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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:14 pm 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:35 pm
Posts: 1
So, I bought an old H20. The guy I bought it from gave me some newer rudders to replace the old, split/smashed ones the boat came with. The old rudders locked down fine and sailed well, but when I swapped them out for the new rudders, I found the tiller arm would not lock down on one of them. On examination, it appears there is a metal plate (the cam plate?) that should engage with a hard plastic/rubber cam. The cam doesn't seem to move any more (I bet it did 20 years ago). It would appear that the bolt viable above the cam plate(?) (on top of the casting) can be loosened to allow the cam plate(?) to be moved back and forward to allow it to fit with the cam. Now here is the problem, I can't loosen the bolt as a crescent spanner, wrench / spanner, vice grips etc wont fit into the gap, and needle nose pliers just cant grip well enough to loosen the bolt.

Is adjusting the bolt and moving the cam plate(?) the way to go about fixing this, and if so, what tool could be used to loosen the bolt that would fit in the gap?

I'm brand new to cats, and I apologise in advance for if this is a stupid question.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:27 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 13661
Location: Oceanside, California
The cam may be rotated to the locked position. Look different from the other side?

Cam and rudder FAQ:


The Hobie rudder cam system is pretty easy to deal with if you keep it greased. Use marine grease, if possible, between the cam and plunger. Anything will do as a temp lubrication: Suntan lotion, WD-40 or Chap Stick etc. Marine or bearing grease just stays there longer. Lubricating the system will prevent damage to the cam and plunger that is caused when the cam gets stuck in the down position.

A tight fit is required between the upper arm and cam (lower casting) when the rudder is locked down. The rudder should be held firmly against the lower casting. Any rudder movement, aft from the casting, indicates a miss-adjustment that can allow the upper arm to disengage from the cam without forcing it to rotate into the open (unlocked) position.

If the cam sticks in the down position there are several methods to get it to rotate release. From above and forward of the assembly, lift the upper arm and rotate it aft and out of the way. Loop a line around the cam yank the line to pop the cam open. You can also use the tiller arm to assist this technique by wrapping the line around the cam, then lowering the tiller arm and wrapping the line a few times around the tiller arm. Pull up on the tiller arm which (through the line) levers the cam open. There are several tools that can also be used. I use a large blade screwdriver that can be inserted into the side of the cam to leverage it open. There is also a tool (Hobie Part # 83103 / 2003 Catalog page forty eight) that has a small hook that can be used (by drilling a small hole in the cam to allow it to be inserted) for leverage. You can also use a small flat blade screw driver to work between the cam and plunger... force the plunger down to unlock the cam. I find that this works very well even if the cams are dry and un-lubricated.

If the cam is really stuck down, the only tool needed is a small blade screwdriver. You work the blade between the cam and plunger to force the plunger down and release the cam. Don't bother with the big screw under the spring they often are fused in place and the spring does not need to be adjusted but a few times in the life of the boat.

If the cam keeps getting stuck down, even when greased, there is a miss adjustment in the upper casting plate (newer boats), the rudder is drilled wrong causing too much play in the system or it is worn out (too flexible) where it hooks the upper casting.

A cam plate too far forward can keep the cam from fully locking. A cam plate too far aft will allow the rudder to slip aft in the lower casting or allow the upper casting to be raised without pulling the cam open. To adjust the upper plate, lock the rudder down and hold the rudder firmly against the lower casting (forward most position). Loosen the upper plate then back it away from the cam a little. You want to seat the plate tight against the cam (in the fully locked position) while holding the rudder forward in the lower casting. Ease the plate forward while wiggling the upper arm up and down just a bit. The idea is to find the point of deepest insert that the upper plate can get into the cam. That may mean that the upper casting is not touching the lower casting. Don't force the plate too far forward as this will begin to force the cam open. When tightening the plate, be sure the plate doesn't move. I usually tighten with the wrench handle rotating forward towards the cam to move the plate forward if anything.

Matt Miller
Director of Parts and Accessory Sales
Warranty and Technical Support
Hobie Cat USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:35 pm 
Hobie Approved Guru

Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
Posts: 5182
Location: Detroit, MI
Van Cat wrote:
Is adjusting the bolt and moving the cam plate(?) the way to go about fixing this, and if so, what tool could be used to loosen the bolt that would fit in the gap?

A socket wrench:

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:01 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:53 am
Posts: 99
Location: Florida Panhandle
I had to use a 1/4" drive, 1/2" socket to get down into the recess to loosen mine. A socket designed for a 1/2" drive ratchet had too much wall thickness to get down in there.

Hope it helps!


1999 Hobie 20, Sail #1005
2001 Hobie 16, "Spirit of 76 sails" #18515. Sold
1981 Hobie 18, Dead!

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