Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-05-2010, 12:08   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Boat: Contest Ketch 44
Posts: 3
Lewmar / Whitlock Steering Problem

We own a 44' Contest sailboat built in 1983 (original yard name was Conyplex). We are preparing for a ~2 year voyage from Alaska to Mexico and possibly beyond.

The play in the wheel had increased a lot in recent months, so we took the top of the pedestal apart and discovered that the horizontal and vertical helm gears In the Lewmar (Whitlock) pedestal have moved apart and are somewhat worn. There is more wear evident on the vertical gear than on the horizontal gear.

We have been advised to go ahead and take things apart to see if removing 1 or 2 shims will eliminate the slack between the 2 gears, but we have not been able to get a schematic to show us what to expect on the inside. One issue is that the horizontal shaft tube metal housing is seized to the pedestal.
We have been advised to try to remove the shims. If that doesn’t help we may have to buy a whole new pedestal and we have been told that they are all custom built. We are hoping to avoid that expense, but not at the expense of losing steerage at a crucial moment down the road/sea way.
We have a few questions for the forum:

1) Has anyone else dealt with a steering problem like this? If so, how hard is it to remove the shims to see if that will remove the play, if you tried that? We are concerned that we could damage the entire pedestal in the process of getting at the shims, because of the seized metal pieces. (We have added lubricant to try to help these come apart.) We are reluctant to start taking things apart without a schematic to show us what we are getting in to.

2) If you have an older model Lewmar/Whitlock (or Mamba?) diagram (from the early 1980s) that you can email, that would be fantastic.

We have contacted the Lewmar representative in Connecticutt. He has been helpful, but he cannot locate a schematic for this older steering pedestal, although he has an inquiry pending with the Lewmar folks in the UK.

Thank you for any advice, materials, or contacts you might have on this.

BMathews
__________________

__________________
BMathews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-05-2010, 13:07   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 25,048
Images: 240
Greetings and welcom aboard the CF, BMathews.

See the
Lewmar-Whitlock “MAMBA” Steering Installation & Maintenance Manual
http://www.lewmar.com/cms%5Cassets%5...0Guide_web.pdf
__________________

__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-05-2010, 13:51   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 5,671
BMathews, hi, welcome aboard. I would like to suggest that you take this opportunity to inspect your whole steering mechanism as well as the pedestal. Good luck.
__________________
DeepFrz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-05-2010, 13:53   #4
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 2,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMathews View Post
The play in the wheel had increased a lot in recent months, so we took the top of the pedestal apart and discovered that the horizontal and vertical helm gears In the Lewmar (Whitlock) pedestal have moved apart and are somewhat worn. There is more wear evident on the vertical gear than on the horizontal gear.

1) Has anyone else dealt with a steering problem like this? If so, how hard is it to remove the shims to see if that will remove the play, if you tried that?

2) If you have an older model Lewmar/Whitlock (or Mamba?) diagram (from the early 1980s) that you can email, that would be fantastic.
We had a 12 year old Whitlock Cobra steering system, which we just replaced with an Edson CDi system - very similar in concept to the Whitlock but the details are better designed.

Whitlock unfortunately used stainless bolts tapped into aluminum castings in a couple places and they inevitably freeze and have to be drilled out.

My system had some plastic shims that fit in between the steering wheel bearing (just in front of the wheel, bolted to the pedestal with 4 Allen bolts) and the pedestal. If you remove these shims it allows the bevel gear to move forward into closer contact with the gear on the vertical tube. But that did not eliminate the play I was having.

I also had a bearing go at the bottom of the steering tube (just above the lever arm) which allowed the tube to bang back and forth (only a small way but it was annoying) in a seaway. And the inside of the vertical tube was dripping rust flakes down onto my batteries (Which are right under the steering system).

So, I did the shim deal, and drilled out some stainless bolts to get at the gears and replaced the steering wheel bearing but still had problems and just decided it was going to be better to get a whole new system than continue to throw money at the old one.
__________________
www.bethandevans.com
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-05-2010, 15:28   #5
Registered User

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Boat: Contest Ketch 44
Posts: 3
Thank you GordMay, DeepFrz, and Estarzinger (Beth) for your helpful replies.

The Mamba manual is a good lead, but the schematics don't exactly match our (possibly older) system. Many thanks all the same, it is likely to be a useful resource for other sections of the steering system.

Beth: Thank you so much for your detailed reply and confirmation of some of the same problems. I downloaded information on the Edson CDI system, in case we get to that point. It is tough to know when to stop trying to repair vs. replace. We really appreciate the benefit of your experience and hind sight. We will likely try removing the shims; I'll let you know how that goes.

