Steering cables

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Page 83
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Steering cables

Postby Page 83 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:10 am

With a lot of help from James Power :idea: , I have tracked down the part numbers for the Whitlock Steering system. Now carried by Lewmar, The Constellation (tm) Wire in Conduit system has the following part numbers:
The 7x19 7mm wire cable that runs thru the conduit (or 8mm, which is a tight fit) can be purchased from any source. Specify 316 grade stainless steel.
The Red rubber coated conduit is ordered by the meter, you cut it with a hacksaw and press on the end fittings;
I need 22 feet to replace both conduits. LEWMAR 89100069 (metal filings left in the conduit are death.)
The end fittings are LEWMAR 89100116.
The inline greasers are LEWMAR 98100118, sold in pairs. Page 83 didn't have greasers, and might not have her present difficulties if she had!
The 2 turn Tangential unit (used on the 15" steering quadrant) is LEWMAR 89100111
Chip Cooper at Lewmar was very helpful. His number is (203) 458-6200 x208.

I'm ordering mine thru West Marine so I'll have them for James' next trip, or if he can get the guy that originally installed at least fifty of them to toodle on down to the Chesepeake. Anyone else thinking about their steering?
Sandy Daugherty "Page 83" PDQ 36026

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Re: Steering cables

Postby Loki » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:52 am

Sandy,
Thanks for the writeup - this should be very helpful. I have 36072, now 10 years old and have paid little attention to the steering. It's gotten slightly stiffer over the years, and I'm afraid I've done nothing other than add a bit of gear oil and grease. So I'm curious as to what problems led to your rebuild of the system, and what maintenance you recommend to forestall failure.
Jeff Morris, Loki 36072

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Re: Steering cables

Postby Page 83 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:36 pm

James thought someone at the factory might have nicked the conduit with a grider: the rubber is bulged and heavily rusted wire is showing. Lewmar now sells a grease fitting for the conduit steering system, which could probably be installed on older boats, painfully. I've ordered them for Page 83.
Sandy Daugherty "Page 83" PDQ 36026

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Steering conduits and cables, 2017

Postby martincreek150 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:15 pm

Conduit Failure.JPG
Conduit End Fitting.JPG

Yes, it is possible to defer maintenance long after it becomes unwise. When Nalani was hauled almost a month ago, the steering system working flawlessly. No friction or functional problems of any kind. But a quick glance into the starboard stern lazarette (and I have glanced many, many times in recent years) revealed steering cable conduit in remarkably poor condition.

The steering cable conduit is constructed in three layers: red plastic cover, wire reinforcing, white plastic core (through which the actual steering cables run). The photos show a complete breach of the red plastic cover, precipitated by intense corrosion of the wire reinforcing. In one of the photos the inner white plastic core has also been breached. If you had extended a fingernail into the inner breach, you could have felt the steering cable moving back and forth.

The need for replacement was obvious. Removal of the steering cables was the simple part. We released the four steering cable clamps at the quadrant to slack tension. Then we lifted the roller chain from the sprocket at the wheel and released four more steering cable clamps. (There were wire thimbles at the quadrant end, but there were no wire thimbles at the wheel end.) We pulled the 1/4" steering cables into the lazarette. One cable was 16'10" long. The second cable was 15'1" long.

The task of removing the conduit was more time consuming. The cable was very stiff and snugly fitted. First we released two conduit end fittings at the double conduit sheave beneath the wheeler. In Nalani's case, this could only be done by disassembling a portion of the double conduit sheave. Then we released two conduit end fittings at the tangential terminal unit in the lazarette. The two brass end fittings in the lazarette were destroyed in the removal process. There was also significant corrosion of the tangential terminal unit at the site where the conduit end fittings were attached.

The conduits were now free, but we could neither pull the conduits into the cabin nor into the lazarette. So we set about to cut the conduit. Nalani's steering conduit runs from the tangential terminal unit, through a corner of the holding tank compartment, through a corner of the cockpit stern lazarette, through the outboard engine box and into the cabin. There was no room to use a hacksaw at any of these locations. A small cable cutter can't get a bite of the conduit. A large cable cutter turned out to be usable at only two locations. So we cut one steering cable conduit in the holding tank compartment (because we could only reach one) and we gnawed through the second steering conduit in the outboard engine box (after opening [destroying] the hose through which the conduits run.) Cutting the conduit in the engine box required a diagonal cut that became an ugly process indeed.

It sounds straight forward when reduced to writing, but our novice status in steering repair, corroded connections, and the recalcitrant conduit cost us about sixteen man hours. Not very efficient.

There are probably better ways to cut/remove the conduit. If others have an easy way, please share your technique in a post in this forum.

I had already researched this topic in this forum, so I was confident that acquiring replacement parts would be easy. At least until we began to try. Next up? Is Lewmar still doing business in the USA?

Demp-
Last edited by martincreek150 on Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Steering cables

Postby thinwater » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:45 am

No idea on the work--I feel your pain--but a reminder to grease regularly for all readers seems in order.

