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Break, curse, fix, repeat
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Anyone with advice on removing my steering wheel? It is obviously a friction fit with a key that is held in place by a little set screw of some sort. No typical nut holding the wheel on. The set screw is a hollow thing that does not match up with any of my allen wrenches. It seems to have an allen like shape, but none of them fits in it. I've got a full range of small allens, and none of them fit. Before I go pounding one of them down into the hole and maybe stripping the thing, I need help.

I've been looking online for a manual on wheels like this to see what sort of set screw it is and what sort of tool is needed to remove it. No luck so far.

I'm really hoping someone out there has a wheel like this and can tell me what sort of tool to use to remove this set screw. I've got it soaking in PB Blaster in the meantime and sure as heck don't want to strip it or screw it up because I can just see that leading to having to drill it out and replace the whole darn steering wheel. Not an option.

Thanks in advance.

<a href="http://s269.photobucket.com/albums/jj73/bwindrope/?action=view&current=P5020013.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj73/bwindrope/P5020013.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

<a href="http://s269.photobucket.com/albums/jj73/bwindrope/?action=view&current=P5020012.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj73/bwindrope/P5020012.jpg" border="0" alt="Set screw on steering wheel"></a>
 

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Do you have both metric and imperial allen wrenches? If not it's likely needing the one you don't have.
 

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Break, curse, fix, repeat
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Discussion Starter #3
That's a good question. My wrenches are imperial. I wonder if it could be a metric allen...maybe a european wheel? Before I go out and buy the metric allens, does anyone know this type of wheel for certain? I'm afraid it takes that special wheel tool Number KY874759JxP that you can only get from one place in Maryland or something.
 

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I doubt it's THAT non-standard a size... btw you might try using a Torx bit if you have one that's close - sometimes they'll bite when an allen key is rounded or not the right size.. These are the GM "six point star" type tool.

Something else to think about is getting one of those inexpensive "multi-bit" driver kits for drills and hex shaft quick change screwdrivers.. you'll end up with a whole range of types and sizes.. comes in real handy and is usually sold in a nice case that stows well on board.
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd point out that saying what make/model wheel, if you know it, would help. :)

There's also the possibility that the thing is a drift pin... rather than a set screw...but that would be very unusual.
 

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Break, curse, fix, repeat
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks sailingdog. I sure wish I knew the make and model. None of my Gulf 32 materials specify the wheel and though it is an Edson pedestal, the wheel is not, from what I can tell. I have gone through the Edson archives and found nothing like this wheel; all of theirs seem to use the nut attachment system. I welcome all suggestions of what make and model of wheel this is!

Set pin? I wondered about that but checked and found that the pin does not go all the way through the wheel hub and shaft, which I think it would need to do to be a set pin, no? Whatever it is, it terminates at the shaft, and so I conclude it must be removable somehow from above, and thus a set screw of some sort.

I'm encouraged by the recommendation to check metric allens and plan to try that ASAP. I'll report back when I find out. I'm a big fan of Occam's razor:)
 

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Telstar 28
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Good luck... It probably is metric, if the imperial allen keys didn't fit. Be really careful not to strip it... ;)
 

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Old as Dirt!
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The set screw is metric. It screws into a groove machined in the shaft to prevent the wheel from pulling off unintentionally. If you have any questions as to whether it will brake loose, rotate the wheel so the screw is upright, make a little dam around it with childrens modeling clay, fill the dam with PB Blaster and let it sit for a few daze. With that, if you alternate between turning to tighten and loosen, it should break free. Patience is the rule. If the wheel won't come off easily, you can make an extractor with a couple of U-Bolts around the spokes at the hub and a short length of 2x2 wood passed through the U-Bolts and across the shaft. Drill a hole in the center of the wood block slightly smaller than a 1/4" lag bolt, flatten the face of the lag bolt where it will bear on the shaft, tighten the U-Bolts until the wood is flat against the shaft and then turn the lag bolt into the block. Works like a charm and won't damage the wheel

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
 

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"Sparkie"
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Use a small propane torch and GENTLY heat the set screw and the area around it. Do not try to get it red-hot or even hot enough to discolor the stainless, just enough to get a bit of expansion/contraction movement between the hub and screw. Advice given above about patience is also very valuable.
DD
 

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Another trick that is VERY sucessful is to heat the screw and then while hot..... add some oil to the area/threads and it just unscrews. This works very well in engine blocks with screw-in oil galley plugs. Most have pipe thread, and after a few dozen years just don't want to come out.
Good luck.
Kary
#49080
 

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Break, curse, fix, repeat
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Discussion Starter #11
Metric allens not fitting

Thanks for the recent help. I finally went down to Aeolus with a set of metric allens and had no luck. The 2mm allen was too small, and the 2.5 mm allen was too big. I tried pretty well to get that 2.5 allen in there as I feared a little corrosion may have clogged the hole, but no go, and I didn't want to force it with a hammer:D. I understand the advice about soaking it with PB and using heat, but first I need to get a damn allen or some tool to fit well enough to try and turn it.

svhylyte, you sound like you know this wheel and set screw, do you happen to know the exact size of allen you use on your boat?

I'm thinking I'll go back with a dental pick and try to scour the inside of the screw to remove any rust or corrosion that is keeping the 2.5 mm allen from fitting, in case that is the right size. I did already scrub it with a brass brush and it looks pretty clean, and it has been soaked a lot in PB.

Feel like I'm getting closer, but could still use help with this final step. Thank you all!:)
 

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Boy...If it is a 2.5mm allen wrench, that is a pretty small fastener (5mm) to hold on such an important item as a wheel. While I understand that the screw just keeps on the wheel while the key locates it. I'd be tempted to drill and tap the hole oversize and use a larger allen.

Just to cover all bases......did you check to see if there is more then 1 allen type screw holding the wheel on. On most machine type devises that are keyed...there are 2 screws that keep the "wheel" on the shaft.

Kary
#49080
 

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Try to track down a small "easy-out" - a tool used to extract broken bolts. The tapered 4-sided type will probably work best here, but even then it'll be a bit hit and miss.

Another alternative would be to drill the existing set screw out - then retap the hole in the wheel to fit something more conventional when you reinstall it. Should work since the hole is between the spokes and you can get a drill in there... might be your quickest option.

Odd that one of those sizes didn't fit.. I'm wondering if someone already rounded it out once trying to do what you need to do now..... Did you try a Torx bit??
 

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Telstar 28
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You could try a left-handed drill bit. :) They're tough to find but not impossible.
 

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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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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.
 

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Break, curse, fix, repeat
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Discussion Starter #17
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.
 

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Telstar 28
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I think this may be why Edson only sells wheels held on by a large nut....less likely to have problems like this. :)

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.
 

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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
 

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Old as Dirt!
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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
 
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