Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #6900

      Had rudder bearing replaced following survey report on buying boat. New bearing and can at least turn wheel but remains really quite tight. Cables been slackened off but still a lot of resistance. Any ideas, thought it could be the autopilot chain or maybe something else up at wheel end.
      Also the locking ring at top of rudder stock was replaced, what was the original locking mechanism on the ring for the Bavaria Ocean.


        In common with many of the earlier Bavarias the 38 Ocean suffers from expansion of the lower rudder bearing, which is made from slightly hydroscopic material that swells after a few years in the water. I had the lower bearing reamed on Playtime. However, the first time it was refitted it still felt tight so I made the yard ream some more off the original bearing. When relaunched the rudder was fine up to the time I sold Playtime (2012). If the rudder is stiff then it sounds like your bearing is still tight. That said, the steering on the centre cockpit boats always feels a bit heavy due to the long cables.

        It is not too difficult to disconnect the cables from the quadrant and then check the wheel for stiffness. When the cables are disconnected you can also try the emergency tiller to see how stiff the rudder is without the cables.

        Regarding the locking mechanism on the top ring, the original on Playtime had a small grub screw through the ring that required a small Allen key (recessed hex head). It was crude IMHO but I never had any problem with it.


          It is possible to get the locking ring at the top of the rudder stock too tight, which makes the steering tight and ‘sticky’, it also squeaks. This happened to us (2003 Bav 38) after the rudder decided to drop down a few inches. The ‘shipwright’ who fixed it got it wrong. I do my own repairs now…


            Bav 36.2002
            Our rudder was tight so I put some olive oil down the tube above the lower bearing. After a day the rudder had loosened up! I did this at start and middle season for a few years and now it does not need it . Try this before you spend a lot of money .


              Hi Serendipity,
              I would like to try your method of easing the lower bearing with olive oil.
              Can this be done whilst boat is afloat? and can you give me instructions how to go about this please?


                Hello everyone,
                Me and Sophie are the proud new owners of year 2000 Bavaria 38 Ocean “Blue Spirit” (formally known as Playtime). Our rudder is very tight, too tight in fact and we are having it sorted this winter. Reading this forum is is apparent that the previous owner has had the lower bearing reamed already in the past. So I am wondering if the bearing has continued to swell? Or do we have another issue such as the top bearing?
                I like the sound of lubricating the lower bearing with olive oil but intrigued as to how you get the oil into the bearing? There is a tightly fitted “boot”? on the shaft just above the bearing which seems to prevent anything going in? Also interested to hear more about the top bearing if anyone has any ideas on how to test it?

                Will report back on progress/findings for those interested…




                  It’s been a while, we let our membership lapse unintentionally -too busy sailing!!

                  We had the bearing changed for a jefa needle Bearing and it has been perfect ever since. These bearings are a little more expensive than the standard bearing but it seemed like a better option. We also changed the top one, even though it wasn’t needed.


                    Hello from the Great Pacific Northwest of USA! I just joined the BOA.

                    My lovely “Escape” is on the hard for maintenance and I’m mitigating the lower bearing issue. I’ve dealt with this since 2006. I haven’t found that “swelling” was an issue, rather the housing is aluminum and pits, this pushes the bearing off alignment (binding it) but what is worse it allows salt to get trapped between the bushing and housing. Every haul out I drop the rudder, pull bushing and polish the housing by wet sanding. Then primer the alum and put back together. This has served me well but I’m gonna try using olive oil between haul outs as someone else does.

                    Fair winds to y’all!


                  Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
                  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.