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      In the last couple of years my rudder has become increasingly stiff. This year when the boat was lifted out of the water I could see that the bearing did not look right – the roller bearings were now not straight and the rudder moved up and down when it was rotated.

      Looking into this I found that the rudder and bearings were made by Jefa in Denmark – http://www.jefa.com. Their website is very helpful listing parts for recent Bavaria’s and other makes of boat. There are also useful drawing of the rudder & bearing They can supply parts directly at a about 170 Euros plus VAT & delivery.

      The lower bearing consists of a metal housing glassed into the hull and a spherical bearing ball that is free to rotate in the housing to cope with rudder movements. There is a hole drilled through the spherical ball through which the rudder stock passes and a set of roller bearings inside the spherical ball to allow the rudder to rotate.

      The engineer who replaced the bearing for me said that he thought that corrosion of the metal housing caused it to expand and inhibit the movement of the spherical ball which put a strain on the roller bearings and this then caused the roller bearings to fail. Once the sperical ball had been cut out the metal housing was wire brushed to remove the corrosion and the new bearing fitted using grease supplied by Jefa between the housing and the spherical ball.

      According to Jefa there is no maintenance to be done on this bearing other than spraying it with fresh water but to me this would seem to imply that the rudder bearing will fail in the same way again. It might be an idea to drop the rudder periodically – say every 2 or 3 years – and re-grease the ball.

      Has anyone else tried re-greasing this type of bearing?

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