Here's a follow-up and what I found and did about the situation...
As you can see from the first photo
, the pump (helm) is bolted to the back of the Pedestal
, meaning the back of the pedestal
points to the bow. All newer pumps bolts in from the front. Below is the ram. Although is shows signs of surface corrosion
on the ground shaft, it performs well and does not leak. I cannot say that for the hoses though. They were in terrible shape.
I could rotate the shaft and feel the same play. Ah ha! it must be the pump. I opened the back of it up and there was nothing loose, so I concluded it was needing a rebuild
. It is a Vetus unit and no one on this side of the pond could help me. So I had to buy a new one. The old pump and ram had zero part numbers let alone capacity specs., so i had to wing is with physical dimensions and hope for the best. I stuck with Vetus because I felt, that's what the boat came with and to stick with it. The prices were about the same as Telflex, so what the hell. To my elation, the offered a conversion "pot" that the new helm
bolted to and in turn could be front mounted with major modifications to the front of the helm
. The front of the helm has a 1/2" teak
plate, approximately 13" X 6"s. In my opinion, too weak to take any over stresses. So I laminated 3 layers of X-mat and epoxy
. Since all the force is in sheer, I felt this would be sufficient to handle the loads. The lamination built up well over 1/8".
Next was to run all new copper from the helm to new hoses at the old ram. This gave me a good scare. The ram was an odd-ball metric size. After 4 hydraulic shops, I found Pirtek USA. Out of the other hydraulic shops, he was the only one who spent time with me trying to help and didn't act like a "dick" to me. So I highly recommend them. They are nation wide. They have my business. Today, July 21st. a dockmate and I bleed the lines and then the moment of truth...1) will the symptoms go away and 2) will it be approximately the same amount of turns from lock to lock. The symptoms did go away. Now approximately 5 degree port to starboard to engage the steering
. That little play may even be the micro slop of the clevis pin mating the fork of the ram to the lever arm on the rudder
shaft. The helm is now 5 turns lock to lock. It seems less than before but I also felt it was way too many turns before, so we are going to go with the idea that we are successful. Below is the finished unit. I hadn't anticipated this project
and I got off for around $700 with pump, Hydraulic hoses and 30 ft. of 5/16" copper. Hopefully the last big ticket item.