SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,193 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,054 Posts
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.
 

·
al brazzi
Joined
·
2,076 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,193 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,193 Posts
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.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,193 Posts
Sorry, can't leave this alone. It looks like there is a rounded gouge above that drag link. Was this put there at the beginning so the link would clear, or did the link create this gouge over time?

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The cut-out above has been there for the 10 years we have owned the boat so nothing new that I am aware of. However, there is a very small but real nick from the top of the drive unit on the rudder connection point that hits when the rudder is fully to port. Under load I wonder if this has created some issue?? Good question Mark.

So my next steps are to segregate where the noise is coming from: steering pedestal, rod to rudder, drive unit, rudder by removing each one at a time.

Nonetheless, if anyone who owns the equivalent PSC 37 and Whitlock/B&G steering equipment as I have can suggest every lubrication point in the steering system, and with what they lubricate it with, it would be very helpful. I just feel I must be missing something or am not applying the right lubricant. The system works wonderfully besides the noise and stiffness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
I have a PSC 34 with a wheel pilot, so a slightly different setup, but the design of the quadrant and rudder is exactly the same. The binnacle is from Edson. Two years ago I started getting a squeeky noise from the rudder. After injecting waterproof grease in the gudgeon that noise went away. It's probably not the same noise you're getting, but it's not a bad idea to keep the gudgeon greased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
We are about ready to haul-out for the season. Really appreciate the tip. Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
543 Posts
We are about ready to haul-out for the season. Really appreciate the tip. Thank you!
There is a small hole at the bottom of the gudgeon that you can squirt grease into with a grease gun. Initially it won't do much, but the grease will eventually work its way down the shaft lubricating it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,419 Posts
If this is a problem only when underway, you could mount a GoPro to watch suspect areas. It will probably even pick up you yelling from above in the vid, when you identify it happening, so you can see if the suspect area is doing anything unique.

Start a stopwatch on your phone (or just take note of time), when you start the GoPro, so you can more easily fast forward to the segments you want to watch.
 

·
al brazzi
Joined
·
2,076 Posts
I'm not at all familiar with this (Hydraulic) system BUT, I would assume when not activated all hydraulics would need to bypass, is that what the solenoid valve in the picture does? I have the same drag link setup as you without auto pilot and the mechanical part is pretty bulletproof. Maybe a quick check of the connections to the solenoid, I don't recall did you say autopilot operation is smooth? Disconnecting the entire Hydraulic ram would be the next step but I don't understand why it wouldn't show the same symptoms with E-tiller in operation, Its the same motion as turning the wheel except you are freewheeling the wheel with the tiller not driving it, but you inspected and lubricated that first. Are you testing under way or at the dock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Sorry, this is not a picture of a solenoid valve, it is a diagram of my rudder.

Given all the great sailnet.com input I am pretty sure I am dealing with a "where do I grease" the steering/rudder system problem and not much else. I am hoping someone with a similar PSC configuration can recommend where grease is required.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top