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  How to unstick frozen steering?

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Author Topic:   How to unstick frozen steering?
RonMT posted 03-24-2002 10:48 AM ET (US)   Profile for RonMT   Send Email to RonMT  
Hello all. After garaging my 13' for the winter my steering is now frozen(not literaly
just the Steering wheel wont move). Being a novice boater I'm not sure if the motor bracket, link arm(30hp 1985 Johnson)or cable is stuck.Unfortunately the steering wheel was turned all the way to the left for storage, where the cable is all the way inserted and I cannot drop the bolt down on the other side of the link arm. I have tried all sorts of lubricants and elbow grease to no avail. Any
suggestions? Thanks
Drisney posted 03-24-2002 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Drisney  Send Email to Drisney     
Ron, Disconnect the large nut on the end of the cable . the rod may be hung on the lip. Also if you do not have the style nut on there that has a zirk for greasing; put one on they are the best insurance against freeze up. If that doesn't do the trick disconnect the engine from the link arm and turn the shaft to free it up.....be sure to run it all the way out and lube it well before putting it all back together. Dave
MikeG posted 03-28-2002 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeG  Send Email to MikeG     
I just ran into the same problem on my Montauk. The steering was getting progressively tighter during last season but was still moving when the boat was put away for the winter. We took it out of the garage last weekend the steering was frozen with the engine hard to the right. I figured it would need some work this season but it isn't moving at all. We had been greasing it regularly before it was stored.

We brought the boat in for a tune-up at the local boat shop and asked about the steering. I told them to try to free it if the could or I would simply buy a new teleflex kit. Boat-US has one for $138.99. My mechanic told me that the boat would need new steering and the engine would have to be removed to do this. He is quoting me $209 for the part and 3-5 hours labor at $68/hr. This seems really high to me. If they actually pull the engine off I may install tilt and trim (not originally on the 88spl). Either way do these places normally make such a huge profit margin on these parts?

I haven't had the steering removed yet. Does anyone know the length of the cable for a Montauk? 10' or 12'?

Thanks and sorry for the rambling...
Mike

Cpt Quint posted 03-28-2002 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cpt Quint  Send Email to Cpt Quint     
if you can put to leggos together you can replace the steering system. Disconnect it from the motor. Slide it through the motor tube, measure the length, go to boaters world or west marine, pickup a duplicate and go. if it rack n pinion on a smaller craft thats fine. no need to get too fancy.
mine was so stuck in there last year that i had to pound it out. but the replacement was a piece of cake
Steve Leone posted 03-28-2002 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
frozen steering is a b*&ch. sometimes they are easy, sometimes you need to grab a torch. the torch is probably what you will need. start off by disconnecting the steering drag link. this is the bar that connects the pivot on your engine to the steering rod or "inner cable". undo the large nut on the threaded steering tube. all the way. use a large crescent if you have`nt got a big enough wrench. if the nut won`t budge heat it with a small propane torch (benzomatic). it should turn now. next clean all the surfaces around your work with paint thinner or solvent. don`t use gas, it goes boom. the next thing you want to do is heat up the steering tube with the torch. if the bezomatic won`t do it you will need a plumbers torch with a spreader tip. this will allow for a broad wide flame. heat the mother up but don`t cook it. try to keep the flame on just the parts you want hot. don`t barbecue you`re engine, rubber parts or plastic pieces. take a large hammer (3lb or so) and a piece of hardwood or aluminum block. place the wood or block against the end of the stainless steering rod. smack it. keep heating and smacking. if you have clearance you can send the rod all the way through the steering tube. if not you will have to loosen the engine on the transom and slide the engine away from the steering so the rod and nut will clear the boat. after you have the damn thing out rest. then inspect the rod for scores and turn your steering wheel to see if it moves back and forth easy. if ther are no scores and you hav`nt mushroomed the end, and if it slides to and fro easy, then clean it real good. go down to the hardware store and but a wire brush. the kind that looks like a pipe cleaner but shorter. you can find these through ace hardware. the diameter is perfect for the inside of the tube. cut the hanle off where it loops. buy a piece of copper tube about 14in long that the end of the wire brush handle will fit into. insert the metal brush handle and crush the tube over it. you should end up with a new "tool" for reaming out the inside of the tube . bend it so its as straight as you can get it. attach the end of the "tool" into a reversable drill and dip the wire part into some solvent. ream the tube with this. it will take out all the crap and rust. if the steering is ok then grease the hell out of it with o.m.c. triple guard or a good steering grease. re-install the steering rod into the tube and tighten the nut. if you never want this to happen again you can buy something called a "steerman nut". they come in alluminum and stainless. buy the stainless one. follow the instructions. pump some grease into the zirq fitting. bolt the engine back on making sure you sikaflex the through bolt holes so you don`t get water in the transom. re-attach the drag link and tighten the fittings the way they were when removed. go fishing. steve out. ps you can buy several different types of replacement steering kits. they start as low as $99.00 and go overa $1000.00 for hydraulics. the most comon one i use is a no feedback model by teleflex. they have changed all of the steering systems because teleflex apparently bought morse. this rotary no-feedback lists for about $235.00. it can be had for less if you shop around. cable length usually does not matter and they are generally all the same price regardless of length. i charge 2-4 hours to replace steering, depending on how stuck they are and if i have to get the big hole saw out for the helm.
aubv posted 03-29-2002 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     
MikeG

Maybe $209 and $68/hour doesn't sound so bad!

Steve Leone forgot to mention you will be saying more than a few choice if you have a tough one.

Other than that, the only other thing I would add, if you don't install "steerman nut" grease regularly after the new one is installed and every couple of years remove cable clean out all old grease, regrease and reassemble.

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