Sunday 14 July 2013

Bearing up

Side effect of bending and mending the tiller's swan neck was recognising the sad state of the upper tiller bearing. This bar is rocking backwards and forwards like Erin Mae on the Shroppie shelf in a Force 5.

Clearly we need a new one of these.

First thing is to get the tiller off with the help of a hydraulic extractor.

Then to the bearing itself. Will it come off by hand?

No chance. What about a crowbar?

Nothing doing. Resort to the angle grinder. Philip says he always ends up doing that.

Bearing casing is cut through. Use a chisel to complete the job.

Oops. Casing came off but the chisel broke in the process. Next up – the bearing itself, seized (naturally) on to the shaft of the rudder. Try the crowbar again.

No joy. It's back to the hydraulic extractor.

Which gave a big jump as it removed the bearing, and fell in the canal. Being a pretty heavy object, it needed the combined strength of my fishing magnet and Philip's to lift it from the bottom.

But thereafter it was was straightforward to clean up the shaft,

fit the new bearing and re-fit the tiller.

All sorted!

While he was at it, I asked to Philip to check out the drive train, so we took Erin Mae down to Aldersley junction and back, getting his opinion on the state of things down below. Very useful. Not the sort of wisdom you easily get out of books.

Strange way to spend a Sunday morning. Certainly a change from going to church!


  1. Great post sort of the blogging equivalent of a Haynes manual

    1. Ah. I remember those – one of them helped me change the clutch on a Vauxhall Viva in 1976!

  2. Hi Martin, interesting and informative post.
    As it happens I’m about to change my tiller bearing (think it’s the same bearing as your’s – UCF208) – Judging by your pictures, Erin Mae is an Aqualine – I’ve an Aqualine Madison. These bearings come in two sizes 40mm and 11/2” – looks like mine could be the latter – can you remember what your’s was? I’ve left a message with the tech guy at New and Used just to confirm this – but don’t hold out much hope I’ll get a response…
    Great blog by the way – very inspirational!

    1. Hi Barry – Thanks for the kind comment! Erin Mae is indeed a 2007 Aqualine Madison. But I don't know the precise size of the bearing. When we called at Oxley Marine to see when they could do it, Philip took a quick look, had a guess and said he would get one in – which turned out to be the right one when we went back to actually change it. So he knows, but I don't! It may be on the invoice, but that's on Erin Mae and we're back in the New Forest this week.

      My experience of N&U responding to queries has been pretty good, so maybe they can tell you.

  3. Useful post thanks! The bearing on our tiller packed up completely today, we're only moored down at Tettenhall so good to know this is something that can be done at Oxley. When I was looking at ours today I came to the conclusion that everything was seized fast and would need a big ommer to move it!