March 2006 --
Hoo boy. It's great to have the steering back in.
My new Edson Pedestal was in my living room for months.
Finally, it's on the boat.
It was a real bear to put in, and some people have given me
blank looks over the last few months,
as if to say "what's so hard about steering?"
I reusing my old Ritchie compass, but won't put it on until everything else is installed. I'll be taking the top on and off for the engine control cables and some wiring.
The new Edson pedestals use the same bolt hole pattern as the old pedestal (thanks Edson) so the old idler wheels underneath the sole could still work.
I also reused the radial quadrant.
The new brake design is nice, with a brake knob
right in the center of the wheel.
With everything dry fit and tightened down, I looped the old steering cables around it and made sure that the idler wheels lined up properly with the quadrant.
It's incredibly important that they line up right, otherwise the steering can be unsafe.
If the new cable chafes anywhere, it can wear through and fail.
I made a fiberglass base for the pedestal. The idea is to raise all the mounting hardware an inch off the cockpit sole so that the sole can be awash with water and the mounting hardware will remain dry.
I'm sure I'll caulk it properly, but this will provide an extra
It is epoxied onto the new sole, so it's part of the boat. It's covered in gelcoat.
Note the two large holes in the front. They're actually sockets, so the guard rail will fit down into this fiberglass base and will be super strong.
So. The radial quadrant was finally in place, installed without hitting or scraping on anything, and with enough room to move the rudder post up or down about 1/8" for final adjustment.
Then it's on to the idler wheels. Originally,
there had been a 3/4" piece of plywood as a spacer between the sole and
the idlers. I replaced that with 3/4" of solid fiberglass from McMaster-Carr.
This is part of my whole "leak mitigation" program. (grin)
If there's a leak, it won't rot.
Note that because I had jacked the sole up level, I needed to add 1/8" of additional fiberglass above the 3/4" spacer. I should have thought about that.
Here's an enormously gratifying
close-up of the hole.
When I recored the sole, I cored this area with solid FRP, but pre-drilled the hole for the pedestal, and took great care to get that hunk of fiberglass in the proper spot. But when putting the top layer back on, it was really late and I was just trying to power through the job and go home.
Months later, when I epoxied the pedestal base in place, I wasn't sure
where the "hidden hole" was so just measured the heck out of everything
and hoped for the best.
As you can see, it all lined up. Hooray. I took a hole saw to the top layer of core and the hollow spot was right there, lined up with the old holes in the bottom layer of the sole.
Someone was smiling down on me.
Here's another picture
during dry fit testing.
I was really scared that the idler wheels wouldn't
fit, because I had added a second output to my
new fuel tank, and didn't specify exactly where I wanted my new fuel tank fittings mounted.
It will fit. Whew.
It's really close, though.
I got lucky.
Note the long pedestal bolts. I ordered six inch bolts, because
I didn't think four inches would be enough.
Four inches would have been short,
but six inches are a bit long.
As part of Rebuilding
the Cockpit Sole,
I cut this hole in the sole
right under the helm seat.
(I'll have a propane locker on top of the Bomar deck port.)
The idea is to allow easy access to the steering for inspection and maintenance.
It's also making it much easier
to reinstall the steering. It's always easier when you can see what you're working on.
Note the red color of the radial quadrant. It's the original quadrant, cleaned up a bit.
I'm reusing my old wheel, and covered it with leather
while it was sitting in the living room for the last few months. It was
something to do
while sitting by the fire
during those long cold California winter nights.
There's a double covering of leather where
Top Dead Center should be.
The trick to getting that right is
adjusting the cables down below.
In addition to the saddle clamps, I covered the cable with adhesive lined heat shrink.
What the heck.
Note the position
of the saddle clamps.
The saddle goes over the
main load bearing cable,
not over the bitter end.
"Never Saddle a Dead Horse."
I think these days they anodize them,
but this old one was bare aluminum. There was enough surface corrosion to make it unreasonable to try and put a finish on it, so I just scrubbed it really well, then acid etched it with Alumiprep (phosphoric acid) and sealed it with Alodine (chromic acid.)
That should help reduce future corrosion.
Getting the radial quadrant to fit back into the boat was a hair ripping eight weekends of pure frustration.
Over the last 25 years, the boat had definitely worked itself into a comfortable spot, where all the systems still fit together, though the cockpit sole sagged and the old fuel tank crushed the old support.
I used an Aluminum Oxide grinding wheel on
Handy Dremel Tool, and smoothed down the joint between the two halves of the quadrant.
There's no point having an edge that can
damage the steering cables.
