August 31, 2010 at 18:41 #4401
Our Mathway steering is still working great, but as new owners of the boat, we need to learn how to care for it. I’ve read that there are 3 oil baths, which we can find no problem. But what we cannot figure out is how to get inside those oil baths. Again, I read on the Yahoo forum that there is supposed to be 2 plugs, one to fill and one to check the level. But as we inspect the outside of the boxes, we cannot find anything that looks like fill plugs.
Can anyone give us some guidance about how to gain access so we can maintain these oil baths?
And, according to the Nic 38 manual, we are supposed to be using Spirax 90, which I think is just a lower gear unit oil for outboards. Does that sound right as the oil to use for these baths?
We have been able to use the zirk fittings with a grease gun to lube the ‘knuckles’.September 6, 2010 at 19:17 #7121
I just got this response via email from Mathway Parsons, who still manufacture these steering units:Quote:Thank you for your email with regards to our Mathway steering on your new vessel, I take it you are referring to the right angle boxes, their are a none oil fill able unit, these unit are self contained and are filled on manufacture with an oily base grease which wont need replacing, you are correct if you strip these units you will loose the contents but also the set of the boxes, the aft end box which controls the rudder is again oily based grease but this can be topped up however this is very rare that is done, that also goes for the helm unit,
All our Mathway gears are manufactured to last some 40years, in fact we have units in vessels some 50 plus years that still haven’t been replaced.
Because of our manufacture structure their are no manuals on service guides for our systems.
I hope this is of help to you.
So now I am confused. In the Nicholson Yahoo group, Arild (Far Out # 10) and Larry (unknown) had a conversation about these being oil baths with fill plugs, yet Mathway says they are not. Are there 2 different steering gears on Nic 38’s that are confusing the story? I need to get down and take some photos of our ‘oil baths’ so maybe we can talk with pictures.September 12, 2010 at 18:10 #7221Chihili QParticipant
Chihili Q (#119) had a Forman system installed which was cheaper and subtley different to avoid patent infringment. My stern gearbox had rotted and was quite wobbly but I don’t recall seeing any fill or drain plugs on it. I replaced the old system with Hydrive hydraulics this year, since a bespoke new gearbox would have cost £5000. If it would help I can post pictures of my gearbox before I sent it away to Mark Jenkins of PARSONS MATHWAY MARINE, 129 PRIVETT ROAD, GOSPORT, HAMPSHIRE, PO12 3SP, 0845 3664126 or 0788 6510164; he was very helpful and could readily distinguish a Mathway from a cheap copy!
Adrian.September 19, 2010 at 17:33 #7361
Arild kindly supplied me with some scanned Mathway Steering gear documentation. You can find it here (5.5MB download as PDF)
This is not the easiest documentation to follow (I can see why Mathway claimed they had no user documentation – this stuff comes from tech service manuals). But you can put some facts together and come up with some very useful info.
First, from the Mathway Steering website, I can see that our Rainshadow has the Mathway LS steering gear.
Second, if you look at the PDF indicated above, read any place they mention the LS steering (ignore the rest), and learn that:
1) The steering bowl and the Bevel box are filled with SAE 30 oil, and then as long as the seals do not fail, they should be fine without maintenance.
2) The Aft End Reduction Gear box are filled with SAE 30 oil and should be checked every 6 months. If the oil seals are OK, should not need refilling, but given they say to check every 6 months, it seems they think these seals will fail.
3) Keep the U-joints, ball joints, and bulkhead bearings well lubed with soft grease.
So I guess will head back to the boat and look more closely at the aft end reduction gear.
Does this make sense to people who have been maintaining their Mathway steering? Or has everyone replaced theirs already, as did Adrian?November 26, 2011 at 11:54 #10411
The last gearbox in the line is leaking oil and I am trying to remove it from the boat to get it refurbished by Mathway. No problem detaching the box. My problem is removing the track rod before I can lift the box out. There is a s/s split pin securing the nut on the track rod end – of course it’s upside down and whoever put the pin in did it the easy way with no thought of the poor person who might have to take it out. It’s also at arms length whilst lying on the after deck. Has anyone removed all this (I guess from the above that Adrian has) and got any advice for me. I think I may have to get a hacksaw to the trackrod end but can I get another to replace it? I heard that the trackrod and its ends are standard Land Rover spares but I need confirmation of all this before I take a hacksaw to it. The whole assembly is corroded so perhaps a new trackrod would be a good idea. Of course I also will have to detach the forward end of the trackrod and suspect I may have to remove the sink from the after cabin to get at it. Help!
Cheers TrevorNovember 27, 2011 at 10:16 #10421
A few hours after writing the above I was a happier man. I decided to work the split ends of the split pin back and forth individually with a pair of pliers until they broke off. I then held the hairpin shaped end with the pliers and very gently pulled whilst twisting it back and forth and it soon came out. I had found that gripping hard and tugging merely caused the pliers to slip off the pin. I then got a socket spanner on the track rod end nut and couldn’t shift it at all. Luckily the socket would stay on the nut despite it being upside down so I got hold of a long (6 foot) steel bar and used this of lever the socket ratchet handle. Bingo! It moved. It was then a simple job to undo it. I now had to break the trackrod end away from the short tiller arm. After several unsuccessful attempts with a proper ‘ball breaker’ tool I got hold of a some webbing with a ratchet tensioner (the sort used to tie down loads on trailers etc. I looped this round the track rod and a stout wooden beam placed across the lazarette hatchway and tensioned the ratchet. One tap on the tiller arm with a hammer and it was apart. I then had to get one out more bolt from the anchorage of the gearbox (the forward outboard one accessed from inside the after cabin. This moved but was very tight and it was obvious that it and its nut were turning. I taped a 19mm spanner to the end of the boathook and managed through the door under the after wash basin to get the spanner on the nut. My wife held it there while I undid the bolt from above. I then had to lift the gearbox from its position. The two inboard bolts and the outboard forward bolt faced downward (nuts underneath) but the outboard after one faced upwards with the nut on top, so I was able to rotate the heavy box inboard so that it cleared the wooden side of the lazarette but now I couldn’t lift the box off this stud. And that’s how things stand. I had to come home (3 hours away). When I go down again I will remove the wooden bulkhead between the lazarette and the forward area aft of the rudder post and with the help of a midget (any volunteers please) lever the box off with a jemmie. Hope all this encourages anyone wanting to remove their steering box to have a go. Maybe my experience will save you a lot of time and anguish when you come to do it. Cheers, TrevorNovember 28, 2011 at 12:11 #10481michael bennettParticipant
Some photographs always helpful when you can.December 4, 2011 at 13:07 #10571
Sorry I dropped my camera in the sea a few weeks before the end of the season so couldn’t take any pictures of the job I have just done. However, I am due to take delivery of a new camera next week and then will be able to oblige though I doubt if I will do any more work on it now until after Christmas. TrevorDecember 5, 2011 at 22:04 #10601Chihili QParticipant
I hope you’re still a happy man Trevor; your rather ingenious contrivances sound very good fun. I hope your endeavours in the New Year are straight forward and completely successful. My steering tackle was a Foreman installation and so being more recent than a Mathway, may have been marginally less difficult/seized to remove (especially since my bolts all sat upright). If anybody needs shafts (track-rods?) or universal joints I have some spares knocking around but these would only suit Foreman installations maybe.
I’ve recently left Chihili Q at Pwllheli for soggy/ saggy aft deck repairs. I am informed that most of the wires inside the main mast are falling to bits and the deck glands have been leaking profusely. Thank goodness I am sorting this out prior to retirement!
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