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rudder/tiller bearing

how difficult is it to replace the bearing at the top of the rudder/end of the tiller 'swan neck'. mine looks like a fairly standard ball race which has disintergrated completely. There appears to be a large nut holding the tiller on and then a plate bolted to the hull which should have a bearing in it. I assume if i take off the big nut and remove the plate I can take the bits to a bearing stockist and get a new ball race/bearing and reassemble. I suspect none of these bolts have ever moved since the boat was built (1998) so may need some force, is there risk of damaging the rudder or indeed a risk of the rudder falling off. obviously the boats in the water and I don't want to dry dock it to do this repair. Any advice/tips would be most welcome.

Asked by: Jon A  | 4.05pm, Monday 17 May

WW says:

You are very much on the right lines with what you describe. Top bearing are easily obtainable from chandlers, though it is often best to take the old one with you, so you get the right size!
As long as the bottom bearing (often just a cup bearing) is in reasonable condition, the rudder shouldb't drop- you would have noticed by now if it had!
You might need to use a blowtorch on the nut, or heat a slightly-too-small box wrench, hammer it onto the nut, let it cool and then remove it, if it doesn't budge easily.
Just in case, if there is an eye in the top of the rudder blade, you could loop a line through, and tie it off to a cleat/dolly, just in case!
Good luck!

Mark Langley  | 9.00PM, Tuesday 18 May

Readers say:

thanks Mark, yes there is an eye in the top of the rudder.

Jon A  | 3.52PM, Wednesday 19 May

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