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 Post subject: Nuts for Rudder bolts
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:33 am 
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So a couple of weekends ago I had my first capsize (ever, actually, in any sailboat). Made sure not to fall on the sails, lost my glasses in the lake, but then I shouldn't have been wearing them in the first place.

However, at some point one of the nylon nuts attached to the port-side upper rudder bolt came out, and when the boat tipped over the bolt fell out. I was able to limp it back to shore on the remaining functional rudder, and have since replaced all four rudder bolts. Got a lot of fun out of proving to my dad they're 5/16-18 and not 1/4-20s.

I went ahead and used nylock nuts instead of the nylon nuts. Is this okay? I'm not worried about the nuts falling off still, but is there another reason they did nylon nuts and not nylocks?. The bolts and nuts I got were stainless.

Side note: double check those nuts!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:35 am 
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We use stainless nylock nuts in new boats. Nylon was used in the 70's and maybe into the early 80's only

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:29 am 
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Thanks for that! Glad to know I got the correct parts.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:09 pm 
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My guess would be that the reason the original nuts were nylon was so that you couldn't accidently over-tighten the bolts and crack the castings. Also note that the bolts connecting the corner castings to the pylons were also nylon at one point in time.

So yes, stainless steel nyloc nuts are fine to use, but just be sure you don't over-tighten them and crack the castings. This is especially true if your rudders fit loose in the castings - don't try to eliminate the slop by tightening the bolts. Instead use shims between the rudder and the casting to take out the slop and only tighten the bolts enough to snug them up.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:18 pm 
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My '85 H-16 had nylon nuts on the rudder bolts. I changed them to S/S lock nuts. The important thing as mentined above, is to avoid over-tightening. I replaced the nylon nuts on the pylons with lock nuts but because the bolts were too short, I had to put the lock nuts on backwards. A little hard to get started on the bolt but it worked. Again, don't over-tighten I had a 3" hole saw and used it to make shims for the rudders out of plastic milk containers.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:28 pm 
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The proper bolts have a long smooth shaft, and only short threads on the ends. That way, the rudder is rotating on a smooth rod, instead of sharp threads. I don't remember the bolt size off the top of my head, but I'd get the right bolts.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:22 pm 
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I had no problem getting the S/S lock nuts to work on the rudder bolts. The bolts on the pylons weren't long enough to get the larger lock nuts on them and new, longer bolts got too expensive. I don't remember the size but they were either 1/2" or 5/8" and the lock nuts were large.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:57 am 
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Look for low profile nylock nuts when regular ones are too thick.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:40 am 
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Tom King wrote:
The proper bolts have a long smooth shaft, and only short threads on the ends. That way, the rudder is rotating on a smooth rod, instead of sharp threads. I don't remember the bolt size off the top of my head, but I'd get the right bolts.

Yep, I found that a 3" long 5/16-18 shoulder bolt from the hardware store had the perfect length of smooth before it got the the threads. The threads start just past the casting, which will prevent over-tightening too.

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