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 Post subject: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:01 pm 
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Is there a thread somewhere that details the building and installation of a good steering system including the rutters. I've searched and came up with nothing with details.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:24 pm 
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The details will change because every boat is different.

Do you want foot steer or stick?
Do you want to use teflon bushing or ball bearings for the stick?
You can use Heim joints for couplings or Lawn Mower Tierod ends, or just mash the conduit and brass it some.
Teleflex steer, Dog Leg steer, Bellcrank steer, steering wheel steer?
Rudders can be mounted with ball bearings, teflon bushings, or just washers .
Rudders themselves are vastly different, 1, 2, 3, 4, Slab, airfoil, foam filled rudders?

Each of these will change the details of how the system is integrated.

Maybe this is a good time to make some choices here and let everyone chime in with ideas on how they would do what you plan. There are pros and cons to each and every one of these.

Scotty :)

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:11 pm 
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I really like the dog leg (stick) with ball bearings. As for rutter, its for a 0-540. It will be used in the swamps and slow sharp turns are a must. I rarely get over 5 mph. Pullup stop spin go 100', stop spin then go again. Open water running may consist of 3 miles a whole weekend. I wish I knew a 10th of what most of you guys have forgotten. All my life have been in mudboats and go-devils. I'm too old to fight them things anymore. Time for me to sit back and ride.
Thanks in advance

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:34 pm 
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OK now we gogt something to work with.

In tight areas a 2 rudder airfoil setup will likely suit you just fine. Narrow front to back and 4' tall.

These rudders work best with either a bel-crank or teleflex cable steering. the dog legs are mostly used with the large glades type single rudder.

Bel cranks are easy to make and teleflex is even easier. Nice thing ahbotu teleflex is its flexable and isnt harmed by bumping to things, its also silky smooth. The Heim fittings are the best for this setup, will be a rod between the rudders with one on each end, and then one on each end fo the teleflex.

Rudder stick can be used with either nylon bushings or ball bearings, or pillow block bearings. The consideration gere is that bearings will rust up from spray if they arent kept greased or oiled. The teflon or nylon bushings are dirt cheep and I have never seen one bind up. You can lube them with dry spray silicone if ya want. They never rust either. Home Depot has them ans so does Ace Hardwares.
If we ned to post some pictures let us all know. You will see every rig is slightly different but they all do the same thing.

Teleflex has one just for airboats that has a bit more travel in it then the outboard boat cables do. If you have never made a bel-crank this might not be the time to try it. Theres distances and angles that have to be made just right or the rudders will not turn all the way or they will overcenter and turn into the prop.

So from your use, "to me" it sounds like the airfoils with teleflex is best and nylon bushings on the steering stick. I like the rudders that mount on a nylon bushing too, nylon never rusts as well here. The bottom of the rudders gets a lot of water on it so the Nylon is good for here too. This should be a setup that will last you as long as the boat and rigging do.

Scotty

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:23 pm 
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you have rudders spelled wrong and that may have messed up your search -

Try searching RUDDERS not rutters

lots of good info here. There is also a good article by Chuck of AirboatPro's in the first or second issue of Marshrider in this topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Whitebear some pictures would be nice. Thanks for all the help. I knew I could count on you guys for great information....Oh, Guess I need to tighten up on my spelling to....rudder of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:32 pm 
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I'll see if I can get some close-ups of my two steering setups in the morning. I'll post them up for ya, I'll bet others have some pics too. Goldhunter is usually pretty good with the photo like that. No sweat on the spelling. None of us are any spelling bee contenders that's for sure! LOL I'd not survive without spell check on these posts and email :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:44 pm 
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I think I better stick with the teflon bushings. I don't know what a bel-crank system is. No one with our group has one. If they do, its not called by that name. Thats why I need pictures. (pictures are worth a thousand words.)
Rust is a big problem around here. We have some salt water at above normal high tide, plus we stay in the swamps where everything stays wet or at least damp.

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Last edited by Lakerunner on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:40 pm 
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it's not teflon - it's TELEFLEX which is a brand name of push/pull cable - like a fancy lawnmower throttle cable.
They are make of stainless. (and plastic - and maybe teflon coated inside)

Bell-crank is a triangle shaped piece of metal or pipe (if you are in salt, then make one out of stainless) and for more of a description, well, just easier to take a photo.

Dog leg as I know it is one of those sort of S-shaped pieces of pipe that is bolted to the inside of the transom and the steering stick uses a pole to push/pull on the bottom of it, and the top is connected to the rudders.

The glades-style steering I've always heard referred to as a 'crows foot' and it's just some small rods 1/4" or so all welded into a little frame that bolts to the side of one of the rudders. and from that little framework a pole goes straight up to the steering stick.

I'm not an expert though, I suppose everyone has a different name for all steering styles.

Most foot-steer setups I've seen incorporate some kind of cables. But if you are in cypress swamps, my guess if you won't want foot steer but I'm sure there are foot-steer veterans here that will disagree with that statement! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:28 am 
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Dog leg, bell crank, same principle. Find someone good to help you with this or you may end up with a system that steers farther in one direction than the other or one that is not HD enough to hold up.

They're hard to beat for tight turning radius and consistent feel. Cables require periodic lubrication or they get sticky.

I have the true teleflex cable on my boat (smooth black casing, not the cheap grey accordion/corrugated cables that are too stiff to start out with) and it is ok, but my next rig will have a bell crank/dogleg. I have to spray graphite lube in the cable every couple months to keep it free (can't stand stiff steering)


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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Whitebear suggests 4' tall rudders, but how wide for what I'm using it for? 24" -32" ?? I work in a big shop with C&C machines, aluminum welders, really good welders, all the equipment you could need. So I don't have any problem building anything. I'm a computer draftsman designing piping systems and pressure vessels. I have everything is takes. http://www.aipsi.com/
( :?: :?: except knowledge of airboat construction :?: :?: )

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:12 pm 
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got some photos for you. I just went to all three boats each with different style steering. I love cell phone cameras!

