Old style rudder installation

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by jamesg, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. jamesg

    jamesg New Member

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    I have a pre-70 Sunfish that I bought in the fall and am preparing to take out this summer. It has the old style rudder and all the associated hardware, but it was all detached from the boat when I bought her. I've cleaned it all up and am ready to attach it, but I am curious as to how the bottom plate attaches through the top plate and flexible plate. It seems there is a long brass bolt that I'm missing that pulls these three pieces together. Wouldn't a movable bolt all the way through the hull leak, though? And, if it's not movable, how can the plates move in relation to each other?
     
  2. scap114

    scap114 Member

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    The plates screw to the boat. Hopefully there is a wood backing block inside the hull that has not rotted that the bottom plate will affix to. The top plate likewise screws into a wood backing block inside the top hull. There is a long bolt that runs from the bottom plate up to the top plate behind the transome that adjusts the tension between the plates by means of a wing nut. If I remember correctly, the top plate that flexes is screwed to the top of the hull by a screw through the top bottom plate and rests on a screw holding the top plate to give it the room to flex. Nothing goes through the hull to connect the plates. Naturally, all screw holes should be sealed as to prevent deteriation of the wood blocks.
     
  3. PBA

    PBA Member

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    Here are some pictures of those blocks, top and bottom, as taken when I switched from the old style rudder to the new style rudder.

    While the top block is a nice big hunk of teak, the bottom block is simply a little strip of teak wrapped in fiberglass.

    Also, the lone screw for the bottom block is about an inch long - it's quite large, as compared to the rest of the screws that were used on the hull.
     

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  4. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    The flat spring plate is attached to the top plate via a screw which also holds the top plate to the hull (the screw is the furthest toward the bow). The long bolt goes through the bottom plate up to the spring plate and tension is adjusted via a wing nut on the spring plate. The spring plate, and to some degree the bottom plate, flex and allow the rudder plate to pop out when the rudder is forced backward by hitting the beach or a rock, etc.
    These rudders have a tendency to pop out at the worst time if the rudder plate or the bottom plate is worn, no matter how much tension is applied by the wing nut. Be wary of this. I found this to be true when sailing hard in waves because of the lateral forces on the rudder.
    You can get by on smoother water.

    Fred
     
  5. jamesg

    jamesg New Member

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    Thank you Fred, that is exactly what I needed to know. It seems my long screw/spring washer/wing nut assembly is missing, so I'll have to fashion one out of Ace Hardware components, I suppose. No problem at all.

    When you put screws through the deck into the backing wood do you use 5200 or some kind of epoxy/resin?
     
  6. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    I never used 5200 but from what I read in this forum it's a permanent adhesive which is very hard to remove. I would use some silicone sealant on the screws, like Marine Goop or some other less permanent sealant. You never know when you'll need to get them out again.
    (Maybe if you decide to go with a conversion to the new rudder design!)

    Fred
     
  7. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    My previous post assumes that the wood backing blocks are in good shape. If not, then a different fix is required. I never had that problem so I would search this forum for answers.
    I know I've read a lot about the subject.

    Fred
     
  8. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    Check the "similar threads" at the bottom of this thread post.

    Fred
     
  9. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    The backing blocks are absolutely necessary. The hull itself is too thin to anchor a screw into.



    For insuring the old holes capture the screw securely, fill them with epoxy, let it cure, then re-drill them to the appropriate size for the screws your are going back in with.

    A film of silicone caulk (or other appropriate marine caulk) at the screw head will help to seal the screw hole from leaking water into the backing block.



    The shoulder on the latch plate's single screw stops the latch plate from tightening snug, leaving just enough play to allow the plate to be controlled by the carriage bolt tension adjustment.
     

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  10. 67stang

    67stang Member

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    ..Here is a pic of mine, (a visual sometimes helps out a lot).

    good luck
     

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  11. PBA

    PBA Member

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    It's interesting that large brass plate, in which the above diagramed "rudder/tiller connection bolt" goes through, was only around from about 1970-72.

