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Changing Rudder Bearings Dufour 455GL - how I did it

 
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mordase



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Barcelona

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:29 am    Post subject: Changing Rudder Bearings Dufour 455GL - how I did it Reply with quote

I posted a while ago asking for advice on changing the rudder bearings on my 2008 Dufour 455GL. I finally took the plunge and went ahead. The reason for doing the work was a knocking sound from the top of the rudder when in a heavy sea – you could see the top of the rudder stock move when the emergency steering plate was removed. There was also play in the bottom bearing. Access to the top bearing is easy as you can remove the cover panel between the two steering wheels. Access to the bottom bearing required the boat to be out of the water. The procedure I used is as follows:
1. Purchased the 2 bearings in advance from a Dufour agent. I got mine from Marco Marine in the UK at a total cost of £180.90 inc tax.
2. I practiced removing the rudder quadrant in advance of getting the boat lifted as I was advised there maybe issues with bolt corrosion. There are 4 bolts holding the two halves of the quadrant around the rudder stock which came off easily. There is also a very long bolt with a nut on the end that goes through the centre of the quadrant and rudder stock. This bolt is stainless steel and goes through the aluminium quadrant – it is prone to being firmly stuck due to corrosion between the two different metals. In my case it was impossible for me to remove it completely. I had to cut the bolt head, knock of the rear half of the quadrant and then remove the other half of the quadrant from the boat with the bolt firmly stuck in place. A specialist machine shop was finally able to remove the offending item and create a new centre bolt for me. Just as well I tried removing the quadrant before the boat was lifted as all this took time and effort. When reassembling the quadrant I used plenty of Tefgel to prevent future corrosion and problems.
3. Now that I was sure I could remove the quadrant the boat was lifted out of the water. You will need approximately 1 metre clearance from the ground to remove the rudder so I had my boat held in the slings whilst this was done. With the boat held up high enough I placed plenty of wooden blocks under the rudder so it couldn’t fall out. The quadrant was removed from the rudder stock (you don’t need to undo the steering cables) and then the second long bolt that is under the quadrant that holds the rudder in the rudder tube was removed. The rudder is now free to come out. The rudder is VERY HEAVY and there were 3 of us holding it and gradually removing the blocks to drop it out.
4. Once the rudder is out I removed the top and bottom bearing from the rudder tube. On my boat the old bearings came straight out. Marco Marine advised that the top bearing may need to be carefully cut out if it is stuck (I guess I was lucky).
5. The top and bottom of the rudder tube were cleaned with a degreaser.
6. Marco Marine advised that the new bearings should be fixed in place with mastic (Sikaflex 291). I primed the outer surface of each bearing and the top and bottom inner surfaces of the rudder tube, applied a small amount of Sikaflex and inserted the bearing in pace. The bearings are a tight fit into the tube so I’m not sure whether the Sikaflex does much but I followed the instructions. I left the Sikaflex over night to cure.
7. This is now a good time to inspect the rudder and stock for any corrosion/damage. In my case everything looked fine. I just cleaned up the stock using 800 grit wet sandpaper.
8. I applied Silicone grease to the bearings (Marco Marine advised to use this only) and then we lifted and pushed the rudder back into the bearings. This was harder than removing the rudder as alignment is important but after much effort we finally got the rudder back in. The securing bolt was then fixed and the quadrant reassembled.
9. The boat can now been re-floated.
Everything went well apart from the initial quadrant removal due to the corroded bolt. The rudder is very heavy and although we could not weigh it I reckon it must have been around 80 kilos. It took 3 us to handle it. The rudder dimension from the bottom of the boat to the bottom of the rudder is 203cm. The actual stainless steel stock is 83cm. There is hardly any clearance when the boat is sitting on its keel so you will have to have the boat lifted to carry out the work.
Good luck and I hope this helps anyone attempting to do the work.
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angus spence



Joined: 11 Nov 2012
Posts: 63
Location: Scotland, Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:10 pm    Post subject: Changing Rudder Bearings Dufour 455GL - how I did it Reply with quote

A very detailed account. Many thanks for posting this, should be of good use to other 455GL owners. This forum is a great place for advise. I have a D34, but some of the advice will apply to all models.
Best Regards
Angus
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jcjglt



Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 134
Location: New Caledonia

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just amazing to see other Dufour sailboats with the same problem, which barely missed to send me to the bottom of the Pacific ocean and without dufour support I had to solve the problem myself with the help of talented local mechanics :
http://www.boefamily.dk/dufour/viewtopic.php?t=1049

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