• Welcome to this website/forum for people interested in the Morgan 38 Sailboat. Many of our members are 'owners' of Morgan 38s, but you don't need to be an owner to Register/Join.

Rudder post leaking question

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
So, for years I knew my rudder packing gland would leak some. I repacked it and it reduced the leakage. A week ago I launched my 382 after 8 months on the hard. I again had the gland repacked with the high tech packing. And much to my dismay, I discover I have a leak, but not from the packing gland. No, the leak is coming through the boat where the metal collar for the rudder post meets the boats glass. Inside the boat, the collar is threaded to accept the big gland nut. My leak is right where the threaded collar disappears into the glass of the stern of the boat. Has anyone else noticed such a leak? If so, how did you repair it? Is the collar an extension of the bronze fittin on the outside of the boat where the rudder shaft enters? I know this before we launched, of course, I would have had the yard do a repair. The rudder was out so I could install a new rudder. Now I will have to haul the boat again, drop the rudder again , and have a repair accomplished. I will monitor the leak until then. It is a slight seapage, not a major leak, but still concerning.
 

Travis

Member
I haven’t had a leak as you describe, but having looked closely at the area when we did our rudder mod, I somewhat fear the prospect of doing major repairs in this part of the boat. That being said, I think 40+ years of performance is not too shabby, so a little seepage like this can be forgiven. It sucks that you have to haul out again.

I think you are correct about the design of the collar itself. I’m sure it is going to be a joy to remove it. As you say, it’s concerning. The bond has partially failed. However, so long as the skeg mount is doing its job, I wouldn’t expect anything worse than the seepage you describe. It is perhaps the stiffest area of the hull. It would take a tremendous running aground (and loss of integrity of the skeg) to compromise the joint at the rudder’s packing gland collar.

The skeg itself is hollow and does move a little. When I was hauled out, I could physically move my skeg port and starboard a teensy bit if I tugged on the very bottom. That movement adds up to a slight bending force at the packing gland. One can imagine that the constant port-and-starboard motion of the rudder post relative to the boat - over 40 years time - might eventually cause the fitting at the top of the assembly to leak as you describe. I would imagine that the rudder collar is knurled similar to the prop cutless bearing so there would be some level of mechanical fit, but I don’t believe polyester bonds terribly well to bronze to begin with. That is to say, it won’t work it’s way free, but it probably won’t come out without a fight either.

The seepage is traveling up the failed bond line between the fiberglass tube and the bronze rudder collar fitting. The tube was probably installed when the two halves were joined together. Hopefully the seep is from the inner surface of the tube where it bonds to the rudder collar. The fix there is pretty obvious - pull the collar and rebond. If it is leaking from the outside of the rudder post, I’d replace the whole shebang. I shudder to imagine doing that, but I bet the whole thing would be a walk in the park for the yard’s Fiberglass guy.

All in all this will be an interesting thread to watch develop. Please do share as you learn more :)
 
Last edited:

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I too can move the skeg slight side to side. But mine is not hollow. RThat is, I think it was laid up with a hollow in it, but mine is filled with something. Since my old rudder was filled with a very hard polyester putty or glass and resin slurry, I expect my skeg is filled with the same stuff. Given the shApe of the thing, I have often wondered if it was part of the hull mold or was laid up separately and then glassed to the hull.
 

struell

Stephen Ruell
Hi Terry:
I have a set of Owner's Plans that came with the boat and you peaked my curiosity to look and see if it said anything about the skeg. Sheet 382-212 show the rudder and skeg construction. I think that drawing has been posted in the past but don't know how to find it. These few drawings that I have don't show the hull mold but do have the layup schedules. My understanding is that the hull was molded in two halves which were put together, the head unit was dropped in and then the deck unit was added on top. The rudder drawing and the midship section drawing show the laminate layup and have instructions for "centerline taping" which I presume is the way the hull seam was put together. The skeg appears to be part of the hull halves and was integral with them and joined together. It appears an frp panel on the interior side make s a closure of the skeg cavity, and captures the rudder stern tube and the shaft log, The closure piece was taped to the two hull sides,"Taping 1 1/2 oz Mat 12Layers ^" & 8" 24 oz Roving" A note says that the skeg below this closure was to be filled with "Filler-Polyester Resin w/ 3M Glass Bubbles". The centerline taping of the hull split seam itself is not very clear on the drawing, refers to another drawing 382-308, which I do not have.
The rudder stern tube is labelled as "Cast Bronze Bearing set in 5200". Above that is "(20 3/8" Teflon Packing". And then above that is "Bronze packing nut". There are two screws on the bottom of the rudder bearing but cannot make out what it is pointing at. The reproduction of the drawing very poor in that area so it is hard to see what the bronze bearing looks like..
Steve
 

