Ericson 34-2 Rudder Rebuild

Sailing ixion

Junior Member
Hi there everyone first post, first major project,

Just bought a new-to-me Ericson 34-2, and I'm about to start my first major project on the boat... rebuilding the rudder. Our Ericson has sat on the hard for roughly 3 years and at the time of survey, had very high moisture levels in the rudder. After baking in the Massachusetts sun for the last few years, the rudder has definitely delaminated and begun to split and requires some more investigative work to determine the proper remedy.

It is my assumption, based on the delamination on both sides that I have the arduous task of opening the rudder, digging out the old foam and re-coring and re-fairing the whole thing. My question is this, do you have a preferred supplier that carries 16lb density epoxy foam? (I haven't been able to find it at Defender Marine or Jamestown Dist. and I'd rather not go any lower than that). Secondly, does anyone have a good accurate way of determining how much foam I need? I'd rather not cube the dimensions of the rudder.

Tomorrow I'm going to try and drop the rudder, I'm hopeful for my success.

Thanks!
Nick
 

Marlin Prowell

E34 - Bellingham, WA
Our boat is on the hard right now getting the bottom stripped and repainted. I noticed a crack in the leading edge of the rudder that was leaking water. The yard investigated and found a void in the fiberglass behind the crack. They peeled away some of the fiberglass on the leading edge. They found a crack on the trailing edge of the rudder that they suspect is where the water entered the rudder.

They then drilled a hole in the bottom of the rudder to let all the accumulated water drain out, and let it sit for a few days. The rudder contains closed cell foam, so the foam should not retain water. They pointed an infrared heater at the rudder and let it bake for a few days. This dried out the rudder enough, according to the moisture meter. They reglassed the leading edge and trailing edge and sealed up the hole in the bottom.

Depending on how bad the delimitation is, you might try draining the rudder before dropping it to see if that is enough to get your interior foam dried out. Just reglassing the rudder is much simpler than rebuilding the entire rudder.
 

TimTimmeh

Member II
I agree - I just repaired a significant amount of repair on my rudder as well, just ground off all the de-laminated skin and the foam was dry but there was some moisture in the voids, probably removed 30% of the skin and replaced with epoxy and bi-axial cloth and faired it till it looked like new.
the skin is really thin and doesn't like being in the sun, it may be that your foam is completely dry but the thermal expansion has caused the de-lamination, just get out the grinder and remove any skin that gives a dull thud.
If my repairs doesn't hold up well I will probably be calling Foss rudders for a quote before I start building my own.
 

Thaddeus

Member I
When I bought my 34-2 the rudder was painted with white bottom paint. The yard said that Ericson rudders are prone to warping and delaminating which the white paint prevents compared to black paint. I paint it white every year. Has anyone else heard this?
 

Brad Johnson

Member III
y
When I bought my 34-2 the rudder was painted with white bottom paint. The yard said that Ericson rudders are prone to warping and delaminating which the white paint prevents compared to black paint. I paint it white every year. Has anyone else heard this?
I was told that when I bought my E26-6 34 years ago
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
True of all foam rudders, I believe. If left in hot sun upon haul-out, they will swell up like mine did recently in great horrifying lumps (Just cover the rudder temporarily when hauled out). But before launch the rudder surface had returned to its former perfect shape and rock hardness.
 

Navman

Member III
When I bought my E-38, It came with all of the original factory information, drawings, running and standing rigging spec's. It also cam with a newsletter from Ericson stating that Foss would not be liable ( no warranty) for any damages to the rudder if it was painted any color other than white. When hauled they recommend that if not painted white, that it be covered with a white drop cloth for just the reasons mentioned above. My rudder was painted a dark grey when I bought it. When it was hauled for the winter I noticed a bulge forming in the side which faces the sun. Then another bulge appeared. Then the above mentioned split on the leading edge showed up. I dried the rudder out, fiberglassed it, sanded it and painted it white. I have had no issues since then.
 

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Sailing ixion

Junior Member
This is all really good food for thought! I've been expecting the worse, but it sounds like I may be thinking I've got a mountain of a project when its in fact a mole hill. Either way, It appears that I'll be repainting my rudder white!

I've got two delaminated bulges midway on both sides as well as a crack on the leading edge. Though no signs of water seepage (yet). She's been on the hard for at least 3 years.
 

JSM

Member III
When we bought our 34-2 there was a bulge in the side of the rudder and the trailing edge was split. At the end of our first season I drilled holes in the bottom of the rudder and let it drain. After dropping the rudder I took it home and cut the bulging area out and let the rudder dry in my basement over the winter. After it dried out I filled the areas that I had cut out with epoxy thickened with micro balloons and recovered the entire rudder with 1708 biaxial fiberglass.
The rudder has remained dry for the last five years.
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
Nick,

I rebuilt the rudder on my 25+ a few years ago. If you end up going that route here's my experience:


I went with8 lb foam from fiberglasssupply.com and it was a good match for my rudder. Not sure if the larger boats used a denser foam. 16lb may also be difficult to find.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
If you are having the rudder repaired professionally, you ought to get a bid on the improved Schumacher design that has been installed on several Ericson 36's and an Olson 34 that I know. There are some threads here discussing this.
 

