Maintenance Information

Please see this guide on maintain Jefa Marine rudder bearings. This should be done every third year.

You can also read our service manual here.

Every mechanical part on your boat will need maintenance in due time. The Jefa rudder system is no exception to this rule. Fortunately the maintenance on the Jefa rudder system is very limited. Before you or a ship yard starts the maintenance work you should read our warranty terms carefully.

The most important maintenance hint is: DO NOT PUT ANY GREASE BETWEEN THE ROLLERS!

The second most important maintenance hint is: DO NOT PUT ANY ANTI-FOULING ON THE RUDDER SHAFT AND BEARING HOUSING please read this very important manual!

Part lists and maintenance info on existing boats can be found on our document (FTP) server. Please follow this link to open this directory.

Rudder Shaft:

The rudder shaft should be inspected yearly for signs of electrolysis. One can recognize these signs by circular patterns of corrosion on the shaft surface. When the rudder blade has a tight fit to the hull, try to use a lamp to have a close look at the gap. Normally it’s not necessary to drop the rudder for further inspection, unless the rudder system has developed backlash or if the shaft rotates irregularly. If you have any concern for electrolysis, please read our electrolysis page carefully.
Important tips and guidelines on how to use anti-fouling on the rudder blade and rudder shaft can be found in this document.
Another area for attention on the rudder shaft is the locking of the tiller arm or quadrant on the shaft. Carefully inspect if no movement between the parts is present. Any movement could wear out the keyway in the shaft with expensive consequences.

Bottom bearing:

The bottom bearing doesn’t need any maintenance except for a good hose down when the ship is taken out of the water. The main reason for this hose down is to remove the salt water out of the bearing housing so it can’t crystallize. If the shaft rotates irregularly, it could be that some rollers have developed a flat side. This will have been caused by a temporarily blocking of the rollers by dirt parts. In most cases this will have been caused by dirt falling in from above on open tube systems. Please use a gaiter to prevent this in the future. 
The exchange of the rollers is quite simple: Drop the rudder out of the ship. Remove the thin delrin ring holding the roller track. Now the rollers and roller track will fall out. Mount the new rollers. To ease this job one can use a balloon to keep the rollers in place (NEVER use any grease). Mount the bottom roller track again and clip-in the newly supplied delrin ring. Please watch the below YouTube movie for instructions.

When you experience a more and more stiffer rudder and steering, it could be you have an corrosion or lime problem in the bearing. Please open this service tip for more info.

How to mount new rollers in a Jefa bottom bearing.

Lip Seals:

If lip seals are used to seal your rudder system, please carefully inspect them for signs of porosity. If the seals show these signs (hear cracks in the surfaces), immediately replace them with our new type PUR seal. These seals have no steel components inside anymore and will last much longer. It’s advisable to spray a small film with teflon spray on the lip surface for a better run on the shaft. Manuals for replacing lip seals can be found here. It’s advisable to inspect PUR seals on yearly base for defects.


Gaiters should be inspected yearly for mechanical damage. Carefully inspect the complete gaiter surface if any cracks are present, especially around the jubilee clamps. If you don’t trust the sealing capabilities of the gaiter any more, replace it with a new one. Gaiters can be supplied in unglued state, so the rudder shaft doesn’t have to be dropped. Bend the new gaiter around the rudder stock, apply the specially supplied neoprene glue on the indicated area. Carefully press the surfaces together and let it dry for a while. Mount the jubilee clips again.
For details about the appropriate dimensions, see the gaiter section.

Top Bearing:

The top bearing doesn’t need any maintenance. Only if your yacht is located on a sandy environment and the bearing is exposed (no deck cover present) one should yearly hose it down to wash away any sand and dust between the rollers and the housing.

Vertical Lockring:

The vertical locking mechanism should be inspected yearly for any signs of movement relatively to the shaft. Its advisable to loosen the set screws one after each other to be re-greased. This will make sure the vertical locking can be removed in the future for the possible removal of the rudder stock. For details about the proper mounting procedures, see the locking rings section.
If the vertical locking is achieved by a locking ring or tiller head on a delrin ring, one could experience a squeaking noise. This can be prevented by spraying a film of teflon on the delrin ring.

Various videos:

How to mount new rollers in a Jefa top roller bearing (1:14 mins)

How to remove a ball with rollers out of a JEFA bearing (17 seconds)

How to install a ball with rollers into a JEFA bearing (25 seconds)