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help with rudder - 92 euro f3

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History: We picked up this boat at the beginning of last season. It is a clean boat and the whole family likes it.

I have one complaint about the boat... ...while the steering is easy (requires little effort), there is a "deadband" when going to a left hand turn. Basically, you're always turning slightly right, but if I attempt a left turn there is an "unloading" and then a slight "kep-plunk" effect as the rudder goes left.

The rudder appears "loose" in my opinion. If I grad the bottom of the rudder with the boat on the trailer, I can move the bottom from left to right approximately 3/4 inch (as if there is a worn or loose bushing).

My Confusion...

1) The rudder has no "jamb nut" - no appearance of "packing".

2) The rudder has no zerk fitting - as I've seen described elsewhere on this site.

Also the linkages (steering to cable , cable to rudder arm) all seem tight.. ..so I think the problem is the apparent looseness in the rudder shaft through the hull. ALSO NOTE - there isn't much water entry through this rudder shaft... ...we keep the boat in the water during weekends and I've never had the need to run the bilge except for when kids climb in and out without toweling off (a good reason to own an older boat!).

Any advice on what to do with this?

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Not sure on specifics for 93 boat as mine's a 99 but, something is wrong (and I would not drive it like that). I have to believe it is a very similar setup. If so, removal of rudder can be accomplished by: support rudder, remove the bolt from the tiller (rudder arm) lift tiller off top of rudder shaft, pull rudder straight down for removal. You will need about 6" of travel to pull rudder straight down. If trailer has a prop guard you man need top slide rear of boat sideways a couple inches on trailer (good idea Woodski) or lift rear of boat. The part remaining in the hull is the stuffing box. On a 99 Response, there is a nylon bushing at the very top of the stuffing box. If same setup, this is where your problem may be. You can inspect & probably replace same by only lower the rudder 2-3" . Also, feel around entire stuffing box for grease fittings or the holes where they should be. Mine has two, one above the other. They should be facing the front of boat but could be to either side or rear if installed incorrectly. Before taking anything apart, look at bottom of stuffing box (just above rudder) for manufactures name. Call parts supplier (Discount Inboard Marine is a very good source as they make helping the customer with tech info part of the sale) & tell them what you have and see what they suggest. Good luck and please post resoultion.

Go to skidim.com., steering/controls, rudders & look at components available (the nylon bushing I mentioned is in the seal Kit)

Edited by skier92
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Marine Hardware has replacement rudders and rudder housings.

My rudder housing was cracked and you're describing it's symptoms. I can send you pics of mine. PM me.

Mine has stuffing in the large nut. And my housing has a rubber o-ring. It has a locking collar that has 2 allen set screws in it, right below where the control arm attaches.

You need to watch the top of the rudder post while someone is moving the rudder by hand. That's how I noticed my housing was in 2 pieces. But you could also see if the tiller arm or locking collar is moving with it.

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Thanks for your responses. I took the "stuffing box" off the boat last night.

The good news: The hull is solid and the tube that goes through the bottom of the boat fits nice and tight.

The aluminum, multi-piece, stuffing box assembly is clearly original.

The oddity: What I must have is an odd-ball stuffing box. Maybe its what some call "drip-less"? In any case, I'm not able to add a photo here (at least I can't figure out how) but I'll describe:

1) There is an aluminum plate under the boat

2) There is a "stuffing box" aluminum tube that is threaded and screws into the plate under the boat

3) Two round "keys" are inserted at the interface of the bottom plate and round tube (anti - rotation feature)

4) An aluminum plate fits over the tube from atop (inside the boat) and then 4 bolts "sandwich" the bottom and top plate with the hull in the middle

5) Two Plastic bushings (one on the top of the tube - one on the bottom) act as bushings and the center the rudder in the aluminum tube "stuffing box"

So, the bad news (the flaws of this design):

a) the small threaded region between the aluminum bottom plate and tube are holding it all together

B) there is about 0.250" clearance between the tube and top plate... no support... while the rudder seems to be well supported by the plastic bushings (i'm surprised by this actually) and the o-ring seals seal well enough. The large clearance of the upper plate offers no angular support for the stuffing box (TUBE). This has led to looseness at the threaded joint at the bottom plate and the "slop" if feel.

c) To go on, nothing is broken. I could surely put it all back together and it will work just fine. Of course, I need to clean the bottom of the boat very well where the bottom plate goes and re-silicon seal when it all goes back together to preserve the hull for the rest of this boats life (many years, for sure).

So what about the "loose" obviously predictable nature of this multipiece design.

Obviously, replace it (approx $80 for a new sturdy bronze stuffing box based on what I see on line)... ...well wouldn't you know it... ...the bolt pattern of my aluminum plate job is assymetrical (the ones on line are all "square").... uh do I want to fill two holes and drill two new ones?

OK, so how about this... ...I'm planning to run the threaded tube down tight onto the bottom plate and then drill and insert two new aluminum anti-rotation pins. Then we (trusty machinist from work) are going to make a tight fit upper plate to control angular flexing of the tube.

I think all is well and all this excercise will likely yeild is a small improvement in rudder control (it really offered no real problem last year, other than it felt a little different than my friends Supra... ...now, I imagine that a classic stuffing box offers damping). More importantly, I should have piece of mind now that I don't have a lingering failure.

If someone knows of an appropriate stuffing box for a '92 euro f3 (replaces assemetrical bolt pattern aluminum job), I'll still consider it.


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