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Author Topic: Steering cable tension  (Read 5531 times)

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Steering cable tension
« on: April 29, 2001, 06:14:26 PM »

What is the proper method for tensioning the Edson steering cable?  Forgive me if this information is in a Tech Note or FAQ, but the search feature does not seem to work for me.  There is nothing in my Catalina owner's manual.
 There is about +/-1.5" of play when I deflect the cable by hand.
 I can practically guarantee that the unit has never been serviced since 1988, because of the trouble I had removing the aft bulkhead panel.  Everybody who has ever done this knows about the diabolical hidden screw.
 Looking aft, the bulkhead panel is in the shape of an "L".  At the top inside (right hand) corner of the upright portion of the L, a 2" long flat head screw is countersunk in the fiberglas molding, and the head covered and faired with filler to match the gelcoat.  An outline of the filled area may be discernible.  Once you locate the screw, you must gouge and grind and chip your way down to the Phillips head.  It's not a natural thing to do, to gnaw on a pretty molding like that, but the panel will never come down until the screw has been removed.

secret screw
« Last Edit: September 20, 2009, 07:31:11 PM by Stu Jackson »


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Steering wire tension
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2001, 06:07:13 PM »

Per Edson literature we collected at Pacific Sail Expo (they were great with advice in the booth): "Lock the wheel in position by using the pedestal brake or by tying off the wheel. Cable tension is best when you cannot move the quadrant or the drive wheel by hand with the wheel locked in place. Over tightening will greatly reduce the sensitivity of the system."
 They also recommend replacing the chain and cable system every five years (no editorial comment).
 The guys in the booth said call with any questions and they'd send any additional literature. 508-995-9711. Per the guys in the booth, they don't charge for literature.
 They also have specific lubrication standards: 30W oil on the chain (not grease) to increase penetration into the link plates and teflon grease for the steering wheel shaft bearings (oil will 'eat' the nylon holding the bearings). They do have partial rebuild kits for different systems.


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Edson says not "bahh tight"
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2001, 05:10:15 AM »

I had to adjust my cable and talked to an Edson customer tech.  They said the cable should have 1" deflection, but not to make it 'bahhh tight', or in other words, from New Jersey like me, that would be 'barrrrr tight'. The reason I had to adjust my cable was very interesting and was quite an experience.  Last summer on the way to Block Island, I lost steerage.  Could turn the rudder one way, but not the other.  The boat kept sailing in circles in about 18kn of wind and a good 2 ft chop.  Not fun.  I quickly doused the sails and dug out the emergency tiller.  If anyone ever tried the emergency tiller, it's not that easy.  Actually, it's just about impossible to keep a straight course.  Advice #1: on a good day, bring out the emergency tiller and get the feel of it.  So, the closest port was 3 hours away.  So for 3 hours it was like steering the QEII using a tiller with the leverage of a toothpick.  When we got to port, I slithered inside to the quadrant and noticed the whole problem was a $0.25 bolt that came off the eyebolt holding the cable to the quadrant.  Apparently, the factory attaches the eyebolt to the quadrant with a washer and two nuts.  The second nut is to lock down on the first.  Advice #2: lock the eyebolts using one nut, then another nut on top that has a nylon lock washer built in so it can't back off as easily.  So that's my story about my adjustment experience.
 Roc  :D
Roc - "Sea Life" 2000 MKII #1477.  Rock Hall, MD


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Steerig Cable Tension
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2001, 08:48:22 PM »

Just tight enough to remove all free motion of the wheel, i.e. if you move the wheel the rudder moves immediately, but not excessively tight.  Adjusting is a simple job.  With older C34, access could be gained through the lazarette by removing the propane box and the platform as an alternative to the aft bulkhead.
 While adjusting, inspect the steering gear.  Two C34 steering gear failures that I know about were caused by:
 1. The "quadrant" which had fractured at the reversing stop, probably because the wheel was let go when going astern.  
 2. The sheaves at the base of the pedestal which failed due to corrosion of the base plate caused by years of leakage down the steering pedestal.
 In the first case, replacing the quadrant is fairly simple.  You have to very accurately measure the steering shaft diameter using a micrometer or very good vernier gauge and order the new quadrant from Edson.  One half of the quadrant is predrilled with a 3/8" hole Installation involves bolting on the quadrant with the hole in the quadrant aligned with the hole in the shaft.  The hole in the other half of the quadrant is drilled through aligned holes in the quadrant and shaft.  A long 3/8" drill is required but these can be bought from a good industrial supplier.
 Replacing the sheave base plate is easy but a bit time consuming because the cables have to be released, etc.
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