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It's the rudder, not steering cable, 1996 Malibu Echelon

gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
I thought the steering cable was shot so I ordered another one. I got the old one disconnected and it looks like the rudder is the real problem. I can barely turn it by hand without the steering cable attached. What's the fix? I see 4 large, slot head screws on the bottom of it. Is this a remove, replace insides, replace thing?? What do I need? Thanks
2014 HO TX
1996 Malibu Echelon
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Comments

  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 375 Crazy Baller
    Try greasing it. If it does not have a grease fitting in the bilge, drop the rudder down and lube it well. You don't have to remove those 4 screws. It should come loose from bolt(s) at the top of the rudder. Have someone catch it or have good padding below it when you loosen it. It's possible that the rudder shaft is worn from lack of lubrication. If so, simple greasing won't fix it completely.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I greased it through the zerk up top even before I removed the cable connection to it. I guess my next step is to unbolt it and see what's up. Is there any kind of bearing or anything in there that's special or just lube?
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 375 Crazy Baller
    If it's like the ones I've disassembled, the rudder shaft goes through a bushing. That bushing could be worn, or the rudder shaft could be out of round. Does it leak water when you are in the lake? There may be packing around the shaft that has hardened. Beyond that, you need someone more knowledgeable than me.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    With the exception of the tiny bit of water that comes in through the shaft packing seal, the boat is BONE DRY.

    SkiDim has been extremely helpful so I'm sure they can talk me through it. But hey, If anyone else wants to chime in, feel free to do so. Always wanting to learn!
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,243 Mega Baller
    Check for bent shaft or rope fibers/ fishing line
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @BraceMaker , should I drop the rudder and check as you suggest? Not much of a gearhead but learning more as the years go on. Thanks
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,243 Mega Baller
    First inspect it shouldn't angle side to side. I'm the blade and the tiller arm should be level and travel level.

    If they wobble or change angle.side.to.side drop it and inspect the shaft.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I just checked and there is absolutely no play in the rudder at all. It's not loose etc. Just very difficult to move at all.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,221 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    This video will show you the components and how they go together for a complete rudder port removal and rebuild. It will give you a better idea of what is going on in there.


    ZmanDWvernonreeve
  • DWDW Posts: 2,139 Mega Baller
    @gt2003 : As noted above, I would disassemble and give it a good service. Check the vertical play, you may need to shim the rudder up a bit using a large diameter washer. Note: if / when you put boat on trailer to service, push the transom to one side so the rudder will drop out next to the rudder guard. If too late, use a come along on one of the transom hooks.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Talked w Skidim and unfortunately the "rebuild kit" is not something that is manufactured any longer. I might have to buy the entire Rudder port for $320. Going to pull the rudder maybe tonight and see what the insides look like. Maybe just going through it and cleaning it up will make a noticeable difference. Let me know if anyone has other ideas. I appreciate it.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    I have had rudder shafts wear to oval. You can get a bit more life out of the system by rotating the rudder box 90 degrees in the boat. At least the wear doesn't line up.

    Rudders are a wear item. Replace everything, rudder and box, when it gets bad. But bad is usually not stiff but wobbly loose.

    It is easy to remove the rudder and clean and grease it. New (or at least re greased) rudder packing helps a lot. Making the rudder turn easily should be fixed with a clean and lube.

    If not, check the rudder shaft to make sure you didn't hit something to bend it.

    Eric

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,243 Mega Baller
    @gt2003 when I had a marina job I found most of the time if they were that tight it was due to a bend in the shaft inside the port. So often the port didn't need replacement it was the blade/shaft. However we could take the shafts bend them even a bit straighter and get the port free.

    Occasionally you'd find stuff in there mostly fishing line or similar.

    And sometimes some putting which can be speedysleeved.

    gt2003
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Hmm, definitely something to think about there. I may just bite the bullet and do that. Then I'd know it was all as it should be. Thanks for the insight.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • hammerskihammerski Posts: 41 Baller
    If there’s not excessive play, here’s what I’ve done and works great. Rudder shafts sometimes get burrs. Remove rudder, shoe shine shaft with emery cloth to polish. Then take a brake cylinder hone, put it in your drill and polish the inside of the rudder port with WD40. Clean, lube the rudder shaft, reinstall. If the rudder port doesn’t have a zirk fitting install one. Should be one finger butter after that!
    Jim Hammer
    Jim Hammer Insurance
    Winlock, WA
    Drago
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    edited April 29
    Hi guys - I'm jumping in here as I've been googling rudder play and came across this thread. I have a Malibu 2005 Response LX and get a little bit of vibration when I make a hard right turn to get the rope to the skier. I have a little bit of play especially compared to my dad's 2006 Response LXI that has none whatsoever. I contacted ski dim about parts to repack and they said my model doesn't have any packing only seals.

    Maybe you guys can help me out? Would replacing the seals eliminate the play? I'm anal and grease the zerk fittings annually as suggested and I'm all about doing my own maintenance. I was hoping this may be a simple job and not have to remove the gas tank also by removing the back seat and floor panel. Any input would be appreciated. Ski dim also mentioned that an 1/8" of play is acceptable but I'm thinking that the new seal may eliminate the play and the vibration.
  • DWDW Posts: 2,139 Mega Baller
    @kylegansel - the seals won't reduce play. The play is probably allowing the rudder to shift slightly to where the altered water flow over the rudder is giving you the vibration through the wheel. The grease may be hardening a bit due to water getting in and that also contributes.
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    I guess I could pump a ton of grease in there until I see it come out maybe.... During a hard right turn the rudder is also almost perpendicular to the prop so I'd assume the vibration may be common to many also.
  • DavidNDavidN Posts: 365 Crazy Baller
    Don’t pump too much grease into the zerk, otherwise you may blow the seals!
    Rudder should never be perpendicular to the prop. Adjust the rudder cable attachment point at the rear so that the rudder turns equal both ways.
    (There’s a plastic tube on top of the HDS box where the steering cable is attached that can be adjusted.)
    Vibration could be caused by a worn out tiller arm bolt (had that issue on my 2006 Response.) Bakes sells them and they can be replaced without removing the seat/tank. It’s tight, very tight, but doable.
    https://www.bakesonline.com/rudder-tiller-arm-bolt-only-malibu-boats.html?ff=1&fp=348
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    @DavidN So just a couple pumps of grease then I guess which is what I've done in the past. I believe it does seep out from time to time. I'm not saying the rudder is perpendicular but it's turned quite a bit meaning there is quite a bit of force against it. I think mine is even on both sides but but I'll have to check.

    I'll check out the tiller arm bolt too. Is there a way to check out that's worn and needs replacement? Some way to test it? Appreciate the input!!
  • DavidNDavidN Posts: 365 Crazy Baller
    @kylegansel
    A good way to trace play in the steering is to have someone wiggling the rudder back and forth while inspecting all the connections from the inside.
    Start at the back. Remove the rear center floorboard, take a flashlight and observe the tiller arm/steering cable connection. If there’s excessive play the bolt might be worn.
    It also could be the steering cable connection in the back or the issue is at the rack and pinion under your dash. Or maybe even the tiller mechanism of your helm. There are quite a few points that can be addressed/tightened to get rid of excessive play.
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    @DavidN Ok - I'll check it all out this weekend. Thanks so much! Really appreciate it!
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller

  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    Is this what you were talking about? I checked everything else and it seems OK but this has a little play in it. Can you tighten it? I put a wrench on it but it just seems to spin. I’m guessing there is a nut underneath in which I’d have to remove the box cover to get to it I’m guessing there is a nut underneath in which I’d have to remove the box cover to get to it. I was going to check the strut also.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,243 Mega Baller
    I think your rudder is like another foot behind that.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,243 Mega Baller
    That's what's usually called a steering cable support
  • DavidNDavidN Posts: 365 Crazy Baller
    edited May 24
    @kylegansel That is a common failure on that era Malibu’s.
    The bolt of the swivel mounting arm (or whatever it’s called) gets loose over time and water will enter the bilge around the bolt because the sealant fails when the bolt has play.
    You are right, there’s a nut underneath, only accessible when the lid of the HDS box is removed. If there’s significant play, get some marine sealant, remove lid (28 screws or so), remove bolt, clean everything up and re-install, using a good amount of sealant on the inside. Tighten the bolt down so that the swivel thing barely spins and let sealant fully cure before using the boat. Of course the HDS box lid has to be re-sealed as well before re-installation.
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    @DavidN should it have a little play in it or be totally tight? I did check the rudder under the boat also (while it was on the lift) and it has about an 1/8” of play in it. Malibu told me that’s acceptable but curious what you think since you seem to know the details.
  • DavidNDavidN Posts: 365 Crazy Baller
    A little play in the rudder is quite normal. 1/8” is nothing to worry about.
    The swivel mount will have a little play as well (kind of bad/cheap engineering). If you tighten it down to where it has no play, it won’t turn on the bolt. So you have to find a balance between most of the play gone and still being able to rotate it on the bolt.
    Malibu could have come up with a better solution here, something like a brass sleeve that turns on the bolt, but it is what it is...
  • kyleganselkylegansel Posts: 54 Baller
    Well just tested everything. Seems snug and fine so I have no idea.... put my hand back there on everything and nothing vibrates. None the less appreciate all the help!
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