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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I was in the middle of tracking down a rogue leak on a rainy evening which lead me down the path of removing the fiberglass headliner that covers the sheaves, steering cables, and quadrant of the Edson steering system on my H34. The good news is that I found the leak (running down the wiring bundle in the steering column). The potentially bad news is that I don't think everything is correct with my steering quadrant.

First - it appears as if two bolts are supposed to hold the two quadrant halves together. It looks as though they are missing or possibly even sheared off? This makes the two quadrant halves misaligned with one another. To better visualize this, imagine two semi circles that are not quiet on the same plane with each other. This does not make for an even surface for the cables to run on. It's kinda like a heaved sidewalk.

Second - after the cables leave the sheaves under the steering pedestal, it appears as though they join the quadrant at a slight angle. I'm not sure if this is normal or maybe indicates the cables are too tight and are putting a force on the quadrant that pulls it out of true with the cable run from the sheaves.

I will try to post a few pictures tomorrow. Thoughts?
 

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If the quadrant is pulled out of shape by the cables you need a decent strength quadrant. Methinks that if the cables don't show wear against the cable grooves, close enough. The step between the two segments doesn't sound good.
 

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Master Mariner
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Pictures would be helpful. If the bolts holding the quadrant together around the shaft are missing, what's keeping the quadrant on the shaft?
 

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I see numerous issues as I am sure some pros will point out.

Appears your quadrant has slid down the shaft causing a bad alignment. Loosen and raise it up till the cables line up properly and retighten with blue loctite.

Your missing some bolts holding the two halves together. Replace and loctite.

The bolts that go through the deck holding the top bearing need backing plates or fender washers. Loctite.

The rubber seal doesn't look well secured and I believe it should have four clamps not three.

Don't sail this boat till you have this sorted. Did you find any bolts or clamps in bilge?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the help and observations. I was not able to slide the quadrant up the shaft because it has a fixed hole in the shaft that a long bolt goes through. However, when I tried to press up on the quadrant, I realized the the entire shaft was moving up. I opened the lazarette where I can see the shaft come through, and it looks like one of the thick plastic/nylon rings around the rudder shaft, that I assume is supposed to be a low friction bearing, has worn away to probably half the original thickness. I'm not sure what the part is actually called. I assume this allowed the shaft to drop lower and lower. It also appears that the quadrant was starting to make contact with one of the back panels of the quarter berth which would have increased tension etc.

I believe with a new bearing ring/collar/whatever it's called the quadrant will be correctly aligned again and the wheel turning smoothly. I'll use your other suggestions also. Thanks again for all the help. I'll post a picture of that collar when I get a chance.
 

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https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fcx1we2j5d62l79/AABIZv2nTnyg5jhJRyyUjahCa?dl=0


Here are some pictures to give you a better idea. Thanks for your help so far! I'm not sure how long it's been like this but the other day I had a guy feeling the steering felt a little "off" when I had the boat out yesterday.
There are some bolts missing there, have you tried to locate the missing bolts.


The alignments seems at bit off, it could be bad install after servicing or a fault by the yard.

If it has become miss aligned you should be able to find marks on the shaft
 

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Hey,

You are definitely missing the two bolts. From your description, it sounds like one of the rudder bearings has been worn away.

On my O'day 35 (pictured), the bearings were very thin, less than 1/4" and the rudder shaft slip up into the fiberglass tube.

good luck,
Barry
 

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Catalina 400 MKII
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The above advice sounds good. I might add: check those cables. Take some kleenex tissues and lightly oil the cables with 30 weight oil. The kleenex will leave bits of paper if you have hooks. You need to be sure the cable has not been damaged. Here is the link that suggests this:
http://www.edsonmarine.com/support/PDFs/planning/EB381SteeringGuide.pdf

Good luck on your repair. I also would not take the boat out until you get this sorted out.


Scotty
 

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Discussion Starter #10
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fcx1we2j5d62l79/AABIZv2nTnyg5jhJRyyUjahCa?dl=0


I added a few more pictures showing the bushings. The bottom one in the stack was screwed down without countersinking the heads. The middle one was left to spin freely, the top one is secured to the rudder shaft with a bolt. The result was that the middle bushing was ground down over time allowing the rudder shaft to slowly sink lower and eventually to start binding.

I'm having a new middle bushing machined out of derlin and when that is installed it will correct the alignment of the quadrant.

The big question is, do I drill/countersink/secure the middle and bottom bushing, out do I just countersink the bottom bushing and allow the middle one to spin freely like before (without the screw heads grinding it away)?
 

