hydraulic steering adjustment?

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hydraulic steering adjustment?

Postby sa1piper » Mon May 17, 2010 12:25 am

Hi - the starboard side rudder on my 1984 quest has a considerable amount of "play" and I'm wondering how to fix it. The hydraulic system is pressurized and appears to be holding - also the port rudder is fine. Is there some sort of bleeding procedure or manual adjustment on the cylinder?

Thanks for any advice - Paul
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Re: hydraulic steering adjustment?

Postby ChrisH » Wed May 19, 2010 9:08 pm

Hi Paul,
My Quest has an arm from the hydraulic cylinder to a stainless steel shaft which goes the whole transverse distance from one rudder to the other. At each end of this shaft a ball joint - from the steering system of some old and now scrapped car! - joins the stainless shaft to the arm that rotates the rudder. I assume the "play" you refer to is in this set-up and not in the rudder bearings top and bottom as can and does occur!

How extensive is this "play"? `Looking at it, it would appear that provided that the top and bottom rudder bearings are still "play" free, then, working back, is the arm that attaches from the top of the rudder to the ball joint arrangement still good and is the ball joint still good, both no play? Is the ball joint secure to the stainless shaft? If the answer to all that is OK, then check out the hydraulic cylinder. There is, or should be, a bleed valve at each end of the cylinder. Have a supply of the correct hydraulic oil to hand. I also assume that you have a hydraulic pump behind the steering wheel? Take out the air vent on the top of the pump, insert a flexible pipe with a rubber seal in place of the air vent and connect the other end of the flexible pipe into your can containing the spare spare oil, well below the level in the can of course. Connect another flexible pipe to a cylinder bleed valve, whichever one you want to do first, and into a clear container. Turn the wheel right over that way and keep turning - it's a 2-man job this - while one side of the cylinder is bled into the clear container until no air comes out. As you 'purge' it through replacement oil will be sucked up from your spare supply can and into the pump. Repeat for the other side. Check the pump is left full of oil. Replace the air valve. System should now be a good one.

None of this steering gear stuff is rocket science, you just need to methodically work your way through the system until you find the problem - good luck!

Regards, Chris
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Re: hydraulic steering adjustment?

Postby sv snowqueen » Wed May 26, 2010 3:36 am

Last year I bought an early 1980s Snowgoose 37. It suffered from the "knocking" rudders system problem. Over the winter, I have refurbished the rudder system.

Looking at the Prout mid 80s pricelists for kits for both the Snowgoose and the Quest, the steering systems seem to be similar.

I removed the rudders, skeg pintles, rudder arms and ball joints from the boat. (I left the 14ft long steering arm and the hydraulic ram in situ.)

The pin on the starboard pintle was badly corroded at the base of the pin and showing signs of tearing/bending away from its base. The pin on the port pintle had a notch worn into its aft face to about 1/4 of its diameter by the gudgeon. The bottom of the rudders could move fore & aft and from side to side. The starboard had less movement, possibly due to the "bend" in the pin.

The gudgeon holes at the bottom of the rudders were slightly ovoid.

The nylon spherical bushes at the top of the rudders were a loose fit on the 1" diameter rudder stock. Movement was discernible at the top of the rudder when pushing from outside.

The "squared off" connection between the top of the rudder stock and the rudder arm was slightly loose (and even looser after I removed the safety razor blades that someone had previously inserted as packing shims )

There was little if any play where the pin on the track rod end joined the rudder arm, and no discernible play in the balljoint of the track rod end itself, although it was completely dry with no grease and no rubber boots. One balljoint was loose and the other was stiff.

There was no play in the threaded connection between the track rod end and the 14ft long steering arm.

There was no play in the linkages and fastenings of the hydraulic steering ram.

The original 3/4" diameter s/s pins on the skeg pintles were replaced with new 20mm diameter s/s pins. The holes in the gudgeon plate on the underside of the rudder were drilled out to a tight 20mm diameter. (Done by Argyle Metal Services, Dumbarton. Cost £30)

The original nylon spherical bush was drilled out to accept a new acetal flanged bush, the bush itself having been reamed out to fit the original 1" diameter s/s rudder stock . (Done by QD Plastics, Dumbarton, Cost £55).

The most difficult part of the job was sourcing the track/tie rod ends. These turned out to be 9/16" UNF female right hand and left hand threads. I bought a pair fitted with grease nipples on E Bay for about £20 inc postage.

I reshimmed round the "squared off" rudder stock using feeler gauges etc.

Removing the rudders took about an hour. Refitting took about two hours. (Finding the track rods took about 3 weeks!!!)

Everything seems tight enough - but I have still to relaunch.

Any questions, just ask

Hope this helps.
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Re: hydraulic steering adjustment?

Postby sv snowqueen » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:03 pm

An update on my post of May 2010.

By early 2014, the knocking noise from the rudders when at anchor in any height of wave had returned.

The owner of ALIMAH, an 1990s Prout, suggested that the rudders, being hollow, could be lifting and that a halved tennis ball, or similar, fitted at the top of the rudder could prevent vertical movement. I noted that I could move the rudders up and down on the pintles and that there was scoring on the underside of the aft deck projection. The rudders had been tapping on the underside. As the boat was in the water, I just managed to wangle in a split halved ball around the exposed rudder stock. This seemed to cure the problem - until the balls disintegrated after a month.

In Spring of 2015, I dismantled the rudders and then refitted them with stainless steel washers, including a spring washer, on the 1" diam rudder stock filling the gap between the top of the rudder and the underside of the aft deck projection . This certainly eliminated any movement on land and seems to have cured the knocking noise at anchor.

However, there is still a faint metallic scraping seeming to come from the poor fitting of the tiller arm to the squared off top of the 1" diam. rudder stock. I'll now have to work out how improve the connection of the top of the rudder stock and the tiller arm - possibly a spline.
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Re: hydraulic steering adjustment?

Postby wuzzy10 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:44 am

Hi SV Snowqueen.
I have the same problem on my Sirocco 26. The track rod and ends seem the same as yours, and I also have play in my rudder pintles. These are 0.5" dia and I am looking for a supplier of oversize pins so that I can drill/ream out the pintles to give a tight fit. Do you think either of the companies you used might be able to help?
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Re: hydraulic steering adjustment?

Postby sv snowqueen » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:37 pm

Hi Wuzzy10

Argyll Marine in Dumbarton could do it if you give them both the gudgeon and pintle. They would cut off the old pin, reweld on a new pin and ream out the rudder fitting to suit.

However, any competent stainless steel fabricator should be able to do it.

sv snowqueen
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