Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fixing A Leaky Tiller Head

This isn't a post with pretty pictures, but it's another post that I hope will be helpful to others at some point. 

 When Ken and I noticed our corroded radial drive wheel (quadrant), we realized that it was getting wet due to cracks around our emergency tiller head.  Ken remembered a plastic ring around the head, which was now missing.  We had put some tape and a plastic grocery bag over the head until we could purchase that missing ring, but we couldn't find it on the internet. 

Since hours were spent cleaning that corroded quadrant, we needed to find a quick solution.  So, Ken made his own plastic ring.  He bought a piece of  0.080" thick white styrene (plastic), drilled a 2 1/2" hole in it, then cut around the hole with a pair of scissors to make a circle.  

After confirming that the rudder wouldn't drop to the bottom of the canal when removing the emergency tiller head, we figured this job would be easy ... just remove the tiller head and replace the ring.  Since this is a boat, you know what's coming next ... this was not easy.  We never could remove that tiller head!

Ken was determined to finish this project.  He decided to raise the tiller head slightly and cut the circle in one spot so he could slide it around the tiller head.  To raise the tiller head, Ken stuck a piece of wood under the quadrant. This allowed just enough space for Ken to apply some Formula 27 over the cracks, then insert the plastic ring.

First the filler ...

then the plastic ring.

This isn't the prettiest fix, but it's keeping the quadrant dry so we're happy.  Ken wanted to drill a 2 3/8" hole, but he only had the 2 1/2" drill bit, so he plans on buying the right sized bit and make a few more circles as spares.  We also need to be able to remove that tiller head at some point ... another project for another day.

Now that the quadrant is staying dry and it's clean, we're going to spray it with some Boeshield T-9.  Several cruisers recommended this product when I asked for advice.  It's made by Boeing, and it's supposed to leave a waxy film to provide protection from corrosion for months.  We'll keep an eye on the quadrant, and make sure it doesn't get corroded again.

Speaking of corrosion ... now that our corroded heat exchanger is clean, Ken painted it this past weekend and will be installing it soon.  We also got some information from Westerbeke about that zinc not wanting to fit ... post coming soon.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Unknown said...

I suspect PB Blaster will help loosen the tiller head from the shaft?

Sandee said...

We know nothing about sailboats, but we know about boats. They are expensive to have and they need lots of tender loving care.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Anonymous said...

One thing that you might do is to put a rubber washer between the SS bolt (head and nut). The metal might be different (dissimilar) enough to cause a stray current, causing corrosive effect on the tiller head. Ken

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