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SN 196 Bubble Back Rudder

EricWEricW Posts: 29 Baller
Have a 196 without the adjustable rudder, it looks like the PO ground the right side significantly probably to make the rudder feel neutral (is pretty neutral rudder now). The MC/BU's grind the right side so this is ground on the wrong side to create pull. Should I grind the left side to add rudder or keep grinding the right so the boat has rudder (pull to one side)? The rudder didn't come like this from the factory right?


  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,771 Mega Baller
    Replace it!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 322 Solid Baller
    Jody is right on. It's not fixable. The prior owner probably tried to make the boat pull the opposite way so that the weight of his left hand/arm would help offset the steering wheel pull. That doesn't work. Any more grinding will make the boat squirrely if it's not already.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 950 Mega Baller
    Throw an ACME 422 on there while you are at it!
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,535 Mega Baller
    You “may” be able to save it, but you will need to get really aggressive with the grinder. Take an 1/8 or 1/4” straight off the back, then get after it in the left side. You don’t have anything to loose.

    If the PO had don’t that on the left side it would be just about right.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 498
    You could order an adjustable trim tab from and have it installed by a machine shop.
    JC McCavit
  • WishWish Posts: 7,858 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited August 2018
    @JC McCavit really?? Never heard of that being a possibility. Do u have experience?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 498
    Yes, it's worked flawlessly for 7 years now.
    JC McCavit
  • Onside135Onside135 Posts: 415 Crazy Baller
    @JC McCavit I’m not sure that would work out so well. That’s a lot of missing surface area to make up for with a trim tab. I’d lean towards a new rudder if it was me.
  • JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 498
    What I understood was the rudder load is currently neutral. The trim tab only returns the trailing edge in that area to the original shape, but adds adjustment so you don't have to do anymore grinding.
    JC McCavit
  • JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 498
    I will add this disclaimer, it worked on my boat, but it may not work on another boat.
    JC McCavit
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,888 Infinite Pandas
    Rudders aren't voodoo. The specific rudder shipped with the boat was optimized for the boat. But there have been so many shapes for rudders on similar boats that the range of what will give you good service might be quite wide. @Jody_Seal has probably experimented with rudders that are unsafe - so he will properly warn you against any changes. My old American Skier has hundreds of safe trouble free hours on the cut down yacht rudder that I used after the factory rudder broke off. That was a bit dicey when it broke. When your rudder gets rattling loose replace it and the rudder housing before it breaks.

    Rudders do wear. When they wear, replacement is the only fix. Perhaps the grinding was a response to the loose feel of a worn rudder and rudder box. Replace them both (and your steering cable) for that new boat feel.

    Regarding the wrong side grind, just reverse the engine rotation (Nautiques back the wrong way anyhow).

    Honestly, I'd just grind the heck out of the other side until it feels good. If it never feels good, replace it. Or try @jcmccavit 's trick of adding the trim tab. But budget for a new rudder and rudder box.

  • pcmcon729pcmcon729 Posts: 54 Baller
    I'm guessing your boat is a '97. I worked on one that was ground like yours. Gain a bit of load, but was sloppy. I replaced the rudder. Drove like a brand new boat. Save yourself from wasting time, just swap it out.
  • BHarwoodBHarwood Posts: 9 Baller
    Previous owner on my '97 did the same, ground the wrong side. I ended up grinding the left side and filling in the R side with an epoxy. Boat tracks great.
  • rockdogrockdog Posts: 563 Crazy Baller
    Had exact same problem with mine, I had a thread about it somewhere. Jody said exact same thing to me so I bought another off him which he ground a little off correct side for me and works perfectly with the load it has on it now. Just get another and do it properly.
  • EricWEricW Posts: 29 Baller
    Thank you all for the great info and your previous experience its very helpful, we talked about adding the adjustable trim tab like @JC McCavit said, so I am glad to see it has been done and successfully worked. I will have a talk with the machine shop and if that's not viable I will look for a new one. Thanks again!
  • EricWEricW Posts: 29 Baller
    It doesn't drive bad now just takes a pass or so to get used to, just doesn't have that constant pull we are used to.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,348 Crazy Baller
    If you're thinking about taking the rudder off and taking it to a machine shop just put a new one in. By the money you spend in the machine shop you'd be well on your way to a new rudder. However as @Bruce_Butterfield said, grind the s**t out of it. What do you have to lose? I suppose one could replace the rudder with a later model with the adjustable tab??
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • scorban2scorban2 Posts: 92 Baller
    edited August 2018
    This thread got me thinking... My new to me 97 steers much harder to the right than the left, even with a repacked and greased rudder and a new steering cable (it's perfect in neutral). I always thought the grinding on the rudder was just knocking off the casting edges, but thinking it may be a ground rudder. Thoughts on the grind on this one? Looks a little more ground on one side.

  • scorban2scorban2 Posts: 92 Baller

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