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Old 14-05-2015, 13:43   #1
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Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Folks,

I have a bronze steering wheel shaft that drives a bevel gear inside the top end of my aluminum steering pedestal.

I needed to replace the shaft, now I'm wondering what I should use for the bearings. The shaft is 1" diameter and the hole in the aluminum pedestal housing is 1 3/8" ID.

I'm thinking of replacing it with what it looks like it had originally, namely bronze (possible oil-lite? that's what I'll use, anyways, unless anyone has better ideas) bushings pressed into the aluminum housing that the shaft rotates in.

Not sure if there are any foreseeable problems here. Don't want my steering to bind up on me.
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Old 14-05-2015, 14:32   #2
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Now a days, everyone seems to be using something like Delrin or some other modern plastic. Probably not a problem to find the right size on line.
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Old 14-05-2015, 16:18   #3
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

I second the delrin material for bushing.There are other plastic materials but the delrin seems to be material that holds up the best.


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Old 14-05-2015, 17:07   #4
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
Folks,

I have a bronze steering wheel shaft that drives a bevel gear inside the top end of my aluminum steering pedestal.

I needed to replace the shaft, now I'm wondering what I should use for the bearings. The shaft is 1" diameter and the hole in the aluminum pedestal housing is 1 3/8" ID.

I'm thinking of replacing it with what it looks like it had originally, namely bronze (possible oil-lite? that's what I'll use, anyways, unless anyone has better ideas) bushings pressed into the aluminum housing that the shaft rotates in.

Not sure if there are any foreseeable problems here. Don't want my steering to bind up on me.
http://www.igus.com/iglide IGUS IGLIDE bearings. You can get almost any size. They will make specials. Almost any (self-lubricating) material. My 2-1/2 inch X 3" long for the rudder was $7.50 a few years ago. If you add a little grease as well, they last a very long time.
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Old 14-05-2015, 21:42   #5
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Bronze and Aluminum don't go well together. Galvanic corrosion big time.
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Old 14-05-2015, 23:46   #6
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

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Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
Folks,



I have a bronze steering wheel shaft that drives a bevel gear inside the top end of my aluminum steering pedestal.



I needed to replace the shaft, now I'm wondering what I should use for the bearings. The shaft is 1" diameter and the hole in the aluminum pedestal housing is 1 3/8" ID.



I'm thinking of replacing it with what it looks like it had originally, namely bronze (possible oil-lite? that's what I'll use, anyways, unless anyone has better ideas) bushings pressed into the aluminum housing that the shaft rotates in.



Not sure if there are any foreseeable problems here. Don't want my steering to bind up on me.

Bronze bushing the same as the shaft, if difficult to find the Exact size, have one machined, easy to do


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Old 15-05-2015, 00:25   #7
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Best to use Delrin, Teflon or some high density plastic for the bearing, instead of bronze or any metal or even graphite packing to avoid galvanic corrosion to the aluminum.
The plastics are much easier to machine, sand, grind or machine to fit than any other material and easier to find. Teflon comes in many shapes.
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Old 15-05-2015, 03:09   #8
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

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Bronze and Aluminum don't go well together. Galvanic corrosion big time.
Yes. Copper based alloys and Al don't mix. The Al will become a sacrificial anode unless electrically isolated.
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Old 15-05-2015, 12:54   #9
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

The Gougeon Brothers boat construction book has instructions for making slow speed bearings using West Epoxy with graphite mixed in. It's worth a consideration as it would probably insulate the 2 metals from one another sufficiently. From memory you mould the shaft in place with a parting compound such as wax polish on the shaft. It would avoid the need for machining. It's just an idea that you might be able to Google.
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Old 15-05-2015, 12:59   #10
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

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The Gougeon Brothers boat construction book has instructions for making slow speed bearings using West Epoxy with graphite mixed in. It's worth a consideration as it would probably insulate the 2 metals from one another sufficiently. From memory you mould the shaft in place with a parting compound such as wax polish on the shaft. It would avoid the need for machining. It's just an idea that you might be able to Google.
Carbon and Al mix is also at very high risk for galvanic corrosion, if I recall even worse than Al and Cu alloys.

Carbon is very noble so again the Al will become a sacrificial anode. Though encapsulated in epoxy wear will expose the carbon to contact with the Al.
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Old 15-05-2015, 12:59   #11
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

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Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
The Gougeon Brothers boat construction book has instructions for making slow speed bearings using West Epoxy with graphite mixed in. It's worth a consideration as it would probably insulate the 2 metals from one another sufficiently. From memory you mould the shaft in place with a parting compound such as wax polish on the shaft. It would avoid the need for machining. It's just an idea that you might be able to Google.

Not sure of the conductivity of graphite and epoxy, it is after all, graphite, that's conductive.
Used that method to recast rudder bearings, worked great.


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Old 15-05-2015, 13:13   #12
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Yes I realise graphite is carbon and carbon is a conductor, but I'm guessing that embedded in epoxy it won't conduct. A test with a sensitive ohm meter would show this. It's easy enough to make a small sample using araldite to test. An expert on galvanic corrosion could advise better. My guess is that it wouldn't be a problem as the graphite particles probably don't form a continuous current path. Certainly ali doesn't like bronze.
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Old 16-05-2015, 02:42   #13
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Bearing bronze is an aluminum bronze alloy. It is very hard and should wear well, hence its name. I built a rudder for my Alberg 37 and used the old standby silicon bronze for the shaft I had to bend. I used aluminum bronze for the middle gudgeon and lower shaft. Try filing a piece of aluminum bronze and you will see what I mean. It can be machined easily, but it seems harder than many steel alloys.

Just one guy's opinion,
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Old 16-05-2015, 04:12   #14
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris95040 View Post
Folks,

I have a bronze steering wheel shaft that drives a bevel gear inside the top end of my aluminum steering pedestal.

I needed to replace the shaft, now I'm wondering what I should use for the bearings. The shaft is 1" diameter and the hole in the aluminum pedestal housing is 1 3/8" ID.

I'm thinking of replacing it with what it looks like it had originally, namely bronze (possible oil-lite? that's what I'll use, anyways, unless anyone has better ideas) bushings pressed into the aluminum housing that the shaft rotates in.

Not sure if there are any foreseeable problems here. Don't want my steering to bind up on me.
Phosphor bronze oil impregnated was popular before delrin or similar nylon based bearings made them obsolete. Delrin works well lubricated with sea water hence its marine use. There are some better lower friction options I would specify for steering. Consistent friction and dimensional stability are the primary design attributes for steering.

The engineering thermoplastic plastic options are the preferred choice these days. You can purchase the bar stock readily and machine it. You need a machinist who understands running fit tolerances and can deliver them on nylon at room temperature.

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Old 18-05-2015, 11:41   #15
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Re: Bearing material for bronze shaft in aluminum housing

Couple things come to mind re bearing material; the issue of corrosion has already been covered. With bearings(aka bushings if not ball or roller) the closer the material likeness the more subject to wear and possible spalling on both surfaces. So I'd definitely go with a material other than bronze more likely a synthetic, more easily machined and fitted. Second note is the softer surface is more subject to wear which is desirable in a bearing, better to have to replace the bearing than the shaft. I don't know the hardness index for fiberglass vs bronze but suspect it could tend to wear the bronze more than provide the bearing surface desired, even if it has a graphite component.
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