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Stuck Rudder

Reivers Dustin
02/19/15 #16895

Typical sticky rudder is from bent rudder shaft due to bumping into something. Other cause might be wroing rudder being installed.

Note: the rudder shaft sleeve is the tube that runs from deck to hull and is usually a relatively thin tube, not meant to take a lot of force. If the rudder shaft is bent bad enough, this tube can be damaged. If that happens you'll have a water leak there. It's a bugger find and to fix. I don't know anyone who has done a successful repair of this tube. I've jammed a few rocks and blown up some rudders. So I notice a slight leak at the rudder tube on my S1-X. I've packed the rudder with lube in order to make a bit of a seal and it has worked for years.

suggestion: remove rudder with care and shine a light from other side of tube (or maybe hold something white on the other side) so that you can see through and try to see any ruptures in tube-wall. Whatever rudder you re-install you should try to cover the shaft with a lube such that the lube is carried into the tube. I use plumber's silicone seal. It's expensive and gets all over the place. If the tube is plastic or rudder this lube won't cause degredation. If the tube is fiberglass or non-petrochemical based, then any kind of lube will work fine (like vasaline jelly - much cheaper). Even if the rudder tube is damaged, this method will have good results. This type of seal is typical at your home's outside water faucet where they just put a packing around the shaft of the operating shaft. When these get old, dry and loose that's typically what causes the water leak at the hose connection. The old mechanics who told me about this called it a “packing gland”. This is seperate from the actual sealing gasket or washer inside the faucet that must hold against fairly high pressure.

Oh, and if the rudder shaft is distorted, its best to replace it since it will continue to flex the rudder tube inside the boat. Very difficult for the average guy to get the rudder shaft true again. Probably Don K can. I've fussed and fiddled and ended up getting rid of the rudder (I think donated to Don K, since he needs rudder shafts - be sure to tell him the exact boat the rudder came from).

Larry <lbussinger@…>
02/19/15 #16896

I think I've seen where the manufacturer or new rudder supplier has changed shaft diameters slightly, so when you get it out, you should check it with a micrometer.
Larry B

JD Davies <jd@…>
02/19/15 #16897

For a while Epic used an aluminum rudder rod which corroded in salt water over time and would then seize up.

If this is the case all you need to do is get the old one out and a new one in.. The new ones are solid stainless and will
not corrode. You should not need to lube the new setup if it fits properly.


Bob Putnam
02/19/15 #16898

JD is right on track. Its best to remove the rudders on older Epic boats if they are going to sit for the winter. Fluid Film and patience may help de-seize the rudder post. We have seen some that require surgery, with the rudder box needing to be rebuilt. Hopefully this is not that bad.

02/19/15 #16899

JD and Bob are most likely correct about it being a corroded aluminum shaft. Hopefully you can remove it. You might have some luck dissolving the corrosion with an oil, acid, or ammonia, but first try cooling the area. The aluminum will contract but the composite around it will not. This is how I de-mold carbon rudder blades from aluminum molds - I put them in the freezer for a few minutes! So put some ice in the rudder well and/or wrap the area around the rudder with ice packs. Or drive it to the east coast. Once it’s chilled, tap the top of the shaft with a mallet and hopefully it will start moving. Once the top of the shaft is down in the tube you’ll have to use some kind of push rod to keep tapping it through.

I know a guy who builds nice replacement rudders… surski@…


Michael Gregory
02/19/15 #16900

I had an older Epic aluminum shaft seize-up in the rudder post. A couple of things seemed to help free-up the shaft; take a a few vigorous taps down on the head of the shaft with a mallet then apply torque, repeat til the shaft moves. I don't know that penetrating oil is helpful but, maybe:/


stuck_rudder.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/16 21:50 (external edit)