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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Removing steering wheel
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Thread: Removing steering wheel Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-16-2009 11:44 AM
bwindrope
Outcome to wheel question

Hi all who offered help and ideas,
I finally had a chance to really seriously study the problem with my wheel and have come across a completely new recognition. This is my new theory, and I'm standing by it! Follow along, it's interesting and should make sense. The original owner made a custom change to the wheel hub system.

I took a very close look at where the wheel hub meets the shaft, and was surprised to see that the shaft is threaded there. Wow, I thought, that's weird, as that would mean it is not intended to be a friction fit alone. That is more like the Edson wheels that use the nut, which my sister ship Gulf's have on them. OK, little detective, what is going on.

Then I realized that that would explain why the wheel hub was not flush up against the snap Oring back on the shaft that is meant to stop the hub being pushed back too far. Hmmm, the distance from where the wheel is now to that stop ring is the same as what the distance of the shaft sticking out for the lock nut would be if it were installed normally. Meaning, if the wheel were pushed back to the stop ring, you would have the room to install the Edson nut per normal.

Now I'm not too quick, but I catch on. Then I see that my Autohelm system is set up such that the wheel would have to be that distance away from the pedestal in order to work. The little arm that holds the Autohelm ring requires the wheel to be that distance away from the pedestal, and thus the wheel would have to be slid aft of its normal position, which would require the removal of the nut, which would require some other fastening system.

OK, with me? Then, after cleaning the little hollow screw type thing fully, I realized it is completely circular. There are no edges inside except the hint of those cause by my trying to pound in an allen wrench. When I stick a smaller allen wrench into the hollow shaft of this set "screw" I see it goes well into the diameter of the wheel shaft. That is, the hole on the wheel hub is drilled into the shaft itself at least a 3-5mm and this little "pipe" is stuck into the shaft itself.

So this is my determination. The wheel was moved aft for all the reasons above. The solution to removing the wheel nut was to drill a hole and pound in a locking pin. Permanently, more or less. The wheel is kept from turning by the tight fit and key, and kept from pulling off by this hollow pin that enters the shaft itself.

There has never been even the hint of any wheel movement on the shaft, so this system has clearly worked well and locked it on tight. For now, since I don't need the wheel off but was simply doing so to study the system, I'm going to leave it. However, if I ever need to remove this puppy, I know I'll have to drill out this pin and use a puller to remove the wheel, and then tap for a beefy set screw.

Thanks for helping me figure this out and sorry to disappoint that a Quijibo tool #Xr639sk* wasn't the solution. I love getting new tools.

Side note, met a sister ship this week that is starting their voyage up to Alaska. Seems all the boats coming through Friday Harbor are going to Alaska right now and it absolutely kills me and my sailing buddies that we aren't going along. Anyway, the wheel on this guys boat going to Alaska was so loose you could shimmy the wheel back and forth more than an inch of movement. YIKES. He said he was going to fix it before he got too far north, and I sure hope he does. A reminder that one mans comfort zone is another mans panic zone.
05-10-2009 08:00 AM
sailingdog These would be TORX bits... originally developed by GM IIRC...
Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
GC1111's observation may be correct. What I related referred to a "similar" looking wheel but from your snaps, I cannot be sure. Unfortunately, we also have some fasteners aborad our boat that require a 6-pointed "star" shaped driver. While a superficial inspection gives one to believe the fasterers require an Allen Wrench, they actually require the star-shaped drive. I bought a full set a Lowes--from 1mm to 10mm--for around $15 (USD) during one of their Sales and this may, in fact, be the drive you need.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
05-09-2009 06:44 PM
svHyLyte GC1111's observation may be correct. What I related referred to a "similar" looking wheel but from your snaps, I cannot be sure. Unfortunately, we also have some fasteners aboard our boat that require a 6-pointed "star" shaped driver. While a superficial inspection gives one to believe the fasterers require an Allen Wrench, they actually require the star-shaped drive. I bought a full set a Lowes--from 1mm to 10mm--for around $15 (USD) during one of their Sales and this may, in fact, be the drive you need.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
05-09-2009 10:19 AM
gc1111 Are you sure it is an Allen type socket? There are other shaped tools that work similarly. Clean it carefully and make sure it is an hex socket.
05-09-2009 09:36 AM
svHyLyte bwindrope--

My earlier comments were based upon my experience helping a dock neighbor remove the wheel on the flybridge of his Albin powerboat. His wheel was the same set up as appeared in your snaps. I don't recall the size of his set-screw but it was quite small and it was metric--I'd say in the 2.5mm range (roughly 7/64).

FWIW the Gulf 32 is still being built and you might contact the Company to see if they still have any information on their earlier boats but, if not, you can handle the problem.

If your 2.5mm wrench is too large, it may just be some rust build up. If so you might be able to use a little "Wink" to desolve the rust and then some scraping with a pick (most Dentist's will have old dental picks and will usually give them up if asked--as did mine).

If the foregoing still doesn't allow the wrench to fit, I'd grind the faces down a little with a drummel tool grinding wheel (you can use a cut-off wheel to trim the ground-down end of the wrench if you want to restore it to full size although I'd probably set it aside for future use on the wheel).

