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Old 25-06-2017, 19:03   #1
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Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

The last few times we've gone out, turning the wheel was very smooth and didn't take much force. Today when we went out (motoring in very calm conditions) the wheel was much more difficult to turn and there was audible creaking. It was almost like when you don't have power steering on a car.

Any thoughts about what's going on here, or easy things I should check to start diagnosing and fixing this problem? Thanks!
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Old 25-06-2017, 19:06   #2
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

If you have cable / quadrant steering make sure you don't have a frozen sheave
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Old 25-06-2017, 19:15   #3
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

In addition to Scott's recommendation, check to see if something is jammed between rudder and hull.

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Old 25-06-2017, 19:34   #4
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Berg View Post
If you have cable / quadrant steering make sure you don't have a frozen sheave
Sorry for my ignorance here, but how do I check to see if a frozen sheave?
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Old 25-06-2017, 19:46   #5
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

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Sorry for my ignorance here, but how do I check to see if a frozen sheave?
Go below & watch them to see if they turn as the cable slides over them, when someone on deck turns the wheel.

Other than checking this, & ensuring that nothing's jammed in between the rudder & the hull, trace the steering cable from where it attaches to one side of the quadrant, all of the way through your steering system, & over to where it hooks onto the quadrant on the other side. And when you're doing this, look for things which could be causing a lot of friction in the system.
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Old 25-06-2017, 19:48   #6
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

Loosen the nuts which tension one side of the steering cable at the rudder quadrant, and remove the cable. Try moving the rudder by pushing the quadrant, and try turning the wheel.

If the rudder is really stiff, that's your problem.
If the rudder is loose, but the steering wheel is stiff, the bearing on the wheel is probably frozen.
If both the rudder and wheel move easily, look for a frozen quadrant sheave--there are two blocks that the rudder cable makes a right angle on each side.
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Old 25-06-2017, 19:53   #7
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

I have had stiff steering in the past when the chain gets rusty that engages the sprockets on the steering wheel.

I had to get out the wd-40 and lubricate the chain and exercise it a lot to get it moving freely once again.
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Old 25-06-2017, 20:13   #8
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

All the suggestions are right but .... check the obvious stuff first. Do you have a wheel brake (in my case a knob at the center of the tiller wheel) that might have been tightened by accident? Do you have a wheel auto pilot and the drive is engaged ?
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Old 26-06-2017, 05:33   #9
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

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All the suggestions are right but .... check the obvious stuff first. Do you have a wheel brake (in my case a knob at the center of the tiller wheel) that might have been tightened by accident? Do you have a wheel auto pilot and the drive is engaged ?
Yep, I do have a wheel brake, and I didn't think to check it until after I'd left the boat last night.

Thanks for these and all the other suggestions, I'll report back when I find out more.
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Old 26-06-2017, 09:05   #10
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

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Sorry for my ignorance here, but how do I check to see if a frozen sheave?
Not meaning it to be derogatory. That being the case get someone to walk you through it.
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Old 26-06-2017, 10:37   #11
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

I got similar symptoms with brocken "needle bearing" on the wheel shaft. That made the wheel very difficult to turn. Cables and quadrant didn't have ans damages..
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Old 26-06-2017, 18:22   #12
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

Good news! It was as simple as the wheel lock being turned. I feel like but I'm glad it's not anything more serious. Thank you to everyone who posted their advice - hopefully it helps someone else who has a bigger problem than being a big doofus.
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Old 27-06-2017, 00:11   #13
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Re: Steering Cable Suddenly Very Tight?

If you have an autopilot with ram attached to the steering quadrant that could also be the culprit. Mine locked up once and I was unable to turn the wheel. It required a rebuild, but disconnecting the ram from the quadrant freed up the steering. Prior to having it rebuilt, the steering froze then freed itself and I still don't know why.
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