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Thread: Play in Tiller

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Play in Tiller

    There is play in my tiller caused by the wear in the holes where the bolt connecting fitting mounted on the tiller connects with the fitting on the head of the tiller shaft. The holes are now a little "oblong" and no amount of tightening or adding washers seems to hold for long. Recommended fixes anyone? One choice would be to drill out the hole one size larger and use a new larger through bolt. Any other suggestions?
    Last edited by Hull376; 09-17-2007 at 07:14 PM.
    Kent

  2. #2
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    There has been discussion on this. Try the search function using tiller, tiller head, etc.

  3. #3
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    Bill, I found it, but see that ebb and the other bill didn't think drilling it out to 3/8" would be a good idea. Awww shucks...................
    Kent

  4. #4
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    tiller bolt

    Hi Kent,
    I, ahhh, would conference with another sailor on your fitting. It seems very unlikely given the structure and weight of the tiller fitting that the bolt hole could elongate that much. I don't know of course because I haven't seen it. Not that I know anything anyway!

    The fitting I have is massive and is evidently original. The bolt fits easily thru all the (4) holes.` There is a little play in the bolt all cinched up as it is.

    What holds the bolt on is all taken up on the bolt. In other words the bolt does not need to be tight to the tiller fork. Indeed imco it should not.

    If you use a cap nut (a closed nut) on a bolt fitted carefully to the nut, you can run the nut tight - to refusal - onto the bolt just before it tightens onto the washers. The washers obviously can be used as spacers or shims.
    You want the bolt to be tight on to itself NOT onto the tiller fork. I believe this is the key to the problem. That way no up and down movement of the tiller can untighten the nut or the bolthead.

    The bolt would be snug, with washers under the hexhead and under the crown nut. The bolt would have no back and forth movement BUT would be loose enough to spin with your fingers! Add or subtract washers, tillerhead I have has three.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___

    You can redrill to 3/8" but - take a look at the bolt you have now and see how close the bolt is to the back of the tiller head piece. My fitting has maybe 1/16" between the bolt and the flat back of the head.

    There is enough meat left for redrilling if the guy drilling knows what he is doing. It's a one shot deal. It would take very careful setup so that no misalignment happens to the two pieces which must be drilled simultaneously. Whether the drillbit could get by the back of the tiller head is your call. If it is as close as mine is, you could take it first to a machineshop and have them mill out a 'relief' cove where the bolt goes by. Then your new larger holes could be drilled without the possibility of the bit being pushed off line by the back of the tillerhead.

    The bolt, as I mentioned on another thread, should be upgraded to a bolt whose shoulder goes clear thru all four holes. Threads should appear ONLY where the washer(s) and nut goes. That's pretty precise! Can be done by buying an extra long American style bolt that is threaded only part way.
    (I forget what size I had to get (6"?) - the guy at Jamestown actually left his computer to go into the warehouse to measure for me!)
    You take a die and crank it to exactly where you want the thread to be, and cut to length.

    Threading makes the diameter of a bolt smaller. A bolt that is threaded clear to the head going thru the tiller fork and thru the ears on the tillerhead is a looser bolt than specified. A solid, smooth shoulder is full diameter and may take some of the play away.
    A 3/8" bolt may not be needed.

    A nylock type lock nut might work, by giving you a little cinching leeway - to see if this works. But I would eventually put on a capnut. I would use all silicon bronze, you may have to get brass for the crown nut. Bronze bolt, 316 nut and Tefgel is ok.

    So that's the fix as I see it.
    Tighten the bolt independant of the tiller fork.
    Use a full shouldered bolt.
    This is all imco.
    Last edited by ebb; 09-20-2007 at 06:22 AM.

