Thanks guys for your welcome input!
I have the Ultraflex M61 FT25 C42M cables.
Although the steering quadrant had no loose nuts and the 2 cables connected to it were well greased, I did notice a problem that I never noticed before and it probably was not there a year ago (maybe this is what Danny referred to). Both cables leave their plastic sheath and are screwed into shafts with large adaptor nuts; these shafts in turn are screwed through what I would call a ball and socket joint to go through the last bulkhead on the port side just about 30cm before the steering quadrant itself, where they are connected to the quadrant. In my case, the aft cable shaft had unscrewed itself about 2cm through the ball and socket joint towards the quadrant; I could see the grease mark where it previously was. I was easily able to turn it back and it made a huge difference, both steering to port and starboard. If anything, steering to starboard is slightly harder now. I noticed there is about 1cm of play in the steering wheel.
Then I disconnected the autopilot drive unit and removed the chain from the wheel sprocket. That eliminated some noise and I guess minimal friction. It made no difference to the steering feel, but I could concentrate on the remaining noise better.
I noticed that every time there is a change of direction when turning the wheel, there is a quiet clunk (around the 1cm of play on the wheel). This is regardless if the wheel is already turned to port or starboard or centered. It might be normal, I don’t know. I also noticed that the one of the cables moves in or out of the tube containing the rack a couple of mm when the wheel changes direction. All this while tied up in a marina with no currents.
All in all, I don’t think my situation is as bad as I feared, the wheel is much lighter now, but I would still like to have the new racks and cables. Nevertheless, the point of this thread to is to establish how we can get these critical spares going forward, knowing exactly what to order from Ultraflex seems to be the way to go (unless Amel takes up the reins again). I appreciate Bill contacting Amel on our behalf ... I was dealing with Mediterranean sales, I guess Bill has a better network inside Amel.
Also it would be great if Eric or someone could confirm what Jean-Pierre wrote for the Santorin also applies for the Super Maramu, that the rack is 33014R (with T58 steering system trav. 230 ... not sure what that is).
I will contact Steve offline for help dismantling the rack and pinion system, to inspect it further.
Super Maramu #151
Currently in Denia, Spain.