1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

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roguewave
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1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:40 am

Hello all. [I am] new to Boston whalers but not to boating. I just bought a pristine 1998 MONTAUK 17 with a [1998 Mercury 90-HP two-stroke-cycle engine]. Boy does this fella steer hard when going anywhere near full throttle, but at idle it's one-finger steering. Is this just the way it is?
Thank you for any input.
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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Dutchman
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Dutchman » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:10 pm

Your steering setup is probably worn out. Current steering systems are "No Feed Back" (NFB) which means there is no difference between idle and WOT. You can let go of the steering wheel and she'll keep course.

It might behoove you to replace your almost 20-year-old steering with the new NFB type, just do a shopping search for Teleflex NFB kits.
EJO
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

jimh
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby jimh » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:37 pm

Engine trim and engine trim tab adjustments can affect the amount of force exerted by the engine and propeller on the steering. Read the owner's manual for how to compensate. If you don't have the owner's manual, I have created an on-line version in HTML. See

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/manual9-17/

For adjustment of engine trim see

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/refere ... .html#trim

For adjustment of engine trim tab see

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/refere ... ml#trimTab

These forces are not unique to a Boston Whaler 17-foot hull; they occur with all outboard-engine-powered boats.

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Phil T
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Phil T » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:45 pm

Don't forget motor mounting height [as a cause of high steering force]. If the motor is mounted on the transom in its lowest position, it can affect steering.
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1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:18 pm

Thanks guys. The boat was a fresh-water, garage-kept boat with only 160-hours [of engine running time].
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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Landlocked
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Landlocked » Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:03 pm

If it is only hard to steer in one direction my money is on trim tab adjustment or possibly bent skeg. In either case if you are having to hold on to the wheel very tight to keep it from veering off course - it is a dangerous situation with an easy fix.

Ll.

Since your unit is easy to steer at low speed, steering cable tube is not the culprit but it was with mine. Motor steering would completely lock up after sitting for as little as a couple months. Cleaned tube with a 10 gauge shotgun wire brush attached to a drill, re-lubed, and installed a steersman nut as recommended on this site. My steering is now smooth as glass and it is original to my 1977 Montauk. I can think of no reason outside very heavy commercial use why steering would fail on a 1998 in such a way as to only affect high speed operation. A cable could get crimped or a gear could break, yes but that should affect the boat at all speeds.

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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Jefecinco » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:19 pm

I suspect the outboard is mounted too low on the transom and/or the OP is operating the boat without trimming the engine out to an optimum high speed operating position. The tachometer will tell the story as far as trim is concerned. As a starting point I suggest trimming out until the boat begins to porpoise and then trim in until the porpoising stops .
Butch

roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:34 pm

I'll take it out in the morning and make note of some things. Dang pic is sideways, sorry. [Yes, please hold your camera in its normal or landscape orientation. There are no browsers that automatically compensate for in-line images which are inappropriately oriented, except for the iPhone. Curiously, it is images captured with the iPhone camera that are always oriented incorrectly.--jimh]
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roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:40 pm

I unhooked the steering cable from the [engine] at the [engine tiller]. The cable [mechanism] is perfect, steers back and forth [with] no effort. The [engine] is the same--smooth, no resistance--except it seems to want to lay to the right with the tilt slightly up and motor centered. Even positioning the motor slightly left of center it still flops over to the right with steering cable still unhooked.

I [reconnected] the steering cable and went out for a ride. At half to full throttle it takes two hands and a lot of effort to turn the boat to the right.

If I didn't know better, I'd say the dang engine is mounted crookedly, but I see no signs of that.

Hope I did not confuse you. Thanks for the help.--Rob
..."some gave all, KIA"...

macfam
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby macfam » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:12 pm

Directly from my Mercury Manual:

MODELS WITH POWER TRIM
Operate your boat at normal cruising speed, trimmed to desired position. Turn your boat left and right and note the direction the boat turns more easily.

If adjustment is necessary, loosen trim tab bolt and make small adjustments at a time. If the boat turns more easily to the left, move the trailing edge of trim tab to the left. If the boat turns more easily to the right, move the trailing edge of trim tab to the right. Retighten bolt and retest.

roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:29 pm

On it first thing in morning, Thanks!
..."some gave all, KIA"...

jimh
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby jimh » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:21 pm

The boat was a fresh-water, garage-kept boat with only 160-hours [of engine running time].


As explained already, the factors that will affect steering forces are:

--engine trim

--engine trim tab position

--engine mounting height

--type of steering system.

It the boat does not have hydraulic steering or a no-feedback mechanical steering, forces at the helm can be high if the engine is not trimmed properly, the trim tab on the engine is not set properly, or if the engine mounting height on the transom is too low. These are the factor that affect steering, not water salinity, where the boat is kept when not in use, or how many hours of running time has accumulated on the engine.

roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:42 am

"These are the factor that affect steering, not water salinity, where the boat is kept when not in use, or how many hours of running time has accumulated on the engine."

