Rudder Bearings

 

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This topic contains 33 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Ray 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1884

    Dale Swift
    Participant

    Guys I just purchased new bearings from pride marine and when I go to install them they just slip right on, not snug at all has some play actually. I read most had to make adjustments to them. I guess my question is should they have any play? And would it be wise to build-up on my rudder post to remove the play?

    Thanks
    Dale

    #2832
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    I just installed mine this spring. I have a fiberglass shaft and had to lightly sand the shaft to get them on. Snuggly tight now.

    If you have a fiberglass shaft…consider sanding the shaft bearing surfaces and adding a coat of epoxy or two to bring them to snug. If you have a stainless…hmmmm..might put in a call to Pride to see if they make them at their shop. You might find they can find (or make) a pair of smaller inside diameter pieces to send you.

    You don’t want slop.

    #2833

    Derek Lay
    Participant

    Dale,
    I bought a set of bearings from Pride a month ago that would have come out of the same batch, and had the same dimensions. They were so tight on my rudder that I put off installing them until fall when I have time to sort the rudder out properly. My rudder post is as much as 1/16-1/8″ too large and it will take a lot of work to adjust both post and bearings.
    All that to say, the bearings are good, but the quality control on the rudder shafts (and changes over 30 years!) may not have been up to more modern CAD/CAM precision . . .
    Derek

    #2834

    Dale Swift
    Participant

    I am not sure, I think I should build up on the fiber post where the bearing go, the new ones are as loose as the ones that I am replacing..Maybe it a mis disign in the post

    #2835
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    Dale, That will be an easy fix. Just remember you have to sand epoxy first and between coats…and make sure the epoxy you are using is compatible. Polyester vs regular can be a problem. May not be a big deal here since it is not cosmetic or structural.

    #2836

    fitzee
    Participant

    I installed the Pride bearings a couple of years ago. My post was a very tight fit and it took 2 of us working the rudder back and forth to get it home. The bearings were a real tight for the first year (subbed for a tiller-tender) but eventually loosened up and are now perfect. Next time rather than continuing to work the rudder back into place I would hold up at the first sign of binding and do a little light sanding to the post.

    #2837
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    I did my rudder/bearing re-install all by myself. To make it easy, do this:

    1. Install the lower bearing on the shaft. Tap the bearing down with a piece of wood and hammer. If it is real tight..move it up and sand the shaft some.
    2. Install the upper bearing at the top tube, but resist tapping it all the way down.
    3. Push the rudder up the tube and work it into the top bearing. Once up..have the tiller bolt ready to insert for fine adjustments.
    4. I pushed the rudder up as far as possible and placed blocks of wood under it to hold it up. The top of the rudder shouldn’t scrape the bottom of the boat during a 360 spin.
    5. Try putting the tiller cap back on with the thru bolt. If it won’t..work the bearing down with a wood dowel and hammer until you can. Leaving the bearing ‘up’ takes out some up and down slop. Bearing shims would be best, but mine were worn out.

    A friend of mine made a puller. Couple of beers and some ideas..it worked!

    Weld a strong washer to the top of a rod. Make the rod about two feet long. Put a 6″ piece of pipe over the rod and weld a ‘stopper’ on the bottom. This makes a cheap puller by using the pipe as a slide hammer.

    #2909

    Ray
    Participant

    Question sort of related to this- do the bearings ever need re-greasing? Mine are a bit squeeky..

    Ray

    #2910

    Jiri Senkyrik
    Participant

    Hi Ray, I dont know if they need it, but when mine got a bit squeeky, I just applied a hint of dry lube and it took care of it (not sure if this is the best remedy, but its what I had laying around).
    -Jiri

    #2912

    Ray
    Participant

    Thanks, Jiri- I’ve got a can of McLube handy, too!

    #3360

    Lilya Vorobey
    Participant

    Hi All,
    Anyone actually have a tolerance for the rudder bearings (ID to rudder shaft)? I am about to make mine and was wondering if anyone has measured them and compared them to their rudder post.
    Thanks in advance.

