Piper Boat Owners Club Forum

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Upper rudder bearing

I see there have been previous posts about loose rudders, but my problem is a bit different.
About 2 yrs ago, I found that the rudder did not want to move at all. No obvious external cause. I was unable to move it by pushing the swan neck alone, but with the tiller on, and some penetrating oil trickled into the bearing, it finally began to move and the boat became steerable again.
As we moved on, I noticed that the "collar" immediately below the swans neck (presumably a "plain" bearing) was moving with it, though it had previously remained still and the stock turned inside it.
Back at moorings, I looked at it more closely, and removed the small (M4) machine screw just below the collar, finding it to be broken. I managed to rotate and raise the collar, and remove the other piece. I then measured the pieces and replaced the scew with another of the same size.
All now seemed to be OK, but over time the collar has been rotating a few degrees while steering, appearing quite loose if the screw was not tight and holding it, and this has progressively enlarged the hole for the screw to a point where it no longer grips.

So the questions are:
1.The obvious thing to do would be to re-drill and tap for a slightly thicker (but same length) screw (M5?). Is this OK?
2.The bearing collar now seems quite loose on the wide tube it sits on, and would probably still move after fitting a new screw. Does it need some packing, and if so what should be used and how?
3.I've often wondered about the lack of a means to lubricate this bearing. Would it be a good idea to replace the machine screw with a grease nipple? (Assuming one of appropriate size is available)
4.I'm not sure if I need to remove the swans neck to do any of this. I've seen it (and the rudder) removed once, by someone from Piper's, when the boat was quite new, but can't remember the details of how to do it.

Re: Upper rudder bearing

Alan.

I had the same problem on my narrowboat Colours of the wind.
I found the screw sheered of as well. When my boat was out on a hardstand for blacking, I removed the rudder and took out the collar.
Replaced the old screw by redrilling and tapping and replaced it by a M6 bolt.
The collar could be removed from the rudders swans neck. (Not a very easy job).
Cleaned out the inner side of the collar, and drilled a hole, about 15 mm from the top into the side and tapped it to fit a grease nipple. On the inside I had a groove machined just at the hight of the grease nipple hole. (groove takes the grease from the nipple and lubricates the collar). Do not try to use the grase nipple to replace the original screw, because the crease nipple is not strong enough to keep the collar in place.
After putting it al together again, and greasing the rudder swans neck I never had the problem again. Hope this helps.

Best wishes

Henk
Nb, Colours of the wind.

Living aboard in The Netherlands

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