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Changing steering in A25

Albin's "power cruisers"
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tribologist
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:53 pm
Home Port: Groton. Ct

Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

I figured I create a new post on this subject. I would assume most of the A25's out there are in need for a steering overhaul.

Disclaimer!!!! If you are considering at some point add autopilot you should disregard this post, install hydraulic steering and write a post about it.... there is really no great way to add autopilot to cable steerings. Octopus has electric helms but a hydraulic system is way better.

Mine started to get a bit stiff and the Autopilot (an old Raytheon Sportpilot Plus) started to have issues with it.

I decided to replace it with a Teleflex / SeaStar Safe-T QC Rotary Steering System. The old cable was very close to 15 ft so I used that length and it works fine. Maybe it run a little more straight since the cable now has to exit from the top of the helm instead of from the bottom port in the old Swedish Teleflex helm. a 16ft system would work too.

To remove the old system you start with taking off the nuts on the back of the helm. That will allow you to pull the gear and the old cable. Tape the exposed cable with electric or masking tape before you coat everything with old grease.
coveroffonold.jpg
old cable out.jpg
Next is to remove the steering wheel and unscrew the 4 slotted screws behind the steering wheel. My original wheel was on hard. I ended up drilling and tapping two holes on each side of the shaft and used a steering wheel puller to get it of.

After you loosen the 4 screws the old housing comes off. To remove the bezel/shaft you need to get the 4 nuts off that you see in the picture. Clean the studs carefully and put some PB blaster on them. You cant get to the head of those bolts if they start to spin. (they did for me so it took some extra effort to remove them.
housing removed.jpg
As you can see here comparing the new cable with the old gear in the helm It is not possible to change just the cable by using adapters etc. Modern standard cables will not fit the narrow groove on the old gear.
newcable-oldgear.jpg


After pulling the cable and throwing the dirty stiff snake overboard its time to install the new smooth shiny steering system.

onground.jpg



The part number I got was SS13715. $144 at Defender. (sold out at the moment but they have the 16 ft.)
303501.jpg
You also need a support tube and a new new clamp since the tube is 7/8" od on new system vs 16mm-5/8" tube diameter on the old system. You also need a clevis kit with a long bolt. I don't know for sure what the thread is on the bolt in the clevis kit. You might have to drill and preferable thread the steering arm to fit. Depending on what type clevis you choose you might need a bushing too.
Clamp.GIF
Support tube.GIF
Defender did not have the clevis, clamp or tube in stock so I ended up cooking my own, Easy if you have a full machine shop... I bored out the old ball joint to fit the end of the new cable ( Dia 5/8) and I put a cross hole in it for a 3/8 locking pin. Probably not doable without a mill. If you drill to deep you will have no material left under the snap ring groove and it is hard to center the cross hole in a drill press.

My old clamp was also home made since before so I figured I would re-use it. I welded a 7/8" tube to a 3/4" tube I drilled and reamed oversize for 5/8 to clear the cable and then I put in the 7/8" UNF thread in the lathe to fit the nut on the cable.
IMG_2956.jpeg
IMG_8905.jpg
IMG_8936.jpg


The helm fitted fine but there is not much room for a larger helm. I had to re-dress some of my pretty laced wire bundles since I have a breaker panel to the left of the helm.



To fit the bracket for the helm I had to rectangilify the hole a little with a hack saw. It just takes four tangential cuts. Easy to do with a taped hacksaw blade.
rectanglification.jpg
After the bracket is bolted in, then it is time to install the new cable into the helm. You need to use the upper port to get the direction of steering right. The spent cable tube goes in the bottom tube. Follow the instruction on how to lock in the new tube. It takes quite a push to get it in. If you also like to have the wheel centered with neutral rudder you will have to mess with it a bit.
IMG_8945.jpg
At this point all you need to do is to bolt on the new bezel and put the steering wheel back and enjoy your new smooooooth steering.

Stroke is the same 8.5" on both new and old but the new system is 3 turns from stop to stop vs ~2 turns for the old system.
IMG_8937.jpg
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Last edited by tribologist on Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

An interesting finding is that the original cable is actually possible to service. You can pull the core out of it and clean and re-lubricate it.

The work is probably the same but could save you a few bucks.

The helm and cable is cheap ($144) for what you get but the clamp $95, , clevis $41 and support tube $30 is quite expensive for what they are. Its silly that those parts cost more than the helm and cable. I paid $600 for my lathe... Got 25% of it paid off on one job...
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
DesertAlbin736
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by DesertAlbin736 »

Well, your hull #737 is just one off from my #736. I assume we're still on the original Teleflex gear system & seems to still work well, knock on wood. The original factory steering wheels looked more like car steering wheels than nautical helms so most have been replaced, either with traditional spoke wooden wheels like yours or with s/s "destroyer" type with teak handles (like ours) or without handles.