By the way, I am reading your book and loving it. Thank you for writing it. It has been a great help as we prepare for our voyage.

--BMathews
__________________
BMathews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-05-2010, 16:02   #6
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,347
You might also want to see if parts from the very similar Jeffa steering could help. Quality is very good. I believe that some of the Whitlock people went to Jeffa (but not sure). The US distributor is PYI -

PYI Inc. Max-Prop PSS Shaft Seal Seaview Radar Mounts R&D

Carl
__________________
CarlF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-05-2010, 19:36   #7
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 2,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMathews View Post
the Edson CDI system, --BMathews
The CDi is essentially a 'drop in' replacement for the Whitlock Cobra. We used the same bolt holes in the cabin sole and our wheel fit right on the pedestal. I do love the geared drag link steering - really nice steering feel.

I never managed to get ahold of a whitlock cobra manual either. There was a whitlock guy at Lewmar tech support for several years but he is gone now.

It is always a challenge to decide when to stop 'fixing' and move on to replacing. When I am somewhere with good facilities, for important stuff I often error on the side of replacing. I just did that with my seacocks and stuffing box and cutlass bearing. The old ones were acceptable but I was somewhere it was very convenient and easy to do the replacement, and any failure there later on in a more remote cruising location would have been much more difficult to deal with. With the less important stuff I error on 'fixing' and just junk it if it breaks somewhere remote that fixing/parts are not possible/convenient.
__________________
www.bethandevans.com
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-05-2010, 07:41   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Home port is San Diego, California but currently cruising Thailand
Boat: Contest 48
Posts: 413
Images: 1
I own a Contest 48 ketch that is also equipped with the Whitlock Mamba steering system. Last fall, I replaced the engine (and generator and a lot of other things but that should be for another post or posts) and in doing so I had to remove the steering system. I am very familiar with the gears to which you are referring and they are serviceable and replaceable. Perhaps the biggest challenge you will face is getting the unit apart. The bearing carrier for the horizontal shaft (that connects to your steering wheel) will probably be the biggest challenge. Once I was able to get the screws removed (no small task for my boat is about the same age as yours), I fashioned a very crude press made of a large bolt, flat washer and nut. By using a socket from your toolbox that was placed against the bevel gear on the horizontal shaft and the head of the bolt against the forward side of the pedestal housing, the tightening of the nut and flat washer combination against the socket forced the carrier out of the pedestal. On mine, the bearing carrier was almost 6" long.

I removed the vertical shaft and it's bearings as well (not too difficult) and sent all of the aluminum Whitlock parts out for sandblasting and powder coating. I reassembled everything with new bearings, shims, etc and it all works perfectly. We just got back from 5 months of cruising in the Sea of Cortez and we had no problems with the steering.

I, too, had tried to contact someone at Lewmar who could help me with Whitlock parts but had extremely unsatisfactory results. When PYI, Inc. was the Whitlock distributor, every person there was an expert and helpful. I have eliminated B&G as an option for my new sailing instruments solely on the fact that Lewmar appears to have little interest in customer service.

We're heading back to Mexico next fall. Perhaps we'll cross paths somewhere along the way.

Fair winds and calm seas.
__________________
nhschneider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-05-2010, 17:03   #9
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 2,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post

I have eliminated B&G as an option for my new sailing instruments solely on the fact that Lewmar appears to have little interest in customer service.
Mmmm . . . . a little off thread but . . . I think you are a little out of date. I believe Lewmar has not owned B&G since 1998, when Yeoman Group PLC purchased B&G.

In 2003 Simrad, acquired B&G Ltd from Yeoman Group Plc, and is (I believe) the current parent. Simrad is now owned by the Nordic Private Investment company Altor.
__________________
www.bethandevans.com
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2012, 09:32   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Grenoble, France
Boat: Kirie, Feeling 1090
Posts: 8
Re: Lewmar / Whitlock Steering Problem

Whitlock documentations and many refurbishing pictures on:

Feeling 1090
__________________

__________________
Gerard777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sailboat, steering pedestal, steering shim, lewmar

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Whitlock Control Pod Problem Boracay Construction, Maintenance & Refit 8 09-01-2012 09:29
Lewmar Steering Brake Seizure seanie20 Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 0 18-03-2010 16:59
Whitlock Constellation Steering Parts Manual ozboatie General Sailing Forum 2 25-01-2010 19:41
Want To Buy: Whitlock / Lewmar Parts timberboat Classifieds Archive 0 12-01-2010 19:00
Whitlock-Cobra Steering System Maintenance Manual? TazW Construction, Maintenance & Refit 2 20-06-2009 18:19


Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:12.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.