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Author Topic:   steering problem
daverdla posted 08-06-2001 09:30 PM ET (US)   Profile for daverdla   Send Email to daverdla  
Today while cruising at about 15mph I hit the muddy bottom, rapid deceleration. Just the motor hit not the montauk. I stopped the boat raised the trim until the prop was free but the telltale still working and extricated myself. I obviously was not in the part of the channel I thought I was in. Anyway, everything seemed to be fine except for some missing paint off the lower unit. No nicks or chips in the prop just very shiny. Coming home I noticed that at WOT (38-40mph) the boat wanted to turn right. By that I mean that if I let go of the wheel, the wheel spins to starboard. It doesn't yank the wheel out of my hand but its there. At 20mph all is well. I guess it starts at about 25-30mph. I checked the trim tab (its a 100hp v4 evin) it seemd ok. I moved it to the stop and ran again at WOT, no improvement. (It was set at #3 I moved it to #1.) I didn't notice anything being bent or loose. I was not able to check under the boat to see, hopefully not, if anything is wrong with the hull. I am still getting the same top speed at WOT. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I hope to get back down the shore next Sunday or Monday.
Whalerdan posted 08-07-2001 07:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
Just a comment from one of my experiences. I tilt my motor fully down when its in the driveway. One time my son hit the lower unit with the lawn mower. On first glance everything looked fine, but when I took the boat out It was pulling to one side. When I got the boat out I put the motor down and aligned it straight with the boat, then stepped back 10 feet to sight things out. Found the skag on the lower unit was slightly bent. I bent it back with a plastic hammer. I'm not sure if I should, or shouldn't have done this as I probably could have broke it off.
Anyway my point is look at it very closely it might be bent.
whalerron posted 08-07-2001 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
Do you have a no-feedback steering system? If you don't this "problem" could have been there all the time and you didn't notice it. In any boat driven by a single outboard without no-feedback steering, the boat will want to turn to one side or the other depending on which way the prop spins. The steering wheel will definitely turn all the way in one direction on its own until it hits the stop.

It could be that this was always there as would be expected and that you didn't notice it. But, now that you have hit bottom, you are looking for problems and anything seems suspect.

- ron

Dick posted 08-07-2001 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
When you hit bottom you may have broken or knocked the zinc trim tab out of alignment. That will cause your problem.
Whalerdan posted 08-07-2001 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
That tab is up higher and aft of the prop. If he hit that I would expect more damage given its location.
Tom W Clark posted 08-07-2001 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
daverdla said he checked the trim tab and it was OK, even moved it and no difference. Though that in itself begs the question: Why didn't moving the trim tab have some effect, positive or negative?

My thought was the skeg also. They can be bent, though not usually with mud. I've done it but have never really observed any difference in the handling.

The no-feedback theory ron raises is interesting though I don't think it's something one would not have noticed before. Is it possible the NFB part of the steering was broken in the grounding and now it operates without this feature? I doubt it, and again it begs the question of why moving the trim tab from stop to stop wouldn't have neutralized the steering torque anyway.

Is it possible the engine was dislodged from it mounting somewhat and now sits out of plumb on the stern and thus the thrust is not being applied in line with the keel? Seems highly unlikely.

Prop damage? You stated there was none apart from paint loss. Are you sure?

Now trim angle of the motor itself: I assume this motor has trim-n-tilt. Are you sure the motor is running in the same trim level as before the grounding? Trimming the motor out even a little can have a big affect on steering torque as the P-factor comes into play.

daverdla posted 08-07-2001 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
Thanks for the replies. Whalerdan may be right, I'll check the skeg with a straight edge and make sure its not bent. It really looked okay. I had checked the prop both visually and with my hand. I didn't see or feel any dings or chips.

I didn't move the trim tab all the way to the opposite stop. That would be pushing it in the wrong direction, I think. It seems that the tab is biased to counteract the prop torque turning the boat to port. But maybe I have that reversed in my mind. I'll try it anyway. Damage to the NFB is interesting. I believe I have what would have been the standard 1989 montauk steering. Single fat cable to the motor from the gearhousing under the wheel. I don't know if this would be NFB or not. If it is, what would I look for?

I ran it with trim at various positions. Didn't notice any significant difference. I really should reevaluate it.

Many thanks

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