It is usually not worth digging up threads from the past, but this one contained too much misinformation and safety
concern to let it rest in the archives
of the Internet
First, a little clarification on Edson 300 versus 400 series pedestals. The 400 series pedestal has an extra aft wheel shaft bearing (for a total of 3 needle bearings) and stainless bearing liners. The 300 series pedestal has two shaft needle bearings and they ride on the aluminum
housings. Why is his important? Well, Edson customer service
was spot on with their recomendation, because a windvane autopilot
Pulls in either one direction on the wheel shaft, or back and forth. This causes uneven wear and will elongate the bearing housing over time (oval wear pattern) - hand steering distributes the loads more evenly. The extra bearing in the 400 series and bearing liners distribute this offset load.
The guys at Monitor are great, but I wouldn't go to them for recommendations on equipment
in which they do not have full expertise. Plus, they want to sell us equipment
too, and adding the requirement of a pedestal upgrade to the total bill doesn't encourage sales of their equipment. On this line of thought, a Yacht Specialties system is just not worth refurbishing or repairing... They have been out of business for over 25 years and it is now a fools errand of putting less worn (aka used) parts into already very worn equipment.
The lifespan of steering equipment can vary greatly, from salt
to freshwater, and from the Caribbean
to the Pacific Northwest
. In the overall picture, 30 years on a piece of modern sailing gear
is pretty good and I wouldn't expect much more. For reference, think about how old your current
car is and when you will upgrade that, and that isn't even in an environment
that is a fraction as bad. Sailing equipment has maintenance
and replacement schedules to keep us safe out there. If you think an emergency tiller is a comfortable back-up, think again, or give it a try for any decent passage. It can be absolutely exhausting. Steering is a critical system. Keep your equipment in shape, or if you're too cheap
(as most of us sailors are), then simplify. In the case of steering systems, this means converting to tiller steering. Tillers work better for windvane steering anyway. This option isn't possible for every boat, but maybe there are other less critical areas where cost cutbacks can be made in that case.
A lot more can be said on this, but Monitor and Edson both great with customer service
, so they can take you even further along than this post. Stay safe out there.