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post #1 of 38 Old 09-13-2019 Thread Starter
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stiff steering

Slowly over the past many seasons my PSC37 steering seems to be getting stiffer and stiffer. Now it is making almost vibrating, rubbing sounds too. Not good.

Here is my configuration: Whitlock Cobra steering pedestal with B&G auto-pilot and B&G RAM-T2-12 hydraulic drive unit.

I have attempted to lubricate the moving parts as follows: quadrant under compass, grease nipple at bottom of Cobra assembly (though I can't determine what is the right grease for this very hard to work location), ball bearing at beginning and end of manual steering rod, beginning and end of drive unit. In addition, about 2 years ago I had the B&G drive unit serviced to ensure the hydraulic fluid was in good shape. Nonetheless, I see no good place to grease the rudder rod as it enters the sleeve towards the water and no instructions from PSC to do so.

Any suggestions?? I am at a loss.

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post #2 of 38 Old 09-13-2019
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Re: stiff steering

First, disconnect the B&G ram and see if there is any change. These particular rams are extremely stiff, and if the check valves or seals are questionable, they can even stutter. I know you had it serviced, but sometimes that just makes it worse.

If there is no, or little change with the ram disconnected, then likely the rudder bearings are suspect. I have no idea what the PS37 bearing arrangement is - bushings, bearings, or what not - but there could be play in them, or sticking that is causing issues. Can you dive on it, pull and push on the rudder and see if you have any play it the bearings? Perhaps the lower bearing in the skeg is gone and causing the shaft to not be in alignment?

Mark
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post #3 of 38 Old 09-14-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: stiff steering

Thank you for the quick reply Mark. Yes, removing the influence of drive unit would be a good start to problem-solve stiffness. However, does another PSC owner with the same equipment have a list of where they lubricate the steering system from wheel to rudder? Instead of diving I am hoping to find I am just missing a few spots that require grease. Also, what grease are they using in the grease nipple at the bottom of the Whitlock Cobra steering? Very hard to get at this location with anything but oil??

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post #4 of 38 Old 09-14-2019
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Re: stiff steering

Be sure the various sheaves in the steering system are actually rotating. In my Edson system one of the sheaves was frozen. Had no effect on turning force at the dock but very stiff steering when sailing. The sheave was buried up under the cockpit so very difficult to check. Eventually removed the wheel and discovered the offending sheave. It wasn't corrosion that was hanging it up but some quirk in the design/machining. Freed it up and couldn't get it to hang up again. My have had something with the angle the wire entered the sheave.
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Re: stiff steering

I don't think a hydraulic drive with rod has wire and sheaves. See attached pic.
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post #6 of 38 Old 09-14-2019
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Re: stiff steering

Do you have an emergency tiller, and what gets disconnected to steer in an emergency? I would separate that way and use that as a direction to go in.

Not all Boats have Emergency steering, ask me how I know.. Your PSC surely does.
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Re: stiff steering

Is that top link clearing the bulkhead? Underway when everything is loaded up? Stiff, vibrating, rubbing noises.... hmmm.

Mark

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Re: stiff steering

Just connected the emergency tiller. Works as it is supposed to, minus the same rubbing / vibrating noises and stiffness. But that makes sense as nothing gets disconnected on PSC37 in order to operate the emergency tiller.

I need to get really small and attempt to disconnect the drive unit. Not sure I am small enough or strong enough...
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Re: stiff steering

If the tiller drag was normal, then there is no reason to disconnect the ram, because it was there for the tiller experiment and wasn't an issue.

It also suggests that there is nothing amiss with your steering system or bearings, since the entire system was operating with the tiller normally.

That picture still bothers me. It wouldn't take much dimensional change in the system under load for that top link to start rubbing on the bulkhead above it.

Of course, the picture may make it look worse than it actually is.

Mark

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Re: stiff steering

Is that top link the drag link to the pedestal? Are you sure it isn't touching the bulkhead above it under load? You might try as a test rotating the RRU to the side and connecting the drag link rose joint to the underside of the tiller arm. This probably won't change the angle significantly enough to interfere with the test, and would guarantee it isn't hitting anything under load.

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