    #3361
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    It is a tight fit to the shaft. You only want to be able to just twist them by hand once they are in position. The coupler holds them tight enough (greater area) to prevent slip there. I have to tap mine on the shaft with a block and small hammer. How’s that for a measurement?

    #3362

    Lilya Vorobey
    Participant

    Thank you Bruce,
    It’s the machine shop thing. I am going to experiment and then post the results. I am thinking that .002″ clearance may do the trick clearance around the shaft and the general rule of thumb when press fitting – .001″ over for the OD. The thermal coefficients are at opposite ends. Meanwhile I will be sailing out of 57 degree water to ~78 degree water…. Of course, two weeks of sailing to Kauai 24/7 will slowly ream the bearings for me
    The PVC couplings that make up the rudder tube seats are quite constant (I’m surprised). Hmmm. Any thoughts?

    #3363

    Lilya Vorobey
    Participant

    OK, I have to take into condsideration the time at which the bearings are made since it is pretty warm in my shop.

    #3498

    Ray
    Participant

    Ok- I’ve ordered the bearings from Buzz, and if I recall (we’ve since moved to Tampa from Charleston and they are in a box somewhere) they were black- which means they are most likely made of delrin. I just spoke with a local boat guy (where my boat is currently serving time until I can secure membership at the Davis Island YC) and he’s suggesting to me that delrin is the wrong material to fabricate rudder bearings from- they should be HDPE (high density polyethylene) which absorbs a negligible amount of water (as opposed to delrin, which absorbs enough water (6% maybe?) to create sufficient expansion to bind the rudder post… probably a bigger issue in light air. Does anyone know where the truth in this lies? Obviously, if everybody is using delrin, there must be some line of thinking where the percent of water absorption is acceptable if sanded sufficiently so it doesn’t bind the rudder in light air.

    #3499

    Jiri Senkyrik
    Participant

    Ray,

    I think the general thought is correct. In practice this is not relevant for the top bearing and somewhat relevant for the bottom bearing. I personally had to cut out the bottom bearing due to expansion but it was a non issue for the fiberglass post. I believe this is because the bearing wore the post down to the appropriate size and expanded into the boat.

    #3500

    Ray
    Participant

    Thanks, Jiri- I’ve read a couple of data sheets on Delrin and it really absorbs just 0.25% at 24 hrs. I don’t have a good mental picture of how the post and bearings all fit together, but I’m dropping the rudder today and will have a look. If nothing else, I’ll either ask Buzz if he can have one bearing fabricated from HDPE (0.3% water absorption) or sand a little extra off to compensate before replacing.. I’m starting to wonder if it’s really all that big a deal if just about all O-30’s are using Delrin for bearings…

    #3501

    Ray
    Participant

    One thing might help me get a better idea though- does the rudder post rotate inside the bearing or does the bearing rotate inside something in the boat holding it in place? Or do both rotate??

    #3502
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    The rudder post rotates inside the bearing. You are making too much of this. :)

    Unless you have slop…no reason to replace the bearings.

    Slide the new bearing down on the shaft. You should be able to turn it by hand, but not easily. The tube ‘grips’ the outside of the bearing to hold it. You will need a tool to remove the bearings…something that can hook the upper edge and pull down. Something like a dent puller with a hook on the end. I had a friend weld a washer on the end of a pipe. Added a larger tube over that pipe. End had a pipe cap. Used the sliding pipe as a slide hammer. Delrin is fine material.

    #3503

    Ray
    Participant

    I am king of making too much of almost anything! It all came out so easy, probably less than 2 minutes not including time hunting for tools and climbing up and down the ladder. The upper bearing is well seated in it’s location, but appears to be in great condition (no wiggle in the post there either), but the lower bearing has lots of wiggle room and slides right off– hence the play in the rudder. I haven’t located the new bearings since our move to Tampa (they are in a box somewhere in this house, probably with the missing case of toilet paper my wife keeps bugging me about). Here are two photos- one of the lower bearing and one just of the post where it sat. There really is no groove on the post, but there is something flaking off that may be carbon powder. I’m thinking of filling in the dings where the shaft meets the rudder post after removing the flaking that you can see on the post. If the new bearings fit too snugly, then I’ll just sand them down a bit until there is < 0.25% wiggle room and call it a day.

