Steering Failure after Sailing - Page 3 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #21  
Old 08-14-2008
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Originally Posted by LittleWingCA View Post
I should also probably cut an inspection port hole, with water tight cover, in the cockpit floor to be able to keep an eye on this connection over time without having to lift the engine cover. I like the idea of a line of paint to see if things are moving.

I will post pictures this weekend when I get a chance to get back to the boat.
If you want ideas about quadrant/steering gear inspection ports, take a look at "Green In Between" photo album on the Orion Yahoo group, they have some nice ones.

I sometimes use a sharpie to mark a line across the fitting and the "fitted" to see if the bolt/screw/fitting is backing out over time.
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Originally Posted by LittleWingCA View Post
While motoring back into the marina, my hydraulic steering system failed, and for a few brief minutes was left drifting into the marina until I was able to rig the emergency tiller and regain control. Very scary at first, since we were about 4 boat lengths away from either running into other tied up boats, or hitting the waste pump out dock, depending on the direction of the rudder when the steering failed. I used the motor and a combination of forward and reverse to avoid hitting anything while my wife dug out the emergency tiller and then I got it installed on the rudder post. Luckily disaster was averted
I know nothing of the fix, however I would like to completment you on the seamanship.
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Old 08-19-2008
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Photo Update

Finally got some pictures to share on the steering failure. It appears the failure was caused by the hydraulic ram simply unscrewing itself from the swivel fitting. After re-aligning the ram and swivel, I was able to just rotate the ram and screw the system back together. This time I added the loctite blue thread sealer which I hope will keep the connection together. I also added other pictures of the hydraulic setup since some of you asked. The chain is attached to the wheel, and works the hydraulic pump which powers the ram / cylinder. Very simple, doesn't require any power, and hopefully will stay together this time.
Attached Thumbnails
Steering Failure after Sailing-boat-8-16-030.jpg   Steering Failure after Sailing-boat-8-16-010.jpg   Steering Failure after Sailing-boat-8-16-008.jpg   Steering Failure after Sailing-boat-8-16-009.jpg  
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Old 08-19-2008
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Thanks for the update. Did you tighten the jam nut as well???
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Yes I did tighten the jam nut as well.
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Old 08-21-2008
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Originally Posted by LittleWingCA View Post
Finally got some pictures to share on the steering failure. It appears the failure was caused by the hydraulic ram simply unscrewing itself from the swivel fitting. After re-aligning the ram and swivel, I was able to just rotate the ram and screw the system back together. This time I added the loctite blue thread sealer which I hope will keep the connection together. I also added other pictures of the hydraulic setup since some of you asked. The chain is attached to the wheel, and works the hydraulic pump which powers the ram / cylinder. Very simple, doesn't require any power, and hopefully will stay together this time.

If it were mine, I would drill through and pin the thing. Locktight is good stuff, I use it all the time. But what you have, I would pin as well.
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Old 08-21-2008
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yep, I second knothead on that one. however, I think it needs to be drilled professionally to avoid reducing strength of material too much.

Interestingly, my steering ram arm does not rotate (and does not move externally when ram is empty, or at least not by hand).
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Old 08-22-2008
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Brak:

I have a bypass valve in the system which allows the wheel to be "disconnected" from the system and the ram can then move freely with the hydraulic fluid just moving from one side of the ram to the other without going through the pump. This was added to allow the use of an emergency tiller if the pump, drive chain, or wheel failed. The ram itself can rotate 360 degrees at any position setting, which I assume is proper since it needs to thread into the swivel fitting. The lock nut is supposed to prevent it from unscrewing itself, but I guess the original installation either wasn't done correctly, or it worked loose over time.

The Engineer who designed the system finally called me back after 2 weeks and went down to the boat to inspect the setup, and my fix, and checked to make sure the lock nut was properly tightened. He was very surprised as well that it unscrewed itself, and apparently this was the first time one of his hydraulic installations did that. I will ask him about adding a pin to prevent it from backing out in the future.
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