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bluedevil

Steering issue

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Well I got the boat out of storage today and was working on it and discovered I have a steering problem.. I am hoping someone here can help with figuring out what is wrong.

It is hydraulic steering but the steering wheel is VERY hard to turn. I greased the zerk that is in the front of the motor for the steering arm thinking that was the problem but it is not. Is there a way to check the hydraulic fluid? Any other ideas that I should try or look for would be helpful. I really dont want to have to take it in but I may have to.:eek:

It is a 19' Starcraft with a 125hp Mercury outboard.

Thanks,

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I am not familiar with the ins and outs of hydraulic steering. Is there a cable that runs from the steering column to the back of the boat? If there is, I am guessing the cable is seizing up. I believe there is a way that you can lubricate this cable.

Give me some more details on the set up.

I had to change a steering cable out on my old boat because it set up from not being used. This is the way it was when I purchased the boat. It got used plenty once it was mine :D

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After looking into a little more, I realized that it is not a hydraulic system. Bare with me cause this is my first boat. I have had it allmost 4 years but still learning "mechanical's" on it.:eek:

The steering cable on it is rather large and the fitting on the end at the motor just really looked like a hydraulic fitting.

I got into it a little more today and tore it apart at the motor thinking the same thing you said Mike, that the cable had "seized up". I could move the rod at the motor freely so I know it is not there. It still may be the cable but I have not seen anywhere in the system to lubricate it.

I got to busy most of this weekend to work on it to much but hope to have it fixed next weekend. I have all week here in Grand Rapids to think about it though.:(

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Here is the link for the Cable Buddy. Cable Buddy

You have to change the nut on the end of your steering cable at the motor.

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I was just looking at the same thing at the West Marine site and thought that might work. The one in West Marine was only $13 but did not come with the lubricant. Any thoughts on just using normal marine grease? Just trying to save a few $$.

But I think I am going to try that product this weekend and hope that solves my problem. I need to get out soon.:)

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You can not use grease. You could use marine lubricant. It needs to be able to work its way up through the cable.

I believe there are two ways the cable connects at the helm. One is a flat slide end that is bolted to the helm, the other is a cable that goes around the helm. You might want to try some good old WD-40. Turn your wheel all the way to the right to extend the cable all of the way out at the outboard. Spray the WD-40 at the end of the cable casing. See if you can squirt it inside the casing. You may want to remove the nut first before you spray. Turn the wheel all of the way the opposite direction and try and spray where the cable connects to the helm. You may have to unbolt it from the hem to do this.

After you have it all sprayed and put back together, work the wheel left and right for a while. You may have to repeat the lubrication process. A new steering cable is somewhere's around $125 :(

Seems like I have saw an aresol lubrication system for steering cables. With the pressurized aresol, it forces the lubrication up the line. Let me see if I can dig that up.

Worse case scenarial you have to replace the cable. If you decide to go this way and need a hand, give me a shout. We could change out the cable in less than 2 hours, providing we do not have to pull the motor.

Let me know how it goes.

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If the cable is seized, you should also rectify the cause of the problem.

If it is due to water etc. normal use there is nothing to do.

However make sure there is not a ground problem in the boats electrical system. If there is it may be using the steering cable as a ground which will cause the cable to get tight or sieze..

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If the cable is seized, you should also rectify the cause of the problem.

If it is due to water etc. normal use there is nothing to do.

However make sure there is not a ground problem in the boats electrical system. If there is it may be using the steering cable as a ground which will cause the cable to get tight or sieze..

Excelent point Mike, thanks. I will look into that but my guess it is from lack of use last year. I was having finacial problems and going through a divorce last year so I only made it out like 5-6 times last year.:(

This is the steering system that I have.....http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&langId=-1&catalogId=10001&classNum=401&subdeptNum=222&storeNum=6&productId=33295

There is no way that I know of to access the cable at the helm. The cable is inside the "hose" and goes directly into the long bar seen in the pic in the link, no nut like there is at the motor. Kinda leary about tearing that apart since it is stamped right into the unit, "DO NOT DISSASEMBLE, REPLACE ENTIRE UNIT".:eek:

Thanks for the input guys it has really helped point me into the right direction.:)

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Matt, I am not talking about disassembling the entire unit. Do you see the long flat piece that in on top of the helm? This is the flat part that I was talking about. I think there are 4 bolts that bolt it to the helm. Inside this flat piece there is a flat bar with teeth on it. This is attached to the cable. This is what I was saying to pull off the helm to lubricate. The other end, I said to remove the nut to lubricate. You may be able to turn the wheel far enough to expose the cable at the motor. Key word is "maybe" Squirt the WD-40 there.