Travis

Member
Hi Terry:
I have a set of Owner's Plans that came with the boat and you peaked my curiosity to look and see if it said anything about the skeg. Sheet 382-212 show the rudder and skeg construction. I think that drawing has been posted in the past but don't know how to find it. These few drawings that I have don't show the hull mold but do have the layup schedules. My understanding is that the hull was molded in two halves which were put together, the head unit was dropped in and then the deck unit was added on top. The rudder drawing and the midship section drawing show the laminate layup and have instructions for "centerline taping" which I presume is the way the hull seam was put together. The skeg appears to be part of the hull halves and was integral with them and joined together. It appears an frp panel on the interior side make s a closure of the skeg cavity, and captures the rudder stern tube and the shaft log, The closure piece was taped to the two hull sides,"Taping 1 1/2 oz Mat 12Layers ^" & 8" 24 oz Roving" A note says that the skeg below this closure was to be filled with "Filler-Polyester Resin w/ 3M Glass Bubbles". The centerline taping of the hull split seam itself is not very clear on the drawing, refers to another drawing 382-308, which I do not have.
The rudder stern tube is labelled as "Cast Bronze Bearing set in 5200". Above that is "(20 3/8" Teflon Packing". And then above that is "Bronze packing nut". There are two screws on the bottom of the rudder bearing but cannot make out what it is pointing at. The reproduction of the drawing very poor in that area so it is hard to see what the bronze bearing looks like..
Steve
Steve,
This is some quality info. Thank you for sharing.
 

sonnylange

New Member
I wrote to Ted Brewer the other day and he responded that he owns the plans to the boat and would sell them to an existing owner for just over 200 bucks. If anyone is interested just email him.
 

terry_thatcher

Terence Thatcher
I think Ted's owners plans for $200 are pretty limited I have them, 4 sheets. He may have more extensive plans with construction details, but Morgan did not necessarily follow all that. On the rudder post issue, if the bronze fitting that creates the hole for the rudder is bedded with 5200, I will never get it out.
 
Interesting. I paid $500, but I got 9 sheets. They are not enough to build a boat from, but close enough that I think a boatyard could figure the rest out.
 

bob_mcdonald

robert mcdonald
I have used a product called DeBond to remove fittings bedded in 5200 with great success. You can buy it at west marine and other marine supply stores. It's made in Fort Pierce, Florida where I store my 384 - someone in the boat yard turned me on to it.
 

Travis

Member
I have used a product called DeBond to remove fittings bedded in 5200 with great success. You can buy it at west marine and other marine supply stores. It's made in Fort Pierce, Florida where I store my 384 - someone in the boat yard turned me on to it.
With 5200 I usually use a careful application of heat (like boiling water) and a good shock load, but this sounds like a better alternative. Thank you for the tip. I understand Terry’s apprehension given its reputation but I don’t fully understand the fear of 5200. It is a good sealant but it has pretty middling properties as far as structural adhesives go, and it’s temperature tolerance is downright poor. It is just the right combo of thick, sticky, and flexible to be useful, but its peel characteristics are its Achilles heel. Hammering out that fitting would definitely be a few hours of careful work, but it is functionally analogous to bearing pulling. Again I respect the desire to avoid that hassle but it shouldn’t be considered an imposible job. I bet that spray, left overnight, would have that sucker out pretty swiftly. If that doesn’t do it, boiling water would soften the adhesive up enough to shear the bond line with a few good knocks of the bearing-puller-weight.
 
Top