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S/V Caper Nonsuch 36
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I don't pretend to able to diagnose your problem from photos etc. but it looks like your cable and sheaves are WAAY out of alignment. Your problem may be more than the thickness of your new bearing, I would seek someone who is very knowledgeable in your setup to accurately diagnose/fix the problem. I would not sail until this is correctly taken care of, good luck.
 

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al brazzi
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From the position of the stop It looks like it couldn't have dropped too far. If it was raised for instance the stop would hit before the cables were true. I wouldn't rule out it being misaligned when built. I would visit the bearings and assure the stock being in the right place then look at the alignment. Are the pulleys adjustable for elevation at the pedestal? changing the way the quad is pinned to the stock would be inadvisable. I would accept a small fairlead error but not too much. I wouldn't move the Boat without at least replacing the missing bolts. Steering is one of my high priorities in the "get to know your boat" category. I take everything apart and at least look at it right away unless its brand new, then its still important to know your systems. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To be honest I was happy to chase down that particular leak. The next sign of trouble could have easily been a complete failure of steering under way!

The elevation of the pullys cannot be adjusted, but with about 5/8-3/4" drop from the original quadrant position, the quadrant itself was beginning to bind up the back wall of the quarter berth. My best guess is that this strain is what eventually caused those bolts to break. I will report back when the new bearings are installed!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the help guys, I got my new bushings machined from derlin, when installed they seem to return the quadrant to alignment. Everything is snug and moving smoothly now. I really appreciate the suggestions. Just FYI, derlin is not cheap but I found someone who made the bushing for $50 all said and done.
 

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Delrin continually expands in water/moisture. Delrin continually expands with heat (think friction) Delrin creeps and cold flows. It is a great product in certain applications...however it belongs in the do not use on a boat bucket next to the silicone and 5200. There are many, many exceptional plastics to use , Torlon is one. (Why oh why would furler manufacturers switch from Delrin to Torlon, does Spectra still have a much originally touted Delrin piston?) I was quite familiar with engineered plastics in a previous life...cheers
 

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Recently I was talking to my slip neighbor, who mentioned he had to replace his quadrant. It was damaged somehow by the auto pilot, and the fact that the two outer bolts on the quadrant were missing. Later I took a look at my setup, and my quadrant was missing those outer bolts too. This post makes me think it is not that uncommon… Since our boat is 28 yrs old and apparently never had those bolts installed, I was going to leave well enough alone. Now, I’m less sure. Maybe we should all check our Edison wheels and see how many have those bolts installed. It would be really easy to overlook when doing maintenance if they were never there.
 

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HANUMAN
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The folks at Edson can be helpful and freindly. I would not hesitate to give them a call or email them pictures to see if those missing bolts should be there, or not. The worst that could happen is that they can't help you.

Best of luck...
 

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Recently I was talking to my slip neighbor, who mentioned he had to replace his quadrant. It was damaged somehow by the auto pilot, and the fact that the two outer bolts on the quadrant were missing. Later I took a look at my setup, and my quadrant was missing those outer bolts too. This post makes me think it is not that uncommon… Since our boat is 28 yrs old and apparently never had those bolts installed, I was going to leave well enough alone. Now, I’m less sure. Maybe we should all check our Edison wheels and see how many have those bolts installed. It would be really easy to overlook when doing maintenance if they were never there.
Attaching the autopilot drive unit to the rudder quadrant is seldom a good idea, most rudder quadrants is not designed to take the point load exerted by a autopilot drive.
Using a dedicated tiller arm for the autopilot drive is a better solution. It will also add som redundancy into the system - if quadrant fails the AP can still work and the other way around.

Here is picture of mine, the tiller arm for the AP drive unit is far better suited for the loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Delrin continually expands in water/moisture. Delrin continually expands with heat (think friction) Delrin creeps and cold flows. It is a great product in certain applications...however it belongs in the do not use on a boat bucket next to the silicone and 5200. There are many, many exceptional plastics to use , Torlon is one. (Why oh why would furler manufacturers switch from Delrin to Torlon, does Spectra still have a much originally touted Delrin piston?) I was quite familiar with engineered plastics in a previous life...cheers
I am not sure what the original was made of, but I think it would have lasted for many more years had the bolt heads been countersunk. They will wear over time though, especially if sand or grit gets between the bushings. I'm adding a once in a while rinse between the bushings to the regular list. The nice thing about living aboard is staying very much in tune with all of the systems.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey all, thanks for the help. I got the steering worked out as best as I could figure and took the boat for a two day trip test sail. The steering has never been so light/smooth since we bought the boat. I'm glad I caught the problem before it became a problem. Now to get the pesky autopilot working properly.... :)
 
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