1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Completing the Hydraulic Steering System

When last I wrote about the steering system, the helm pump was connected to the rudders and the system was bled of air. Several commenters noted that the rudders needed to be toed in (or out) or they would rattle horribly. So adding toe to the rudders was added to the honey-do list of things that have to be done before the boat can splash, and I just got around to finishing that. Also, though my Vetus helm pump was new-old stock, I have no idea where the shaft key went or even if I ever had it. Without a key, the helm wheel will turn the pump one way (the way that tightens the bolt holding it to the shaft), but it loosens the bolt when the wheel is spun the other way. So “Finish the steering system” is a very important item on that honey-do list.

Helm pump needs some key stock

Helm pump needs some key stock

I spent a lot of time searching the Vetus website trying to find keyway stock for their pumps, but found none. So I measured it, thinking it would be metric, since Vetus is a European company and other parts of the pump–like the tubing nuts–are metric. But no matter how I took the measurements, metric made no sense. The keystock size that most closely matched the slot in the shaft was 3/16″. Fortunately, 12″ sticks of that keystock were on the shelf at the local Fastenal for a whopping $1.12. Mind you, I’d been periodically looking for the key through Vetus since I installed the hydraulics in 2014. Sometimes the simple solution just sits there staring at me, waiting for me to catch on.

Close fit, but it needs some material removed

Close fit, but it needs some material removed

400 grit sand paper is a slow way to remove steel

400 grit sand paper is a slow way to remove steel

Nice fit

Nice fit

Done!

Done!

The helm isn’t completely done, of course. The old mahogany looks great when it’s stripped and refinished, but there are holes all over the place on the bulkhead panel facing the helm, so I plan on applying new mahogany veneer there. I’ll also make a helm pump cover from solid mahogany stock. But those are cosmetic things I can get to later. They’re not a priority for getting the boat splashed this year.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Throne Room Ceiling Panels

 

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2 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Completing the Hydraulic Steering System

  1. Colin H says:

    make a spare key, wrap it in tape and then to a wire tie , or some place nearby. The rule is that it will fall out if you have to pull the wheel and vanish into thin air.

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