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Beneteau 361 stiff steering

Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Purchased the 2001 B361 a month ago. It had been on the hard for a few months and the steering was fine during the 6 hour ferry trip up the Chesapeake. Took it out this week and the steering was extremely stiff. Checked the autopilot and steering linkage with nothing apparent.
Did some research and found mentions about the upper Delrin bearing can swell.
Going to disconnect things over the weekend and see if the rudder moves freely.
Called Beneteau and they directed me to Tides Marine who supplied the assembly. Called and they were very helpful. Asked me to take pictures and collect part numbers if possible.
Anyone else have issues?
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
I post this then find this thread
 

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
1,884
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
Check the wheel brake... make sure its disengaged,
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Check the wheel brake... make sure its disengaged,
First thing I checked.
But before people roll their eyes, this happens more often than you think, so thanks for the suggestion.
 

RitSim

.
Jan 29, 2018
134
Beneteau 411 Branford
I am having the same issue on our B411 1999. Interested in what you find. I have definitely traced the resistance to the rudder. I haven't called Tides yet. I did remove one bolt thru the quadrant and then saw a second bolt below. I was reluctant to remove the second bolt for fear I was allowing the rudder to drop. Please post details.
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Checked the system again today and could not find anything that looked amiss. The steering is not as stiff as the other day, but sitting at the dock with no loads on the rudder may be part of it. There is an identical 2001 B361 in our marina and I'm friendly with the owner, so I checked out is his steering; a LOT less effort to turn.
Wish I could find a detailed parts diagram. The lock on the helm says "Whitlock" and unscrews all the way out. Not sure how it locks the wheel. When I screw it all the way in, it does not provide any additional resistance.

This picture isn't mine. But it's identical to what I have.
So I'm wondering if the wheel lock might be the issue.
Wanted to disconnect the cable but didn't see how. Now I'm sure they must end on the quadrant (item 5 in the attached document).
The below picture is pretty dark. Will see if I can take a better one tomorrow.

IMG_0669.jpeg
 

Attachments

Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
There has to be one or two master links in the chain in the steering pedestal, so I can disconnect the chain. If not, I can pop the retention pins for the two cable sheaves to create enough slack to get the chain off the gear. That way I check whether the helm wheel rotates freely or not.
Otherwise, it's the rudder assembly, which means a lift and dropping the rudder.

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 7.04.32 PM.png
 
Apr 27, 2010
879
Beneteau 352 Hull #276 Ontario
You've probably already done this, but I had a problem today with my St4000+ . It locked my steering completely and I couldn't turn the wheel.
I tried disengaging but the lever broke. I had to remove the autopilot from the wheel to gain control. When I separated the two halves there were 2 broken idler wheels that jammed the works.
I say this because a few days earlier it seemed like the steering was a bit stiff.
Just a thought.

Good Luck
 
Mar 20, 2016
356
Beneteau 351 WYC Whitby
Unhook the cables from the quadrant , you should be able to grab the quadrant and move rudder easy. If you can't most likely the top bearing , however the water level is far below that bearing, If PO replaced it and had it made out of Nylon it will swell , delrin not so much . I machined my own and left about .005 clearance and greased it and the bottom split bronze . I had play ,the bottom one wears the fiberglass and causes play( common on Beneteaus)glassed in some tape to tighten bearing ,measured outside of bearing on shaft clamped to rudder shaft with nice movement , machined plug for fitting . Using a flap wheel and high spot blue on the plug until plug fit.
Reinstalled rudder 2 years ago no play whatsoever .There is also a thrust bearing between rudder and boat that must also be delrin, if replaced with Nylon it will swell and act as a brake
I had .027 play from wear in top bearing
 
Last edited:
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Unhook the cables from the quadrant , you should be able to grab the quadrant and move rudder easy. If you can't most likely the top bearing
There are four screws holding the top of the helm station (binnacle), two on each side. Removed those and was able to lift and rotate the assembly forward to rest on the folding table. That way none of the wires have to be disconnected.
Cleaned and marked the top of the chain with the rudder centered, so I could put it back the way it was before disassembly. There is a master link in the chain, so the clip can be removed and the cable separated from the chain end.
Once free, the wheel spun freely as it should, so it's not the helm. Checked the cables, the sheaves (no tension on them and they rotated freely) and the quadrant on top of the rudder.
So, it's the rudder assembly.
Had pumped out the stern water tank and filled the bow water tank. This raised the rear out of the water a bit more overnight. May be purely coincidental but the helm did turn more easily today.
Now that I know what it is I'm not as concerned. The friction is greater than it should be and will be taken care of this winter after haul out. Did not have plans for any long trips as there's plenty to do on the boat. Will drop the rudder and replace the bearings with ones purchased from Tides Marine. Spoke to them this past week and they made the original assembly for Beneteau.
If the steering gets worse, the haul out yard is a mile away.

