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Old 09-12-2015, 12:57   #1
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Unhappy Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

Hello... just bought my first sailboat... 37.5' Bruce Roberts 370. Getting her ready to splash, and following some minor rudder and skeg repairs, the whitlock steering is very, very stiff, even without the rudder mounted. We also have Raymarine 6000+ autopilot... my instinct is to disconnect the autopilot (how?) to see if that's the cause of the stiffness. Cannot locate a "steering lock" to check if that's somehow engaged. Any advice or suggestions much appreciated!
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Old 09-12-2015, 13:14   #2
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

What Whitlock do you have? Mine is Mamba with rod steering from centre cockpit location.
After a long time out of water was very stiff when I splashed her. Removed wheel.... put smear of grease between boss(?) and pedestal .... all fixed.
On mine the steering lock is simply the big 'nut' at the centre of the wheel... the nut that holds wheel to pedestal is under that.
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Old 09-12-2015, 13:21   #3
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

Sometimes, if nylon has been used for the rudder bearings, the nylon will absorb sea water and swell up, making the steering too tight. Fix is to remove bearing and bore it out, then replace.

The wheel brake on our boat is a round, device (a hand screw?) on the side of the steering pedestal, that one tightens or loosens as needs be.
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Old 09-12-2015, 13:42   #4
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

I'ts a Constellation system. Duh, though... found the steering lock, right where it was suggested in this forum... works like a charm!!
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:48   #5
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

My Raymarine ST 6002 auto pilot has an engage/disengage lever on the back side of the circular plastic mount the wheel is attached to. I believe any autopilot needs something of this type because sometimes you might want manual steering without turning off the AP like maneuvering around an approaching boat or floating object. I think the Raymarine web site can point you to pictures also their tech reps are generally very helpful.

If you are trying to steer manually with the AP engaged it will feel very stiff. Generally when you are not sure what the problem is DO NOT apply more force before doing some research.
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Old 11-12-2015, 17:19   #6
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

The Whitlock steering on our Contest 42 was with drive shafts and hookes joints (cardan joints?) after about five years of use the steering was very stiff. After greasing the hookes joints it worked excellent again.
Good luck.
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Old 11-12-2015, 18:05   #7
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

One year the steering on our 33' Brewer was not tight, it was almost frozen solid. The boat over wintered in Newfoundland, but that's not much different from Maine. Don't know the mfg, and disconnected the quadrant to assure it was not the rudder. Using all my weight I was able to budge it. I worked on it for a few hours and it gradually loosened up. It was stiff but usable when we splashed and became totally free after my first trip that season, which was a nasty 12 hour run In irregular 5' swells.

Now it's a bit tight again, but still usable. A mystery to me.
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Old 12-12-2015, 16:43   #8
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Re: Whitlock Steering Very Stiff

Once our steering got really stiff, and we found a zerk along the rudder shaft that we had never seen before. Filled it with a whole tube of grease- voila, spins easily.
Just saying for those reading the posts with similar problems- if you don't grease your rudder shaft it may eventually wear through or coroid and break-- both options a whole lot more expensive than grease.
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