You might remember a month or so ago when I discovered my lower gudgeon was in need of attention. It had worked it’s way loose over the last 38 years of the boat’s life. In the process of deciding how to address it, I determined I should put a backing plate and replace the nuts, bolts, and washers rather than simply re-tightening the originals.
A quick trip to Home Depot and I had the necessary hardware to do the job. New bolts, nuts, and fender washers. I also got a piece of 12 gauge galvanized fastener plate to use for a backing. Quick question for those who know more than I do about this….will the zinc-plated bolts and nuts have an adverse galvanic reaction with the galvanized steel plate?
Using the gudgeon as a guide, I marked the backing plate where I needed and drilled the necessary holes.
Now on to the boat. I had previously filled the existing gudgeon holes with epoxy and also added a layer of epoxy around the area to help reinforce it even more.
I drilled through the epoxy in the existing holes, I added butyl tape to the back of the gudgeon where it connects to the transom.
Up to now this had been the easy part. So now, I went to the transom with the gudgeon and bolts. I reached over and worked the bolts through the holes and pushed the gudgeon in place up against the boat. The butyl tape, although it’s not an adhesive, was tacky enough to hold it in place long enough for the next step.
I made my way down below and then to the stern inside the boat. I was relieved to see the bolts still sticking through the transom. Very gingerly, I held the bolts and slipped the backing plate over all three. Then the fender washers, then the nuts. I was able to breath a sigh of relief once I got all three nuts started. Now at least the gudgeon wouldn’t fall off into the lake where I’d never recover it.
This is where the two-person job comes in….I need to tighten the bolts from the exterior whilst simultaneously keeping the nuts from turning on the inside. I used locking pliers to hold the nuts while I tightened the bolts. I wedged the pliers so it’d stay in place and allow the nuts to tighten on the bolt. I did the middle bolt first, then the other two.
As I tightened the bolts, the butyl was compressed and sealed the gudgeon against the transom, just as it should.
Here’s a comparison of the original setup from 38 years ago and the repair I just completed. It should last at least another 38 years now. 🙂
I will say this project has been true to form when it comes to boat projects. What I mean is that in order to remove the gudgeon it was necessary to remove the rudder. When I did that, I noticed several blisters on the rudder. Blisters occur when water works it’s way under the gelcoat and then pressure builds up and out like a pimple. For the most part, from what I’ve read, it’s usually only a cosmetic issue and doesn’t indicate anything structurally wrong [that’s good news].
So I took the rudder home and have already begun repairs. Guess that’ll give me an excuse to make another blog post soon. 🙂