Green Grease by Omni Lubricants, available at Advance Auto Parts, has consistently tested #1 in Practical Sailor against a broad field in both corrosion protection and wash-off resistance. The difference between an annual application of Green Grease and nothing can be many orders of magnitude in corrosion rates. It is that good.

And grease just went on my next work day list!
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Re: Steering cables

Postby Loki » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:40 am

Of course I ignored my problem and in 2011, while pulling into the fuel dock to top off before hauling, the steering completely seized! I made the last half mile to the hoist on the emergency tiller. The LRC seems to have an easier routing for the conduit/cables so the replacement was fairly straightforward. The Edson brand conduit (17 ft) plus two grease cups and four end conduit ends was $360 from Defender. I might have actually re-used the old conduit ends; I'll to check the left-over parts bin when I next get to the boat. The stainless cable was, I think, from West.

The one thing that took a while to figure out was that tightness can be adjusted at the turning block below the wheel. There's no way to tighten just with the cable clamps.

The result is that the steering was, and remains 5 years later, silky smooth. Its significantly better then it was when it was a year old, and maybe even when new, so there may have been a flaw when built.
Jeff Morris, Loki 36072

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Re: Steering cables

Postby Phenix » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:39 am

Something more to spend time on at the boat yard tomorrow. :wink:
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Lewmar - A new definition for "just in time" manufacturing

Postby martincreek150 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:51 pm

It's obvious that Nalani will need new conduit. Lewmar now sells only blue conduit. And, at the time of this writing, the only details Lewmar provides online or in its catalogue is that the blue conduit will accommodate 5mm and 6 mm cable (no ID or OD) (see Lewmar photo, below).

89100069 Lewmar steering conduit.jpg


Nalani might also benefit from conduit grease fittings (see Lewmar photo, below)? Lewmar posted this photo in their online catalog, calling it a conduit END fitting and providing the the correct conduit END fitting part number (89100116). The proper conduit grease fitting part number was 89100118. While Lewmar's photograph of a grease fitting appears in the online catalog, its part number (89100118 or 98100118) is no where to be found?

89100116 WRONG Conduit grease fittings.JPG


And Nalani also needed new conduit end fittings (see photo, below). The proper part number for a conduit end fitting is 89100116. Lewmar substituted nice black plastic construction instead of about a pound of brass in the old style fitting. And the Lewmar online catalog says absolutely nothing about the size of conduit the end fitting accommodates or the size of the threaded end/bolt.

89100116 Lewmar conduit end fitting.jpg


And since I had been so lax in repairing the bad conduit, I decided that the associated tangential terminal unit should be replaced with an eye toward preventive maintenance. The aluminum on the old unit was somewhat corroded/eroded, though definitely not in danger of near term failure. Since I hoped I'd never have to touch the steering system again (right!), I decided to replace any and every part that I could/should. The Lewmar photo (below, click to enlarge) shows the tangential terminal unit and a quadrant, so it's a bit confusing at first glance. Nalani would need 89100111.

Tangential Terminal Unit.JPG


And now the fun begins.

Lewmar USA and West Marine state that the blue conduit will be back ordered for twelve weeks. I call Cactus Navigation in England. They check Lewmar UK's inventory. There is no blue conduit in England (or anywhere else on the planet) and the product is "out for manufacture". "Just in time" manufacturing looks like about twelve weeks (give or take the time it takes a container to get from China?).

Lewmar conduit grease fittings are no longer available. They aren't "out for manufacture". They're just "out". They appear (posthumously) in a misidentified photo at Lewmar online, but they're out. (Keep the photo for your scrapbook.)

Lewmar USA has 15 conduit end fittings in stock. They probably aren't big sellers, since there is no blue conduit to fit. I needed four, so I ordered eight. Can't let them get away.

And calls to Connecticut and England confirm that there are no tangential terminal units in stock anywhere. There is also a note in Lewmar UK about manufacturing one/some, "just in time" in twelve weeks.

Lessons learned:
-Anticipate all needs for Lewmar parts at least twelve weeks in advance.
-Don't start the project until you have the Lewmar parts in a box on your doorstep/dockstep.
-If you find a Lewmar part you can use, grab it.
-Lewmar US employees are very pleasant. West Marine employees are very chagrined. Cactus Nav employees are very British
-Lewmar might not be selling lots of Constellation steering parts. It might not be a strong profit point for Lewmar. Younger owners might want to stock up with spares.

No conduit, no grease fittings, no tangential terminal unit. Twice as many conduit end fittings as I need. In our next installment, Edson to the rescue, sort of.
Last edited by martincreek150 on Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dempster and Carole Wheeler
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Poor Lewmar

Postby martincreek150 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:05 pm

If you think my comments about Lewmar are unjust? I ordered those silly, expensive, plastic, interior hatch trim/screen things a few years ago and they took, yes, twelve weeks or more to deliver. So, I should have know better.
Dempster and Carole Wheeler
Nalani 36043


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