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Jim Cleary's Gudgeon Fix

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
Jim, a few years back, you described applying HDMW (or something, not good at remembering) to your rudder post to take up slack in the gudgeon. How did that work out? How is the plastic holding up? Thanks.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Terry

I'm sure this is all in the archives but I'll give it a go. My memory is about as good as yours. For a few years of sailing the rudder would occasionally clunk when pressure was shifted as we sailed or motored or even sat at anchor with a slightly chop. I checked everything and tightened what there was to tighten without finding a solution to the clunk. The rudder itself was new so it wasn't an internal problem. One Spring when I took the rudder down to change the cutlass bearing, I took a digital caliper to the shaft and the inside of the gudgeon opening. My numbers showed that the gudgeon opening was about 40 thousands of an inch larger then the shaft. It doesn't sound like much, but it was enough to produce an audible clunk when the rudder shifted. I looked at three options: have a new gudgeon moulded ($$$$$), Have the gudgeon opening filled with bronze and machined back to proper specs ($$$), and filling the gap with some kind of shim material ($). Of course I decided to go with the ($) solution. On one of the online hardware outlets (I don't remember which) I found the HDMW, high density molecular sheets in various thicknesses with sticky back. If I can remember the numbers, I think I needed about .020 in thickness to fill the gap. When the rudder went back in with the new bearing in place the shim stock was added to the shaft at the gudgeon. No more clunk. It's been two seasons so far and there doesn't appear to be much wear on the shims. I will try to dig into my records to find where I ordered the stuff from. The posted photo shows the shim with a wood plug the proper diameter of the shaft.

Jim
 

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terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
thanks. I knew what you did. I was interested in knowing if the plastic withstood the friction or if you have had to replace it fairly regularly. I thought it was more years ago. I have a new rudder now and am replacing the delrin bearings. I also have just a little play in the post/gudgeon interface. Unfortunately it is different on the top and bottom of the gudgeon. I can only use a .022 sheet of HDMW. I think you had to use nearly twice that thickness, as I recall, Got the HDMW from McMaster Carr. The store for all seasons and reasons. Stay safe and healthy. Sailing may be the safest place to be right now,.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Terry
You are correct! McMaster Carr is where I ordered the HDMW. When the gudgeon was measured I was concerned that the wear on the opening was even all around. Thankfully it was and the shim idea was able to function. As I said, the wear on the HDMW appears to be minimum to this point. I am keeping an eye on it and am listening for any more clunks.

With this virus thing keeping us mostly cooped up in the house, we are upset that the boat is up on land until May. If it was in the water and ready for cruising it would be the perfect place to quarantine ourselves for a few weeks or more. As it is Bonnie has me working through her honey do list around the house.

Jim
 

Travis

Member
Terry, Jim,
I used the same stuff for the gudgeon washers. It was called UHMW for “Ultra High Molecular Weight” Polyethylene. There is also “HDPE” or “High Density PolyEthylene”, which isn’t quite as tough as UHMW.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Mitchell, Travis, Terry

The gudgeon on Dana is now 43 years old. If the UHMW outlasts the bronze, then I will never again expect to hear the "clunk". I'm very happy that I didn't have to resort to either of the big dollar fixes.

Jim
 

Lukas Svrcek

New Member
Terry

I'm sure this is all in the archives but I'll give it a go. My memory is about as good as yours. For a few years of sailing the rudder would occasionally clunk when pressure was shifted as we sailed or motored or even sat at anchor with a slightly chop. I checked everything and tightened what there was to tighten without finding a solution to the clunk. The rudder itself was new so it wasn't an internal problem. One Spring when I took the rudder down to change the cutlass bearing, I took a digital caliper to the shaft and the inside of the gudgeon opening. My numbers showed that the gudgeon opening was about 40 thousands of an inch larger then the shaft. It doesn't sound like much, but it was enough to produce an audible clunk when the rudder shifted. I looked at three options: have a new gudgeon moulded ($$$$$), Have the gudgeon opening filled with bronze and machined back to proper specs ($$$), and filling the gap with some kind of shim material ($). Of course I decided to go with the ($) solution. On one of the online hardware outlets (I don't remember which) I found the HDMW, high density molecular sheets in various thicknesses with sticky back. If I can remember the numbers, I think I needed about .020 in thickness to fill the gap. When the rudder went back in with the new bearing in place the shim stock was added to the shaft at the gudgeon. No more clunk. It's been two seasons so far and there doesn't appear to be much wear on the shims. I will try to dig into my records to find where I ordered the stuff from. The posted photo shows the shim with a wood plug the proper diameter of the shaft.

Jim
Hi Fellow Morganeers...
First of all I must say the support in this forum is amazing. Im trying to search all that has to do with gudgeons.
I hope you guys can weigh in on some of my questions.

Bit of background - I tried to hang the rudder this past weekend but wasn't 100% successful. Since I didnt take the rudder down my self, im trying to piece it all together with what I found in the box that came with it.

