stiff but went in smooth. Since he did it in the water he would not have been able to get that much leverage to jam it this bad, I think. I was also able to use the tiller for a four day sail to get home. Any ideas?

Zach Schofield
Savannah GA

  Re: Stuck rudder (YellowJacket)
Posted: 3:36:58 pm on 10/24/2013 Modified: Never
Hi Zach,
I sail in the west end of lake Erie where most owners would pull their boats out of the water for this type of repair. The water here is just too cold and murky to see anything.

That said I think you will have to pull the boat to get a better idea of what's happened to your rudder. Make sure the yard sets it down where you can dig a hole if you need to.

My best guess is that you wore out your bearings on the 4 day trip home. Maybe from the shaft still being a little bent or just lack of lube.
I never pulled a rudder on my C&C 27 but I did help a friend replace the bearings on a Person 26 (1971) the bronze bushings/bearings were replaced with Derin (sp?) its a type of polymer that car makers use for sway bar bushings. On the person the shaft was out of spec so original bushings wouldn't work. A machine shop can cut these on a lathe.

Hope this helps.
  Re: Stuck rudder (syllap)
Posted: 6:56:50 pm on 10/25/2013 Modified: Never
It seem obvious but if you have wheel steering did you undo the 4 bolts of the quadrant?

Sylvain Laplante
La Belle Poule C&C27 MkIII

  Re: Stuck rudder (Zschofield)
Posted: 10:01:03 am on 10/25/2013 Modified: Never
I have the tiller steering still. I pulled all of the bolts that hold on the tiller and the block. Any other ideas of what could jam it up?

Zach Schofield
Savannah GA