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S&S Swan Maintenance - Swan 431 Autopilot Installation
03 January 2024 - 17:20
Join Date: 25 July 2021
Posts: 5

Swan 431 Autopilot Installation

I'm looking to install the first hydraulic autopilot on the boat. The boat currently has a garmin system, so I'm looking to install a garmin CCU/ECU/Hydraulic Ram. However I still need to purchase the tiller arm, likely an edson arm. Before I do I'd like to get feedback on mounting locations.

I've got two questions

1. where along the rudderstock to mount the tiller arm - my assumption would be to mount the arm on the square part of the rudderstock, just above the quadrant

2. where to mount the hydraulic ram (ties into question 1)

a. my first thought was to mount it along the rear bulkhead, however I dont think this will give the ram enough clearance (since it'll only have 10deg of movement vs 360) pg 6 on

b. my second thought is to mount it directly under the deck (either on port or starboard, where the helmsman stands) however that is also more than 10deg and will need to attach a shim to level it out again so it's parallel with plane of rotation again.

c. or something that I havent thought about, like creating a platform attached to the hull


Thanks in advance!




swan 431 ram mounting location

04 January 2024 - 09:31
Join Date: 20 July 2017
Posts: 115

Hi Simon,

I'm by no means an autopilot expers and would be keen to hear other member's opinion but I think the bulkhead would not be designed to take the potential forces introduced by mounting the tiller arm to it (option A). 

At least not without significant modifications/reinforcement to the bulkhead I should think; if I recall correctly from other posts, the forces inroduced can be quite large, and if I understand you photo correctly they would also act in both directions virtually perpendicular to the bulkhead. Probably not the best type of loading for the bulkhead I would think.

I therefore reckon you are probably better off if you can find a suitable mounting position to a strongpoint of the hull or deck. 

Not sure if this helps,

fair winds


SY Kairos (57/043)

31 March 2024 - 22:00
Join Date: 25 July 2021
Posts: 5

Thanks for the feedback! I also think that those structures don't have enough support. I'm fabricating a plate that will fit on the rudder sheaves that will perfectly hold the drive. I'll update this post with my progress.

12 April 2024 - 18:25
Join Date: 11 November 2023
Posts: 7



I'm also struggling with autopilot installation with s/y Pampero (41/048). Please find attached few of my pictures.

From the pictures you can see the tiller arm installed just below quadrant. I think it is the best possible location so you don't need to drill any locking screws etc. to makse sure the arm won't be sliding along the shaft.

This tiller arm was machined by my friend who has his own workshop. It's replicated from Jefa:

Pay attention that you need to modify the plan so that arm will fit to the square part of rudder axle just underneath the quadrant.

My plan was to design a platform so that one side will be bolted to bulkhead with strong metal plates. Backside will be laminated to hull. The open side (pointing aft) will have a support made out of the same material, screwed to platform and laminated to hull.

Only problem with this design is that length of working unit (linear hydraulic) is so long that I need to re measure whole setup to fit between the hull and the rudder axle. Hydraulic unit will be on port side of rudder axle.

I'm also considering an electric linear unit if hydraulic one doesn't fit.

Does anyone have any pictures over linear unit installed on 41 ??


Fair winds,


s/y Pampero (41/048)


Tiller arm 1

Tiller arm 2

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