Steering /rudder assembly issue...Columbia 40

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by souljour2000, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Okay I am posting because I have a "new" boat, namely a '66 Columbia 40 that has stiff steering in the wheel /rudder assembly......we had two divers on her rudder cleaning and pushing back and forth while still at dock and folks above on the steering wheel trying to work it back and forth, divers were scraping off fouling and using leverage off dock pilings with their legs along with party above at the wheel to loosen up the wheel steering...we got full travel..but only very stiffly...steering assembly looks good to the eye...any ideas for when I get back down there soon?...She's got to move more assuming we get the diesel fired...Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 476, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You know what you need to do. Without pictures I can't tell which version you have. In any case you need to disassemble the rudder port and heel fitting. It'll probably be quite obvious once apart.
     
  3. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    C-40 steering

    Par, Is that something that must be done on the hard? It's a skeg attached rudder as seen in pic attached...though it shows a tiller.. mine has primary wheel steering as mentioned. There is a bronze access plate toward rear of cockpit sole that a special tool unscrews to reveal stock head and fitting for attachment of emergency rudder...havent found the emergency tiller yet...but it may be down there amongst a bunch of crap in the cockpit lazarettes.

    I feel a bit ignorant as I havent had a chance to learn if there is possibly some sort of greaseport for this type of rudder shaft ...I have not done my homework I guess and have never had much experience with a skeg-hung or even a spade rudder apart on the hard...My C-29 had a skeg-hung...but only had "play in the gooseneck" issues initially that were easily addressed by fashioning a new keyway from a flathead screwdriver...Always had good uninhibited full travel of the foil itself. I understand there is a bushing/bearing assembly on some shaft assemblies, but there are several different approaches that designers have used over the yeasrs. I am just attempting to get reliable steering to make a quick run up the gulf beaches 75 miles or so...without the rudder coming off...or damaging the assembly somehow...
     

    Attached Files:

  4. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 4,862
    Likes: 115, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1180
    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Do know the rudder bearing details. If a plastic like delrin was used the bearing could have expanded , swollen , and is causing friction.

    No amount of grease will loosen a swollen bearing.

    If you haul and install a new bearing be aware of plastics defects.

    When measuring the old rudder stock for a new bearing be aware that rudder stocks don't wear uniformly. They wear fore and aft from prop thrust and become egg shaped. Make allowance when machining a new bearing
     
  5. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I do not know much the rudder shaft assembly Michael...maybe I can find out on the Columbia owner website...interesting to know about the delrin/nylon dissimilarity in wear if it turns out to have a bushing type arrangement...
     
  6. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    What PAR said was cryptic...but he offered some clues...might be similar to what you're saying Michael...just different terminology perhaps...heel fitting and rudder port...that's enough to go on for now...I'll do some more research on my own tonite and see if a lightbulb goes on perhaps...been busy lately... whew.. ...but I will also have some time before going back down to the boat next week maybe....thanks PAR, Michael.....to be cont..
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 476, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    That's not a skeg hung rudder, it is keel hung. You had me thinking this might be a Hughes, not a Morgan.

    It's unlikely she has zerks or high density plastic bushings, just plain old bronze.

    The rudder port is where the shaft comes through the hull and of this vintage, it's packing will be shot and live stock will have moved in and made a nice home. The heel fitting is at the base of the blade/shaft assembly and is attached to the keel. It's a socket like fitting that support's (wait for it) the heel of the rudder.

    Both the port and heel fitting are usually repairable, assuming it's not too egged out or corroded. A new bushing can be machined or you could use a different approach.

    The boat needs to be on the hard, so you can finish up the inspection and evaluation. This is my previous cryptic reply. This old CCA war horse does have the option of pulling the rudder with it still in the wet stuff, but it's not an easy task. Usually, when they're this old, you need a blue tipped wrench and some well earned cursing, to get the fitting fasteners loose.
     
  8. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    PAR...Thanks...I was pretty sure it didnt have delrin/nylon bushings due to her age but you have confirmed it. Its as you said a keel-hung and probably the same type keel-hung rudder as my C-29 also a 1966 and hence out of the same Costa Mesa.CA factory)... Stuffing box being shot would seem right...

    Assuming the heel fitting could be removed and the rudder man-handled out of there (with the boat and a couple guys standing 4 1/2 to 5 feet of water)....there may also be a gudgeon /pintle or hinged strap somewhere that would have to be removed...Then perhaps I can use a small ,skinny but powerful 2500 psi plumbing jetter hose blown up into the rudder port to get rid of the creepy crawlies...better to perhaps bit the bullet and find a DIY yard somewhere on the Caloosahatchie and go from the bottom up though...manhandling a rudder that size is not my idea of fun these days..neither is snorkling in order to rachet back on (or worse off) some bolts...but I digress..
     
  9. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Okay...I found this diagram of a Columbia 26 from 1970...mine is a C-40 from 1968 though I thought it was 1966 but did some title research... so I am pretty sure that my rudder is like this one...it has a bronze heel that the rudder shaft sits on...optional zirc fitting to keep the tube filled with grease...not critters...

    I added the actual rudder post in the pic there inside the tube for effect...so we know what we are looking at. Tomorrow I am going to go down to her and pour muriatic acid into the tube which I am sure has alot of critters in there (thanks to PAR).

    PAR and/or anyone...can I pour muriatic in this fiberglass tube (via a small 1/2 inch hole I am going to drill near the top and then use slender funnel)...and then plan to leave the boat for a few days...after capping off the hole...

