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Rudder Bolts

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Eric Anderton
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Rudder Bolts

Post by Eric Anderton » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:40 pm


Total rookie question here, but I am getting ready to install my new Rayco fuel tank in the 52 Holiday and noticed that these two bolts are able to be loosened or tightened by hand. Should these be tightened? The only reason I ask is they are impossible to access with the tank installed and that is a MAJOR project to remove the tank. Any ideas why they are so loose now? Im thinking I should tighten them until the steering starts to get stiff? Do they pose any threat of causing leaks if they are too loose or tight?

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Re: Rudder Bolts

Post by boat_art » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:53 pm

You will probably find that most of the nuts on the carriage bolts in the hull are rather loose. Good idea to tighten them some, not over tighten tho. They loosen up because over many years the wood in the hull has shrunk and the distance between the bolt head and underside of the nut has reduced, therefore the nut is loose. For the same reason you would find that the hull and deck plank screws are probably 1/2 turn loose, if you removed the wood plugs. These are signs that your hull may need to be refastened soon. What model/year boat is it?
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Re: Rudder Bolts

Post by charlesquimby » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:18 pm

No matter what you decide, capture your rudder at the top of the shaft with a Cotter pin before going back into service. This is a good time to adjust or replace the shaft packing, as well. I tend to leave nothing to chance, so if it was my boat I would remove the stuffing box and re-bed it to the keel, inspect the rudder shaft for packing wear, then renew and adjust the packing. Peace of mind knowing exactly what you have before that new tank goes in. Charley Q

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Re: Rudder Bolts

Post by mbigpops » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:30 pm

Did you check the packing inside that stuffing box ?

Good time for that now as well.

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Jim Bell
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Re: Rudder Bolts

Post by Jim Bell » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:02 am

mbigpops wrote:Did you check the packing inside that stuffing box ?

Good time for that now as well.

Agreed, however, bear in mind the packing will need to be installed on land (do not over tighten), snugged when the boat in the water and again after some use. You will need to monitor it until you are comfortable with it's status. Personally, If there's adjustment left on the existing gland I would leave it alone, rather than having to "break in" new packing. IMHO.

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