Re: Important Update Re: No steering parts, rack & pinion, cables, from Amel

James Alton


  That is interesting speculation about the smoothness of an autopilot affecting the life expectancy of the steering rack and makes sense to me.  I have also been concerned about the possible wear due to wind and wave while the boat is not underway.  I have started turning the wheel at least some off center before tying off the wheel so that the center wheel position on the rack is not being used sine this seems to be where the rack fails most often. I have found that turning the wheel fully to the stops and securing seems to remove essentially all of the movement in the steering system.  Do you or others have an opinion on what is the best course of action when securing the wheel at anchor or dockside to create the least amount of wear?

SV Sueno
Maramu #220
Preveza,  Greece

On Nov 13, 2019, at 5:11 PM, CW Bill Rouse <brouse@...> wrote:

I realize that I was probably too conservative when I stated that "the steering rack normally lasts 20+ years." I think with very few exceptions, the rack has lasted closer to 30 years, than 20 years.

And, more importantly, I believe the smoother that autopilot shifts from port to starboard, the longer the rack will last. In the past 10-15 years most autopilots that I have seen have improved dramatically in the smoothing of this shift. For instance, when BeBe, SM387 was new, there was a Raymarine 400G course computer installed. I later installed the next generation of course computers, the Raymarine S3. There was a dramatic difference. Also, most 54's have Furuno autopilots with hydraulic steering. The hydraulic ram's shift is much smoother than the Raymarine electric motor drives. It is likely that 54s with Furuno hydraulic steering may never have the issue shown in the photo below. I believe that this extraordinary mid-rack wear is cause by the abrupt shift we find from older autopilots.
The rack below is worn in the center.
<worn out rack.JPG>
CW Bill Rouse
Amel Owners Yacht School
720 Winnie St
Galveston Island, TX 77550

+1(832) 380-4970

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