• Untitled Document

    Fund Raising Season 2020-2021 is Now Open!

    Please visit our thread below to learn more about what you can do to support this website! Thanks so very much for your support of Ericson Yachts.org!

    Notice on 2020-2021 Fund Raising

35-3 Rudder Bushing?

RCsailfast

Member II
We finally pulled our boat for the winter and noticed the rudder play is getting worse. Guess greasing doesn’t stop wear once it’s starts. Didn't see a bushing drawn in on the original blue prints but wondering if we have one. I’m talking about at the base of the hull not the top.
looked at the Foss rudder drawings and need to see if we have 30” under the rudder to pull it. After dealing with the quadrant stop in the spring, not looking forward to being inverted in a contorted manner again, but we need to address this.
Searching I saw the E35-2 has them but I know the E35-3 is a much different vessel.

Thanks in advance
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Rudder bearing

Two popular fixes: West System has instructions for injecting an epoxy-silica-graphite mix into the shaft log, and placing shims.

Both are discussed in this thread, among others:


Clunking in the steering while sailing is bad, but a little play noticed when grabbing the rudder on the hard is livable if you don't feel it under way.

Also check the top bearing under the cockpit deck. It comes loose, is easy to tighten, and can feel like lots of bad things.
 

RCsailfast

Member II
Thanks Christian,
I KNEW I saw that somewhere in my countless hours of research.
I also leafed through my manual and it does show a bronze bushing top and bottom in the maintenance section.
We will check both, but know the play when grabbing the rudder has gotten worse each year. Time to bump that project up toward to top of the list.
 

debonAir

Member III
I had rudder play issues on my 35-3. There is a bronze sleeve/bushing at the bottom, and one at the top. both were worn a bit and slightly out-of-round. The top bushing being worse than the bottom with some scoring, etc. perhaps from lube wearing out faster.

I solved the issue by using UHMW PE tape. A single layer of 2" tape around the top and bottom of the shaft cut very carefully made the rudder absolutely solid but still easy to turn. I first used a flap-wheel to smooth out the upper bearing to eliminate scoring which could damage the tape.

The tape is available online, I got an assortment of thicknesses 3, 5, and 10 mil (.003", etc.) thinking I could build in layers to get the exact needed. You will be surprised how little bearing wear can translate to large rudder play at the end of the rudder. I ended up using just one layer of 3mil on the bottom and one of 5mil on the top I believe and it still took some force to get the rudder back up in to the boat.

I had to dig out a shallow area under the rudder to drop it completely. Just 6 inches or so, depends on how high you're blocked but it wasn't a big deal at all. Just dig a bit first to be sure. I used a floor-jack and various lengths of 12x12 lumber lengths left over from a landscape project to lower and raise the rudder in steps. I think it only took two steps.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
And, do check on that "top bearing". When it inevitably loosens, water seeps down and rots the plywood reinforcement underneath. Having just replaced some of that (formerly) wet wood with fiberglass, we realize how important it is to keep that top plate frame really tight and to maintain good sealant under the flange.
Those four bolts are important.
I also had the whole chrome-bronze "deck plate" fitting re-chromed. It's long out of production, and worth saving/renewing, IMHO.
 

Cory B

Member III
We also had excessive play in our lower rudder bearing. Our upper was fine. To add another possible fix, we just used a bronze shim. Going strong still 10 years later.
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
And, do check on that "top bearing". When it inevitably loosens, water seeps down and rots the plywood reinforcement underneath. Having just replaced some of that (formerly) wet wood with fiberglass, we realize how important it is to keep that top plate frame really tight and to maintain good sealant under the flange.
Those four bolts are important.
I also had the whole chrome-bronze "deck plate" fitting re-chromed. It's long out of production, and worth saving/renewing, IMHO.
Loren, those 4 bolts you are referring to...I am going to squeeze down below this weekend...with my son above to pull me out...do you remember the bolt size ? Appreciate it.....
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
They might be 3/8, or only 5/16.... our boat is 30 miles away unfortunately.
Take several deep sockets with you, and a short extension and a wobbler -- just to be sure! :)
Someone will have to hold or turn the top with a mid or larger size Phillips.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Over the years I keep repeating this note on the top rudder bearing simply because it was a revelation to me. I was afraid I had a bad case of rudder clunk until realizing what was going on.

The rudder post plate on the cockpit floor will never visibly wobble. It is held in place by four philips-head machine screws. All appears normal and the screws do not appear loose.

However, those machine screws hold in place the "bearing" on the underside of the cockpit floor. If the nuts below get loose--some owners have have found them missing completely, fell off years before--the underside bearing assembly wobbles like crazy. The rudder post slops around, clunks on every tack.

The check of the top bearing is easy. Remove the plate and turn the rudder while sailing. If the top of the rudder post wobbles, the nuts below are loose. Also, if the screws turn easily with a screwdriver, they're loose. That's a check that can be done without crawling under the cockpit.

Even with lock washers, I have had to tighten the under-deck nuts after long distances in heavy conditions.

rudder post.jpg...detail top rudder bearing under deck.JPG
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
Over the years I keep repeating this note on the top rudder bearing simply because it was a revelation to me. I was afraid I had a bad case of rudder clunk until realizing what was going on.

The rudder post plate on the cockpit floor will never visibly wobble. It is held in place by four philips-head machine screws. All appears normal and the screws do not appear loose.

However, those machine screws hold in place the "bearing" on the underside of the cockpit floor. If the nuts below get loose--some owners have have found them missing completely, fell off years before--the underside bearing assembly wobbles like crazy. The rudder post slops around, clunks on every tack.

The check of the top bearing is easy. Remove the plate and turn the rudder while sailing. If the top of the rudder post wobbles, the nuts below are loose. Also, if the screws turn easily with a screwdriver, they're loose. That's a check that can be done without crawling under the cockpit.

Even with lock washers, I have had to tighten the under-deck nuts after long distances in heavy conditions.

View attachment 36070...View attachment 36069
AH HA.........pictures are worth a beaucoup of words...!!! Now I get the message! Thank you and all on this thread....I do have a case of the "clunk"...now I can see what I was missing...!
Side note: Where is the grease fitting for that top rudder post bearing? Maybe on the opposite side of the bearing assembly in the right photo?
 
Last edited:

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Yes, I think the 32-3 had a Zerk on the other side. Hard to reach, and I never used it because I didn't yet have a hose-end grease gun. But since the top of the rudder post is visible under the plate, I just lathered that with grease. I still do that with the current boat.

By the way, here's what a wobbling rudder post did to my deck cap. I think I actually felt the plate being ground down under my bare foot--now there's a boat telling you to pay more attention.

arrow to rudder plate wear.jpg
 

RCsailfast

Member II
Been a busy week but measured under the rudder and have 32-33” clearance.
also pulled the cap and had moisture underneath. Left it off to evaporate, but reminded me how off center it is from the shaft. I had resealed the cap 2 yrs ago after epoxying to holes it screws to. Check for play then and now to explain why it is off center but the play is negligible with everything connected.1605990324673.jpeg
 

RCsailfast

Member II
1606017535776.jpegpic from before launch last spring when working on the quadrant stop. Looks similar except with a square bearing that has been caulked in. Also nice to see look washers holding the nuts. Regardless the rudder is going to be pulled and all inspected for wear. Not sure which solution will be used to eliminate play until it is evaluated.
 
Top