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Old 01-10-2020, 01:18 PM   #1
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Upper Helm Steering Not Working 1974 Marine Trader Yacht Trawler DC

I have a 1974 Marine Trader Yacht Trawler. It has 2 helms. The helm inside is working but the helm on my flybridge is not working. It was working fine before having my boat moved from NJ to Florida by water. Long story but I had 2 captains, one that abandoned the boat. He used the upper helm, the other captain did not so I have no one to ask what happened. Any advice of how to troubleshoot?
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Old 01-10-2020, 01:52 PM   #2
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There are a couple of types of steering: cable mechanical and a couple of types of hydraulic steering. The following is for hydraulic steering with a vent/fill fitting at the top of the base to the steering wheel.

If it is hydraulic then the fluid level is low. Buy a Seastar filling kit that includes a pint of hydraulic fluid and a container, tubing and fittings to fill it. The instructions say bleed the hydraulic steering ram on the rudder but if the lower helm still works there is no need to do that.

If it is mechanical then something has come loose. Look behind the steering gear for something broken or unhooked. See if the cable moves when turning the wheel and find out why not.

David
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Old 01-10-2020, 02:09 PM   #3
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Good advice from David, the first thing that comes to mind since it's the upper helm is that the hydraulic fluid is just low. Hopefully that's all it is.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:12 AM   #4
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All of the 34' Marine Traders I've seen have mechanical steering. They use chain and sprockets behind the steering wheels finally connecting a long pipe that runs under the starboard side deck to the stern. There it changes direction again via sprocket, chain and cables to the quadrant on top of the rudder shaft.



Since it's only the upper helm either the chain has slipped off the sprocket up under the flybridge or behind the lower helm. The back wall of the forward hanging locker is both the electrical and steering locker. Unscrew or just snap it open. It folds out.



Check the chains are still on the sprockets and the sprockets are still held to their shafts by their set screws. These are usually 1/4" to 3/8" flat sided screws in the hub of the sprocket. They back out if not watched, "Locktited" or safety wired. If missing they may be in the locker or bilge. Easily replaced from a hardware store.



Your problem is either in the flybridge or in the electrical locker. Be careful the 110v electrics are unguarded.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:30 AM   #5
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If the 120 volt connections are not covered, they should be. If not make a cover so that you wonít get shocked accidentally.
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Old 01-12-2020, 04:34 AM   #6
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Check the air pressure (and fluid level) in the hydraulic pump in the Lazerette.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:26 AM   #7
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If it is factory steering as stated above, it is chain and sprockets. Most likely the chain broke or fell off the sprocket somehow. Dependable as hell when taken care of and greased/adjusted as needed. Get into your access covers and check out the back of your helm. You can probably make a determination by checking the lower helm and checking the slack in the upper chain.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:23 AM   #8
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Its a simple fix. Either the mechanical or hydraulic systems are explained by the experts above.

No on to the other issue.. The Captain abandoned the boat?? WTF???

Tell us more about this. It sounds unbelievable.

I have a friend who works at a HUGE Ford dealership.It is not common but not exactly rare for a customer to take a car for a test drive and return it missing certain expensive parts. Could this have happened with the first captain? Maybe he needed a steering sprocket or a hydraulic pump?

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Old 01-18-2020, 12:27 PM   #9
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Thank you David!
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:33 PM   #10
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I used UShip to find a captain to move my boat from New Jersey to Florida. He tried to upcharge me and claimed there were issue with the boat to get extra money out of me. He stopped in Maryland claiming the boat needed fiberglass work, billed me $1500 and wouldn’t produce a receipt for the work. I posted the story I reported to UShip below:

The boat was in perfect working order when the captain arrived. Please see the attached copy of the text message with the captain saying “Everything looks great. First boat this year with all current equipment”.

As far as the leak issue, the hull had been examined both out of water and the boat was examined by a mechanic just before the captain left and there was no leak. The only way a leak could have happened is if the captain hit something underway or ran aground. This probably happened during a storm he went through that he had no business trying to be out in. As far as the $1500 repair, he still has not produced a receipt for this repair and I have spoken to several fiberglass experts that say it should not have been more than a $300-$400 job. The boat was inspected in North Carolina after the boat was abandoned and the mechanic confirmed there was no leak.

I never advised him that I would not pay him but he stated that he did not work on holidays and was going home for Labor Day weekend and would return Tuesday after Labor Day. He refused to return calls and when he did respond to my text he said he was far away and could not do anything despite the coast guard calling for mandatory evacuations. I believe he saw the storm was coming there and got out when he could.

There also was no issue with an oil leak as he claimed. The boat was examined by a certified diesel mechanic that said he could not find a leak or any issues with the engine. The mechanics belief was the issue was that the captain was driving the boat for extended periods at full speed. Something boats and engines in these boats are not meant to do. The mechanic also confirmed that he had removed the regulator spring so the boat would go faster.
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
Now on to the other issue.. The Captain abandoned the boat?? WTF???

Tell us more about this. It sounds unbelievable.
pete
Ummm, errrr, you did not pay him the full contractual dollar amount, "we" hope.
What was his reason? I do hope he contacted you explaining where he left the boat and why he did not fulfill his contract.
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