Teleflex:
(going to the TOP of the rudders)
Image

The other end of the cable attached to the steering stick
Image

Bellcrank:
The green triangle made from conduit. Note the steering pole going to the stick (front seat) and the haim joints all over the place. This is the most responsive steering and my preference! Also get lots of rudder movement with this setup. (you can change the ratios by the size of the bell-crank)
Image

Bottom of the rudders, they are sitting on nylon bushings with a threaded rod (allthread) from bottom to top. The top of the rudders is the same as the bottom. (the extra bushing/spacer is because this boat got hit in the rudders and the frame was bent up, so I took out one spacer)
Image

Another view of the bellcrank - LEFT turn. The wad of black duct tape is an old galvanized pipe fitting that Dave Markett taped there as a stopper to prevent it from over-extending. I tried other stoppers, and none worked as good, so I taped that galvanized 1/2" 90° back on!!! Dangit, if a field fix didn't turn out to be the best fix.
Image

Rudders turned full RIGHT turn.
Image

Dog Leg:
Over at my neighbor's house, their boat has Dog leg for steering. This photo pretty much explains how it works. The pole going out of the bottom of the photo is what goes up to the steering stick.
Image

And from the front of the boat looking back... really shows one of the real advantages to Dog-leg steering - THE POLE IS OUT OF THE WAY, CLOSE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE HULL.
Image

I hope this helps.

matt.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:36 pm 
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Thats what I needed...Thanks a million. Like I said earlier, a picture is worth a thousand words. I'm going with the tri-angle type (all stainless).

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Nice work moodfood

the photo of the cable is the good type of cable I was talking about.


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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:11 pm 
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I've had that wrinkly gray cable before this black teleflex. You are right, brand name does make a difference!

I'm like you Atlas, I like the cable steering, but the direct mechanical linkage is my preference because they just turn easier - that flex-rod inside the metal jacket - no matter how much you lube it up, there is still a lot of contact inside that sheath - i.e. resistance.

But I'm not trading away my teleflex steering on that big white boat! That thing has some POWER, and I have a hard time turning the rudders when at full throttle (when I'm stuck)!!! I gotta let my foot off the gas, put the rudders where I want them, and then hit the gas again. Maybe that would change with the direct hard linkage, but I have a feeling it'd be worse. I think HP needs the cable steering. And at some point, high HP needs hydraulic assist on the cable! Power steering!

There are weaknesses in hard-linked steering - what if a pole gets bent? and there are a lot of welds to break in such a setup. Lots of threaded pieces and places to lube. That is one of the big advantages of the Teleflex. It's more reliable. and relatively maint-free.

And with the Bell crank - get creative with your setup. That long rod going to the steering stick is the weak spot. It's always in the way, and we even had some MTV kid on our boat once, jumped out of the seat and put his foot right on the linkage pole! BENT THE CRAP OUT OF IT! I was lucky it did not break on me bending it back. And that's where the DogLeg has an advantage. If you stepped on that pole, it'd hit the bottom of the hull and spring right back before it bent.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Moodfood, you bring up an EXCELLENT point, and that is leverage.

The more thrust you are making the more leverage you are going to need and that is adjusted by the length of the stick and the attachment points' locations.

This is where an experienced builder will be worth the extra $ to get it right the first time


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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:19 pm 
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Image

Image

Image

Poly pivots and heim joints. Left hand nuts arn't always the easiest to find! :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:15 pm 
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Thanks Bill - that's basically the same linkage as the 'glades boats. good photos, nice looking project! :)
That's probably the absolute most simple steering method. Less parts to break. Change the ratio on that one by how far that connection is (left/right) of the rudder's pivot point. Lots of deck-overs use that kind of steering but usually it's on the outside of the left rudder because of the seating arrangement. That's a cool seat setup you got there bill.

matt.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:53 pm 
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Moodfood, change the pivot point on your rudders for more leverage, at right position its like power steering, if you move too far, rudders will whip around and lock. Like Atlas said, this is where as experienced builder is a great help. I changed mine by trial and errow, got it right second time. I was like you said, could not hold full rudder with full power, now I can very easy, a lot better rudder action.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:16 am 
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I'm left handed and that sure looks comfortable to me. I like the center steering setup. Great looking job.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:14 am 
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Cetchdawg over in the thread about retiring THE HOOTERVILLE SPECIAL has some great shots of 'glades style steering - I've heard it called "Crows-foot" steering.

Pictures from that other thread:
Image
Image
Image
Image

THANKS CETCHDAWG!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:23 am 
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I new there was a reason i took those close ups!! :lol: No prob mood....

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:15 am 
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Crows-foot and Dog-leg steering are the same thing. In Matt's series the one called bellcrank and dogleg are both bellcranks. Dog leg attaches direct to the rudders, hence all the bends in the rod making it look crooked as dogs hind leg. There is another vernacular for these but we can't post it here, it still referrs to a part of a dog's anatomy though.

As yall can see theres a LOT of different ways of doing steering. I dont have any pictures of the Steering Wheel setup used out west but I think its mostly cables and pullys. Mostly an outboard boat steering rig.

Scotty

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:13 am 
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Glades style has the most leverage, (like in pic, hooterville), than any other.

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 Post subject: Re: Airboat steering
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:33 pm 
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