If the set-screw still refuses to release, I'd suggest using a tool called a "Grabit". A #2 Grabit will allow you to drill a small cone into the screw and when reversed and chucked into a hand-held T-handle (from a Tap and Die set) the cone end of the Grabit will be able to gt a pretty good grip on the screw and should pull it out. In the unlikely event that it does break, you'll be able to remove the broken end of the cone, which you would not be able to do with an EZOut.

If the Grabit fails, I'd then go for drilling the screw out starting with a small carbide bit and then working the bit sizes up to the full diameter of the screw. If necessary, you can re-tap the bore in the hub afterward for a slightly larger set screw.

Patience and persistence are the watch words here.

Good luck...

s/v HyLyte
05-07-2009 09:32 PM
75R20
advise is just that....everybody has some.

While some good things have been posted here there is also some bad. I'm not trying to offend anyone here, but some options offered up are just not so good.
1. A easy-out of 2.0mm to 2.5mm (~ .080" ) would be a bad choice, unless you want to take the entire part to a machine shop. They (easy-outs) are tapered and tend to allow even greater pressure on the sides of the fastener then what is already there, and.....if you break it.....EDM is one of your few options.
2. Jaming in a straight bladed screwdriver is also not just a bad idea.....something that small is not designed for that type of rotational torque load..and once broken....See #1.....again not a good choice.

Right now....you have a perfectly centered hole to start a drill into. If you can't get it loose with an allen key, then drill it out and remove whats left and then start fresh. Use good drills and spin them slowly using lube.

OR...remove the part from the boat and bring it to Seattle and I'll fix it for you......no charge.
It's one of the things that I do, and do very well.
Let me know.

Kary
#49080
05-07-2009 06:37 PM
sailingdog I think this may be why Edson only sells wheels held on by a large nut....less likely to have problems like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwindrope View Post
Great advice, thanks. I agree that an allen that size is pretty tiny, but there must be little force on it. Using an easy out is a good option that I have had to do before on Aeolus but would rather try to get this little bugger out the easy way. If it has held for 20 years, including some nasty steering adventures I've had with it in storms, it must do the job alright. After I really try to clean it out the best I can, I may try to modify an allen to fit it. It may have already been stripped, as was said, in which case an easy out and drilling and tapping a new set screw might be the best option.

I just spent some time googling steering wheel makers and can't find anything that matches my set up. Edson seems to have only made wheels held on by nuts. Teleflex-Morse has a site that even after much searching is impossible to definitively use. Came across Schmitt, Victory but they don't seem to be the fit. I even talked to a sister ship Gulf 32 of the very same year and he has an Edson wheel held on by a nut! Criminy, one of these boat mysteries. I'm sure my wheel was made by Bill Smith who had a little shop in Long Beach near the Capital Yachts factory and sold them wheels for a while.

I'm sorry to take up so much sailnet energy on this little problem, but it's really been a head scratcher to solve it in an elegant way. In the meantime, installing my new Lewmar 70 Ocean hatch to replace the sliding hatch has turned into a real pain! Alas.

I suspect the next time I have something to post it will be a picture of my wheel off one way or another. I'll provide a summation. Fair winds and calm seas everyone.
05-07-2009 06:22 PM
bwindrope Great advice, thanks. I agree that an allen that size is pretty tiny, but there must be little force on it. Using an easy out is a good option that I have had to do before on Aeolus but would rather try to get this little bugger out the easy way. If it has held for 20 years, including some nasty steering adventures I've had with it in storms, it must do the job alright. After I really try to clean it out the best I can, I may try to modify an allen to fit it. It may have already been stripped, as was said, in which case an easy out and drilling and tapping a new set screw might be the best option.

I just spent some time googling steering wheel makers and can't find anything that matches my set up. Edson seems to have only made wheels held on by nuts. Teleflex-Morse has a site that even after much searching is impossible to definitively use. Came across Schmitt, Victory but they don't seem to be the fit. I even talked to a sister ship Gulf 32 of the very same year and he has an Edson wheel held on by a nut! Criminy, one of these boat mysteries. I'm sure my wheel was made by Bill Smith who had a little shop in Long Beach near the Capital Yachts factory and sold them wheels for a while.

I'm sorry to take up so much sailnet energy on this little problem, but it's really been a head scratcher to solve it in an elegant way. In the meantime, installing my new Lewmar 70 Ocean hatch to replace the sliding hatch has turned into a real pain! Alas.

I suspect the next time I have something to post it will be a picture of my wheel off one way or another. I'll provide a summation. Fair winds and calm seas everyone.
05-07-2009 06:13 PM
sailortjk1 Sometimes, if the allen head is stripped a small straight blade screw driver can break them free, but your going to have to replace the set screw because it sounds like the head is already toast. Try a small blade srew driver. Like already has been suggested, your easiest solution may just be to bite the bullet and drill.
05-07-2009 06:05 PM
Capnblu How about measuring it with a verneer caliper, then take down an existing larger allen key with a diamond hone. Use an even # of strokes per surface, till she fits in tight, and bottoms out. While you are there measure the shaft diameter in front, and behind your wheel. Depending if there is a taper or not, will let you know if you should use heat or not. If the shaft is tapered, after you remove the set screw, you can tighten down the appropriate puller, and give the hub a GOOD whack, and it will pop off. As a possible alternative, perhaps you can pull the wheel off of the pedestal with the driven shaft still attached to the wheel. Then you could have a metal shop press it off, if need be.
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