F235 Rudder Pin Conversion
Another rudder slop solution By Art Kara

Even after installing a set of new pintle bushings, there was play in Ballerina¹s two transom gudgeon/rudder carrier joints. I eliminated this play by converting the rudder pins to bolts and adding bushings to the transom gudgeons.

I did this conversion in a few hours with the boat in the water. Pulling the rudder pins, I removed the rudder carrier from the transom gudgeons. It was not necessary to separate the rudder from the rudder carrier.

Drilling out the upper and lower stainless steel transom gudgeons to fit the minor outside diameter of a standard pintle shoulder bushing, I then set new bushings into each gudgeon from top and bottom with epoxy putty, the bushings¹ minor diameter ends flush to the inside surfaces of the gudgeons. I dropped-in the new 14mm bolts to align the bushings while the putty set.


•  2 - 14mm x 80mm stainless steel hex head bolts
•  4 - 14mm stainless steel washers
•  2 - 14mm Nylock stainless steel nuts
   (MMS & Accessories, $13.26 + shipping; 800 441-9541 | www.mmsacc-stainless.com)
•  PC-Marine epoxy putty (Ace Hardware, $5.69 | www.pcepoxy.com )
•  Silicon Grease, waterproof (Ace Hardware, $2.99)
•  8 new pintle bushings

I also epoxied bushings into the aluminum rudder carrier, dropping-in the rudder pins to hold them in alignment. The epoxy putty fills voids and holds the bushings in place during final assembly. (Puttied-in bushings can be separated from metal with a sharp blow.)

After the epoxy set I installed the rudder carrier in the transom gudgeons using the 14mm diameter hex head bolts, washers and Nylock nuts. To maximize the bolts¹ unthreaded shank length inside the bushings, I used 80mm long bolts cut to the length needed to accommodate the washers, bushings, gudgeons and nut. I silicon greased the bolts¹ shanks before installing them.

Ballerina now has a sensitive helm. The 14mm bolts and nuts are tightened just enough to eliminate play. I¹ve needed to adjust them only once, soon after installing them six months ago, loosening them slightly. The tiller is strapped to one side when the boat is not in use to minimize wear on the bushings. To date, she has been outside the reef in up to 25 knots of wind and 8 foot seas with this modification, without problem.

Ballerina has the wing keel and her rudder extends about 6 inches below it. I reinforced her hull/transom joint a year ago. The drilled-out gudgeons now seem the most likely to shear away in a catastrophic grounding of the exposed rudder.

By the way, I raise the rudder a notch when cruising the shallow backcountry here. Silicon grease and Teflon tape on the nylon bolts¹ threads has kept them turn-able, so far.

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