Before cleaning:
IMG_0691.jpeg



IMG_0691.jpeg
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
The plot thickens. I have hull # 107. The Beneteau produced parts started with hull # 260. The upper bearing for sale on the spareparts.beneteauusa.com site is white, whereas the bearing the picture above (post #6) is black.



Beneteau is pointing me to Tides Marine. They have engaged and have been helpful in gathering information. Stay tuned.

Before I forget, here is a link to a similar thread from 2007.
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Here is the response from Tides Marine:

Once you drop the rudder I will need photos of the sleeves.
The rudder is composite with carbon fiber running through it and through the post.
The rudder post is square both top and bottom.
Where the bearings are the post is sleeved with another two sections of carbon fiber going square to round top and bottom.

The bearings are in the rudder tube. Note: leave them be do not remove.

What you are describing is deteriorating of the lower sleeve. Is my guess based on what you have said and no photo of the rudder out of the boat.

The repair is to “carefully grind down the lower sleeve until you are clear of the voids-and the expansion.” Sometimes looks like osmosis.

Then carefully build back up with epoxy maybe some S glass if really deep. No easy task as it needs to be as round as possible. Often takes several dry fits-and you don’t want it too tight or it will bind under higher loads.

The final epoxy coat is best to finish out with very fine paper so very smooth is what you are after. The bearing surfaces are this sleeve and the UHMW bearing in the tube. I don’t recommend you replace the bearing.

When you get the rudder out I may or may not offer up more advice depending on the photos.
 
Mar 20, 2016
356
Beneteau 351 WYC Whitby
Delrin is available in white and dark grey and so is Nylon and I can tell if the bottom bearing is gone you get loose steering and a shutter in the wheel especially in reverse , I have repaired 2 Beneteaus. The upper bearing wears egg shaped as all the tension is on the forward surface due to cable tension
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Delrin is available in white and dark grey and so is Nylon
You are correct. I asked both Beneteau support and Tides Marine about their respective parts. Beneteau stated if it was their part it would be white. Tides Marine stated theirs would not be white (black or dark grey).
 
Mar 20, 2016
356
Beneteau 351 WYC Whitby
In all honesty all these bearings need to be fitted for proper clearances ,just ordering a bearing and sticking it in may not get you the results you want. There is a thrust surface on the top bearing and a thrust washer between rudder and boat ,this clearance must be set . When I machined mine I made the top thicker and machined thousands off until the pin went in tight leaving no up and down play in the rudder. I gave .004 to .005 play in the upper as that is a common clearance when machining static bearings to allow grease to hydraulically wedge between rudder post and delrin.
My neighbor on the dock is a marine surveyor and has told me almost every Beneteau he checks has rudder play even if bearings are replaced ...due to not being fitted
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
Hence the reason for wanting to establish who exactly supplied the rudder assembly. Now that I know it's Tides Marine (hull #'s 1-259) I'll work with them to establish the optimal clearance/tolerances.
I do appreciate the input, keep it coming.
 
Aug 20, 2013
143
Beneteau 311 Port Clinton, OH (Lake Erie)
Mechone, I am intrigued by your statement that all the rudder bearings need to be fitted to specific tolerances. Most sailors do not have the skills or equipment to machine their own bearings, and I would think it would take an exceptional yard to have someone with these skills and the yard management to apply them. What is the typical sailor to do when he needs this sort or repair? Many sailors can handle or have friends that can handle replacing rudder bearings, but machining to specific tolerances seems a difficult to obtain requirement.
 
Jun 9, 2020
25
Beneteau 361 North East, Maryland
It's not as exceptional as you think. Googled "machine shops" and got 20 located within 20 miles of where I live. Google "Delrin rod stock" and you get bunch of places to buy raw materials. A 4" rod is about $60.
Granted I have a background in making things but you'd be surprised the resources a good marina repair facility can refer.
Or, you ask here and somebody will help.