I suppose if I took it off and put it back on another ten times, I might somehow manage to make it perfectly flush without grinding. But I doubt it. The two halves don't match perfectly and probably never have.
I've done many repairs back here all at once, so
replacing the steering is very much like a new installation.
By fiberglassing two layers of Kyntex tape over the old
steering stop blocks, I'd lowered them about 1/16".
I need that 1/16". Arr.
The first few times I got the quadrant on, the bolts that
hold the stop peg onto the quadrant hit the blocks. So there's a very tight
limit on how high the quadrant can be attached to the rudder post .
The nuts can't hit the block, as that puts a *fierce*
twisting torque on the rudder post and entire steering system.
I moved the quadrant by hand, and watched the entire steering system twist when the bolt hit the block, and thought "Nope, I don't ever want that to happen again."
The bolt *must* clear the block,
and the peg *must* hit the block square.
Then it was time to go back and tighten everything
down really well. The four large bolts that hold the quadrant onto the rudder
post were well slathered in Tef-Gel
to prevent corrosion.
The old bolts had been fairly well stuck due
to galvanic action (stainless steel vs. aluminum) and
Tef-Gel is the best thing for preventing that.
At the other end, the new fuel tank limits how low the quadrant can go.
When pulling the old steering, I had noted that there was only 1/8" of clearance between the quadrant and the tank.
Somehow, I have managed to fit it in, with the same clearances on top and bottom.
The pedestal base has a nice groove around the edge to trap caulk and make sure that it isn't all squeezed out when the pedestal is bolted down.
I supplemented that with a pad of Butyl, which will stick to the inside of the rim and also to that fiberglass pad that's epoxied to the sole.
I just don't like leaks.
Those extra long bolts made it much easier
to caulk the pedestal down. By leaving the nut on the very end, I could push
it up and down
to pull caulk down the length of the bolt,
without getting it all over the inside of the boat
I don't have any qualms about gooshing caulk all over the place up on top, though.
The old cables had a swaged fitting on the end, but the new ones from Edson just use a thimble and saddle clamps.
It occurred to me that I could have taken the cables to a rigger and had nice clean fittings swaged on. I had the time, but just didn't think of it.
The new chain (top of pic) is longer than the old one by exactly two inches. That's good, because I need to account for the inch high pedestal platform.
Before stringing the cable around, I saturated it with a Teflon spray.
(Wear goggles and a respirator. You don't want to coat your lungs with Teflon.)
Edson says to oil the cables with light oil, and I'll do that going forward, but for a new installation this stuff works down into the wire and coats each strand with Teflon. That will help prevent internal chafing while the cable initially stretches.
So I measured carefully and cut them to size with my Handy
Dremel Tool. One of the cables needs to be one inch shorter than the other,
because the idler wheels under the deck are offset.
I want the wheel to line up straight.
"Oh Shucks" #1 --
What's wrong with this picture? Well, the eye bolts, thimbles,
and saddle clamps don't fit through the little slot in the quadrant.
I should have fed the cables through *before* putting the hardware on the end.
Arr. Fortunately, it was raining very heavily when I discovered
this, so no one could hear me whining. Loudly.
I was lamenting, like, you know, biblically.
For a good thirty seconds, I felt like Job.
Then I put it into perspective.
So I had to use a heat gun and soften up the heat shrink,
cut it off, remove the hardware, feed the cable through
and redo everything.
Attaching the cables to the quadrant was pretty straightforward.
I only used one nut for now, because the cables are going to stretch.
I'll be going back and tightening them up over and over for the next month or so to take the stretch out of the wire.
Once they're fully stretched out I'll stick a second lock
on top of this one.
"Oh Shit" #2 --
How the heck did this happen?
The idler wheels don't line up with the quadrant, but it all fit perfectly when dry fit, before caulking.
Arr! I think I'll have to take it all apart again and do it over.
Either the quadrant has to go up a bit or the idler wheels have to come down. This'll cost me another weekend or two.
My first brilliant move
was to drop the key for the quadrant
under the new fuel tank. (grin)
Rather than have a little bar of stainless steel
wedged up against the bottom of my new aluminum fuel tank (and creating a little dam that would collect debris,) I had to drain the tank out into jugs and lift it up to retrieve the key. That cost a day.
Over the course of this project, I had to lift the darn tank up four times.
I tried tie-wrapping the key onto the rudder post,
but it kept interfering with the installation
of the quadrant.
I probably could have glued it in with some goop, but wasn't sure if that would have been a good idea if it ever needs to come back out.
Well, I should have expected it.
What the heck, take it all apart and put it all back together a few more times.
