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Old 07-10-2007
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Maintenance question: pedestal lubrication

I would like to lubricate the chain that I understand runs inside the pedestal of my wheel steering system. The pedestal was apparently made by Yacht Specialties, who are no longer in business. It has a compass mounted on top.
I am hoping that if I carefully remove the screws holding the compass on top of the pedestal and remove the compass, I'll see the chain running on a small gear. Am I right, or is there more to this than I think.
Any comments or advice would be welcome.
Thanks,
Frank.

ps. I am referring to the pedestal in the cockpit, to which the steering wheel is attached, not to any of the steering mechanism below the cockpit--ie. cables, quadrant, etc.
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I also have a Yacht Specialties pedestal on my Challenger 32 and, having just replaced the engine control cables, am also about to lube the chain. The method Edson advocates is what I will use, and I reproduce here for you.
To properly maintain the moving parts in the top of the pedestal, it is
necessary to remove the compass and its cylinder. For proper
alignment when re-installing the compass, we recommend placing
three or four lengths of tape on the pedestal and compass as shown
below. Slit the tape when removing compass, align the strips of tape
when re-installing the compass for visual realignment. Your compass
MUST then be checked out for accuracy. Lubrication of needle
bearings should be done by squeezing Edson Part No. 827 Teflon
Lubricant into the holes located on top of the bearing housings
inside the pedestal bowl. Spin the wheel when squeeezing the
lubricant in to make sure the entire bearing is serviced. Winch grease
or water pump grease can be used as an alternative, but don’t let the
bearings run dry. Do not over grease as it will run onto the brake
pads. Oil the chain with #30 weight motor oil. Do NOT grease chain
as it does not penetrate the links.
Inspect the condition of the wire, tension of the wire and lightly
oil. Edson recommends placing about five layers of “Kleenex” on the
palm of your hand, squirt oil on the tissues and lightly oil the wire.
This will lubricate the strands but will also “flag” a broken or hooked
strand by tearing off a small section of tissue. If you do have a wire
break, replace the wire immediately. See Edson Part No. 775 Wire and
Chain Replacement Kits.
(Caution: Wire splinters can cause painful
cuts.) Replace the wire after 5 years. If still good, keep the old wire on
board as a spare.

You should check out the Edson site as it has much useful information regarding wheel steering.
Hope this helps.
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Old 07-10-2007
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Thanks, BSfree. Based on the work you have done so far on it, are you fairly confident that the Edson and Yacht Specialties pedestals are similar enough that the Edson approach will work?
It seems the most delicate part is taping the compass/pedestal to ensure that the compass can be reinstalled in the same location.
Thanks again,
Frank.
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I ignored the compass part as I will have to "swing" the compass anyway.
The oiling of the chain and cables is pretty universal, unless otherwise specified, and it isn't. Put rags or a large disposable turkey roaster under the pedestal to catch the oil that will run down the chain as you lube it from the top, then wipe it with clean rag to remove the excess oil.
Only part I haven't discovered, or asked about yet, is how to regrease the two bearings. There is one screw aft and one foreward, I suspect they are retaining screws for the spindle, and may also be lube points.
Maybe someone here can fill us in on that? I'm sure there are still lots of Yacht Specialty units around that people have worked on.
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