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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

Comments

  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 321 Solid 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: 321 Solid 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: 3,798 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: 3,798 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: 1,174 ★★★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: 2,026 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: 3,887 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: 3,798 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: 27 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
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