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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 8:31 pm 
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Hi all,

I'm hoping to improve my steering system a little bit this year. The consensus seems to be that EPO's will dramatically increase steering and pointing ability.

In looking at my steering system overall, however, I've noticed that my rudder castings and even the gudgeons have some slop with the Al pins. Can the rudder bushing kit be used with the old style castings? I've noticed that there really is not a whole lot of material around the holes in the castings, I don't much like the idea of drilling them bigger, unless others have done it successfully.

In addition, I'm wondering if I ought to consider SS pins, the rudder stiffening kit and/or the Miracle 20 style tiller connector. The old tiller connector just seems to slip constantly. I just finally got around to drilling out my stuck adjusting screws so that I (hopefully) don't lose a rudder or do damage to my transoms.

I've seen a lot of recommendations for SS pins elsewhere, but I'm wondering if they're necessary or advisable. I'm in fresh water, so the Al pins are in ok shape. It seems like the rudder pin is the designed weak point to prevent damage to the transom, unless they are failing on people under regular sailing conditions?

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'79 H18 standard 'Rocketman II' sail #14921


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 11:19 pm 
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EPOs are great for responsive steering and pointing!

You can use bushings in old castings.

Rudder stiffening kits may not apply if you get the EPOs, but will be good for the plastic rudders, you may also need to refill the holes in the rudders if they have worn out. Fill with epoxy or marinetex and re-drill. (That's on my to-do list at the moment)

There are people using plastic pins for rudder pins, they do fail occasionally. I haven't heard of an aluminum pin failing, just wearing out. If you have your bushings in there, those should become your wear point. I just replaced my 20 AL pins with SS because the aluminum bent A LOT, but there's quite a bit more force on those. I have used Al pins on my 18 for years without issue. I'm pretty sure you can still rip off your transom with AL pins.


The 20 connector mod is excellent for transportation and adjustment, either system should be able to be dialed in to minimize slipping...

Have fun

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Fleet 259, Central Coast CA
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H18 ('85)
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:48 am 
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I've used the upgraded bushings in the old style castings. You have to step up the holes in the castings to 7/16" and then they work find.

You don't have to use the Hobie rudder stiffening kit, but if there's slop between the rudder blade and the casting, then you need to shim it with something to eliminate the slop - I usually just use milk jug plastic. The EPO blades are wider than the plastic ones, so shimming may not be necessary, but you don't want to over tighten the rudder bolts or you could crack the casting.

I recommend stainless rudder pins, especially on the 18. Anything else can break and I know guys that have broken aluminum pins. If you're not sailing in breaking waves, then it's a no-brainer, use stainless. They don't wear out, they don't break, they never need to be replaced.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:10 am 
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So I've installed the bushings... I needed to open up the holes slightly larger than 7/16" in the casting to get the bushings in (still needed to hammer them in), file down the flanges to fit around the gudgeons, and drill out the bushings so that I could slide the pin in. The pins don't rattle, but I didn't want so tight of a fit that I couldn't get the pins out. I only installed two bushings, though there are three holes in the casting. However, now that the lower casting is tighter to the pin, the pins are spinning in the gudgeons rather than the bushings. :/

The bushings did improve things quite a bit, but I still have a fair amount of slop in the system. So far, I have:

• re-riveted the upper castings
• re-riveted and tightened the tiller connectors (old style)
• installed bushings in the lower castings
• drilled out & replaced the frozen adjusting screw.
• filled & re-drilled the rudder holes (they had opened up slightly).

I believe the following places are where I still have slop:

• The old SS gudgeons on my sterns (slight)
• The bolt holes in the upper and lower castings (seem to have enlargened slightly so that the rudders can "wobble" a bit)
• The interface between the upper and lower casting

My biggest complaint is the amount of fore & aft slop in my rudders. I can pull them back almost an inch from the bottom of the lower casting before the rudder is tight. I'm planning on adding padding at the bottom of the lower casting, but I think the real problem is either the way the upper and lower casting mate up, or the placement of the bolt holes in the rudders. When locked down, should the rudders be almost tight against the forward end of the lower casting? The rudders are original to the boat, so I can't imagine the holes would be that far off. Does anyone have any recommendations here?

I'm also wondering how best to locate the holes in the rudders. Given the slop in the system, I have no idea how much rudder rake I had or how much helm... It felt like a somewhat excessive amount of weather helm, but the rudders weren't as tight as they should've been. I filled with West Epoxy and re-drilled based on the template, but I've re-filled them because I want to try and follow the procedure in the Winter 2011 issue of Hobie Hotline. I don't really trust the drilling template. I'd like to get my Lexan rudders fit properly, so that when I go to drill my EPO's I only have to do it once.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:55 am 
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When I used the old style rudder system on the 18 (which was up until this year when I picked up a new style rudder system off a junked boat), I used bungee cord wrapped around the rudder & rudder pin. The bungee holds the rudder snug against the lower casting. It also allows you to back off the tension on the rudder cam screw so the rudders kick up more easily. Get a set of washers for the lower casting to hold the bungee in position, murrays calls it the rudder return kit.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:16 am 
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Aha, I was wondering how you achieved that! I'd heard you say that before, but after fixing my adjusting screws, my rudders seem to kick up with light pressure, even with those screws set tight! I am thrilled to have a functional kick-up system, however. :D Haven't tested it on the water yet though, I'll see if it's a problem or not.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:35 pm 
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I also recommend putting a light coating of bearing grease on the hook/cam in the lower casting and the roller/pin that it engages into in the upper casting. This really helps the system function more smoothly.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:53 am 
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I finished re-drilling my rudders and setting the proper rudder rake over the weekend, but found that moving the hole for the upper casting did nothing to tighten up the system. The only remaining source of slop, as far as I can tell, is the from the holes in the upper and lower castings having wallowed out by up to about 1/16. A fair amount of wobble in the bolts leads to inches of wobble at the rudder tip, and completely negating my rudder rake adjustment. I tried filling the casting holes with epoxy and re-drilling, but the epoxy broke out. Maybe MarineTex would work, but I'm to the point of just buying the rudder kick-up return kit and using that to take out the remaining slop. I trailer my boat, so it's an extra step between me and the water each time, but my improvements at this point have been for naught if I can't get that last big chunk of slop out!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:12 am 
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Maybe use some milled fiber or chopped strand mixed in with the epoxy to add strength to the filled bolt hole. Otherwise, bungees do seem to help. I use a hook on one end of the bungee so it can be disconnected when not sailing, otherwise the bungee will quickly stretch out.

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