Prop Shaft

This project to remove the prop shaft turned into a rudder removal situation.  Was completed in March of 2011.
Hole in rudder Well here is the hole story.  I needed to remove the prop shaft in wind dragon to check the shaft, put in a new shaft sheal, and replace the cutlass bearing.  Having seen other boats around with holes in their rudders, I thought to my self “Hey, now I know why those boats had those hole!”.  I will just line up the shaft and drill myself a hole in the rudder to allow me to remove the shaft without removing the rudder!  Yes, that would have been WAY too easy.  I learned the rudder on these old boats has the rudder shaft all the way down through the rudder.  Great for structural purposes but not so good for my idea.  I had no choice but to remove the rudder to get the shaft out.

Well, because the rudder is the same depth as the keel, the rudder was only about 10″ off the ground.  The rudder shaft extendes up into the boat to just under the cockpit floor.  That distance is about 40″, meaning I was going to:
(a) have to pay to have the boat lifted up with the hoist to remove it and again when I was ready to put it back in.
(b) dig a hole in the HARD packed, gravel and clay ground.

Time and effort won over ease and money 🙂

diggingHole So, armed with shovels, hammers, pry-bars, and long metal rods, my step-dad Pat and I tackled the problem
holeDug After about an hour, we had this nice hole dug a little over 3 ft into the ground.
holeDug2 I think I see China down there 🙂
rudderInHole2 First step was to remove the big wheel attached to the shaft that the Edson console attaches to. 
Then there is a pillow bearing mounted to a fiberglass board that the set screws were removed from. 
Then Removing the rudder packing nuts proved to be a MAJOR PITA.  The threads were rusted and there is practicly NO room to get leverage on a wrench to turn the nut.  I ended having to get a 1-3/8″ 3/4″ socket with a 6″ extender and a 2 ft breaker bar to get the top packing nut off.  The lower one was easy after the top one cleaned out the threads.
At this point the only thing holding in the rudder was the pillow bearing.  Even though I had removed the set screws, the fit was very tight.  I had to use a long 2×4 and pry the rudder down using the hull as the fulcrum point.  Once I got it to move about 6″ the rudder came out fairly easy.

Here you see it in the hole we dug, with only about 2-3 inches to spare.

rudderInHole Here is another view of the rudder in the hole.

Now with the rudder out and flat on the ground, I was easily able to patch the hole I had made in my “there has got to be an easier way” moment.

In the long run, it was very good that I HAD to remove the rudder because I ended up fixing the issues with the packing nuts and replacing the packing also.