SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Gear and Maintenance Articles (
-   -   Checking the Wheel Steering System (

Will Keene 07-31-2002 08:00 PM

Checking the Wheel Steering System
<HTML><P><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD vAlign=top align=left width=250><IMG height=317 src="" width=250><BR><DIV class=captionheader align=left><FONT color=#000000><B>You may not have it on your mind at this time of year, but inspecting your boat's steering system is truly a prudent thing to do.</B></FONT></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Right now is a great time to inspect your steering system. Sure your boat is in the water and, hopefully, you're using as often as possible, but that's one of the reasons why you want to inspect this important aspect of your boat's equipment. Don't wait until the fall, or until Murphyís Law strikes, to check the condition of the steering system. A sailboat without its steering is like an out-of-control animal.</P><P>Itís not difficult to inspect a steering system. It takes an hour or so to do a thorough job. And mechanical aptitude is not the number-one credential. The most important tool you need are your eyes: If it doesn't look right, many times it isn't, and if you're not sure, you can always call the manufacturer of your steering system. If you don't have the time to do the inspection yourself, have a boatyard or dock worker do it for you, or ask a sailing buddy to help you in exchange for helping him or her. </P><P>Generally, inspecting your boat's steering system is easy and straightforward. In fact, many people find that the most difficult part of the job is cleaning out the sail lockers in order to access the steering. But, hey, it's also a good time to see if your emergency tiller is still there and to make sure it still fits.</P><P>I'm including an 11-point checklist below that will steer you through the process. While it was created by Edson, it will work for most brands and types of steering. (The numbers I've included in parentheses are Edson part numbers.)</P><B><P><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD vAlign=top align=left width=250><IMG height=317 src="" width=250><BR><DIV class=captionheader align=left><FONT color=#000000><B>By making use of a simple checklist to inspect the various parts of your boat's steering system, you can eliminate any overlooked aspects.</B></FONT></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Steering System&nbsp;Checklist</B> <P><B>1. Steering wheel/shaft</B> <BR><FORM><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Remove</B> steering wheel for room to work.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> wheel, key and snap ring.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> key if loose in keyway. (No. 684-250W)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> snap ring if there are signs of corrosion. (No. 960-A-660)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Remove</B> compass and cylinder (follow manufacturerís recommendations) <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> compass bolts if corroded. (3 1/2" - No. 817-3.5, 1" - No. 817-1)</P><P><B>2. Engine controls</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> handles, levers, shafts, bushings. <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Upgrade</B> plastic handles to stainless; (Throttle - No. 963SB-55, Clutch - No. 963PT-55.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> Delrin bushings if deteriorated or stiff. (No. 960-A-125)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> engine cables.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> cables if deteriorating or stiff. (No. 734-33, No. 735-64)</P><P><B>3. Wheel brake</B><BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> brake. Tighten to determine if working properly. Visually inspect pads. Clean grease off of knurling.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> pads if worn or ineffective. (Brake Kit - No. 316-689)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Upgrade</B> plastic knob to stainless (No. 960-A-91ST)</P><P><B>4. Steering chain/sprocket</B><BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> chain for proper lubrication and free movement.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> if dry, corroded, or does not roll. (No. 886)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> sprocket for broken, worn or bent teeth.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> sprocket if broken or bent. (No. 855-211)</P><P><B>5. Steering shaft bearings</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> condition of bearings by turning shaft and checking for play or resistance while chain is disconnected.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> bearings if stiff or excessive play. (No. 314-335)</P><P><B>6. Steering cables</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Oil</B> tissue and run along wire. <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> steering cable for signs of wear such as meat hooks or kinks.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> wires if there are any signs of wear. (No. 885)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Check</B> cable tension; cable should deflect 1 inch per foot.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Tighten</B> cables at the quadrant; take-up eyes if loose.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> conduit (if used) for worn areas or tight bends.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> if worn through (No. 797-250.)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Lubricate</B> conduit with Teflon grease if dry. (No. 827-3)</P><B><P><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD vAlign=top align=left width=366><IMG height=301 src="" width=366><BR><DIV class=captionheader align=left><FONT color=#000000><B>Once you get to the quadrant, you'll want to check it closely for signs of wear and tear, and corrosion, and you'll want to ensure that the cables or belts fit snugly and that their attachment points are secure.</B></FONT></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>7. Cable sheaves/idler</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> idler plate and sheaves for corrosion or wear from misaligned cables. Look for metal dust under sheave.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> sheave pins for excessive wear.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> idler, sheaves or pins if corroded or worn (see data sheet). <P><B>8. Steering cable alignment </B><BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Check</B> that cables are centered in the groove of the sheaves and quadrant.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Adjust</B> sheave placement to insure a fair wire lead.<BR>(Correct cable alignment within the sheave system is required to insure longevity of the system.)</P><P><B>9. Quadrant / radial wheel</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> quadrant or radial for signs of wear or corrosion.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> for cable wear along wire groove.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> connection at rudder post for tightness.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> rudder stop (Is it hitting supports on both sides?).<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> quadrant if weakened by corrosion (see data sheet).<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Replace</B> rubber bumper on stop if missing. (No. 960-A-53)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Tighten</B> all bolts clamping quadrant on rudder post.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Align</B> quadrant or sheaves for fair wire runs.</P><P><B>10. Overall Inspection</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Tighten</B> all fasteners including pedestal bolts, wire rope, clamps and quadrant rudder post connections.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Inspect</B> pedestal base for water leakage.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Seal</B> with bedding compound if leaking.</P><P><B>11. Lubrication</B> <BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Lubricate</B> shaft roller bearings with Teflon grease. (No. 827-3)<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Lubricate</B> cable conduit with Teflon grease.<BR><INPUT type=checkbox><B>Oil</B> wire rope, chain and sheave pins with No. 30 motor oil.<BR>(For longevity of the steering system, proper lubrication is required.)</P></FORM><BR>After you've read the above list, I recommend that you p<FONT color=#000000>rint it out and take it with you to your boat.</FONT> <P><P><FONT size=2><STRONG><EM>Will Keene is president of The Edson Corp. He adds that if the manufacturer of your steering system is no longer in business, contact Edson, at (508) 995-9711 or by fax at (800) 338-5021 for assistance and direction.<BR><BR></EM></STRONG></FONT><FONT size=3><HR align=center width="75%"></FONT><P></P><P><STRONG>Suggested Reading:<BR><BR><A class=articlelink href="">Steering System Spring Checkup</A> by Tom Wood</STRONG></P><P><STRONG><STRONG><A class=articlelink href="">Emergency Steering</A></STRONG> by John Kretschmer<BR><BR><A class=articlelink href="">Changing Steering Systems</A> by Dan Dickison</STRONG></P><P><STRONG>SailNet Store Section: <A class=articlelink href="">Steering and Controls</A></STRONG></P></HTML>

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:21 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome