Rebuilding Edson engine controls

In a previous post on updating my wheel brake, I discovered that my diesel engine governor and transmission pedestal controls (the handles on the steering pedestal) suffered from the same issue issue as my wheel brake axle/pine: The delrin sleeve bushing set between the cast pedestal component and the turning axles was contributing a meaningful amount of friction. This friction impaired the turning of the engine controls:

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I disassembled the Engine Control assembly, and lo an behold, discovered a rusted and cracked stainless steel control leg.

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Until now, I’ve been pretty skeptical of warnings about stainless steel breaking in invisible ways in invisible places (“C’mon man, it’s stainless steel, that’s like the toughest metal people use on a regular basis, right?”). It’s probably beneficial that I had this example to see first-hand. This was the control for my transmission and the rust no doubt contributed to the swelling of the axle in the bushing and impaired the operation. I think the worst cast had it broken would have been coming in hot to a crowded marina and having to kill the engine and hope I didn’t collide with anything. Bare steerageway never hurts.

I ordered a replacement from Edson. It seems like with Edson, your best bet is to order directly from their company and not go through a 3rd party unless you can get the part you need off the shelf at West Marine or a similar retailer. The Edson customer service is relatively quick and with sharp people answering e-mails and phone calls.

The bushing housing tunnel on the pedestal is tapered such that inside is more snug than the outside. The delrin bushings that come with the engine control piece spin freely on the axle outside the pedestal, but once you tap the bushing into place, the axle turns much more tightly. Too tightly for my taste, so I bored out the bushings with a cordless drill. I believe the nominal size is 1/2″.

Slide the new piece in, add some sealant around the pedestal lip, below the engine control cylinder and the re-assemble the pedestal.

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Replace the clevis and cotter pins for the controls, and don’t drop the tiny parts down the hole. Mission Accomplished.

I still have more friction than I would like for the governor (throttle) handle, but at least now I feel like I have isolated it to the cable or related cable springs and not in the bushings on the helm.

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