Sailing ixion

Junior Member
When we bought our 34-2 there was a bulge in the side of the rudder and the trailing edge was split. At the end of our first season I drilled holes in the bottom of the rudder and let it drain. After dropping the rudder I took it home and cut the bulging area out and let the rudder dry in my basement over the winter. After it dried out I filled the areas that I had cut out with epoxy thickened with micro balloons and recovered the entire rudder with 1708 biaxial fiberglass.
The rudder has remained dry for the last five years.
When you dropped the rudder, how easy was it? I’m a little flummoxed. I removed 4 bolts from the steering quadrant as well as the bolt that feeds through the rudder post. I’ve loosened the rudder post packing gland too.

So far the rudder hasn’t budged an inch. It looks like when I loosened the packing gland the bolts holding it together pushed the spacer between the packing gland and the steering quadrant up and actually pulled the rudder up closer to the hull.

so I’m at a loss… advice would be appreciated.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I guess I would attack the spacer, which on my boat is just a couple of plastic disks.

The through-bolt and quadrant hold the rudder, which bears on the top of the rudder tube, and so it's a puzzle why the rudder won't drop. I guess you've already tried force, wiggling it, jacking it up half an inch, and so on.

Presumably the bronze top of the packing gland is now free, since the quadrant has been removed. It should lift up easily, and if not something must be jammed in there, as you suggest.

1632498131335.jpeg
 

Sailing ixion

Junior Member
I guess I would attack the spacer, which on my boat is just a couple of plastic disks.

The through-bolt and quadrant hold the rudder, which bears on the top of the rudder tube, and so it's a puzzle why the rudder won't drop. I guess you've already tried force, wiggling it, jacking it up half an inch, and so on.

Presumably the bronze top of the packing gland is now free, since the quadrant has been removed. It should lift up easily, and if not something must be jammed in there, as you suggest.

View attachment 40341

The spacer on mine is significantly larger. I was hoping not to cut it, but I feel its starting to leave me any other choice. Before I do, I'm going to try to gently pull the rudder down with a series of shims from the outside.

C44C52B9-3228-4908-BA41-65518723EB11.jpeg4C3FC93A-7281-4030-A4D5-3C7B54296736.jpeg

If you look at the photos I've attached taken (before I've pulled apart the steering) You can see that the black spacer covers the bolts for the packing gland. As I've loosened them, they have forced the spacer up, and the entire rudder has been pulled further towards the hull as a result. I haven't (yet) driven them completely out as now the gap between the rudder and the hull is completely closed and I'm a bit concerned that continuing to drive them higher will damage both the hull and the rudder or one of the bolts will shear. Which is why I'm thinking of driving the two apart from the outside.

I don't think I'm missing a bolt anywhere that's keeping the rudder from releasing.
 

Sailing ixion

Junior Member
The spacer on mine is significantly larger. I was hoping not to cut it, but I feel its starting to leave me any other choice. Before I do, I'm going to try to gently pull the rudder down with a series of shims from the outside.

View attachment 40346View attachment 40347

If you look at the photos I've attached taken (before I've pulled apart the steering) You can see that the black spacer covers the bolts for the packing gland. As I've loosened them, they have forced the spacer up, and the entire rudder has been pulled further towards the hull as a result. I haven't (yet) driven them completely out as now the gap between the rudder and the hull is completely closed and I'm a bit concerned that continuing to drive them higher will damage both the hull and the rudder or one of the bolts will shear. Which is why I'm thinking of driving the two apart from the outside.

I don't think I'm missing a bolt anywhere that's keeping the rudder from releasing.
Well got it down once the steering quadrant was completely loose it slid down fairly easily.
 

hdlEric

Member III
When I bought my 34-2 the rudder was painted with white bottom paint. The yard said that Ericson rudders are prone to warping and delaminating which the white paint prevents compared to black paint. I paint it white every year. Has anyone else heard this?
I realize this is an OLD post, but need some help assessing and repairing the condition of the rudder on my 1987 Ericson 34. I have posted here before and had some good replies.......thank you folks!!! I live near Toledo Oh, and am having a hard time locating a repair facility.
Thanks for your time!! Howard
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
What's the issue with your rudder?

The white paint thing--that's to prevent sun damage when the boat is hauled. Direct hot sunlight causes the skin/foam of a rudder to swell up and distort, so they should protected from sun when on the hard. Covering a dark rudder temporarily in paper does the same thing.

By the way, adding to an existing post--and "old" post--is much appreciated, when appropriate. It keeps all the information in one place for the next guy who searches for "Ericson 34-2 Rudder Rebuild."
 

william.haas

1990 Ericson 28
When I bought my 34-2 the rudder was painted with white bottom paint. The yard said that Ericson rudders are prone to warping and delaminating which the white paint prevents compared to black paint. I paint it white every year. Has anyone else heard this?
The manual for my 1990 28 indicates the rudder should be painted white for the reason you mentioned (it also came to me painted white). Every single spring the yard guys give me a hard time and ask me to find boats with white rudders (there are none) and every single year I pull out the white bottom paint and put on a fresh coat.
 
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