After evaluating it
in the fresh light of a new weekend,
it was clear that the radial wheel was in the exact proper spot (I'd already taken *it* apart
and put it back together eight times)
so the only remaining option
was to lower the idler wheels.
I replaced the 1/8" plate with a 3/8"
plate of vinylester FRP from McMaster-Carr.
This was done at the dock,
in a single day,
so I didn't try to make it pretty,
cut it to size
or even to paint it.
But there's nothing wrong with a 12"x12"
under the pedestal.
I had caulked it all down the previous weekend,
but the caulk still hadn't cured.
That was some pretty fresh LifeCaulk.
It has also been unseasonably cold.
Since the bolts popped back up with wet caulk, I just injected some more LifeCaulk in there, and bolted them back down.
Ah. finally it all lines up.
I had to spend too much effort getting the idler wheels lined up with the quadrant. But it's important that the cable doesn't chafe anywhere.
I wish I'd made the tank 1/2" shorter, because if I'd had a 1/2" of room to play with, this job would have been done a month ago.
And there it is.
I had to spend a few minutes up top just spinning the wheel around and feeling the system through the wheel.
You can feel if something's chafing,
and I took it all apart one last time and gave the port idler wheel a little nudge, before bolting it back down.
The new Edson pedestal guard is constructed of 1-1/8"
and I'm going to mount a NavPod instrument housing onto it.
I like the NavPod because of the way it's molded onto the
shape of the pedestal guard, which allows nice big holes for wires.
I really hate having to cut the connectors off of wires to fit them through the pedestal.
The mounting holes are drilled and tapped, and the hole
for the wires was drilled with a 3/4" bit (starting small and
working up to the big one.)
They were polished up well to remove any sharp edges
with Emory Compound on a grinding wheel buffer, then with green Stainless Steel polishing compound. To the left, I'm using my Handy Dremel Tool to remove burrs on the inside of the tube, so that there aren't any sharp edges around the tapped mounting holes.
I used a 3/4" hole saw to work through
the deck. That was easy, since I'd predrilled the holes through the FRP core
before recoring the sole.
The guard rail posts were covered in LifeCaulk before being set into the sockets.
Edson provides cast stainless steel feet for
the guard rail base.
However, they don't provide five inch long threaded posts. I had to get those from McMaster-Carr. I guess they never thought someone would bolt these through a 1" base, 1-1/2" of sole, and 1-1/4" of backing plate.
Edson also supplies a rubber gasket to go around the bottom of the foot. I still packed caulk in there.
As I slipped the feet down into the base,
LifeCaulk was injected all around the bolts
while they were
wiggled up and down.
A plastic spacer
goes around the
guard rail to make it
fit into the foot.
Because it's plastic,
I used LifeSeal.
I didn't want to risk any reactions between
the polysulfide LifeCaulk
and the plastic.
That black rubber gasket was ugly, and when I tightened
down on the bolts it deformed.
The caulk was just too slippery.
So I loosened the bolts and cut the black gasket off.
After putting a nice new thick layer of LifeCaulk
under the base, the bolts were set just enough to begin
to feel resistance.
In a few weeks, or maybe even later, I'll give them another good turn and crank down tight on the caulk.
It's important to wait a while.
The LifeCaulk will take at least
three weeks to cure.
And there it is, rock solid and sealed up nicely.
For some reason I was sure
that my Ritchie compass had an eight inch base, so that's the size pedestal I ordered.
It's actually the next size smaller, so I'm
going to bolt the compass down into this 1/2" piece of
Seaboard from Tap Plastics.
It's a UV stabilized polyethylene, just like Starboard. I cut an eight inch circle, and routed the top edge so the compass will
match up with it.
It's bolted down using the
Edson non-magnetic bolts.
A forstner bit made the
flat bottomed countersink.
Just before putting the compass on, I'll clean it up well and will slip this small silicone O Ring (from McMaster-Carr) over the bolt.
All the navigation displays are mounted in a pod above
the companionway, but I want a
Nexus Multi control at the helm.
It's something to play with.
So I put a NavPod on the pedestal guard.
The wired remote for the stereo can also be mounted here,
and that'll still leave room
for something else.
Mounted like this, it's angled up
about ten degrees.
I don't know why Loctite puts the BLUE (removable) stuff in a Red tube, and the RED (permanent) stuff in a Blue tube.
Here's how the gasket looks
when the bolt is
tightened down hard.
Here's the inside view.
No water will run down
inside the boat.
That'll be nice.
Now I can focus on getting ready for the new engine.
This boat will be sailing this summer!