    I am wondering if this is wise, and when I come back..is the stern of my boat still going to be there..? I got 2 gallons from Homedepot because they dont sell anything smaller than a 2-pack...I am only going to use a quart or so...and see if it dissolves some of the calcareous critters in there before I start reaming around with a stiff wire..or 1/4 plumbing cable..or something to that effect...Should I be prudent...and use some CLR instead first..? Or should I go for the efficacious route that is more macho but white-knuckler considering I would be away for a couple days before coming back to check on things...I am not a frequent user of acid..I've always known it's not really for me...:rolleyes:
     

    Attached Files:

  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 476, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yes, you can use muriatic acid, but I wouldn't leave it in the tube. Pour some it, let it work for a half hour, drain it then start scrubbing and repeat. If you can work a scraper or rotary scrubber in there, as it's doing it's deed, then all the better.

    Once you've removed as much as this will, try a flap wheel and an extension (which you might have to make, but it's not hard). I've made countless tools like this, for getting into places and cleaning them up or just providing some tooth.
     
  11. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    As always...thanks for the sound sage advice...dousing and then draining it off after a bit...drill/scrape/flap...rinse and repeat, well it sounds painstaking but probably prudent... I think I know what you mean by a flapper wheel...like maybe a drill that instead of a "bit"...has something like a coat-hanger,etc that has been bent straight flapping around....sounds like it's going to be fun...I will be able to see what I am up against better tomorrow....
     
  12. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 476, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You'll want something stiffer than a coat hanger. On a short reach, I might use a thick welding rod, but usually I just use a length of round bar stock, say 1/4". You can make a flapper wheel by slotting the end of the bar and inserting several varying lengths of worn out belt sander paper (40 grit or coarser). The tube is probably big enough to use a conventional flap wheel or maybe a wire wheel. A standard drill extension can be used, maybe more then one. A tip that may help, is to slide a length of pipe over the extension, so you can grab the spinning extension and guide it, mostly to control wobble, as you plunge it up and down.
     
  13. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    PAR..I'm pretty good at editing and can proofread well...if you ever decide to put some of this into more traditional forms of knowledge transfer....like a book or three...

    In any case..I heard your advice.....heavy grit sand paper slid into a slot on the end of an aluminum rod sounds pretty efficacious.....hadn't thought of that....taking notes though...thanks!....I just picked up some belt sandpaper opf 40 grit or so today at the habitat-for-humanity re-store.....
     
  14. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Well..I drove the 75 miles back to the boat yesterday and spent about 5-6 hours on her doing this and that...It didn't take long to discover the true nature of the steering issue as I stubbed my toe on the cause of the steering issue almost as soon as I got on the boat...
    I had just arrived and then hauled my 3500w generator out of my dinghy via a rope while standing on the stern and set it not so gingerly down on the port cockpit bench when the centrifugal forces of the endeavor sent me forward a bit toward the companionway and I bashed my middle right toe on something in the cockpit floor...After applying some papertowels to stem the bleeding toe..I came back up out of the cabin and cursed the aluminum flange that sits on the floor mid-cockpit behind the wheel which is of course the base for the aluminum tube pedestal/seat assembly for whoever is at the wheel. Cursing it once more and shrugging off the pain I commenced to other duties....such as firing up the generator and connecting my 50 amp Blackened Pecker battery charger to the 12 volt pair of battery banks which have lain drained since I took possession, opening the hatches for ventilation, checking the bilge...etc.. etc...
    Finally I have recovered enough from the mangling of my foot (and the mile and a half row out to the boat)...to see if I can crawl up under the cockpit and have a look at this rudder port and see if it is indeed similar to the one posted above from a C-26, and if the plan is still on as far as the acid and so forth...Well..On my boat there is a sliding door back to starboard under the companionway that allows smaller folk to crawl in there but I am a fairly big guy and 5'11, 220 lbs and all I can do is get my head and an arm with a flashlight connected to it through there.......Hmm...okay...there's the rudder post...there's the quadrant, there's the pulleys to either side... but where's the rudder port tube ...?
    I then see that there is no real rudder port...the stern overhang rises quickly and sharply to meet the cockpit floor and there's no long tube...more like a rhomboid-shaped, glassed, boxy, stuffing box thingy...I had only been under here once before to detrmine and determined that everything looked good...pulley's, steel wire..mostly checking that the pulleys moved freely...didnt think to take a hard look at the....then I see it...the quadrant again...

    Dios Mio! It it actually rubbing against the underside of the cockpit floor...No! it's rubbing hard against the nut/bolt ends of that damned cockpit seat flange I stubbed my toe on when I got on the boat...I now knew the answer to my long-held hunch that that flange had been hijacked from the salon where it supported the dinette table.... and some bobo owner in the poor boats recent history had wanted a cockpit chair to sit on his arse behind the wheel with no thought to giving clearance to the quadrant...or to my toe for that matter!....

    Epilogue:

    Well there might still be critters in my rudder port/stuffing box, but they've cleared a bit from my brain at least...now I just need to bring along my older son (who is skinny) next time... to climb in there and hold a wrench on those nuts while I get that pedestal flange out of there from above....I can get to a few from the emergency rudder access plate... but not all on the back side... But hopefully that's more or less the end of "Episode I: The Rudder Riddle...."
     

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 476, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A vise grip on a stick, is a great second hand in these types of situations. Get it clamped on, then wedge, tie or even hold the stick, as you spin the fastener out from above.

    You don't need a rudder tube, just a port, which is what you have. It depends on several factors as to how you approach the design, but in a lot of boats, likely ones that you're more familiar with, they'll use a tube with a bearing and maybe a port at the top. Both techniques work and are valid.

    Sorry about the toe, but we all have to make discoveries in our own way. Apparently, you need to learn hard. I can relate to this . . .
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.