Sorry to keep floggin’ this horse, Bruce… All is now installed. In the end, I needed to grind away most of the 1/4″ of extra bearing (lower bearing) since I could not properly seat the rudder post up into position to allow the retaining bolt to slide through the rudder head holding it all together. It is a fairly snug fit, but I’m thinking it may eventually wear itself down and loosen up as it ages. The first sail will tell the whole story, but I do have one question… I forgot about the two plastic rings that were up top (between the rudder head and the deck), but I think squeezing those in now, might be kinda tough. Are they absolutely necessary?
You may not remember, but it’s possible I might not have mentioned it- I am NOT replacing the top bearing as it is in near perfect condition (no wiggle at all and looks almost pristine). So- I have ground the bottom bearing down enough to fit the rudder post with the bolt just enough to clear the hole in the rudder head. I may still be able to squeeze those spacers in, but then the helm will likely be “squeeky tight”… I’m guessing, but I bet I’m correct. If they are that important, then I will just sand a bit more off of the lower bearing- I’m pretty sure I have at least another 1/16” there that I think I can afford to lose without the rudder scraping the hull (easily that much). Capiche?