This pic is from before we added the chartplotter & mounted the new VHF up on the dash.
DSCN3638.JPG
Here you can see the Teleflex rotary steering "gearbox" clearly marked "Made In Sweden". From looking at the "patina" on it's likely the original. In any case, the rudder turns with very little resistance, but that's a reminder to take a look next time I'm over at the boat. Have no idea if or when the original 1971 cable may have been replaced but probably was at one time or another. Last year I replaced the throttle cable & that made a difference. At least with the A25 the cable is not exposed to water or weather, the rudder is relatively low effort to turn compared to a large outboard motor or I/O, & not a lot of sharp turns in the cable. Everything about Albin 25s is K.I.S.S.
20161220_154728.jpg
We're really not doing anything with our boat this summer anyway until at least October (highs ranging from 101 to 109 this coming week, lows in the mid to upper 70s). Our big trip east has been postponed until next year and it's too hot around here to bother with the lake. Could go out to San Diego but not sure I even want to deal with that. This coming week I'll be concentrating on sprucing up our RV trailer, new tires & hub/brake maintenance & do some camping up in higher elevations of AZ where it's cool.

This our "other boat"...
20170829_092738.jpg
The rig we took following this route clockwise in 2017 through 30 states & Ontario Province. 9,600 road miles & 55 days, including seeing the total solar eclipse in Idaho, a stop to visit sunsetrider in Ontario, and a swim in the Gulf at Panama City Beach in FL.
RV travel route.jpg
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Last edited by DesertAlbin736 on Mon May 25, 2020 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond
WillieC
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by WillieC »

Great post. Thanks, tribologist. (We gotta shorten that up...tri?...trib?)

Anyway, mine is older with no issues whatsoever but that will get filed away. Thanks again.
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

But i am a tribologist :-)
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

As a professional tribologist, LOL!!! , i just like to point out that there is a tubular equvialent of the jamming drawer phenomenon related to Eytelwein's formula.. eg. There is a level of friction where the cable suddenly locks up..., Had it happen on both the whaler and my bowrider and also the shifter on the A25. What happens is that at some point the cabe goes from somewhat stiff to just being able to travel towards the helm.


Re tribologists, The Egyptians held tribologists highly. They even got to ride...
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Last edited by tribologist on Mon May 25, 2020 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
WillieC
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by WillieC »

No offense intended, tribologist. I had no idea you were a PROFESSIONAL tribologist! That just about clears it up.
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

Phd in tribology! . That will be “Herr Doctor engineer tribologist”
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

What about
6C27583D-8C3D-4EBC-A107-26D3B7794247.png
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Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
WillieC
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by WillieC »

There is a certain amount of fantasy and stretching the truth around here. You made me look up what I (wrongly) assumed was a made up word.

My sincere apologies. I always read your posts with great interest, but your cachet just jumped several notches.

And we all know about the word “assume”. Carry on!
WillieC
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by WillieC »

Ok, now I gotta rip out and lube my steering cable. Am I ever going to get in the Canal this year?
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

You have until July 4 before the canals starts to open. Im thinking of doing Hudson down to NYC and some lake Champlain trips while waiting.

Pulling the core out, clean it and put it back in with fresh grease is doable with very little effort. Best is probably to use a very soft grease like a NLGI 0. If you load it up with a stiffer grease like a regular marine grease you will probably make it quite stiff. Lubriplate makes a NLGI 0. Motorcycle cable lube is probably good too. Actually. Pulling it out a few feet and spray in cable lube from the helm side Into the sheet might work quite well.
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
hetek
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by hetek »

tribologist wrote: Mon May 25, 2020 1:43 am But i am a tribologist :-)
And I AM a "hetek"!

OK, so I took some license with the name and the spelling. Broken down...

Hetek = H. E. Tech = Headend Technician. Telecommunications, to be exact.

Now if we can only figure out where Desert Albin got his name from. Very cryptic, that one!

BTW... Loved the write-up on the helm replacement. It's always great to apply someone else's experience and the pictures are a bonus. Thanks!
Jon B.
Former owner of...
"Bunkie" - a 1984 A27FC
New owner of...
1977 A25 deLuxe - a work in progress
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

Lol. DA. clearly win the best user name award.

Head end? Is that the antenna side? Im dabbling in radio a little as K1ULF.

Are your boat in the water yet? We took a first trip yesterday down CT river
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
tribologist
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Re: Changing steering in A25

Post by tribologist »

By the way. Mr Eytelwein (capstan equation) might not play as much here as on a regular steering since it is a straight run back to the rudder. The last 90deg bend on an outboard or the 270 deg i have before the shifter makes those much worse. The forces grow exponentially with wrap angle and friction coefficient and if you put a lot of friction at the end you add the buckling of the core to that. Im going to walk out and pull the core out of mine and post some pictures. In meantime enjoy https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capstan_equation
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
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