Stiff steering

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bobflshmn
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Posts: 211
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:32 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X

Stiff steering

Post by bobflshmn » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:36 am

The steering on my X is getting extremely difficult. I have disconnected the link to the motor to see if it improved. And I have tried it while docked with no improvement. It is at the point now where I can no longer steer with one hand. 2001 X with original equipment.

Question: Is there a way to pull out the existing cable from the housing and lubricate?
If not, will replacing the cable be enough?

If neither of these are good options I will replace with hydraulics. I am not so concerned about rudder feedback. I haven't had that in over a year due to the difficult steering.

Thanks for the advice.

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by Tomfoolery » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:33 pm

I tried to lubricate an old push/pull steering cable a couple of boats ago, and it was a waste of time. A new one is cheap enough, and should make it steer like new. BWY probably sells them, along with other sources. But you do need to know which steering gear version your boat has.

bobflshmn
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by bobflshmn » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:16 pm

Thanks Tom. I did look on BWY and a complete upgraded system is available in my price range, and 1/3 the cost of hydraulics. I believe that is the path I will follow.
Bob

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nedmiller
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by nedmiller » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:59 pm

I would also recommend replacement. A number of years ago, I tried to remove the inner cable and lubricate. Not worth it. I replaced mine with a no feedback system and it holds steering wheel position and you can let go of the wheel and do something quickly without the boat going crazy. If your sails are balanced you can go get a cool drink.

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by Tomfoolery » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:13 am

bobflshmn wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:16 pm
Thanks Tom. I did look on BWY and a complete upgraded system is available in my price range, and 1/3 the cost of hydraulics. I believe that is the path I will follow.
Bob
I would encourage you to first open the helm and take a few pictures of the steering gear. Also note where the cable exits the stern - close to the transom, or farther inboard.

Then call BWY. They're good people and will make sure you get either the right cable, or the right system if replacing the whole thing. Even the helm came in two flavors - tall and short, and if I'm not mistaken, steering systems are not necessarily compatible between them.

I'm guessing the tall helm is needed for the rack and pinion steering, but I don't know that for fact.

Short helm:

Image

bobflshmn
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Sailboat: MacGregor 26X

Re: Stiff steering

Post by bobflshmn » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:30 pm

Thanks for the advice, I will.

DaveC426913
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by DaveC426913 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:00 pm

nedmiller wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:59 pm
I replaced mine with a no feedback system and it holds steering wheel position and you can let go of the wheel and do something quickly without the boat going crazy. If your sails are balanced you can go get a cool drink.
What is a 'no feedback system'? :o

TJCormack
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by TJCormack » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:23 pm

My steering system is too loose in my new Mac26x. My previous Mac 26x had nice stiff steering that allowed me to leave the helm.to attend to other business as required for single banding.. With my current Mac26x, if l let go of the wheel for a fraction of a second it leans into a HARD starboard turn. If i am powering at speed it is quite sudden, sharp, violent and feels dangerous. Is there any adjustment that can be made so I can leave the helm for a few moments to attend to other business. This is essential for me to singlehand the boat.

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dlandersson
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by dlandersson » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:24 am

My 97 X steering was a bit stiff, and I lubed it with some marine lubricant. Seems to have worked. Just had a guest on my X last week who comented on how nice the steering was. I would try that before I would change the cables. YMMV. 8)
bobflshmn wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:36 am
The steering on my X is getting extremely difficult. I have disconnected the link to the motor to see if it improved. And I have tried it while docked with no improvement. It is at the point now where I can no longer steer with one hand. 2001 X with original equipment.

Question: Is there a way to pull out the existing cable from the housing and lubricate?
If not, will replacing the cable be enough?

If neither of these are good options I will replace with hydraulics. I am not so concerned about rudder feedback. I haven't had that in over a year due to the difficult steering.

Thanks for the advice.
Last edited by dlandersson on Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

DaveC426913
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by DaveC426913 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:07 am

TJCormack wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:23 pm
Is there any adjustment that can be made so I can leave the helm for a few moments to attend to other business. This is essential for me to singlehand the boat.
I have a custom "tiller-tamer".
It's just a bungie cord that holds the wheel in place and is easily engaged and disengaged while I tend to lines.
Image
The hook is just a regular nylon bungie hook that hooks onto a small pad eye.


