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Freeing stuck rudders on a 46 Roamer

Discussion in 'Chris Craft Roamer Yacht' started by q240z, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    These babies haven't budged in about 17 years. Steel rudders on an aluminum boat. Whatevah...

    [​IMG]

    When Sa Va was towed down river in 2000, somebody tried to muscle the spades straight by applying brute force to the helm wheel. Bad idea, since it caused the vertical steering shaft from the helm to pop out of its pivot point in the bilge.

    [​IMG]

    I removed the pin to eliminate the strain between the shaft and the pushrod. You can see from the pic that with the two disconnected there's a good, solid 9" beween the pin and it's corresponding hole on the shaft arm.

    [​IMG]

    Aside from the usual wd-40, Marvel Mystery Oil, etc, heat on the aluminum, cold on the steel, and the judicious application of a large mallet after bracing up the hull from the underside, any ideas on how to remove these rudders? Also, does everybody else with AL Roamers have steel rudders?

    The vertical shaft from the helm doesn't turn either. Hopefully, the gearbox isn't bumhoolied.
  2. artwork

    artwork Member

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    rudder removal

    Now "That's a Tuffy".

    My 58 alum has steel rudders and shafts - siezed tight. Funny how those little grease zerks go unattended for years.

    Not that this is the best way, but it worked for me. About a month of penetrating oil from the top and heat on the tube to help the oil. Banging on the tube also helps. I thought that was just to relieve frustration but an 80 year old machinist told me to do it. The vibration helps the oil travel.

    Now - the muscle. I took a loop of sturdy chain about 3 feet long, go around the rudder stock above the rudder. Let the loop hang on the in-board side; place - rather ballance a big hydraulic jack in the loop and place a block of wood on the hull above it (put a steel plate between the jack and wood). Start jacking. Stop when you feel the side torque on the rudder is getting critical. My rudders have 1.25 inch posts, so they'll take a bunch of push. Go back inside and bang on the tube. I would left the stress on the jack for days. It would move just enough to relieve the jack. re-apply pressure.

    I also rigged a torsion arm to twist the rudder. Once the jack showed any sign of moving the rudder down I twisted the rudder back and forth - 1/4 inch at first, then more and more. The rotation helped free things up. This was a 2 week project - a little each day.

    Even though I have the boat blocked high, I had to dig 8 inch holes below the rudders to get them out. How are you're rudder logs? The bronze ate the aluminum on mine.

    If your steering gearbox is bumhoolied, I've got one for ya, vintage 1970.
  3. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    I like the way you think, Art.

    Starting this Saturday, the missus and I are off for 11 days. We're going to spend most of that time down on the boat. Once the engines, Kohler genset, monster AC unit, and fridge are out via crane, I'll rig up that chain/jack affair you're describing and start working on the rudders.
  4. rockdog

    rockdog New Member

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    Well I previously owned a '62 Silver Comet (I know its nothing like a 46' but it was a Roamer) and did complete swapping out the steel rudders. Although they were 'frozen' they looked like an hour glass where the packing was supposed to seal. I replaced them with a brass set (which I had to cut down in profile to match orginals) I picked up from a 36' plywood Chris Catalina (yes the shafts were huge for a 27' boat).

    The packing nuts were frozen to the logs and I cut them off flush with about an inch of thread showing. I had a machine shop make a female-on-the-bottom and male-on-the-top threaded tube to replace what was removed (female section on bottom was tapered pipe thread). Oh the joy of it all.
  5. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    OK, I've finally gotten around to this project. Here's where things stand right now on the starboard side. I haven't gotten the port side fully exposed yet. I've been beating on it and liberally dousing with PB Blaster & MMO. The stuffing box gland nuts simply don't move. I may have to cut them off if all else fails. The jack goes to the boatyard today along with a length of chain. Wish me luck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The trim tabs came off fairly easily. The hinges are in surprisingly good shape, but MAN are the tabs rusty!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    You certainly have a toughie on your hands there.

    In the pic of the top of the stuffing box it looks like you have tried to get the nuts off with a chisel, they are a lot softer being bronze so this isn't necessarily the best method of attack.

    Being Bronze though they will be open to some other forms of gentle persuasion. Take your hammer and give the flat surfaces of the hex section a good work over. This has been used by me many times to loosen barrel unions and the like that were seemingly locked forever. Also try to use a wrench or something that lets you get a good grip of the nut as a whole, even a Vice Grip Chain Wrench would be better that the chisel at this stage.

