32-200 Lost Rudder

Shawn Brooks

Member I
From your pics it looks like that corrosion has been going on for some time on at least half of the circumference. No sign of any past repairs that you can tell ?
I didn't see any sign of repair. The corrosion was deep too, it extended all the way through to the core in at least half of the pipe.

I suspect that at some point in the boats history, the zincs where neglected and this is the result of that. But can't ignore the fact that this is a 36 year old piece of steel continually immersed in saltwater either. All things break eventually.
 

Shawn Brooks

Member I
Does anybody have an understanding how the bore that the rudder post sits inside is constructed (and what it's actually called)? I know there is a bushing on the top of it, but I don't know if there is a second bushing somewhere else--maybe embedded in the hull? There's also a bearing in the cockpit deck.

The quadrant keeps the rudder from dropping down, but It's not clear to be what keeps the rudder from pushing up into the hull too far. I'm just trying to understand the mechanics of it so there's no surprises once I get the new rudder.
 

Shawn Brooks

Member I
Here's another drawing of an "Ericson 32" rudder I came across. Similar to Tom's drawing, but not exactly.
 

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southofvictor

Member III
Glad you got to the Bahamas safely if not inexpensively. We hauled out this week and plan to drop the rudder to shim the bottom bearing if possible as we have some movement in the post. Will definitely make a close inspection of this area in the process.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
The quadrant keeps the rudder from dropping down, but It's not clear to be what keeps the rudder from pushing up into the hull too far.
I have observed many boats (including Ericson's) with a 'plastic' disk on the top of the rudder where it meets the hull surface. Others may know the material used. Our model does not have this, BTW.
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
I had my E32-3 rudder dropped in 2021 to have the PSS, cutlass bearing, rudder packing gland, and prop shaft worked on by a boatyard. Here are some pictures:

20210114_154956.jpg 20210115_140310.jpg
The rudder shaft was shiny, smooth, and well greased (I added a new zerk fitting a few years earlier and kept the rudder tube well lubed). There was a split in the fiberglass on the rudder's top edge which wasn't fully accessible until the rudder was pulled--that's the white epoxy repair you see in the second picture. That's the second rudder-skin repair I've had done; when I took delivery in 2016, almost the entire leading edge of the rudder had split open:
20 (4).JPG 20160730_172924.jpg

Here' what the rudder post looks like with the rudder removed:
20210114_165106.jpg 20210114_163656.2.jpg
The lower rudder bearing is a thick metal tube glassed into the hull. I never investigated whether it is stainless or bronze. Bronze makes more sense, but it appears to have rust-like stains on it. Whether those rust stains are from the bearing or the rudder shaft itself wasn't evident. The bearing seems to be about 6" long, and above that, the interior widens out, so I believe there is a larger-diameter hollow space above the bearing that is likely just the fiberglass wall of the rudder post itself.

The next highest bearing surface is the packing gland, and then, of course, the upper bearing under the cockpit floor, which has its own zerk fitting.
20210115_115631.jpg 20210114_173017.jpg

My rudder has two of the the plastic bearings around the rudder shaft: one between the rudder and hull, and one between the stuffing box and steering quadrant:
20210112_193852.jpg 20161031_153539.jpg

Good luck with your repairs!
 
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Shawn Brooks

Member I
I had my E32-3 rudder dropped in 2021 to have the PSS, cutlass bearing, rudder packing gland, and prop shaft worked on by a boatyard. Here are some pictures:

View attachment 45680 View attachment 45681

The rudder shaft was shiny, smooth, and well greased (I added a new zerk fitting a few years earlier and kept the rudder tube well lubed). There was a split in the fiberglass on the rudder's top edge which wasn't fully accessible until the rudder was pulled--that's the white epoxy repair you see in the second picture. That's the second rudder-skin repair I've had done; when I took delivery in 2016, almost the entire leading edge of the rudder had split open:
View attachment 45682 View attachment 45683

Here' what the rudder post looks like with the rudder removed:
View attachment 45684 View attachment 45685
The lower rudder bearing is a thick metal tube glassed into the hull. I never investigated whether it is stainless or bronze. Bronze makes more sense, but it appears to have rust-like stains on it. Whether those rust stains are from the bearing or the rudder shaft itself wasn't evident. The bearing seems to be about 6" long, and above that, the rudder post widens out, so I believe there is a larger-diameter hollow space above the bearing that is likely just the fiberglass wall of the rudder post itself.

The next highest bearing surface is the packing gland, and then, of course, the upper bearing under the cockpit floor, which has its own zerk fitting.
View attachment 45687 View attachment 45686

My rudder does have the plastic bearing between the rudder and hull:
View attachment 45688

Good luck with your repairs!
It all looks pretty much identical to mine, except yours is much cleaner. Thanks for the bearing specs! that's something i didn't have.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
My awareness is enhanced. Apparently the threat to a rudder stock by oxygen deprivation is well known.