From what I observed - does most of the weight rest on the gudgeon ? Maybe some weight on packing nut.
But from what I see most of the weight transfer is on the gudgeon. If thats the case should there be a washer on top of the gudgeon ? or does it just rub against the bare rudder?
here is the picture with my notes.
IMG_20200614_152700.jpg

The second question is the freeplay where the arrow is pointed as well. I have about 1/8 of inch on each side of the shaft I made a video. After reading your post @jimcleary I assume I need to put the same bushing/plastic around the shaft.

Here is the video of the freeplay and as well a pic of the box that came with it. I almost think that the white big washers might be intended for the top and bottom of the gudgeon that came in the box. (picture below)

Video of free play here -

Spare parts - (spacers ? )
IMG_20200614_163330 (1).jpg


I would appreciate any guidance or input from your experience.
Thanks in advance.
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
The rudder and gudgeon have two separate issues. One is the play in the opening of the gudgeon from wear over the years. Second in the Vertical play of the rudder shaft through the gudgeon as it supports the rudders weight. The play from wear seems to be solved, at least in Dana's case, by fitting the gudgeon opening with a proper amount of UHMW polyethelene sheets as spacers. The supporting of the rudder weight, a thrust bearing as you will, is solved by adding a large plastic washer on the upper side of the gudgeon to support the load. This keeps the strain off the packing gland at the upper end of the shaft. The boats appear to originally have come with thin washers do the job but I don't think many, if any, of those have survived. A couple of years ago I cut out and installed a single washer on top of the gudgeon made from 1/4" starboard. The two white rings in the box of parts in the photo look exactly like those washers. At the time I made them I made a bunch to distribute to those who wanted them. There were two versions of the ring. One had a portion of the ring missing so the ring could be snapped into place around the shaft without removing the rudder. The other is a full ring with an angled cut so it could be spilt and installed on the shaft when the rudder or at least the gudgeon is removed. Dana has the one with the angled cut for a number of years now and it appears to be holding up very well. I hope this helps explain the differences.

Jim
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Lucas
Looking at your video, it appears you have both issues to address. There appears to be a large amount of play in the round opening of the gudgeon. If you look at the photo I posted on my 17 May 2020 post, you will see the UHMW sheet installed to fill the gap created by the wear. The other is the weight of the rudder is causing the fiberglass of the rudder to rub and wear on the bronze of the gudgeon. In that case one of those plastic washers needs to be placed on the shaft above the gudgeon to absorb the weight. It's really amazing, I have written so often about the boats gudgeon that I no longer have to look up how to spell it.

Jim
 

Lukas Svrcek

New Member
Lucas
Looking at your video, it appears you have both issues to address. There appears to be a large amount of play in the round opening of the gudgeon. If you look at the photo I posted on my 17 May 2020 post, you will see the UHMW sheet installed to fill the gap created by the wear. The other is the weight of the rudder is causing the fiberglass of the rudder to rub and wear on the bronze of the gudgeon. In that case one of those plastic washers needs to be placed on the shaft above the gudgeon to absorb the weight. It's really amazing, I have written so often about the boats gudgeon that I no longer have to look up how to spell it.

Jim
Jim, thank you so much for your wisdom. This has cleared up lot of my doubts. One more question. Do people put some sort of vaseline or lubricant on the shaft ?
 

jimcleary

James M. Cleary
Lukas
I wouldn't think that would be necessary. Any lubricant you put at or near the gudgeon will only be washed away in a short time. At the upper end where the packing gland is has the lubricant imbedded in the packing itself and is thus lubricated. Good luck with your project.

Jim
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
My bearing or washer that sits above the bronze gudgeon is delrin, also available from McMaster Carr. I would recommend that over Starboard, but if Starboard works for Jim, it must be fine. My new rudder did not have enough room for 1/4" delrin; I used something thinner, can't remember thickness. Also, put a delrin washer at the bottom of the gudgeon to protect the 5200 that provides the sealant around the post. Washers are basically delrin donuts, with an angled cut so they can be opened and slipped over the post. I also this year did what Jim did, that is, I wrapped my rudder post with self-adhering HDMW to take up some slack that had developed from wear on the bronze. The wear was not a great deal and was not uniform from top to bottom. The lack of uniformity had me a bit concerned, but the HDMW seems to have worked. I used quite thin HDMW. I think the whole gudgeon could be remade by a good bronze casting shop and if you do that, I would have them make the hole maybe a little larger than the post, so you could apply HDMW and have it fit. Better for the bronze to rub on HDMW rather than stainless. Finally, I believe the wear was uneven because the holes on the skeg had enlarged a bit, so the gudgeon was sitting at a slight angle to the post. I had my yard square everything up and remake the holes and reinforce the skeg indent where the gudgeon attaches, using strong epoxy slurry. The rudder swings very sweetly now I have done all this.
 
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