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post #1 of Old 06-02-2008 Thread Starter
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steering head keyway play...

The steering on my ship... a Union 36... is a worm gear design.
On the top of the long rudderr post is a big flange... we have called it the "steering head" A circumferential (rotation angle) play has developed between the head and the rudder post.
The steering head is bronze, and uncorroded.
The steering head is keyed to the shaft with what appears to be a bronze key... it is not easy to see.
There are also two very small grub screws... very small indeed... that seem to help hold the steering head to the rudder post, a little.

I am hoping that the key is worn, and not too much the shaft, though I am ready for disappointment.

I cannot get the rudder shaft out of there without a sanity check.

Has anyone faced this situation?

I have spoken to two very helpful boaties, and they recommend a new key, at least. One of them is confident that he can machine a slightly wider key, after I furnish him with the dimensions. He plans also to beef up the wee locking screws to something a bit more substantial, in stainless.

I plan to measure with a Vernier, and to take a paper rubbing of the key with oily hands... that one works sometimes.

Next task is to strip the steering head off there. The compartment is very cramped. I will crick my backbone out of joint, I am sure, again.

The vast majority of the steering play is at that interface, so I hope I can improve it somewhat. The ship has no reserve steering position. Maybe I will fit a below deck tiller arm on there too, while I am below.


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