    For someone who has had to go through multiple rudder blades from the old rudder system like I have, I just wished someone had created that plate much earlier in the process. I swear 90% of the failures from the old rudder system were from the fact that the blade always rotted and snapped off at that "rudder/tiller connection bolt" section of the rudder blade.

    I actually had no idea that such a brass plate even existed until I borrowed my cousin's rudder a few years back. In fact, you rarely see pictures on this forum of old rudder blades with that particular piece of brass support.

    Perhaps someone out there has an actual picture of a blade from the old rudder system with that hunk of brass encapsulating the top of the blade.
     
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Sure thing ... here you go...
     

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  13. Webfoot

    Webfoot New Member

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    Got mine on E-Bay. They show up from time to time, not a big demand for the Brass Cap as most people put their money on the newer POS 72 rudder system. Things got better with the newer rudder then they went to the plastic rudder cheek, ugh!
     
  14. Fred P

    Fred P Member

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    Also, don't forget to use a carriage bolt tube. It should be of the proper diameter to prevent the bolt from moving from side to side. This helps to keep the rudder from popping out sideways. The tube fits into the transom indent. It was plastic but can be rubber or some other water resistant material.

    Fred
     
  15. PBA

    PBA Member

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    That brass cap should be mandatory for anyone with the old rudder system. Unfortunately, unless you knew about it, you would never know it even existed in the parts inventory for the old rudder system. I don't think it was even listed.
     
  16. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Thanks all; that was very instructive! Such good engineers among our Forum sailors....

    :) :) :)
     
  17. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    It was available in the parts list from its introduction to its obsolescence..., and then some. But, you're right, you'd have needed to visit a Sunfish dealer to learn of the available upgrade since there was no Windward Leg and no Internet back then.

    Gudgeon Head w/Lower Gudgeon p/n 79208

    Interestingly, it remained on the dealer's parts list handout for more than 20 years after it was superceded.
     

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  18. PBA

    PBA Member

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    Blame some of it on general marketing as well. In my neck of the woods, there were always tons of Sunfish dealers, and they always had racks of the old parts. The problem was that this part was never ever there - and neither were the any sort of point-of-purchase diagrams of the old the Sunfish parts, such as the diagram above.

    To this day, in my opinion, Sunfish still suffers too much front sell, and not enough back sell. That is, they are still too preoccupied with a car-dealership mentality of "move the metal" - i.e., just move the new boats. In the past, as soon as a customer bought the new boat, all marketing and massaging stopped, instead of being accelerated. Remember the cardinal rule of sales: "it is 80% harder to go out and find a new customer than it is to get a sale from a present customer".
     
  19. Webfoot

    Webfoot New Member

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    As Wayne mentioned, low volume, out of production items were not worth the time to market in pre-internet days, except for auto parts. Thanks to the web nitch marks can be found. I get most all of my hobbie parts off the internet, Antique outboard parts, Boat parts. E-Mail contacts, Craigslist, E-bay etc, seems to keep me going. It's only going to get better. Check out 'Makerbot Cup Cake Home Fabrication.' Home fab is only in it's infancy but you'll soon have the ability to make new parts yourself. In fact, the Cup Cake unit would let you turn out the plastic caps for the masts and spars. If you could get in contact with an owner, I'm sure he could make a plastic version of the rudder cap.

    http://www.makerbot.com/
     
  20. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    As you pointed out, the bronze Gudgeon Head was only around for a couple of years as a stop-gap measure before AMF revised the whole assembly. Doubtful many of these ever existed as retrofit surplus in the first place.


    I guarantee you they had the page in their dealer book. Whether they readily shared it or not is another matter. I guess I was lucky to have a caring and sharing dealer back then. Thank you Hedlund Marine ... and later on, Wind Line Sails.


    That's what's commonly know as, "support after the sale"..., but how far back ... we're talking about covering boats built between 40 and 50 years ago.


    I do have to commend Sunfish/Laser for all the material they faxed when I moved into the interior; and Vanguard for kicking off a long needed revision of the manual; Laser Performance has certainly made strides in the right direction in both the new manual with all its illustrations and their annual open house & seminars.
     

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