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Old 09 January 2021, 08:48   #1
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Steering wheel 'play'

Morning Forum,
Doing a bit of routine maintenance on my Ribcraft 4.8 2005 spec. I've had some play on the steering wheel for a few seasons now and thought I'd try and sort it out whilst in lockdown. When turning the steering either left or right, there is about 40 degrees free movement before the motor starts to move.
In itself it is not really a major issue but makes the boat less responsive.
Has anyone fixed this issue before? Any guidance before a get the spanners, hammer and chisel out would be very welcome.
Cheers, Steve
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Old 09 January 2021, 10:54   #2
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What type of steering do you have?

Any obvious slackness/wear in any of the components?

If it's a Morse type cable, does the wheel turn a lot before the inner cable starts to move in & out of the outer?
Are both ends of the outer securely fixed so they don't move?
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Old 09 January 2021, 11:31   #3
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Have you checked fluid level?
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Old 09 January 2021, 12:16   #4
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Thanks chaps, here comes the annoying questions which demonstrates a lack of technical understanding on my part! How would I identify which steering system I have? The fluid checks sounds simple (which I like very much given its 2 degrees here)! Where would I find the reservoir?
Cheers
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Old 09 January 2021, 12:23   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futura 155 View Post
Thanks chaps, here comes the annoying questions which demonstrates a lack of technical understanding on my part! How would I identify which steering system I have? The fluid checks sounds simple (which I like very much given its 2 degrees here)! Where would I find the reservoir?

Cheers


If itís a 4.8m Iím guessing itís cable steering, so no fluids or pump.
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Old 09 January 2021, 12:35   #6
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Yes, I looking at the system it certainly has a cable and steering set up. This being the case, where would you recommend I start?
Ta
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Old 09 January 2021, 12:56   #7
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If itís a 4.8m Iím guessing itís cable steering, so no fluids or pump.


Like PD my guess would be cable steering unless someone went out their way to install hydraulic on a wee boat (I did on mine but that was for specific reasons). If you are new to this hereís a wee simplified explanation:

You turn the wheel - the wheel is fitted on a shaft (usually tapered) there should be zero play between the wheel and that shaft (the wheel is locked into the right place on the shaft with a shaped key). This shaft goes into the helm unit, where it rotates a kind of cog with teeth on it. Those teeth should mesh with the inner part of the steering cable. This inner is like a long plastic thread. As you turn the wheel the cog on the helm unit sucks in or pushes out the inner. If the outer is fixed in place the inner will then extend on retract at the engine end of the cable. At this end you donít see the inner - itís fixed directly onto what is essentially a piston, so the the piston extends or retracts as the cable moves. This piston is positioned inside the tilt tube of the engine emerging on the port side of the engine. There is a hole on the end of the piston, where a bent metal bar is connected which transfers the motion to the part on the front of the engine which steers the engine.

You should be able to see (perhaps with the help of an assistant) where the slack is in the system. Any of the parts can wear but the most common are the inner cable and the teeth on the helm unit - but I did also get some issues with the outer not being fully locked on the helm unit meaning some of the travel just became movement of the outer.
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Old 09 January 2021, 13:18   #8
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If your not mechanically minded ,best just buy a new kit ,just googled it and basic is £150 including new wheel and £250 for rr , if you get a little help from a mate or your in a boating area so should be loads of them good old boys with a van who will come and sort and if you give them new parts you can tie them to a quick time and therefore to a fair price
https://www.youboatmarine.com/multif...BoCzlYQAvD_BwE
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Old 09 January 2021, 14:17   #9
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Chaps, thanks for your fantastic responses. I'll take a good look at the helm unit to see if I can spot where the slack is and work my way from there. I'll eport my findings.
Cheers all.
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Old 09 January 2021, 15:09   #10
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Ribcraft spec'd these boats with standard Teleflex 'no feedback' units unless you opted for a hydraulic unit. I've just been out and photographed mine, this is from a 2010 build.

The NFB kits (helm and cable) are probably cheaper than fitting a new cable then discovering the helm unit is goosed. Measure the old steering cable once you've extracted it. Lots to choose from on Marine Scene or other sites.

You can lube the new one with Fairy Liquid and haul through on a rope which is in the trunking for this reason. Also check the drag link. You may need a new witches hat rubber grommet at the stern.

Importantly, sufficiently lube the steering at the outboard tilt tube. Usually they are siezed due to a lack of maintenance. There's bleed nipples there, so pump in marine grease on the installation, and make sure the tilt tube lock nuts are on tight.

