Whitlock wheel steering

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Irene R
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Location: Milford Haven/Lawrenny

Whitlock wheel steering

Post by Irene R »

The wheel steering on my Corsair has been quite stiff, since I took possession a couple of years ago, though has improved with use.
I have greased the cables and lubricated extensively. The quadrant is free when disconnected and the auto helm servo is also free. I have been told and it seems likely that the top bearings on the wheel shaft are the likely cause as apparently they are nylon and can become salt laden. I have washed and lubed what i can see of them but it looks like I shall have to dismantle the top end to make any more progress.
This looks like it might be tricky, preventing the chains and cogs from dropping out of sight and getting the shaft out.
In the box of spares left by the previous owner there are a couple of likely looking nylon bushes; I think he may have contemplated the same problem.
Any advice?
Vegable
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Re: Whitlock wheel steering

Post by Vegable »

Hi Irene,
I did mine last winter. I found it was quite straight forward but I've since found out that there are 2 types of mechanisms. Whitlock and Edson. On my boat it's the Whitlock version. Once you get into the top of the pedestal it's all nicely laid out for you and from the description below you'll find out which one you have. Stuff an old tea towel down the inside of the pedestal to catch any dropped bits!
Looking at my notes, you first have to slacken the wires on the steering quadrent below. Loosen the eye bolts right off and remove the pin out of the pulley that one of the wires runs through in order to get more slack in the system. It is a bit of a pain to put it back though.
Now back in the revealed workings of the pedestal - to be more specific, the continuation of the steering wheel shaft once it disappears into the pedestal - looked for the brass cog that the chain rides over. At the forward end of this cog is a silver pin through the centre of it. It is a tapered pin and HAS to be driven out by hitting the domed end not the other end. Mine was very hard to shift so I soaked it in WD40 over night.
Undo the steering wheel nut and then remove the keyway then the brake, then the whole lot should slide out. (Says he with gay abandonment!).
From front to back, forward to aft, it goes
Horseshoe mount, roller bearings, fibre thrust washer, bronze (brass) cog and domed pin, section of sleeve/tube, 2 plastic washers, plastic bush (see below), then brake system, then shaft key, steering wheel, big nut (22mm from memory but not 100% certain) then nut cover plate.
When putting it back together I noticed that the domed pin hole is also tapered so check carefully when refitting. Mine had been put in wrong.
Also, what I didn't do was to mark on the bronze cog and the chain where it's all positioned when the rudder is straight ahead. It took me 3 attempts to get the wheel to point in the same direction I was going!
Re plastic bush. It's really some sort of tough plastic and it had swelled on mine so that the steering was hard to turn and was the cause of my problems. On my boat I had to totally destroy it by drilling all round it in order to get it out of the pedestal hole.
I took careful measurements of it and got a precision engineer friend of mine to turn me a new one out of HDPE plastic ( High Density Poly something) and bought a small cylinder of it off ebay. I did a long trip 2,500 miles this last summer and already there is now a slight play in the steering shaft so HDPE isn't the right stuff to use.
Once you removed the assembly once, it's dead easy to do again.
Looking at the Edson website notes, it says you should oil and grease it annually! Personally I think that's too much 2 or 3 years is ample I think. I didn't replace any of the other bearings or washers and I used Teflon motorbike white grease where necessary.
Come back if you want more info
Mike.

Edited bit! Reading my notes properly, I notice that the domed pin, the shaft AND the bronze/brass cog are all tapered. Check by gently pushing the pin in each piece and mark it before assembly.
"There is nothing worse than running ashore, unless you are uncertain as to which continent that shore belongs"
P2264
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Re: Whitlock wheel steering

Post by P2264 »

Hi I seem to have lost the rather long reply I thought I had posted earlier, so here goes again. I have owned my Corsair since 1992 as this was my first boat I guess I was not aware the steering was stiff, in 2013 I decided to change the engine while it was out I re routed the steering cables which made them shorter, I also replaced the original ones with shinny new ones both inner and outer cables, half way along I put in greasing points. The difference was amazing so light and sensitive, I made no changes to the pedestal end all I need to do now is put new shoes on the brake, but as it still locks the wheel well enough to hold the wheel centrally enough when using my Hydrovane.
A couple of years ago the steering stiffened up a bit and the boat had a tendency to steer off to starboard, so last March when I lifted out at Glasson I inspected the rudder bearings, the lower one was not fixed in the hull but stuck to the shaft, once removed it was obvious what the problem was, so I bought some Delrin had two new bearings made by a friend, replaced them, I actually think the steering is even better now than it was following the cable job. I have enough Delrin to make another set of bearings I anybody should feel the need to change theirs.
I see you are berthed not to far south from me in Fleetwood, I will be making my way down to Jersey once spring arrives I will look out fo you.
Regards Mike,
Ps, here goes I shall attempt to upload this.
Irene R
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Re: Whitlock wheel steering

Post by Irene R »

Many thanks to you both, you prove the value of the forum. It would be nice to see you in Milford Haven as well and exchange notes. A few weeks ago I met with Big Andy who also has a Corsair in the area. It was fun and we both gained from the experience.
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