  5. #5
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    My experience has been that most of the play in the tiller on Pathfinder has been at the tiller head key way. What has helped was to place some brass shim paper in the key way of the tiller head. Some day we may spring for a new head but I think as long as we have a hard steel key inside a brass groove we are just going to have a reoccurring problem.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, ebb and Ed. Next time I'm at the boat I'll re-inspect all the moving parts to be sure that I've identified exactly what is moving around and by how much--- it could be a combination fix is needed (bolt play plus head play). Ebb, you think this stuff through, much more so than I do, and I really appreciate your ideas!
    Kent

  7. #7
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    tillerhead trauma

    Taking 338's apart, and cleaning it up, the 5/16" machine screw that squeezes the head a tiny bit tighter around the shaft still works. Took a hacksaw blade to the kerf and pulled out a lot of maybe bedding compound of some sort. No corrosion, no metal, hard stuff. The kerf is a bit permanently bent but the shaft can gotten in. It could be carefully wedged open the few millimeters to it's former self.

    But as Ed says it is the keyway that may be the key to the problem.
    338 did not have its original rudder. In fact the shaft was some sort of stainless. The key I saved is s.s. and looks new. McMasterCarr has two keystock materials I would consider. 316 s.s. and 360 brass. The brass is "standard" sized (a full 1/4") but the alloy is 35% zinc. The 316 is "undersized" - and indeed the s.s. key that came out of 338's tillerhead is a couple mm thinner than 1/4". Must be modern standard.

    But the problem is that it does not suction into the old keyway. And the keyway itself has badly chamfered sides. Not only that but the keyway in the tillerhead is deeper than it should be - meaning that any 1/4"X1/4" key material will not seat deep enough into the 1/8" keyway in the new ruddershaft. Not only has time and a million tiller-turns worn the ole keyway, but the new key material is sloppy too! What to do???

    The tiller and the tillerhead, along with the rudder is a high maintenance item.
    Can't remember who it was: but somebody used Pepsi-can for their shim material, Brass shim sounds ok. But are there any other alternatives?


    Here's a proposal I'd like to throw in for discussion.

    LOCTITE has a product specifically for 'keyed assemblies' and a couple methods to do it.
    You coat the pieces with QUICK METAL 660 in the keyway and on the key - shove it together and wipe off the excess! The "heavy duty" way is to do as above but add some to the shaft as well. Disassembly is tapping with a hammer and add some heat if it needs help letting go. That's the thing can it be taken off without rigging block and tackle?
    It's an interesting way of tightening up the joint - if it works.

    Now that I've cleaned out 338's tillerhead of some strange olive-colored translucent compound.... you know, it wasn't corrosion, it wasn't metal.... I'm thinking that it might have been an old Loctite product. It coated the cavity and the slit, but it wasn't a problem getting it out. Not much. In the short time I sailed 338, a loose tiller head wasn't a noticable problem.

    I like this idea because it at least partially fills the old wounds in the tillerhead without glueing it together. The 660 goop makes it tight, I assume. It is a product created for the job, though Loctite is thinking of pulleys and shafts, not an old rudder head on an Ariel. What you guys think?

    I figure I could even cut a sliver of shim and 660 that under the key to raise it up. I worry that the key must interface with the shaft. Wouldn't want have a special size key made!

    Was bill wasn't it who had setscrews added to his tillerhead by a DFO. That' not a bad idea if you get the metals galvanically close and have the set screws a good size, like at least 1/4"? The casting is about 3/16" thick where you'd want the setscrews. Available in 316 and 316L (Bumax 88). These have a larger head with a corresponding larger hex socket. Also getem with a square sided head. You are adding more holes..... Opines?

    ??????
    Last edited by ebb; 09-20-2007 at 04:32 PM.

  8. #8
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    to quote Ebb: "Was bill wasn't it who had setscrews added to his tillerhead"

    yup, that was my alteration. A-231's keyway was a bit oversized. To make it work, I filed a custom key to match the keyways and clamped it in place with two setscrews that press the key into the rudder stock.

    A-231's original tillerhead wouldn't clamp with just the 5/16 bolt, I don't know if it's possible for the casting to be stretched around the rudder stock but it sure looked like it did.

    hopefully i"ll be getting my new tiller castings from Historical Arts this month. I'm hoping that tiller will be the long term solution.

    cheers,
    bill

  9. #9
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    historical Arts tiller head

    bill,
    did you finally get a new tiller head?
    Do we deserve any photos?
    Any observations on the casting?
    How does it fit and work?

    Stuff like that

  10. #10
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    What to do, what to do...

