aggie08

Rudder spun 180 degrees the wrong direction, damaged prop

I'll try to keep this short:

Yesterday, I towed some tube fisherman who had drifted too far from the dock back to the marina.  When backing away from the dock after dropping them off, I had to give it a little gas, and the wheel was all the way over.  When I started going forward again, the steering was super stiff.  I turned the wheel about a quarter of a turn, then heard an awful sound.  Immediately turned everything off, grabbed the goggles, and checked the undercarriage.  Sure enough, the rudder was facing the exact wrong direction and had a nice new nick on it from the prop.  Thankfully, I was in idle, so probably not enough damage to the prop to worry about repairing (no vibrations felt after I got the rudder turned back around).

When I got off the water, I checked that the steering wheel stops still stopped the rudder within an acceptable range (yep), and I checked that the shear pin on the rudder was still in place (also yes).  What I did notice for the first time, however, was that, when my steering was fully locked to the right, I could push the rudder by hand past that point with only some resistance to about 90 degrees.  Once there, you could then steer it into the prop by turning the now stiff wheel back to the left.  Hopped in the boat and saw that, at full lock, the rudder control arm and steering cable connection almost form a straight line because the cable is able to retract that far.  So, with some force, you could make the triangle that the connection forms to point towards port instead of starboard (from the bottom left to the top right in the picture below) and effectively steer your rudder backwards.

What I can only assume happened is that my hard reverse sucked the rudder into this reversed state with the rudder at about 90 degrees, then I proceeded to steer it into the prop.

20170320_083702_zpsvp26katd.jpg

The connection above is almost straight when at full lock.

My questions are:

1) Should I limit the retraction range of the steering cable to prevent this nearly straight, reversible state at the expense of my turning range?

2) If so, how? or,

3) Since this has only happened once in 4 years, and I now know the warning signs, should I just wing it?

Some more pictures:

20170320_075631_zpsweinv6oc.jpg

20170320_075716_zps264mrfcb.jpg

Moral of the story: never try to help fisherman ;)  

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Posted (edited)

It might just be the picture and ICBW, but it looks like the rudder shaft is bent. There is not supposed to be a rearward cant in the rudder. The top of the rudder is supposed to be parallel to the hull. Hit a log last year and had to replace the rudder assembly. Unfortunately you can't just buy the rudder from MH directly or Bakes which is where I ultimately ended up buying it. The assembly was actually cheaper at Bakes than the manufacturer "MH". Shoot me a PM if you need to talk specifics.

Edited by wdr
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I just noticed that myself when I posted the picture.  Not sure if it's bent or, like you said, just an optical illusion.  The prop definitely didn't strike it hard enough to bend it.  Whatever it is, it's been like that since I've had the boat, and everything is okay internally (and the boat has always steered perfectly), but I'll give it a more thorough inspection when I'm home.

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As heavy as that rudder is, it is very susceptible to being bent. Mine didn't look quite that bad and it was out almost 1 1/2" from center. It is an easy job to replace, but it is a hard hit to wallet. Mine was $800.00 shipped but it has the weighted tiller (35lb assy) and the trim tab.

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Ok, that picture is definitely deceiving with the angle of my phone and the concave in the hull. In person, the rudder is straight as can be and level with the hull. Scared me too!

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A better gauge of it being bent or not would be the relation between the brass 4x4 plate attached to the hull above the rudder and the top of the rudder.  The rudder arcing through its full range of motion with little to no variance between the 2 surfaces would be a good indicator. 

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Yep, that's the reference point I used. Would still like to figure out if it's possible to "shrink" the range of the steering cable to prevent the rudder flipping possibly happening again.

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You're not the first person this has happened to; it happened to a family member's '13 a few years ago. I think Malibu suggested adjusting something with the steering cable mount point near where it connects to the rudder inside the engine compartment. You might want to call Malibu support and see if the guys there have a suggestion on how to limit travel or if there is some adjustment that needs to be made.

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12 hours ago, aggie08 said:

  When backing away from the dock after dropping them off, I had to give it a little gas, and the wheel was all the way over.  

Was the wheel all the way to the left or right?

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Right. So the cable was all the way retracted.

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Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, aggie08 said:

I just noticed that myself when I posted the picture.  Not sure if it's bent or, like you said, just an optical illusion.  The prop definitely didn't strike it hard enough to bend it.  Whatever it is, it's been like that since I've had the boat, and everything is okay internally (and the boat has always steered perfectly), but I'll give it a more thorough inspection when I'm home.

it's bent.  Sometimes they can be straightened on a press.  

Edited by Bozboat

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Bozboat said:

it's bent.  Sometimes they can be straightened on a press.  

Guys, seriously, my rudder isn't bent. The picture is an optical illusion. It doesn't look like that in person. I can't even fit the tip of my pinkie between the rudder and the mounting plate on the bow side of the rudder.  Believe me, if it actually looked like that, I would have noticed by now :lol:

Edited by aggie08

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Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, mikeo said:

You're not the first person this has happened to; it happened to a family member's '13 a few years ago. I think Malibu suggested adjusting something with the steering cable mount point near where it connects to the rudder inside the engine compartment. You might want to call Malibu support and see if the guys there have a suggestion on how to limit travel or if there is some adjustment that needs to be made.

Thanks for the tip! I emailed Mailbu HQ, and they responded incredibly promptly.  Said it was an issue on certain years/models as props got bigger and recommended a hard stop rubber insert that fastens to the front two rudder bolts to prevent it in the future.

unnamed_zpsbg5zkz7m.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by aggie08
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2 hours ago, aggie08 said:

Thanks for the tip! I emailed Mailbu HQ, and they responded incredibly promptly.  Said it was an issue on certain years/models as props got bigger and recommended a hard stop rubber insert that fastens to the front two rudder bolts to prevent it in the future.

 

if they shared any specific year / model info that would be valuable stuff on this forum.

please share.

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3 hours ago, aggie08 said:

Thanks for the tip! I emailed Mailbu HQ, and they responded incredibly promptly.  Said it was an issue on certain years/models as props got bigger and recommended a hard stop rubber insert that fastens to the front two rudder bolts to prevent it in the future.

unnamed_zpsbg5zkz7m.jpg

 

 

 

 

How does someone acquire one of these?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, tvano said:

if they shared any specific year / model info that would be valuable stuff on this forum.

please share.

Using the part #, I was able to find this old thread that has a Malibu representative chiming in.

He said that it was specifically an issue with '09-'12 LSV and VLX models. But seeing how my boat is clearly neither of those, I guess it's still possible in other boats.

If you're at all worried, I'd just try to test yours by hand; see if you can push your rudder past its stopping point with a little force.

Edited by aggie08

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13 minutes ago, MadMan said:

How does someone acquire one of these?

I'm ordering one through my local dealer. Malibu part #3411009. $20+shipping

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