It works well enough on most points of sail.
It's not as good motoring - the boat is has no self-correcting stability and will drift off pretty quickly - but it's long enough to grab something.

The bungies allow a little but of adjustability without having to disengage. You just give the wheel a short, sharp yank, and it will slip to the new heading and stay there. Unfortunately, the spokes get involved on anything more than a smallish adjustment so you gotta work around them.

I'd love to see ideas for better wheel tamers. It needs to be operable from forward of the helm. A tightening knob on the underside of the wheel shaft is quite awkward.

beechkingd
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Location: Central VA 1995 26x

Re: Stiff steering

Post by beechkingd » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:29 pm

TJCormack wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:23 pm
My steering system is too loose in my new Mac26x. My previous Mac 26x had nice stiff steering that allowed me to leave the helm.to attend to other business as required for single banding.. With my current Mac26x, if l let go of the wheel for a fraction of a second it leans into a HARD starboard turn. If i am powering at speed it is quite sudden, sharp, violent and feels dangerous. Is there any adjustment that can be made so I can leave the helm for a few moments to attend to other business. This is essential for me to singlehand the boat.
You mentioned it happening under power, have you tried adjusting the trim tab on the engine?

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by Tomfoolery » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:17 am

beechkingd wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:29 pm
TJCormack wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:23 pm
My steering system is too loose in my new Mac26x. My previous Mac 26x had nice stiff steering that allowed me to leave the helm.to attend to other business as required for single banding.. With my current Mac26x, if l let go of the wheel for a fraction of a second it leans into a HARD starboard turn. If i am powering at speed it is quite sudden, sharp, violent and feels dangerous. Is there any adjustment that can be made so I can leave the helm for a few moments to attend to other business. This is essential for me to singlehand the boat.
You mentioned it happening under power, have you tried adjusting the trim tab on the engine?
And have you snugged the steering friction adjustment on the OB?

Are you leaving the rudders down at speed (should be up)? Are they pulled all the way down and held there when sailing, or letting them drift back? Rudder back from vertical, even a little, act very strangely and make for difficult steering.

BestMACSailor
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:04 pm

Re: Stiff steering

Post by BestMACSailor » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:11 pm

Steering is so important. I would replace it ASAP

bobflshmn
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Re: Stiff steering

Post by bobflshmn » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:46 pm

Update!
Over the weekend I replaced the complete steering system with one from BWY; I opted for the upgraded cable. Pulled out the old steering hub which I found to be very worn with a lot of play but turned freely without the cable attached. Removing the cable was a bit of a chore. Previous owner filled the rubber boot with silicone, this took an hour by itself. Installing the new wheel hub required cutting the fiberglass which took a while as I had not planned for this and had limited cutting tools with me. Installing the new cable actually went quick including aligning the king spoke for center.
Took her out for a test run that evening. What used to require two hands and significant muscle now takes two fingers :) . Steering is very smooth and tracking is so much better. I have just enough drag on the motor pivot tensioner that I can point a course long enough to handle the sails for lifting and lowering!
The cable was the primary problem, but had I only replaced it there would still have been more play than I would have been happy with. Complete system from BWY with upgraded steering cable about $300.
Smooth sailing 8)

TJCormack
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 10:17 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X

Re: Stiff steering

Post by TJCormack » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:03 am

Thanks. I've been wondering about a lashing system. I used to lash the tiller on my old boat. This seems like a good system for lashing a whell.
DaveC426913 wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:07 am
TJCormack wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:23 pm
Is there any adjustment that can be made so I can leave the helm for a few moments to attend to other business. This is essential for me to singlehand the boat.
I have a custom "tiller-tamer".
It's just a bungie cord that holds the wheel in place and is easily engaged and disengaged while I tend to lines.
Image
The hook is just a regular nylon bungie hook that hooks onto a small pad eye.


It works well enough on most points of sail.
It's not as good motoring - the boat is has no self-correcting stability and will drift off pretty quickly - but it's long enough to grab something.

The bungies allow a little but of adjustability without having to disengage. You just give the wheel a short, sharp yank, and it will slip to the new heading and stay there. Unfortunately, the spokes get involved on anything more than a smallish adjustment so you gotta work around them.

I'd love to see ideas for better wheel tamers. It needs to be operable from forward of the helm. A tightening knob on the underside of the wheel shaft is quite awkward.

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