The steering wheel will no doubt be seized on too. With the cover removed, remove the nut. You will probably need a puller to break the grip. Watch as there's a woodruff key that engages.

Hydraulic steering is a bit over-kill considering average engine size is 50-70hp, but if you're feeling flush go for it.
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Old 09 January 2021, 16:52   #11
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The steering wheel will no doubt be seized on too. With the cover removed, remove the nut. You will probably need a puller to break the grip. Watch as there's a woodruff key that engages.
All good advice but if you don't have a puller and are relying on brute force I'd suggest leaving the nut engaged a bit until the wheel is loose. It saves you breaking your nose when it unexpectedly frees itself.
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Old 09 January 2021, 19:07   #12
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Great stuff chaps. I'll let you know how I get on.
Cheers, Steve
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Old 09 January 2021, 21:39   #13
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I have the exact same issue on my Zodiac. Have it in a shed at the moment doing a refit and I have similar play. I stripped down the steering unit. It’s an Ultraflex T56 (I think). The innards of the steering unit look fine. The steering wheel end of the cable is a rod with a wire wrapped around it in a helical form. It seems fine but I suspect that the helical wire has slit from the rod or something like that
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Old 11 January 2021, 00:01   #14
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All good advice but if you don't have a puller and are relying on brute force I'd suggest leaving the nut engaged a bit until the wheel is loose. It saves you breaking your nose when it unexpectedly frees itself.
Have you done that too?

Nothing like a face full of steering wheel to make you realise, you should have left the nut on.
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Old 07 October 2021, 12:07   #15
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Great stuff chaps. I'll let you know how I get on.
Cheers, Steve
Hi Steve so how did you get on?

I'm in the same position myself. Researched and considered hydraulic but the 5 turns lock to lock puts me off or I would go for it. NFB seems the way to go therefore although I heard reports the clutch can fail after as little as a year.

This is what I'm considering:
Teleflex NFB-Safe T II

If anyone knows the best place to buy and comments NFB vs hydraulic or has experience using the former then I'd love some feedback (pun)
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Old 07 October 2021, 14:33   #16
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I think the cable's fairly recent, would you change it as a kit (and have associated hassle) or just get the helm unit? Not that much money to be saved over buying them singly.
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Old 07 October 2021, 16:49   #17
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Hi Steve so how did you get on?

I'm in the same position myself. Researched and considered hydraulic but the 5 turns lock to lock puts me off or I would go for it. NFB seems the way to go therefore although I heard reports the clutch can fail after as little as a year.

This is what I'm considering:
Teleflex NFB-Safe T II

If anyone knows the best place to buy and comments NFB vs hydraulic or has experience using the former then I'd love some feedback (pun)
Not all hydraulic steering is 5 turns lock to lock. The Seastar system on my boat is only 3 turns. It's a bit heavy to be honest!
You can change the number of turns lock to lock by selecting the size of the helm pump to suit. Bigger flow per turn = less turns lock to lock.
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Old 07 October 2021, 17:27   #18
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Hi Steve so how did you get on?



If anyone knows the best place to buy and comments NFB vs hydraulic or has experience using the former then I'd love some feedback (pun)
Hi Limecc, I bought a teleflex NFB kit from marinesuperstore, it was easy to fit. I haven't used any other style so not able to compare it to anything but I find it nice to use and have no complaints.
The picture of the helm in your link above looks different to my nfb helm, my one has an extra part above the planetry gears which I guess is the clutch mechanism?
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Old 07 October 2021, 19:05   #19
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Not all hydraulic steering is 5 turns lock to lock. The Seastar system on my boat is only 3 turns. It's a bit heavy to be honest!
You can change the number of turns lock to lock by selecting the size of the helm pump to suit. Bigger flow per turn = less turns lock to lock.
So is this some knob you adjust or is it selected by buying a bigger pump?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrel Rider View Post
Hi Limecc, I bought a teleflex NFB kit from marinesuperstore, it was easy to fit. I haven't used any other style so not able to compare it to anything but I find it nice to use and have no complaints.
The picture of the helm in your link above looks different to my nfb helm, my one has an extra part above the planetry gears which I guess is the clutch mechanism?
Does it have any play from new?
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Old 09 October 2021, 21:26   #20
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So is this some knob you adjust or is it selected by buying a bigger pump?


You purchase a different helm unit.
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