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Bent Gudgeon Bracket

GGerry

New Member
I have an odd problem with a mid 1970’s that is in very good shape. I cannot attach the rudder to her as the gudgeon bracket is bent something awful. I do not know how this happened. I’ve use a jack to bend it back some what, and now using a bolt to force it. Question:
  • Any ideas?
  • If I remove the gudgeon to bend it into correct shape off of the boat, is there a backer plate within the hull?
  • Bent 1.jpgBent 2.jpgBent 3.jpg
Not sure what more I can do to fix it or should I remove and replace the gudgeon. Is there a backer plate that will fall off.
Thanks!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
That piece, the gudgeon, has taken a major hit, but your last photo tells me you're on the right path. ;)

Leaving the bolt in place—where it's indicated—slide a concrete block under the bottom prong. Strike the end of the upper prong with a 4-pound hammer until it's "re-bent" and straight. All the hammer's effort is transferred to the concrete, and not the transom.

A piece of ¼" plywood would save the concrete block from breaking.

Flip the boat—repeat. :)
 

4cpus4me

Active Member
I took my gudgeon off recently to repair hull separation and it was no big deal once you get past the initial fear of doing it. Once you loosen the last bolt without taking it out try and wiggle things around and you'll find out in a hurry if the internal reinforcing plate is loose.
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
If this bracket was installed at the factory, the internal, threaded aluminum backer plate was fiberglassed into the inside transom wall any you can safely remove the screws that hold the damaged damaged stainless steel bracket to the exterior transom wall. If you are still a little paranoid, remove three of the screws, twist the bracket and screw one or two of the screws back in to make sure the bracket stays attached. Then pound the bent bracket back to true with a hammer on a large vice. Re-attach the bracket and go sailing. Do not hammer the bracket while it is still attached to the transom as you will probably damage the fiberglass transom in the process.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia,NY
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Question: are the metal backings always fiberglassed into the back of the transom?

I thought I'd seen a NOS factory plate advertised ($12) showing a clean inside location, with no previous attachment. Of course, it could have been a mock-up. :rolleyes:

But I can see a compromise with do/don't hit the gudgeon while attached to the transom. (The bolt being the real target--and driver. The concrete is the anvil).

The gudgeon screws can be loosened, then proceed with the hammer. (Assuming familiarity with 4-pound hammer use).

If Ggerry proceeds with a vise, I'll need to get out my picture where I actually fractured a vise at the base! :eek:

Lesson: Use a good, US-made vise. :cool:

BTW: The stainless steel that Sunfish gudgeons are made of, is a very "tough" metal. (Meaning, it would be hard to "work-harden", leading to fracture). This repair can be repeated without concern, should the gudgeon become damaged a second (or a third) time.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I thought I'd seen a NOS factory plate advertised ($12) showing a clean inside location, with no previous attachment. Of course, it could have been a mock-up. :rolleyes:
I know people use them to upgrade from the old style rudders.

SC has seen the inside of a lot of boats so he probably has as good knowledge as anybody as to gudgeon installation from the factory.

I also wouldn't want to take a chance on hammering on something attached to the boat unless there is no alternative.
 
I've bent a gudgeon plate back with lock-grips. just lock them on tight and you may have enough leverage. Personally i don't think you can pound it back.

On a related note, i've see a gudgeon bend if one end of the retaining pin pops out, but not the other, in high wind.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
They definitely will bend. Maybe half of my six Sunfish had Vise-Grip marks left from "refurbishing".

Let us know how it went, Ggerry. :)
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I imagine the boat was dropped on that bracket...We have used a big crescent wrench clamped down on the gudgeon or Grandma Nelson's pipe wrench, with genteel pressure to encourage the piece back into a usable shape. You can also buy a new/used part, which leads to your next question...

...as our Guru Alan said, there is a metal backer plate fiberglassed in place inside the hull. For the few boats we've seen inside, they have always stayed in place, BUT, we concur with Beldar's suggestion to try and keep one screw loosely in place, to hold the backer in place.

CAUTION: Graphic Sunfish guts are shown in the attached video, viewer discretion advised.

 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
All,

I do more than my share of Sunfish hardware 'organ harvesting" from old terminally waterlogged or damaged beyond repair Sunfish hulls and on all of the post-1972 hulls, the aluminum back-up plate was always fiberglassed into the transom with a generous amount of fiberglass cloth and resin. My guess is that the back-up plate is fiberglassed in at the factory without holes and the external bracket is then used as a template for pilot holes and then attached with self tapping machine screws, a lot easier than trying to line up pre-threaded holes.

See attached: Sunfish Hull Autopsy

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

shorefun

Active Member
I have gotten resourceful and experienced in keeping sunfish working at my yacht club. Here is what I have learned on that bracket.

I have been bending them with a vice grip or large slip jaw pliers.

Had one sunfish where the bottom 2 screws fell out on a sunfish. Turns out that water must have sat there and caused the metal in the plate to go bad just at the threads. I ended up drilling and re-tappping to 1/4-20. Went in tight and I used lock washers. Bunch of weeks later the bracket is still holding.

Here is the type of vice grip: 8 in. Sheet Metal Clamp
 
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GGerry

New Member
Success. The rudder bracket now fits within the gudgeon. I am concerned as the rudder spring is not behaving due to the position of the bent gudgeon. It is not exactly precise and there is a small bend within it. I found this gudgeon bracket to be strong and not easy to bend. I will have to fiddle with it. The jack along with the bolt nut combo to push it out did work, but not perfect.

What is the best thing to lube that spring? WD40?

Thanks to all for all your help. In off season I will remove from hull and show that gudgeon who's the boss.
 

Attachments

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
Shameless commerce post: If your bracket is broken or too bent to repair, i have a bunch of them in good shape for $15 each + shipping.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Over the years, I've bought parts from Alan, and highly recommend the speed of delivery, payment accommodations, and money-value.

Since the spring is showing difficulties, you might consider peeking within its coils to see if the securing clip (or pin) is compromised in some way. :(

Such malfunctioning can lead to the loosening (and possible loss) of pintle, three springs, extension, tiller, and rudder!

(Just over $100 in a handful of only new metal parts from Sunfish Direct). :oops:

I'm reminded from long ago; ;)
"For Want of a Nail, the Shoe Was Lost..."
 
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