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Author Topic:   Suggestions for removing old tilt tube
ShrimpBurrito posted 11-12-2003 03:33 PM ET (US)   Profile for ShrimpBurrito   Send Email to ShrimpBurrito  
My steering cable died last week. After removing it, I found a fair amount of corrosion inside the tilt tube. Previously, it was difficult to raise and lower the engine to the point that I had to apply significant pressure to lower it. So I decided that, while I had the steering apart, I was going to fix both problems once and for all and take the advice of some folks here and install a stainless tilt tube.

I removed the two grease fittings on the engine bracket. I haven't been able to get grease in there for some time, even after removing them before and cleaning them and the hole in the bracket. I applied some PB Blaster on the tube in between all the brackets, and freed up the tilt action quite a bit. It now moves quite freely, however, when I tilt the engine, the tube still turns with it. Thus, I'm guessing that the old grease is keeping the tube in place.

In an attempt to pull the tube out, I've used various lengths of steel pipe to form spacers between one of the tilt tube nuts and the engine bracket. I then tighten the nut, and that pulls it out ever so slowly. I've got it out about half way, to the point where one end is now totally out of the one side and directly under the cowling center line.

Unsurprisingly, I've run into problems. Due to the incredible force I'm having to apply to pull the tube out (it's still not easy using a 4-foot pipe on the end of the wrench), the threads are now stripped.

Any suggestions? I thought about using a wheel puller to push it out from the other side, but I don't want to mushroom the tube, preventing it from going through the bracket.

Bigshot posted 11-12-2003 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I got mine out with a BFH....literally.

[ "BFH", an abbreviation for Big Fat Hammer.]

kingfish posted 11-12-2003 04:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Is this the condition that Clark Roberts was writing about in another thread a couple of weeks ago, where he said to apply a **lot** of heat to melt the grease? And then apply some more heat?
ShrimpBurrito posted 11-12-2003 06:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Well, I just torched it for awhile, and it didn't budge even a fraction of an inch when I tried to persuade it with a hammer.

My most recent attempt was pushing it through with an 8" wheel puller, via a Craftsman socket of identical diameter. Not only did it not move, but it bent the wheel puller shaft, and mushroomed the tilt tube. Now I'll have to cut the *#$*#&&^ thing from under the cowling before it will ever pull through.

lhg posted 11-12-2003 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Don't know what your engine brand is, but with a Mercury the only way to do it to DRIVE out the old one with a new one, engine in the vertical position, using a block under the skeg and the trailer jack to carefully take as much weight off the tube as possible. As the old tube comes out, the new one is in perfect position, keeping washers, etc in place. It's usually a simple job, but be careful you don't smash the threads on the end of the new tube.

If it is so bad that you can't do this, I would take it to a dealer where some disassembly will be required.

When you re-install your steering BE SURE to install a "Steersman" SS grease jerk, o-ring, nut in place of the OEM nut. If you've got a Mercury, omit the o-ring in the tilt tube, as it will prevent the grease from working into the tube. With this nut, you can regularly service your steering and replace worn o-rings without having to pull the cable out.

There is much prior discussion on this subject, but I repeated it anyway.

ShrimpBurrito posted 11-12-2003 08:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
It's a 1987 40 HP Johnson. I had a Steersman installed on there for at least the past 10 years, and it works great. The steering had never given me a problem before it failed, but the tilt has been problematic for quite some time.

After all the effort, the dealers I've spoken with don't "see" a stainless tilt tube listed for my model. Has anyone tried using a stainless, galvanized, or just plain steel pipe purchased from a hardware or plumbing store?

John O posted 11-12-2003 10:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for John O    
Heat it and hammer it.
Steve Leone posted 11-13-2003 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
I have a complete intermediate if you want to stop smashing your thumb. It is painted camo though. It is mechanical tilt, no power trim. I will sell it cheap. It really isnt that heavy because its mostly aluminum. Tilt tube is in good condition I believe. You will have to remove the lower unit and the powerhead on yours to replace. A new gasket will be in order. Should only take a half a day to swap. They are pretty simple. Then you can scap yours for 13 cents a pound, or beat it with a sledge for satisfaction.
Bigshot posted 11-13-2003 10:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Do not heat it. There are thin plastic gaskets in there that will melt.
kingfish posted 11-13-2003 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Didn't mean to confuse things - Clark posted about heating *something* a lot to melt the grease and free it up. Maybe steering cable??

Back to my corner...

ShrimpBurrito posted 11-13-2003 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
That was one of my next steps anyway, kingfish.

Bigs: Thanks for the heads-up.

Bigshot posted 11-13-2003 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I just remembered that my cable froze in the tube so I cut it(cable) and beat the hing out and the tube came with it. I then heated the tube to get the steering out and reinserted it. On each side of the mounting "arms" are thin gaskets that will melt if heated on the engine.
Bigshot posted 11-13-2003 02:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Not really gaskets, more of a bushing.
ShrimpBurrito posted 11-14-2003 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
A BFH and alot of persuasion was all it took. A sledge hammer to be exact. Just had to take great pains to get the aim right.
Steve Leone posted 11-15-2003 01:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
I have a good used tube if you need one.
jimh posted 11-15-2003 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Is the problem that the outer surface of the tilt tube is corroded to the motor mount casting?
shoctor posted 11-17-2003 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for shoctor  Send Email to shoctor     
Just remem ber that heat expands and cold shrinks when you start heating things up to get them out most likely you should be using a oxy acetylene torch and get things cherry hot. However a lot of outboards use casted parts and do not react well to heat hence they may crack and break.
shane
ShrimpBurrito posted 11-17-2003 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Steve - Thanks very much for the offer, but I had already purchased one.

jimh - I'm guessing it was mostly old grease with a little bit of corrosion. I bore out the engine bracket with some emery cloth, and most of what came out was a gray, powdery substance. It wasn't particularly sticky, but it didn't give at all between my fingers. Plus, the point of most resistance (by far) was one of the parts of the engine bracket that had a zerk fitting attached.

Bigshot posted 11-17-2003 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Did you think I was kidding with my 1st post ;)
ShrimpBurrito posted 11-17-2003 02:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
No, but it took awhile to gain confidence in my aim.
Steve Leone posted 11-17-2003 11:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
There is a point of no return when heating aluminum (outboard castings) with an oxy-acetelene torch. It does not get to "cherry hot". It becomes liquid quite rapidly. A bit too much heat and "bloop", you have a nice abstact sculpture on the floor. A large propane plumber`s torch is the ticket with a big broad flame. If the job is small use a hand-held propane. Those O.M.C. pivots get salted up. Thats the stuff you were running through your fingers. Maybe with a bit of dried out grease to cake it in real good. This takes place in just about any nook or cranny of an outboard. O.M.C. uses plastic sleeves on the pivot tube at the bracket ends. These will melt if overheated. They can be replaced though and are fairly inexpensive to buy. Allways wear a good mask when you are burnig that junk.

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