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Old 07-04-2015, 09:17   #1
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Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

While motoring last weekend I noticed a significant vibration in my helm (wheel) that I had not previously encountered. My first instinct is that I might have an issue with the rudder or propeller. However, when I returned to my slip I noticed a pool of oil on the cabin sole near the access door to engine. It appears that I overfilled the oil when I last changed it and oil was spraying out of the breather hose. (Google told me that this could potentially cause a run away situation if excessive oil is pulled into the air intake; which THANKFULLY did not happen!). I, of course, will correct the oil level and then determine if helm vibration continues (this weekend, weather permitting!) but until then, can anyone weigh in as to the likelihood it was the excessive oil pressure that was causing vibration in the helm? Or should I be prepared to tackle a rudder/propulsion problem?

I had taken the boat out once before since the oil change and do not recall the vibration; but I did not motor for nearly as long and had much calmer conditions.

As always, thank you all for the continued help.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:23   #2
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Hmmmm..... I would say unrelated. Is this a "new to you" boat?
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:25   #3
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

I think it is unrelated as well. It's just a coincidence that it happened at the same time.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:26   #4
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Check your prop to see if you picked up any line or kelp. If you can't check it yourself have your diver check it.


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Old 07-04-2015, 09:28   #5
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

It may be possible that you have cutlass bearing problem. I once ran over a crab pot with polypropylene line. It wrapped around the prop shaft and melted. The melted line effectively blocked water from the cutlass bearing causing it to fail. The vibration was terrible.

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Old 07-04-2015, 09:34   #6
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Other possibilities area plastic bag caught on the prop or rudder.
I suppose it's possible the engine was running rough and making you think it was the rudder?
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:35   #7
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Hmmmm..... I would say unrelated. Is this a "new to you" boat?
Relatively new, I purchased it back in October.

My thinking (wishing/hoping) is that a rudder/prop connection or alignment problem would show its symptoms a lot more gradually.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:41   #8
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Quote:
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I think it is unrelated as well. It's just a coincidence that it happened at the same time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
Check your prop to see if you picked up any line or kelp. If you can't check it yourself have your diver check it.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
It may be possible that you have cutlass bearing problem. I once ran over a crab pot with polypropylene line. It wrapped around the prop shaft and melted. The melted line effectively blocked water from the cutlass bearing causing it to fail. The vibration was terrible.

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Can bottom growth on prop or rudder create the same kinds of problems? My other speculation is that in the two months since I last took her out, water temperatures have increased significantly and may have caused a spike in biological growth. I'm definitely going to dive her if the weather cooperates this weekend.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:50   #9
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

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Other possibilities area plastic bag caught on the prop or rudder.
I suppose it's possible the engine was running rough and making you think it was the rudder?
Meaning that the engine was vibrating the steering column and/or steering cable and there was not an actual vibration in rudder? I think that could be the case and hopefully is the cause.

We only had the sails up for a short time but my brother was at the helm and claims he still felt it a little but I think he was confusing weather helm with the vibrations I encountered. The seas were a bit rough and I was having a tough time balancing the sails (the fact my brother couldn't seem to maintain a course didn't help!). Also the reason we cut our sail short.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:13   #10
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

The other possibility is, some rudders, when the rudder shaft bearings are worn, will exhibit vibration or movement. It often happens on certain points of sail or when motoring etc.
It is very possible that your prop is encrusted with barnacles too though.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:32   #11
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

I agree with Cheechako. Gran hold of your rudder arm somewhere near where it meets the ram arm or the cable. Push it hard from side-to-side. If it moves you will not hear it clunk but when the motor is at a certain revs and the rudder at a certain angle, this will sometimes cause a metalic clinking noise and vibration at your helm.
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Old 07-04-2015, 14:00   #12
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Broken piston rings, engine missing and blow-by forcing oil out the dipstick tube?
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Old 07-04-2015, 14:23   #13
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

I'd still bet you picked up something on your prop or maybe rudder. It's the cheapest easy problem so check it first if only to eliminate it before you go on to more difficult and expensive solutions.


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Old 07-04-2015, 15:54   #14
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Maybe you rudder bearing got a bit lose? If it vibrates, there may be some free play.

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Old 07-04-2015, 16:03   #15
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Re: Vibration in Helm - Too Much Oil?

Thanks everybody for the suggestions. Hopefully it is one of the less serious ailments. I'll be sure to keep the thread posted.
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