Do not attempt to pull the cable out of the casing.

If you do decide to change the cable, I would recommend using a 'No feed back" assembly.

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Matt

I had an old boat running an i/o that used the same type of steerins system. Mine froze up after seting all winter, the trouble was at the motor end. Trouble is there is no way to lube the thing. I ended up cutting the cable apart, cleaning things up and had the end of the cable welded back on. It still works today but I wouldn't recommend doing it that way.

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I also have a 19' Starcraft w/125 hp with a steering problem. The description bluedevil gave sounds just like what I am seeing.

I did some electrical work on it over the winter; moved the electric downrigger outlets and rearranged some wiring at the battery. If the ground is my problem, how do I check it?

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Generally if it is an electrical grounding problem it will take a bit of time for it to get to the point where it causes a problem. In automobiles you will usually notice the shifter getting tight on floor shift models, as the current end up running thru the shifter cable if the vehicle has a bad ground.

To check the ground circuit you will need a voltmeter. A digital voltmeter [dvom] is preferred.

Attach the positive lead from meter to the positive terminal of battery. Leave the positive attached.

Now take the negative lead from the meter and attach it to the negative terminal of battery.

Record your reading.

Now move the negative meter lead to the other end of the negative battery cable. Your reading should be within 1/10th of a volt of battery reading, depending on the length of the ground cable.

It is not a bad idea to take the connection apart and clean it anyhow.

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Thanks Mike,

It sounds like if the cable is acting as a ground then it would just accelerate the corrosion. So, I need to either lubricate the cable with the cable buddy product mentioned earlier, or possibly replace the cable, and then make sure the cable isn't acting as a ground.

Glad I didn't have any other plans for the weekend.

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If you replace the cable Brian, so yourself a favor and put in a "No Feed back" system. A "No Feed back" system removes all of the motor torque from the wheel.

You know how the wheel pulls to one side when you take off and how it pulls the opposite direction when you shut downand come off plane? With a "No Feed Back" system, you will not feel any of this. Also, you can let go of the wheel and it will not turn.

The "No Feed Back" system is in the helm so you have to change this also. There is nothing hard about changing over to it. Unbolt the wheel, and there are 2 bolts that hold the helm on. Piece of cake ;)

Did I mention how well I like "No Feed Back"? :D :D :D

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Well I screwed with my steering issue most of the day today and could not free it up. I tryed everything all of you suggested and then some. Ended up getting a whole new system, everything but the steering wheel, all for $180. Only problem is I tryed to messure the old cable while it was still installed and was off by a foot so the new one was to short and the place I bought it from was closed by the time I caught it, so now I have to wait another week to finish it.:(

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Well I screwed with my steering issue most of the day today and could not free it up. I tryed everything all of you suggested and then some. Ended up getting a whole new system, everything but the steering wheel, all for $180. Only problem is I tryed to messure the old cable while it was still installed and was off by a foot so the new one was to short and the place I bought it from was closed by the time I caught it, so now I have to wait another week to finish it.:(

Did you pick up the no feed back system Matt?

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No I did'nt Mike. The $180 was more than I wanted to spend allready.

I do plan on getting it eventually though.

Thanks for all your help fellas, I really do appreciate it.:)

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Did you check these out at Bass Pro?

If you ever drive a boat with NFB, you will never want to drive another one without it.

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Well it is finally done.

I acctually allready had the NFB system so I greased it up real good and installed the new cable and man is it ever smooth now.:D

I could not get just the cable so I had to buy the kit but only used the cable, so if anyone knows anyone that needs a brand new helm system, minus the cable, I can give them a great offer.:)

Thanks again to all of you for your suggestions and feedback.

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Glad you finally got it fixed. Now get out there and get fishing so you can post some fishing reports :D

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