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Removing aluminum cable wheel from ruddershaft

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Chatlessargent, Mar 15, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

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  1. Chatlessargent

    Chatlessargent

    Joined Mar 15, 2019
    5 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 33ft
    US St Mary's, Ga
    My cable wheel is a two piece aluminum wheel over the ruddershaft. It is bolted together with SS bolts and and bolts are locked up due to galvanic corrion. I'm at the point of cutting through the bolts and drilling them out later. The heads are going to brake off anyway if I can get a solution in the aluminum threads
     


  2. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,310 posts, 1,512 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Drilling out SS bolts is not for the feint of heart.

    Try using copious amounts of PB Blaster. Apply and then let it sit over night.

    Try an impact driver to loosen the nut.

    If those fail, heat the bolt with a propane torch until it is red hot, then drive the bolt out.

    Reassemble using Tef-Gel
     


  3. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,371 posts, 403 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    It is sometimes better to thru drill the joint & use a nut & bolt, rather than to tap a SS machine screw into aluminum, for just this reason.

    Heat can be your friend here. Aluminum expands roughly twice as much as most steel alloys, when heated. Enough heat will often soften the bond between the aluminum & the ss so that you will be able to turn the stuck bolt out of the threads in the aluminum.

    If you end up needing to drill SS, use a 135 degree split point bit (preferably Cobalt) & use some sort of flood coolant along with a slow drill speed. Real cutting fluids work best, but a steady stream of plain old water will get you by. Proper drill speeds for SS are roughly 1/4-1/5 as fast as you should use in mild carbon steel. Go slow & use plenty of coolant, so that you don't roast the bit.
     


    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  4. Chatlessargent

    Chatlessargent

    Joined Mar 15, 2019
    5 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 33ft
    US St Mary's, Ga
    If I drill, it won't be along the SS bolts it will be across it at the split point where the two pieces of the wheel meet. So I will need to drill through 3/8"of SS on 4 bolts, cutting them into. Thanks
     


  5. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,310 posts, 1,512 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Before you do this, check out the cost and availability of a new steering quadrant. It may shape your decision. If this is an Edson quadrant, drilling the bolts out from the side, along the split will likely weaken the quadrant.

    Heat is your best option.
     


  6. Chatlessargent

    Chatlessargent

    Joined Mar 15, 2019
    5 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 33ft
    US St Mary's, Ga
     


  7. Chatlessargent

    Chatlessargent

    Joined Mar 15, 2019
    5 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 33ft
    US St Mary's, Ga
    Thank you. I'll look into that.
     


  8. Jumpstart

    Jumpstart

    Joined Jan 13, 2009
    242 posts, 50 likes
    J Boat 92
    78 US Sandusky
    Heat is a big no no with aluminum especially cast aluminum. Heating caan change the physical properties and make it brittle or soft. It is a pain in the rear to drill out.
     


  9. Chatlessargent

    Chatlessargent

    Joined Mar 15, 2019
    5 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 33ft
    US St Mary's, Ga
    Thanks but I removed wheel. The 4 bolts were not threaded through the wheel as I was told . Lubercation was key .
    Another job completed !
     


  10. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,310 posts, 1,512 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Great! On the Edson steering quadrant, none of the bolts are threaded, however, as you discovered, that doesn't prevent corrosion and bonding. Get some Tea-Gel and coat the bolts before you reinstall them. Be kind to the next person who has to take the quadrant apart, it might even be you. :)
     


  11. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    1,371 posts, 403 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    All the aluminum alloys that I am aware of are OK up to 320F. I agree that if you get too horny with the heat, bad things can happen, but 320 is usually enough to have a desirable effect. If you are concerned about being able to tell when something gets to that temperature, you can usually find temperature sticks at welding supply places. They come in a variety of different temperature ranges. To use then, you basically make a mark with the stick, then heat the part. When the mark melts, then you know that you have reached the designated temperature range. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019984DW4/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1
     


    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019


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