Noelex Yacht Association of Australia Inc

Repair and strengthen plate swivel joint

After nearly losing my fibreglass insert for the motor well, or ‘plate’ , due to a breakage in the swivel joint, I decided to do something about it. They are not easy to replace.

The plate is attached to the handle by means of a swivel or universal joint intended for use with tiller extensions. One of the main swivel components is a stainless steel rivet and this is what gave way or broke when I was lifting up the plate in preparation to lowering the outboard motor. This rivet comes under substantial stess if the plate takes an inadvertent ‘dive’ as sometimes happens when being inserted or removed.

Instead of instantly sinking to Davey Jones locker the plate by some miracle managed to jam itself in the opening and was prevented from falling by the water pressure as the boat was still moving. With some difficulty and panic I retrieved it.

To fully disassemble the swivel to make this repair you need to remove the large horizontal hollow tubular rivet. This is done by carefully tapping all around the rolled edge with a flat bladed screwdriver, and lifting it up until the rivet can be extracted.

The main swivel rivet is replaced by a common 6.4 mm (1/4 “) stainless steel machine screw and nut. You need to file the corners off the nut. If you can find a ‘half’ nut you will save some filing as a normal nut is too thick to fit into the space.

A few punches with a centre-punch will lock the modified nut into place. When reassembling just use a ball-peen or plumbers hammer to re-clinch the horizontal rivet.

This job took about one hour — Gil

Ready to go again!

Cut of excess thread

Lock the "nut" with a few centre punches

All back together, much stronger now!