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Thread: Tiller Yoke replacement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Antonio, TX

    Tiller Yoke replacement

    Because Commander #92's tiller yoke is broken, I am considering Bristol Bronze part BB3101. Can someone confirm this will fit onto the existing rudder head. I would prefer to not replace that part as it appears to be in good condition.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    Bristol rudderhead

    Yes, that kinda looks like a replica of our 4.5lb monster.


    My tiller-yoke varies at the narrow end from +1 3/4 to -1 3/4".
    Inside (where the wood goes) it's 1 3/8" wide and 1 1/4" deep.
    The fat end, where the head hinges on a 3/8" bronze bolt, it's
    2 1/4" outside, and 1 3/4" wide inside where the rudder head
    tightly fits. Yoke 8 1/2" long.
    Head is too complicated to express with measurements, but
    it could be done. The head is arse backwards in the drawing.

    This drawing is WRONG according to the rudderhead in
    my possession. Imagine swinging the rudderhead in the
    diagram closed in its housed position... The socket that
    fits over the rudder shaft end will here be positioned
    coming out of the top of the fitting! The tiller stop "to
    keep it from continuing down to the deck" is accessed
    only when tillerhead is fully housed in a 'closed' position.

    That flange
    (in the drawing under the two letters in BB 3901)
    should be bearing on the inside of the flat top. Rounded
    top of the head casting is what we should see in this
    open position upside down drawing - but rudder head is
    flipped. That flange will be seated against the under
    side of the flat top between the hinge arms of the yoke.
    However, the rudder head in the picture is so wonkus
    inaccurate that we can't even be sure what's depicted
    is merely a confused doodle of our original fitting.

    Looking at the drawing,
    if we mentally move the rudderhead fitting (BB3901) around and
    inside the yoke, that flange under the BB in the drawing is what
    a functioning tiller yoke (with its tiller) rests on when the tiller is
    down. The drawing figure cannot be repositioned correctly,
    because the artist was very confused. So you better call Roger up.
    Bristol Bronze. 1-401-625-5224, ask if anything's changed.
    Simple thing to say is: If the head shown in the drawing is swung
    180 into the yoke (which supposedly would be letting the tiller
    down into its streering position...) the drawing shows that the
    socket connecting rudder-head-to-rudder-shaft would point up to
    the sky from the top of the Yoke.
    No joke.

    Point being, the rudder head sits stationary (except for moving
    - but hopefully firmly attacted - with the rudder.) But it's the tiller
    yoke that does all the moving (up, down and all side ways).

    When you buy it, if you find the tiller yoke and head to be a true
    casting of the original, you may find the head fits a bit loose
    pearched on the top of bronze shaft.
    Someone once posted here that he used (4mil) aluminum from a
    Pepsi can as a shim to tighten up the free-fit.
    McMaster-Carr has $$bronze shim material. 316 is OK. $10.
    The 1" 5/16" hexhead MS that is threaded into the thicker side
    of the split socket head, looks like it is there to squeeze the two
    halves tight together, doesn't really do that too well. Therefor
    need for shim material. Approx shim size: .75"x2.75"

    You may also notice that there is nothing in the design that
    actually holds the rudderhead onto the rudderpost. Except its
    great weight. In the back of the head there are two #10-24
    hex socket set screws that, when mounted, push the insert key
    into matching rudder post keyway. They are in the back angled
    down with the slant of the rudder tube. Often forgot in rudder
    disassembly. We probably need a mirror to set the set screws.
    These don't hold the head & tiller assembly on the rudder post.

    Some guys have threaded two extra set screws (suggest 1/4-20)
    thru opposite sides of the socket and countersink* drill points
    into the post. While not hugely strong, it probably is enough to
    ensure no accidental lifting off of the entire steering system.

    * TIP: Pre drill the socket tap holes (#7) using the vise. With the
    split in the rudder head and the keyway at north and south, drill
    the tap holes east and west, at 90 & 270 degrees in the center
    of the space provided thru the collar of the socket.

    . Do not tap holes yet.

    . Assemble on the rudder shaft (in the boat).

    . Use the same #7 tap drill bit to drill countersinks into the rudder
    shaft - only as deep as the set screw cone points - with rudder
    (but no tiller yet) carefully squared up and temporarily clamped in
    the cockpit. When you take it apart to thread tap holes (in vise)
    pick drill tailings off rudder post.
    '316 High Hold Cone Point Set Screws' McMaster-Carr

    The oversize set screws also help keep wobble from happening
    - which occurs because a loose key will damage the softer bronze
    keyway in the head. Not to overtighten these setscrews.

    If using a laminated tiller, consider bolting through the flat(top) of
    the yoke - as others have done, perpendicular to lams - instead of
    using predrilled holes in the side of the yoke - that create a zipper
    effect forcing holes sideways thru glue lines.
    Use fender washers under the nuts.

    Bill has a new acetal sleeve bearing that fits in the rudder-tube, and
    new O-rings available at cost. Replacing the old will also help
    reduce slop in the steering. And water squirting into the cockpit
    thru a worn bearing. Use Tefgel on everything.

    Interesting that the Tiller-Yoke BB3101, $215,
    and the Rudder Head BB3901, $245, are priced separately.
    Assume if you are replacing you might be able to purchase yoke
    or head detatched. This would dramatically reduce your cost if
    you only need one of the two. However, rudder head closely
    match-fits yoke arms & bolt. Be surprising if available separately.

    Check keyway in head to see if it can hold a key securely. Know
    of only one permanent fix for a worn keyway -- costs $245 + S&H.

    Interested in hearing what happens. Good luck.
    Last edited by ebb; 07-22-2018 at 01:40 PM.

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