    If you can see if you can get the two nuts separated a bit wind the lower one down as at least then you will know for sure you are only dealing with the one stuck nut, also try to get as much of the rust off the shaft immediately above the nut as possible, this will give the penetrant the best chance to get in and will be one less thing to fight against when unwinding the nut.

    There is also an outstanding penetrating oil available from Aircraft supplies places called Mouses Milk. This is the all time best stuff I have ever used. It can loosen manifold nuts.

    Good Luck.
  7. RC42-006

    RC42-006 New Member

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    As a general tip - vibration is used on large ships to remove stuck parts. This has worked for my purposes so far.
    A small unit made for a "vibration table" is a can motor and a steel plug with a hole drilled off center for the shaft.
    The off center load causes the unit to shake

    This is clamped to the shaft and allowed to vibrate while wd-40 is added where gravity will draw it to the corrosion.

    If you want to get fancy you may vary the voltage to the motor. This will help you find the harmonic frequency of the two parts which will help in removal. Good luck!

    Be careful of seals, bushings, etc. when doing this.
  8. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    Thanks for the ideas, folks.

    A bit of a discussion with Artworks here has enlightened me to the fact that new rudder post gland nuts/stuffing boxes are roughly $40US each. That fact pretty much makes these entirely disposable items. I rigged up a bit of a ram over the weekend and dosed the whole thing liberally with PB Blaster, Marvel Mystery Oil, and generous whacks with a 3# sledge. None of that had any effect so far, but I'll give it another week or so. After that, I think I'm just going to cut the rudder post off outide the hull, then use a hole saw to cleanly remove the old assembly in one big, corroded mass. I'll have a little more into a welder, threaded aluminum tube, and a new gland assembly, but will save days' worth of of effort to save what is probably marginal junk anyway. Thoughts?

    Here's how things looked last Sunday:

    [​IMG]
  9. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    They're out!

    [​IMG]

    The machinist who will be making the new rudders and logs declared that these have officially become "unimetal."

    [​IMG]


    The new design will incorporate stainless rudders, aluminum logs w/delrin sleeves for complete isolation, bearings in the upper pivot point, and dripless Sureseals. They ought to be pretty.
  10. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    Don't hate me because I've got beee-utiful new custom rudders. :p

    The stainless is isolated from the hull with delrin bushing sleeves, and the bronze spud is isolated from the shaft log by a rubber hose, just like modern Al boats. The welder will be installing the logs over the next week or so. For anybody interested in doing this, Chesapeake Marine Engineering (http://www.rockholdcreekmarina.com/repair.html) did the work and they were VERY reasonable.

    [​IMG]
  11. acellist

    acellist Member

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    New SS Rudders

    They look great, thanks for the view. I only got to see the 'new' SS rudders on our 46' one month and a half after they splashed down. Shafts and props are the only thing not 'new' below the red stripe in this picture taken a day before bottom cleaning for the trip home:

    Attached Files:

  12. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    It's great to see a sister ship for comparison. Any idea what SS material yours are made of? Also, did they isolate the stuffing box from the shaft log on yours, or just leave it in the original configuration? Last question, have you figured out how to get a grease gun on the nipple? With the old stuff we cut out, the nipple was on the backside pointing down--with all of the cabinetry in place it was totally inaccessible unless you had 5-point articulating wrists and elbows.
  13. acellist

    acellist Member

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    Stainless Steel Rudders

    "It's great to see a sister ship for comparison."

    As to the type of SS used, I have no idea. The rudders, shaft logs, stuffing boxes, and all four propeller shaft struts were completely replaced by a boat builder who manufactures 55' custom aluminum motoryachts with a cruising speed of 65 mph. Since I would be not there to witness the work, I researched the company and felt confident in their work in aluminum . They were recommended and subcontracted by the yard owner and repairman who blasted the previous owner's mastic off her bottom, applied the correct sealer, and re-coated same in addition to some major and minor cosmetic work topsides.
    I wish that I could answer all your questions accurately, however, when we pull out the dresser to re-cut the MS rug, I shall check the position of the nipples and report back.
  14. Castlerock

    Castlerock Senior Member

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    When you move the dresser again to inspect the nipples you should consider adding some remote grease fittings so that you can lube the fittings as part of regular maintenance.
  15. q240z

    q240z New Member

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    Castlerock, that's exactly what I had planned to do if we kept the original layout. I was surprised Chris Craft didn't make them more accessible.
  16. acellist

    acellist Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion, sounds like a good plan to me.