02 Dec 2010

Maintenance is expensive!! – crevice corrosion in the rudder stock ££££

17 Comments Contessa 32

On the trip from Lisbon we identified a vibration in the prop at high RPM this was due to the bearing in the stern tube having about a mm of play. There was also a lot of grease at the point where the shaft enters the back of the engine room via the stern gland or as I like to call it the stuffing box, I was worried that the grease was not going down the shaft and leaking out of the stuffing box instead.

One simple fix ended up very costly. Quite frankly what happened made me feel very nauseous …

Stern gear

Stern gear

We dropped the rudder to get to the prop. The rudder stock had crevice corrosion which occurs due to lack of oxygen in that area. No problem they would split the rudder in half and make a new frame ….

Wet Rudder

Wet Rudder

They cut a panel out of the rudder and vinegar came poring out, acetic acid is the product of osmosis, it was sodden. It’s normal for rudders to get wet, but this was sodden / rotten and since it was 30 years old I thought it best to get the real thing from Jeremy Rodgers yard in the UK. I didn’t want anymore problems ……

So the rudder arrived, but it was too short, the pin in the rudder did not go into the heel plate. I called the JR boat yard and said I would manufacture a bearing, they said they do this on the new builds and apparantly that is where all the weight should be taken, the rudders weight should be on the skeg?!

Rudder HP on pin

Heel Plate on rudder pin

This is the heel plate that sits at the bottom of the boat / skeg and holds the rudder up, now on my last rudder all of the weight was taken on the bronze bearing in the cockpit.

To me, the picture on the left is not a surface you would want the weight of the rudder on, especially since by default that nylon bush wouldn’t be there. Nylon rubbing on a GRP painted surface – no thanks.

Rudder bronze bearing

Rudder bronze bearing

Now this is a surface I would happily have the weight of the rudder on, with this rudder the two surfaces don’t touch.

Not happy mounting the rudder until I find out what’s going on, every tom dick and pedro has their own opinion.

If I hadn’t dropped the rudder I would never have seen this and I might have been fine for a year or two, but by that same token it could have broken in 6 meter seas. Doesn’t make the costs any easier to bear.

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