    The Historical Arts Casting folks don't have our original pattern tiller head (they have the 1.5" straight and the 1.25" bent arm from the later Bill Shaw Pearson 26).

    Thinking i'd start with something that at least looked like our original pattern (and being told it could be bored for 1" ) I ordered the 1.5" pattern.

    Bunch of nice folks, the casting quality is very nice. one little problem, the casting they sent was cast with an 1.25" hole. Thought about fitting a sleeve or sending it back to get re-cast, I havenít decided yet..

    Hereís the new part:
    Attached Images  

  11. #11
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    Then just to add to the thinking, I stumbled on an unfinished rostand part that matches the original tiller head....

    here is a lineup of the HA 1.5" part, my wornout original and the rostand 1" tiller head on the right.

    you can clearly see the extra meat in the HA part as well as the wear on my old tiller head (note i no longer have the original pattern tiller part of this pair of castings)
    Attached Images  
    Last edited by bill@ariel231; 12-10-2007 at 08:37 AM.

  12. #12
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    Note for other folks headed down the track of looking for an original pattern tiller head... call Zeke at ensign spars, he has the right size.

    The HA 1.5 pattern can be made to work if you ask for the pattern to have the shaft hole filled prior to the pour.... If you want an extra strong tiller (like Ebb) the HA part may be a good start.

    cheers,
    bill@ariel231
    Last edited by bill@ariel231; 12-10-2007 at 08:49 AM.

  13. #13
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    bill's tillerhead convention

    Caramel.
    It all looks good enough to eat!!!
    Especially this time of year when candy comes in all kinds of formms & shapes.
    Doesn't the Rostand look like original pattern to you? The H.A. pattern is like comparing a porterhouse steak to filletmignon, no?
    Isn't that H.A. just too B I G ?
    Think that little machine screw will draw all that metal close togther - too much to clamp imco.

    Won't the old fork work on the new Rosand head? If you had to do that?

    Anyway thanks for those stylish photos!
    Don't understand why that Rosand won't work for us?
    Last edited by ebb; 12-10-2007 at 12:16 PM.

  14. #14
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    I agree, the 1.5" HA part is a bit too large to make fit. Re-working the old rostand unfinished part will be way easier (it is an exact copy of the OEM part) ...

  15. #15
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    bill,
    Fantastic photos. Looks like caramel - this time of year!

    To me the Rosand pattern looks the same as the old one, NO?
    Won't the old tiller fork work on the new tiller head?

    The H.A. pattern looks absolutely humongous to me.
    Do you think you can draw that split together with a smaller shaft hole.
    Couldn't move it in a million years.

    I don't understand why the Rosand won't work on the Ariel?
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________________




    However the old head in the photos shows some severe resculpting!!!
    Imco that's the result of an BAD fitting bolt.
    And as Ed points out a bad fit in the keyway.
    I imagine the bolthole in the fork got out of round as well.

    And as BILL mentions above, we have more on this subject elsewhere.
    And the reason for the tiller bolthole wearing is due to steering with the tiller held high. The sides of the fork should engage the cheeks of the tiller head at all times.

    One help for this is an radical "S" shaped tiller - one that misses people's knees because the handle is high at the end of the S shape when at the same time the tiller is almost in the down/resting position.
    Admiral BILL has a perfect tiller of this type.

    A more radical fix is to have the forks recast with "EAR" extensions. The forks would merely be wider at the bolt end (with appropriate shaping) so that when the tiller is raised - as when steering standing in the cockpit - the sides of the tiller still engage the cheeks of the tiller head because they extend lower. I would still have the pattern tiller BILL has in Maitai.

    The wider/deeper tiller forks would help to keep the connecting bolt from getting wrenched and bent (tho that seems to me impossible - it also seems to happen). And keep the bolt holes in the tiller from elongating. This happens when the tiller at a high angle is steering the boat under load.

    We could look at the bronze as being very forgiving. The tiller to rudder connection is high stress and high strain - better to have bending and wearing
    than cracking and breaking. You probably can get back if its bent but not if its broke!
    Last edited by ebb; 12-10-2007 at 01:00 PM.

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