The rudder bearing assembly consists of three subassemblies:
• The top bearing is supported by a unique gimbal assembly. This gimbal provides proper alignment with the rudder post, smooth steering, and prevents binding of the rudder post that otherwise might occur. The gimbal compensates for any slight misalignment of major components when the boat was built.
• The middle packing assembly (uses 1/2" packing purchased below under "May we also suggest").
• The lower bearing.
• In addition, a metal bearing retainer is included. The retainer fits above the upper bearing and keeps the rudder from dropping out of the boat.
Used during the entire production of Florida built boats: Catalina 309, Catalina 310, Catalina 350, Catalina 355, Catalina 375, Catalina 380, Catalina 387, Catalina 400 and Catalina 445.
Catalina 42's built in California after early 1999 used these same bearings. Some Catalina 42 owners have successfully retrofitted the lower bearing to earlier boats.
This non-metallic bearing system is designed to operate with no lubrication other than water. Specifically, no lubricants such as: Petroleum grease, WD-40, aerosol, paste, silicon gel, PTFE gel or lanolin paste. ONLY WATER.
We have had numerous requests for individual replacement parts for this rudder bearing assembly. Unfortunately, these parts are all molded at the same time in a "single shot" mold. One mold cycle produces one of each part. There is no way to mold just one of the parts.
1) These parts may have fractures in one surface of a part that appear after molding, during the cooling process. The manufacturer reports the fractures are cosmetic and do not impact the performance of the part when in use. They also report this "feature" has been present since the original parts were molded for Catalinas decades ago. Over 2000 of these bearing sets have been installed during the construction of new boats. Their normal mode of failure is wear to the inside diameter of the sleeve bearings due to age and use.
We would love to offer a different version of this part that doesn't have any fractures. Unfortunately, there is only one manufacturer and they own the very expensive mold that makes all of the component parts at once. They were only used by Catalina Yachts and then only for later production vintages. Their failure rate is also extremely low. As a result there isn't enough demand for any other manufacturer to be interested in producing them. The reality is that when Catalina received this same part from the manufacturer when your boat was built, they would not have hesitated to install it even if it had a fracture.
2) The molds for these rudder bearings were changed at some point in the production run, but the date was not recorded. Some early boat owners report that the sections of the bearings that insert into the fiberglass rudder tube were a bit longer on their original bearings. Other than the slight differences in the lengths, the fit and function of the current bearing sets are the same as earlier versions.