    #3506

    Chris Voigt
    Participant

    Ray, thanks for the pictures… the top of my rudder is scraped up just like that, with the rudder binding against the hull. I don’t think my rudder has play per se, but are you thinking the new bearings will keep the rudder from rubbing on the hull?

    I have new bearings in hand, but I haven’t had time or energy to pull the rudder out.

    #3512

    Ray
    Participant

    Hi, Chris- Yes, the new bearings will prevent that, but they need trimming a bit- they are about 1/4″ longer than my originals. There really wasn’t much rubbing going on normally (the rudder floats up and down the shaft a bit, explaining the rub marks on the top). I’ll trim it so that it’s not quite a short as the originals (mainly so I don’t rub bottom paint off), but there was the perfect amount of up and down play before I pulled it off of the boat- almost none. Just about all of the play in my rudder was side-to-side, and mainly in the bottom bearing.

    #3513
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    You should make sure the bottom bearing is seated before you start trimming. This does keep the rudder from hitting the bottom of the boat. I would leave it untrimmed. My opinion.

    If you have up and down motion, add shims on the top of top bearing. This serves to get rid of the up and down and give a bearing surface for the tiller cap.

    #3553

    Ray
    Participant

    Bruce- I sanded my rudder post (after applying some thickened epoxy) and it’s a tiny bit out of round when I slide the new bearing down into place. You mentioned that you want a tight fit (using hammer and block to seat the new bearing), but if there’s even the slightest swell from water absorption (for the lower bearing), won’t it bind while sailing (more important in light air)? Also- how the heck do you manage sanding by hand and keep everything in a straight/true/in column fashion? Make a sanding jig out of pvc, maybe??

    #3554
    SWG
    SWG
    Keymaster

    personally i think i would use a file to shape the epoxied post instead of sandpaper and work very slowly. sandpaper near the end of the process but only if it were glued to something very flat, like a small block of 1/2″ acrylic. you may need to apply filler more than once. a tubular sanding mandrel could work but it would have to be adjustable or you would not be able to get it over the pre-sanded post.

    #3555

    Ray
    Participant

    Hmm.. still seems like I’d have a bit of a time trying to control it… Maybe a half pipe of pvc of the right diameter (bit bigger) would work. What about the binding issue when the delrin swells?

    #3556
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    Ray, just to be clear, you don’t want it to bind to the rudder shaft. You want it to move with just a bit of resistance. You want the bearing to bind in the hull and rudder top tube and not move at all.

    I don’t think ‘swelling’ is an issue I have ever heard of. My new bearing from Pride slipped over the shaft and with a block I got the lower one over the middle fat part of the shaft. Once it got to normal position, all was fine. Slight resistance: move with fingers with just a mild grip.

    Hard to explain any better. Why did you add to the shaft? remind me.

    #3557

    Ray
    Participant

    Thanks, Bruce- that’s clear. I added to the shaft because there was quite a bit of play from grooves that I am guessing resulted from just rubbing against the bearing over the years since 1982. You can see the photos above– quite a bit of play between that bottom bearing and the shaft, but none at the top bearing.

    #3558

    Ray
    Participant

    One more silly question I have, though– if I do as you suggest and not trim the excess off of these new bearings (they are about 1/4″ longer than the originals), there will be that much more clearance between the top of the rudder and the hull. To my knowledge, there was no rubbing beforehand (even though it looks like it in the photo, which I think was just from the entire rudder/post assembly floating upwards and scraping the hull while sailing). Does a little extra clearance do anything to performance at all?

    #3568
    Bruce Hubble
    Bruce Hubble
    Participant

    If you were banging the bottom from ‘floating’..you need the 1/4″ to prevent that. Add shims (plastic washers) under your tiller mount to shim ‘up’ the rudder. You should have very little up and down. (annoying!) Performance…1/4″? Nope, especially when you consider a windward tiller angle is a few degrees to weather anyway.

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