Stainless steel, in particular, suffers when deprived of oxygen, which is exactly what happens up inside a rudder tube full of stagnant seawater. This effect is exacerbated where the shaft comes in contact with a solid bearing surface, which rubs away the oxide film that protects the steel. Hidden from view, the stock begins to corrode. Over time, its strength is compromised enough that an impact or strong twist snaps it like a pretzel, and the rudder falls away.

From https://www.sailmagazine.com/diy/rudder-awareness
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
The Ericson 32-3 manual says that the lower sleeve bearing (where the rudder shaft enters the hull) is bronze. However, it also claims that that the rudder shaft is 3.5" diameter, which obviously is untrue. It seems to be 2-7/8".
 

Shawn Brooks

Member I
My awareness is enhanced. Apparently the threat to a rudder stock by oxygen deprivation is well known.

Stainless steel, in particular, suffers when deprived of oxygen, which is exactly what happens up inside a rudder tube full of stagnant seawater. This effect is exacerbated where the shaft comes in contact with a solid bearing surface, which rubs away the oxide film that protects the steel. Hidden from view, the stock begins to corrode. Over time, its strength is compromised enough that an impact or strong twist snaps it like a pretzel, and the rudder falls away.

From https://www.sailmagazine.com/diy/rudder-awareness
I don't think that was the failure mode with my rudder, at least. The portions of the post that were in contact with a bearing were in very good shape aside from being slightly worn.
 

Shawn Brooks

Member I
The Ericson 32-3 manual says that the lower sleeve bearing (where the rudder shaft enters the hull) is bronze. However, it also claims that that the rudder shaft is 3.5" diameter, which obviously is untrue. It seems to be 2-7/8".
I've seen 2 7/8" in a couple of hand drawings so far, but mine measured 2.86". Al at Foss Foam said that the Ericson rudders use 2.5" schedule 40 stainless pipe with a machined OD (which means it would have to be somewhat less than 2 7/8"). He insisted that I measure my post with calipers so that he could turn the replacement post to size. But yeah, definitely not 3.5" on the 32' at least.
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
I've seen 2 7/8" in a couple of hand drawings so far, but mine measured 2.86".
Yeah I probably shouldn't have claimed it's 2-7/8," I never measured mine. I did measure the plastic bearing at 2-15/16ths (2.9375) but that was just using a ruler, so I figured 2-7/8 (2.875) was reasonable. Could be that 2.86 is the actual diameter. Maybe the bronze bearing is 2-7/8 and machining the rudder shaft down to 2.86 gives the proper tolerance.
 
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Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
I have observed many boats (including Ericson's) with a 'plastic' disk on the top of the rudder where it meets the hull surface. Others may know the material used. Our model does not have this, BTW.
I have such a washer on my boat. I believe it is made of Delrin.
 

bigd14

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I have such a washer on my boat. I believe it is made of Delrin.
Mine was missing when I got the boat. When I reinstalled the rudder following the strut replacement project, I tried to install one but found that when the rudder was rotated to either side it rose up in the rudder tube and bound against the washer, preventing the rudder from turning far enough for daily use. The rudder tube did not appear to be bent and there was no evidence of damage to the rudder itself. I am still mystified about why this would happen. I had reinstalled the rudder and quadrant and the new packing seal and steering cables by the time I discovered it, so I simply cut the washer off and left things as they were when the boat came to me. I haven't had any issues since then.

Rudder Straight, plenty of clearance
92F42859-0544-463F-A375-94CEC9CF2657.jpeg

Rudder turned, binds on washer. Weird!
D6E8F3EA-0B7C-4A40-B0E6-FF410EE408A6.jpeg
 

Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
I tried to install one but found that when the rudder was rotated to either side it rose up in the rudder tube and bound against the washer
I think the washer in your pic was way too big. My washer has a much smaller OD and does not bind although my rudder also appears to rise when turned. I don't think it actually does rise though. It has something to do with the geometry of the tube angle vs hull angle...maybe?
 

southofvictor

Member III
Here’s a pic of the washer on our 38. Have to say after the OP I want a closer look at what’s going on under it on the post.
 

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goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I've seen 2 7/8" in a couple of hand drawings so far, but mine measured 2.86". Al at Foss Foam said that the Ericson rudders use 2.5" schedule 40 stainless pipe with a machined OD (which means it would have to be somewhat less than 2 7/8"). He insisted that I measure my post with calipers so that he could turn the replacement post to size. But yeah, definitely not 3.5" on the 32' at least.
I arrived at the 2.875” post diameter in my drawing by eyeballing with a tape measure, not with calipers, fwiw.
 
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