C30 Steering Box Endoscopy

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Back on July 30th, I started this thread about a strange noising coming from the steering system.

It seemed no one had an idea about my issue so I returned to the boat and tried to take a few photos with my iPhone. I couldn't see any issues but could see where the radial wheel sat on top of the rudder shaft log. I sprayed a lot of McLube Sailkote into the area and no more noise.

But I wasn't completely satisfied I fixed the problem so I bought a $35 Endoscope that connected to my iPhone via wifi. I went back to the boat on Thursday to give the steering box an endoscopy.

What I saw scared the crap out of me so I had the boat hauled today and took off the radial wheel and inspected things.
I was lucky the radial wheel came off intact and with no broken bolts. As the endoscope photos showed, the starboard steering cable thimble had rubbed through the fiberglass shaft log and was wearing on the SS rudder post. Several strands of the cable had worn through. The port steering cable also had several broken strands but had not worn through the shaft log.
Not sure why this happened. I talked to and sent photos to Edson. They are going to review and get back to me tomorrow.
In the meantime I have a cable/chain kit coming as well has a new rudder stop. The turning sheaves at the bottom of the pedestal are in good shape.
Damage.jpeg Damage 1.jpeg Damage 2.jpeg Damage 3.jpeg Danage 4.jpeg Damage 5.jpeg
That $35 Endoscope may have saved us from a disaster.

I'll let you know what Edson says.

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Edson called back and said they hadn't seen this before and they believe Catalina made the cone too high. They suggested I cut it down so it does not interfere with the thimble/eye bolt. That would require a shim to be made to keep the radial wheel at the same height.
Not very keen on doing this so I called Catalina to say what they suggested. They explained that all C30s with the steering well were formed from the same mold and they had not heard of this issue. They couldn't off a reason or repair other than filling in the deep grove with epoxy.
I asked for a suggestion on how to keep the epoxy off the SS shaft. They said other customers reported using pieces of plastic from 2 liter bottles as shims to remove play in the rudder. They said I could do this and that would keep the epoxy of the shaft.

I had play in the rudder when I shook it so I took the plastic shim idea a step further. I dropped the shaft a few inches and used the bottle plastic to shim where there was wear on the bottom tube as well as using it as a shim on the top. Now the rudder has no play.

I filled the groove on the cone with epoxy thickened with West System's silica filler which is supposed to result in a hard surface.

Here are some pics I took on Saturday as I installed the new wire and cable.
Photo 1 shoes the cone looking down at it. I put a black dot on the port and starboard sides where the wear starts on the forward side of the cone. It shows the starboard thimble/adjuster must have been tightened much more than the port side. This brought the thimble closer to the widest point of the cone.
Photo 2 shows the old and new thimbles. The new thimbles are smaller so should have less conflict with the cone.
The other 2 photos show how I tried to twist the thimbles/eye bolts so neither had actual contact with the cone. They also show how I kept the new cable as short as possible to keep the thimble/eye bolt aft of the wide point of the cone.

I'll monitor the wear on the cone and decide later if I'm going to cut it shorter or let it ride.

Repair 01.jpegRepair 02.jpegRepair 03.jpgRepair 04.jpeg