Tiller and rudder bolts

Started by Scooter, Oct 14, 2023, 08:25 PM

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Among the many small fixes on mt project WWP are getting (not replacing because they didn't come with the boat) bolts for the tiller and the swing rudder. Both are 3/8" so I ordered a couple of 316 stainless hex bolts with washers and wing nuts. I'm thinking that I should secure them more somehow though, maybe drilling a hole and attaching a clevis pin so the wing nut doesn't work loose. Is there a better way? Maybe nylock nuts and replace them every year or so (as they lose grip)? It doesn't look like a location where torquing down a regular nut would be a good idea. Two regular nuts torqued together but otherwise not too tight also occurred to me. What else is out there?

Riley Smith

The Nyloc nuts are a good solution. Just enough resistance to keep it on. I don't trust them after they've been run up and down several times however. On some applications, I punch the threads of a bolt with a very sharp, small punch. It makes it where it won't back off from vibration but this isn't the place for that. That tactic will allow you to get the bolt off but you'll probably have to replace the hardware after you do.


As long as the boat has a 'normal'-ish set of pintles and gudgeons, I don't find myself doing full disassembles of tiller to rudder head/cheek and rudder blade to rudder head/cheek pivot bolts unless I am repairing or refinishing. I just take the whole unit off the boat between sailing trips. I am using nylocks with no other counter measures. There are plain washers between the bolt head and wood and nut and wood.
Big dreams, small boats...


Quote from: Spot on Oct 15, 2023, 09:16 AMjust take the whole unit off the boat between sailing trips

I might keep the two pieces of the rudder together but the tiller handle has the same issue. I suppose I could extend that too, but the whole thing would be about 10' long. 

Noemi - Ensenada 20

I would use some kind of locking nut.  There are all-metal ones as well as the nylock ones. 

I like nylon washers between such things and items that need to move.  The locking nuts will allow you to set the tension, and the nylon washers will let things move smoothly.  Maybe metal washers outside the nylon ones.