I recently upgraded the rudder bearings on our Sun Odyssey 37.
I had replaced the rudder bearings a few years back
(see hints and tips section: Sun Odyssey Rudder Bearing Upgrade ).
But after feeling the helm of a Jeanneau Yacht fitted with Jefa rudder bearings, I was sold on the idea of upgrading!
The following is what I did to upgrade our bearings...
Firstly there are two sets of bearings (without Major work) that will make a big difference:
This bearing takes the entire weight of the rudder and relies totally on the fiction (or lack of it) for a smooth rudder feel.
The Jefa bearing replaces the Jeanneau delrin washer
Jefa say it is a direct replacement, but the problem is that you have to find 5mm from somewhere! The Jeanneau washer is 5mm in thickness, the Jefa bearing (thrust washer) is 10mm. Straight away I lathed off 2mm from the Jefa bearing, leaving me 3mm to find. I power planed off 3mm of the rudder tube. Should I ever wish to revert to a standard set-up.... I can just add a 3mm delrin washer.
The Jefa bearing has delrin ball bearings in it which hugely reduces friction
Sectional view here...
The fitted bearing...
To protect from dust, I adapted a winch cover
The second set of bearings I upgraded are these:
Note - I did not use Jefa bearings for this
Once again, these work on friction (or rather lack of it!)
Standard pulley with worn spindle
Replaced with a sealed stainless needle roller bearing
I then had to find a GOOD engineering company that could lathe down the old pulleys to make the new bearing fit
The bearings are a press fit into the pulleys and set in locktite 638 - ultra strong and used to retain bearings.
I then replaced the 20mm spindle as to old alloy Jeanneau one had worn. I did get the new spindles polished before fitting. I went with stainless as it is quite hard (although has a low tensile strength). But as it is 20mm thick, I don't think I'll ever snap them in two!!
The new bearing / pulley being fitted
As mentioned I purchased the top bearing from Jefa. Here is a link to the page:JEFA site
The needle roller bearing I got from Ebay. So the bearing I bought was a 2020HK.2RS
This number can be easily broken down.... The prefix code 'HK' indicates the use of a Caged Needle rollers. The suffix 'RS' indicates the presence of a contact lip seal on one side of the bearing, whilst the '.2RS' indicates a bearing with lip contact seals on both sides of the bearing.
The 20x20 is the size - in my case (please measure your own as they may differ) the width I required was 20mm, the inner diameter was 20mm. You then select what the outer diameter. You want a slim bearing. Mine measures at 26mm outer diameter. This is because I could then lathe out the pulley and still remain in the reinforced part of the pulley (see below).
I have not yet launched, but I can already tell the amount of friction to turn the rudder is GREATLY reduced! I will of course update this thread when I launch in March.
Just to add... you will need to drop your rudder to replace the top bearing. Also - if you suffer from squeaky / graunchy steering, you may find a cure is to loosen the steering cable slightly. Tight cables INDUCE noisy steering operation.
Ian's forum article (with additional comments) is at: Sun Odyssey Rudder Bearing Upgrade