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Old 08-30-2018, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Straightening steering wheel with keyway

Our steering wheel on our 2000 Maxum 1800sr is not centered. Hubby pulled off the steering wheel, hoping it had splines, but it has a keyway and tapered end. He tried the other positions and none of them will straighten the steering wheel. He then just centered it (with the outdrive straight) and did not replace the keyway. Him, being a machinist, says this will be okay, he tightened the wheel and said it will be fine, but the pessimist in me thinks that this may cause some damage not putting the key back in.

Any thoughts?

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Old 08-30-2018, 04:36 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what the impact will be but left over parts is never a good thing in my book.

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Old 08-30-2018, 04:54 PM   #3
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Glad to know - I feel the same way. But you know how stubborn men can be! :-)
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by vickilea View Post
Glad to know - I feel the same way. But you know how stubborn men can be! :-)
Being a man I would not have done what he has. If the wheel were to become loose it would just spin on the shaft and you would not have the ability to steer. Things get loose on boats from all the pounding they take.

Unbolting the rack assembly from the column would allow him to center the wheel then he can reconnect it.
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Old 08-31-2018, 02:59 PM   #5
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The resistance to rotational forces will be provided by the taper, which is essentially a interference fit and does not need a key. However, taper fits rely on precise machining and can be broken free with a strong shock load.

As long as the nut is torqued and maintains the interference fit on the taper, no slippage should occur.

Note all the provisions for the taper to work effectively!

Given that we are looking at a steering application and it's on a boat (not optimal environmental conditions), adding a key way to the design adds a safety factor (see Mikes comment).

All being said, hubby is correct in stating that the key is not required mechanically, but not using it in this application isn't the proper solution.

Aligning the wheel with the drive can be done at the rack as Mike suggested or at the drive end where cable attaches to the steering arm.

If there isn't enough adjustment, this could be a sign that there are parts that need inspecting or replacement.
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Old 08-31-2018, 06:00 PM   #6

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Removing the key from the keyway and tightening the nut is a horrible idea. Get into any rough water and you're going to have a very high probability of losing steerage underway. The key locks the wheel, the nut simply holds it all together. The two should not be confused.

If it really bothers you, replace the wheel with a symmetrical 'destroyer' style wheel, then it is always straight.
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Old 09-01-2018, 02:34 AM   #7
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I second what shrew said.

1995 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7 A1 G2 LUNA DE MIEL
1988 Bayliner 2455 5.0 IO (sold)
1987 Seaswerl 18ft C. Cabin 4.3 IO(lost in fire)
1976 16ft. Tahiti 2.5 IO (sold)
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