Sunday, April 19, 2009

Removing, servicing and rebedding all steering related components

Today I took the plunge on a project I've wanted to do for a while. I've removed and rebedded most all deck hardware along the way for Aeolus, but had yet to really dig into the steering related equipment in the cockpit. This first photo shows the top of the pedestal taken apart.

My goal is twofold. For one, I'd like to take it all apart to make sure everything is solid, not corroded and in good shape. Secondly, I know the bolt holes were just drilled through the plywood/fiberglass sandwich and thus the wood is open to rot.

Taking the steering pedestal apart is fairly straightforward but with lots of small parts. The hardest part is lying upside down beneath the cockpit and removing the many nuts on the many bolts. I strongly suspect that putting things back together will be much harder than taking them apart, per usual. How do product engineers get away with designing so many things that are virtually unserviceable? This second photo shows the various holes for either the pedestal guard or the under-cockpit frame that holds the steering cable pulleys.

Anyway, today I removed all the above cockpit equipment, removed all bolts, drilled out all holes, and poured the silica thickened epoxy into them to cure overnight. Next I will be drilling the holes out to a smalle diameter for the bolts, and reassembling everything.

I was somewhat surprised to find no rot in any of the bolt holes. Good news, of course, as replacing the cockpit floor is evidently a dreadful job. The worst thing I found is that the large bolts holding the pedestal in place had thoroughly corroded with the aluminum of the pedestal base. I'll clean all that up and treat with Lanacote the way it should have been done originally. I don't think I've found any stainless hardware galvanically protected from aluminum contact on my Gulf 32. I suppose this is common to all manufacturers of old.

This last shot shows the epoxy in the holes. None of these shots show it, but the four bolt holes under the pedestal itself are being treated the same way.

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