I guess to me, this info is important. Thanks
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby jimh » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:44 pm

roguewave wrote:The [engine] is the same--smooth, no resistance--except it seems to want to lay to the right with the tilt slightly up and motor centered. Even positioning the motor slightly left of center it still flops over to the right with steering cable still unhooked.


Are you trying to describe a situation in which the engine mounting on the transom is not level, that is the midsection and gear case of the engine are not truly aligned to the vertical centerline of the transom, i.e. when viewed from astern?

I do not recall hearing any reports of the transom notch in a Boston Whaler MONTAUK 17 boat being cut incorrectly so that the transom upper surface was not level. However, it is always important to check the transom upper surface for being truly level when mounting an engine.

For more advice on mounting an engine to the transom, see Answer #9 in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the REFERENCE section. The URL is

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/FAQ/#Q9

In particular, the applicable advice is:

When locating holes on the transom, do not assume the top of the transom is a straight or true edge. Determine the transom vertical centerline by measuring equal distances from the hull's chines. Align the engine mounting holes to the true vertical centerline of the transom, not to the top edge of the transom.

roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:58 am

Thank you !
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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Dutchman
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Dutchman » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:11 am

From what roguewave is telling us, [the cause of the hard steering] is not the steering linkage. [The cause of the hard steering] it seems to be the trim tab under the anti-ventilation plate that needs adjustment--if roguewave's engine has one, as it might have come off. See item "G" in sketch below. You must turn it to Starboard (right) when standing behind the motor in order to compensate for it steering hard to starboard. We assume the engine and transom are horizontal and mounted correctly.

Mercury owner's Manual says this, but note what I underlined so it still might not work as the skeg must be in water:

Trim Tab Adjustment
Propeller steering torque will cause your boat to pull in one direction. This steering torque is a normal thing that results from your outboard not being trimmed so the propeller shaft is parallel to the water surface. The trim tab can help compensate for this steering torque in many cases and can be adjusted within limits to reduce any unequal steering effort.
NOTE: Trim tab adjustment will have little effect reducing steering torque if the outboard is installed with the anti‑ventilation plate
approximately 50 mm (2 inches) or more above the boat bottom.

Operate your boat at normal cruising speed, trimmed to the desired position. Turn your boat left and right and note the direction the boat turns more easily.

Adjust it slightly and see if it helps, no cost and easy to play with.
Good luck.
EJO
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
50th edition 2008 Montauk 150, w/60HP Mercury Bigfoot

jimh
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby jimh » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:26 pm

Just to be clear, there is nothing that is brand-specific about adjusting the engine trim tab on the underside of the anti-ventilation plate of an outboard engine regarding which way to move it to correct a certain tendency in the steering. This action is a result of the laws of Physics, not engine branding. The Boston Whaler owner's manual gives the same advice about how to adjust the trim tab as the several brand-specific sources quoted. Again, the advice from Boston Whaler is found in the owner's manual on-line HTML version at

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/refere ... ml#trimTab

and was given very early in this discussion.

Of course, any trim-tab or other tab or foil or appendage that hopes to create a force by the flow of water going past it will have to have an actual flow of water going past the foil or appendage to create the force. The recent trend for really high engine mounting heights has perhaps reduced the effectiveness of engine trim tabs by getting them almost out of the water flow, but, at the same time, the higher engine mounting height decreases the forces being generated that the trim tab was trying to compensate for. Also, propellers with a lot of blade rake will usually require removal of the trim tab to prevent interference with the propeller blades.

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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Jefecinco » Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:54 am

When it is necessary to remove the trim tab remember that the tab is part of the engine's anodic protection system. The tab can/should be replaced by a flat anode that fits in the same location as the tab.
Butch

roguewave
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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby roguewave » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:07 pm

Thanks again for all the spot-on advice. Trim is very important, having come from years with 22-foot sterndrive boat I didn't realize how a non-power-steering outboard boat should feel. I do know this, coming out of the hole, full throttle, in a turn will require two handing with heavy muscle to turn left. I just won't be doing that.
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby Jefecinco » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:05 am

Hydraulic steering is always an alternative. As an old guy I'll tell you I certainly appreciate having that option on my 190 Montauk. The steering is relatively effortless compared to the steering cable using a no-feedback helm on my previous Dauntless 16. Our Sport 13 with cable steering can be easily turned lock to lock with one finger but that's with a 30 HP Mercury ELPT engine.
Butch

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Re: 1998 MONTAUK 17 Steers Hard at Speed

Postby jimh » Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:35 pm

Even with hydraulic steering, the forces created by improper trim of the engine will still be felt at the helm. When operating my Boston Whaler boat with 225-HP engine, I can tell when the engine trim is proper just by the feel at the hydraulic steering helm. Steering forces at the wheel are much lighter with proper engine trim.