Ericson 25+ rudder tube replacement

rssailor

Moderator
Well after 43 years the PVC rudder tube on my Ericson 25+ has started to seep. I have tried sealing it with splash zone, epoxy, and 5200, it still leaks. Has anyone replaced their rudder tube with a new composite one? If so, where did you get the new rudder tube from? I would love to have rudder bearings as well to make moving the rudder easier.
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
Any chance you could furnish some pictures? I'm not able to envision what you are talking about based on your description.

My boat, and E26-2, is the identical hull to yours. It does not have a PVC rudder tube, and I'm certain that would be true for any of our Ericsons. Rather, there is a rather beefy FRP (fiberglass) rudder tube, which accommodates the rudder post. On our boats it is simply a tube, glassed to the hull. What part of the tube is leaking? Again, some pictures would help in diagnosis.
 

rssailor

Moderator
Alan,
I'm planning to haul the boat back out of the water onto it's trailer Sept. 5th and then after I get the boat back to the storage, I plan to pull the rudder out and take a closer look at the rudder tube. I am thinking of using a tides marine rudder shaft with bearings. Ryan
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
Alan,
I'm planning to haul the boat back out of the water onto it's trailer Sept. 5th and then after I get the boat back to the storage, I plan to pull the rudder out and take a closer look at the rudder tube. I am thinking of using a tides marine rudder shaft with bearings. Ryan
I'm not sure why you would be having such difficulty turning the rudder on an E25+ that would require installing some sort of exotic bearings. The rudder on my E26-2 turns just fine. It's simply a rudder post that turns inside of a fiberglass rudder tube. I just put a little bit of grease on the rudder shaft when I haul out, as the rudder is very easy to drop.

Is it possible you have a bent rudder post that is causing some kind of unusual friction? Note, by the way, that the only places where the rudder post should have any contact with the tube is where it exits the hull and where it exits into the cockpit (though there, if your boat is like mine, you have a bronze bearing bolted to the cockpit sole, and so the rudder post would bear on that).

It would be interesting to check out your rudder when you haul the boat. Stand a distance behind the boat and sight the rudder blade with the keel. You might see that the rudder is tweaked. Mine was, in fact, and I had to replace it not too long after buying the boat. The bent rudder post did interfere with the steering particularly in one direction, by the way.
 

rssailor

Moderator
Does anyone have a dimensional drawing of the Ericson 25+ rudder? I am now considering a new rudder in addition to a new rudder tube. I will take some pictures when I pull the boat out of the water on Monday. Ryan
 

Alan Gomes

Contributing Partner
Does anyone have a dimensional drawing of the Ericson 25+ rudder? I am now considering a new rudder in addition to a new rudder tube. I will take some pictures when I pull the boat out of the water on Monday. Ryan
Sorry I don't have a drawing I can send. But you could check with Foss Foam in Newport Beach, CA (assuming they are still in business) and see if they would send you one. They actually were the OEM who made the rudder for Ericson back in the day.

I bought my new rudder from them in July of 2013. The cost at that time was about $1,000.

(By the way: Foss in California and Foss in Florida are two completely separate operations.)
 

acubria

Member II
This is not a "technical" drawing , but maybe it helps. Good luck.
 

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rssailor

Moderator
Well I think I found the source of the leak. Seems like the fiberglass has deteriorated at the bottom of the rudder tube as shown in the first picture. This has allowed water to seep between the tube and the structure into the boat. The PVC tube does not appear to be cracked or fractured at all that I can see. I am going to cut out the area around the bottom of the rudder tube with my router and epoxy on a piece of G10 with a 2 5/16 inch hole in the G10. This should solve the problem. I still think it is time for a new rudder, but maybe hold off till next year on that.
 

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rssailor

Moderator
Allan,
The water shows up on the starboard side of the rudder tube on the inside of the boat and pools behind the rudder tube inside the boat and drools down under the platform in front of the rudder tube, then under the stairs, and either into the bilge or onto the cabin sole. Very annoying. Ryan
 

Parrothead

Member III
How sure are you the rudder tube is PVC? If it is and if it's factory original (not a P.O. hack job repair) it would have been unconscionable for Ericson - or any builder for that matter - to use PVC on the boat anywhere below the waterline. If replacement is in order, alignment of the tube is critical. I've done about 30 from-scratch rudder tube installations and used a mandrel to align and hold the alignment during the bonding process. I strongly recommend an epoxy/fiberglass filament wound tube for the replacement.
 

rssailor

Moderator
How sure are you the rudder tube is PVC? If it is and if it's factory original (not a P.O. hack job repair) it would have been unconscionable for Ericson - or any builder for that matter - to use PVC on the boat anywhere below the waterline. If replacement is in order, alignment of the tube is critical. I've done about 30 from-scratch rudder tube installations and used a mandrel to align and hold the alignment during the bonding process. I strongly recommend an epoxy/fiberglass filament wound tube for the replacement.
As far as I know the tube is factory stock.. Yes alignment of a replacement rudder tube would critical. I would have to make an alignment jig that fits the old rudder tube, then use it to align the replacement. I have looked into tidesmarine and Jefa rudder/rudder tube so far.
Do you have a picture of how you aligned one of your rudder tubes you installed. I am pretty good with epoxy and am confident I could get a new tube installed properly. Ryan
 

Parrothead

Member III
No pictures, sorry. Be sure to check your alignment atwartships, equal lengths port and stbd to the design waterline (the bottom of the stripe, not the top). When you get into this project I'm really interested in the original rudder tube material. I'm hoping you're incorrect about it being PVC but it is what it is. You're in the best position to provide accurate information.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Worth noting might be that a pvc tube might be perfect if used for a form and wrapped with layers of cloth and resin. Even for a replacement, if you could not easily source a commercial frp tube.
 

trickdhat

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I can see this in my mind's eye, but I can't find a picture of it in the hundreds of pics I have of my old boat. The PVC was definitely a budget decision on a lower price point boat, but in Ericson's defense I don't think the PVC is used as a bearing surface or the sole barrier keeping water out. If I remember correctly, there's a glassed tube at the bottom holding a bushing and the PVC Tube. The PVC tube just spans the distance between the glassed tube and the bottom of the top rudder bearing on boats with a tiller. I think you can kind of see this in @rssailor 's second pic. Again, not ideal, but not the end of the world either.
 

rssailor

Moderator
Working on the repair. Routered out a space to install a small G10 piece with a hole drilled in it for the rudder shaft to go thru. Epoxied the G10 in place today, will see how it works in a week or two after I fair it in, coat the area with barrier coat, and then bottom paint. Pictures attached. Yes I think there is a metal bushing at the bottom. Ryan
 

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