Update: I noticed something bad while putting this page together --
Look at the sleeve bearing in the picture above and compare it with the one at the top of the page.
I pumped too much grease into the post and pushed the bearing up 1/2 an inch.
Gee -- I didn't know you could do that. I didn't know that the first picture was even showing
the top of the bearing! I was expecting grease to come out around the bearing, not push it up.

Replace Grease Cup with a Zerk Fitting

Home -- s/v Stella Blue home -- Steering Page -- Projects

January 2003 --
I want to replace the old Grease Cup with
a nice length of hose with a zerk fitting on the end,
so I can lube up the rudder easily.

The old grease cup snapped off when I tried to unscrew it,
as it was just fastened on with a dab of epoxy.
That left a bit of a mess.
(I lost the old cup, so no picture of it...)

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The area isn't easy to access, so I rigged a mirror and did all the work in reverse!
(Just so you know,
that's not fun.)


The idea is to take the 45 degree fitting and epoxy it into the hole, which will give me a nice threaded fitting for the hose.

That's weird looking, isn't it!
After scrubbing with mineral spirits,
I took my Handy Dremel tool with a wire brush and cleaned it up a bit.
It looks a little wet in this picture because the mineral spirits haven't evaporated.

The blue and the green is some type of marine putty.

After seeing this picture, I went back and scrubbed at it for another hour or so...

I stuck the 45 degree elbow on with Marine-Tex Putty. The fitting is loose enough in the old hole that I don't want to use West epoxy because it might drip wrong...
This stuff sets up really fast.

Hint: Once it's the right color, don't overwork it
or stop for anything (including taking a picture)
or it'll kick and you'll have to start over.

Third time's a charm. The Acetone wipe took off all the remaining grease residue and this wouldn't come off no matter how hard I twisted it.

Before attaching the hose I packed it with grease so I wouldn't push a bunch of air in there.
The hose is long enough to slip a grease gun on
the end while in the cockpit. I'll secure it
to the bulkhead with a strong tie wrap
to reduce the pull on the fitting... although
I really don't think it's going to budge or break.

Originally I'd planned to cover the Marine-Tex with a good layer of West epoxy paste and
fair it in, but after looking at it decided that would be wasted effort.

Oops. The second attempt stuck pretty well, but when I gave it a heck of a twist it popped off.

So I went back and scrubbed the area with Acetone. It's hard to get rid of the old grease!

After a bit of email traffic with other C&C owners, I took a small slice of exhaust hose and a hose clamp. The idea was to clamp the hose just above the bearing, then use the top nut on the rudder post to lower the post a bit and press the bearing
back into place. I didn't want to just pry on one edge, for fear it wouldn't go back down straight, or that I'd break something.

Unfortunately, that area is so tight that the job has to be done one-handed. If I get two hands and a head in there, I can reach the area but can barely move. Apparently my frustration was loud enough to attract some of the marina ducks, who started to gather around the transom to watch.

Eventually I gave up on the hose and just put the clamp on there, hoping that it would have enough surface against the bearing to do the job.
It did.
To the right you can see the first 1/8" of progress, with excess grease oozing back
out the fitting.

Turning the top nut was pretty easy,
once I stuck a large piece of hose over it and
used a strap wrench.

The process was:
1) Loosen the top nut
2) Stand on it and push everything down.
3) Tighten the top nut, raising the rudder.
4) Reach under and loosen the hose clamp, slide it down against the bearing, and tighten it back up
5) Repeat until done (about 5 times in this case.)

And there... it's totally back down in the post...
even lower than when I initially started.


I'll be a little more careful shooting grease in there
after this! I think the ideal thing would be to find
a wide rubber clamp that can live permanently
above the post, so that the bearing can't come up.
I really would like to be able to pump grease in there hard, to make sure it goes DOWN and hits the bottom bearing that's above the rudder (under water).
At next haulout I was planning to give that area a good inspection, and maybe a good solution will be clear.