Hi, here's an update. I was able to remove the pedestal
from the cockpit
without too much effort. Everything down below is clean with no impingment and the rudder
moves easily using just hand-force on the horizontal shaft going back to the rudder
. Additionally, the arm that is on the bottom part of the pedestal
moves very easily to the steering wheel
. Before I removed a bolt I did push and pull on the steering
wheel as directed. There was absolutely no play in the wheel. I began removing the steering pinion gear
with all of the bolts, washers. The gear
appeared very clean with no apparent filings or damage. I removed the compass
binnacle and plate on top of the quadrant gear. The gear did have some filings smattered in some of the valleys of the gears in the grease. I removed the grease and filings. I tried to get the "key" that locks the quadrant to the shaft. I was unsuccessful trying with various small and small flathead screwdrivers. I greased everything on top and reassembled but left out the 4 plastic sheeves. On the bottom end of the pedestal I greased and inspected the best I could. There was a bit of play with the lower bearing. Not sure how much but a metal knock could be produced when moving the pedestal shaft back and forth. I don't know if this translates to a bad lower bearing or indicates the cause of my steering issue? Apparently I need a sprocket extractor after I've removed this "key" to access the bearings? This is the Whitlock Cobra 4 and not the Cobra 5, it looks like the only differnence are the number of "keys"?
I put everything together sans the plastic washers. I ran the engine
in forward and reverse tied to the dock
while moving the rudder from port to starboard and back again and again. I found no issues but didn't have any mates to go out so I don't know for sure whether my cleaning
and slight adjustments has helped. That's this weekend's goal. If I do have a problem and I make it back alive, I'm thinking the best approach would be to remove pedestal and take it to a technician that has a better understanding of the bearings and the gear alignment. I'll update once I've tested the waters.......