How do I loosen a tight rudder?

I’ve got a CD Solstice - haven’t had it all that long, but the rudder is very tight. I have the SeaDog foodbraces that pivot and I don’t like the strain it’s putting on these. I don’t use the rudder much, but when I do it’s pretty hard to even nudge it a bit. I’ve checked the cables and they slide nice and easily. The footpegs pivot without any resistance. It’s the rudder pivot. I took the rudder off to see if there was any adjustment that was obvious, but I don’t see anything. Just a stainless rod in a nylon bushing. The bushing must be a bit too tight. Do I lubricate it and if so with what? I woudn’t want something that would just get gummed up or would eat the bushing. Anyone have experience with something like this or have any ideas? I’ll call CD this week and see if they have any thoughts as well.



Try anything slippery…

– Last Updated: Jul-16-06 10:55 PM EST –

CRC, WD-40, House hold oil, soap, silicone.
Clean any grit out of it first..

BTW I found something that work great on skeg cables. It's called "Rainbow" it's made for the cable industry and says "For industrial use only"
Wondering if anyone has heard of it..

I’ll see what I have
I’m concerned about WD40 eating the bushing, but maybe silicone would be good since it won’t just dry up after a while.


Be careful
Almost as bad as an overly tight bushing is one that is sloppy.

I would be careful about lubrication. First, any lube other than graphite powder may attract dirt. Second, the lube may wear out when it is inconvenient to re-apply. And third, you may damage the plastic material.

You described the rudder pivot block as being “nylon”. While it may look like nylon, it is probably HDPE or LDPE. Nylon actually absorbs some water and would swell slightly when wet.

My suggestion is to measure the pin (common size is 3/8") and then re-drill the hole with a fresh drill bit. DO NOT attempt to wallow out the hole, just run the bit through smoothly and withdraw. The bit originally used might have been worn and therefore undersize. Lube with graphite powder and see if it has freed up.


If you can get one, a reamer will give you a cleaner hole than a twist drill.

Careful with a reamer!
A tapered reamer will result ina tapered hole, with wobble the end result.


Polish the pin…
add in here to polish the pin where it meets the bushing…easy way to do this is with a little fine grit Emory paper…like using a polish rag to shine a shoe.

Don’t lube it with anything.
WD-40 will act as a sand magnet and your rudder will just sieze up more.

Try to enlarge the hole slightly with the correct size drill bit.

Early CD boats had the pin bonded into
transom and the rudder moved about pin in a ‘captured’ sort of arrangment and was held in place with a set screw from the side … Is yours one of these ???

If regular pin type:

Otherwise I would go with a slightly undersized from pin ( for first run ) NEW FRESH twist drill, maybe go to actual size second since it is hard to come back from too large a hole. No lube ness. and make sure the hole is DEEP enough … My guess is there is something @ the bottom of the hole. smaller bit should clean it out. Go slow and only 1-2 times ness.

Thanks for all the advice
It’s what I believe is a “regular” pin type where the pin just pushes down into the bushing with a screw on top that screws down into the boat keeping the rudder from working its way up. The boat is not even a season old. It was tight the first time out, but not real bad but it’s gotten much tighter since. I’ll try to clean it out as much as possible first. If that doesn’t work I think the drilling makes the most sense though it does make me nervous. I’ll just go slow and careful.


Yep, probably gonna be stuff on the
bottom of the hole, it was not drilled deep enough or you are cranking down on the set washer … o.k. to have a bit of ‘float’ here. The bushing should NOT be touching the rudder spacer itself … in fact, there should be a third smaller ‘spacer’ that works as sort of a ‘standoff’ spacer to keep above said float space in there yet still allow you to snug up the lockdown screw … So … look for the small diameter spacer ot make one from some tubing.

What did dealer and manufacturer say
when you asked they what to do about it?



they said to try loosening the screw that holds the rudder in place, but I explained I had looked into that and it’s not even touching right now. They said to open it up and look for sand or grit. I explained that sand was very unlikely given the number of times it’s been out. They said maybe it was a burr or grit left over from manufacture. Gave me the name of the guy to talk to if cleaning doesn’t fix it.


– Last Updated: Jul-25-06 10:21 PM EST –

I cleaned out the rudder hole and added a bit of silicone just to see how it helped. That brought it back to where it was first time I used it - much better paddling last night.

Tonight I cleaned it out again to get rid of the silicone and used a new drill bit to make sure it was nice and smooth and the right size. Then I sprayed some DRY Teflon on the rudder pin and all the rudder cables (as much as I could get to after dismantling the system.) It looks like it should help keep things sliding smoothly - it's very smooth now without being loose. We'll see how the Teflon holds up over time.

I can see why rudders are considered a pain. I never liked them when I first started paddling buying into the snob thing, but I've learned to appreciate them after using some good ones on better boats. Hopefully this doesn't prove to be the norm.

Thanks again for the advice!