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Author Topic:   Evinrude 225 Power Steering
kingfish posted 04-11-2003 03:42 PM ET (US)   Profile for kingfish   Send Email to kingfish  
1992 Evinrude 225 hp; V6 Loop-charge

On a recent Florida fishing trip, in which My Outrage 22 with the motor shown above was run daily for a week or so anywhere from 50 miles to 100 miles, I started to hear a fairly high pitched metallic clattering at low to moderate RPM, which, as the week progressed, turned into the whine of bearings going bad in a pump somewhere. I determined it was in fact in the power steering pump, which is driven via belt from a pulley on the main shaft just underneath the flywheel. My service manual indicated that to service the pump or even to disconnect the belt, the first thing I had to do was pull the flywheel; I really didn't want to take the time and/or energy to do that until I got back home to Michigan (the fish were biting, for heavens sake).

I finally managed to find two different OMC mechanics (at different marinas) who corroborated each other's story that I could, with very little if any loss of facility, simply cut the belt. Which I then did, and in fact could hardly tell any difference at all in the steering. I'm sure that's because I also have Seastar hydraulic steering; the OMC power steering must have been designed primarily for mechanical-steer motors. Oh, and the noise stopped.

So to my questions, for those here who have, had, or are familiar with this system: Is replacing the bearings and/or rebuilding this pump something that a mechanically inclined amateur could reasonably expect to be able to accomplish? And, maybe even more to the point, does it make any sense to do anything about it at all, given my hydraulic steering allows me to operate the boat just fine without the extra boost?



lhg posted 04-11-2003 07:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
John - As one familiar with Sea Star hydraulic steering, but not the OMC power steering system, I remember looking at the steering installation on your boat and thinking it looked quite complicated. Yours has the only such installation I have ever seen.

Like the Sea Drive system, I think the Power Steering system's days have come and gone.
Mercury also had a similar short lived option.

I would simply buy a new Teleflex front mount cylinder, and I think you'll like it's simple and clean installation.

kingfish posted 04-11-2003 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Hi, Larry-

Thanks for the reply; I wonder if I can simply remove the hydraulic lines that run from the pump under the cowling to the current steering cylinder (the power steering supply and return lines) and then plug the two openings in the pump and the two openings in the cylinder with appropriate threaded brass plugs, and forget about it. I probably ought to look around the internet for a good graphic representation of a simple front-mount Teleflex cylinder as you've suggested, so I can see what one looks like though. It probably would leave a cleaner-looking installation, and with a little luck might even give me a better opportunity than I currently have to manage the hydraulic steering lines such that I would be able to tilt my motor all the way clear of the water without binding them against the transom.

You and I need to trade some notes - I'd like to hear how your trip around the keys went-


kingfish posted 04-12-2003 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I've looked at the SeaStar (Teleflex) front mount cylinder; that certainly is a way cleaner install than what I have now. I think mine is an OMC/SeaStar side mount, with the added ports, bulk and hardware for the two additional power steering lines.

If it wouldn't bolix things up by just leaving the onboard power steering pump as it is and removing the hydraulic lines to it, I think I'd be in the market for a new front-mount cylinder.

kingfish posted 04-12-2003 04:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Well, the fat is in the fire - it's a nice day here in MI after the freak snow storm last week, and I attacked the power steering this morning.

Contrary to popular opinion and the OMC service manual, the power steering pump assembly *can* be removed without removeing the flywheel; one bolt was a little difficult and had to be turned about 1/16th of a turn at a time, but if I had been able to find my Craftsman ratcheted 9/16 closed end wrench, it would have been a snap...

Anyway, I removed the pump and all its ugly little friends and relatives - I can't believe the pile of stuff that came off! Power steering had to be an expensive little feature on those engines. When I was done, all I had to do was plug two ports in the steering cylinder with threaded brass plugs, turn three shorter stainless cap screws back into the block in place of the longer cap screws that held the pump assembly on, plug the drainage line that cleared the oil cooler when the motor was tilted, and connect the oil cooling water source line to the cooling water waste line that runs to the telltale, effectively bypassing where the oil cooler used to be. There's a whole lot of open territory on the starboard side of my motor now - I'll bet 25# of stuff came off!

For what it's worth, my problem may not have been a bearing in the pump; it might have been a bearing in the idler pulley assembly. It has its own cast housing seperate from the pump and reservoir, and consequently has its own bearings. The motor still steers just fine, at least on the trailer, and I'll give it an in-water test as soon as I can.

lhg posted 04-14-2003 04:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
John - Been away from the computer all weekend, but it sounds like you solved it. I had no idea that system was so complicated!
Oil cooler on an outboard? No wonder that idea died an early death. I wonder how much HP it was sucking out of the engine? I think you did the right thing getting rid of it. I even wonder if parts are still available from Bombardier. As I said I remember Mercury also offered such a system for a while, and I think it was about $1100 extra! Teleflex's hydraulic steering knocked both of these early 90's systems out, I believe. Just not necessary.

If you are left with a side mount Sea Star cylinder, mounted though the tilt tube like a mechanical steerer, those are great, although on a single engine installation non-symetrical looking. I use those on mine, one cylinder on the 18, between the engines where it's concealed nicely, and two, on the outsides, on the 25.

If the one-sided appearance doesn't bother you, stay with it. I actually think they have less wheel play than the front mount style. But because it is an unbalanced cylinder, in one cylinder installations, it can't be used with an auto-pilot, if that is an issue. For me, it's not. The little SS Steersman grease/o-ring nut is highly recommend where the ram exits the tilt tube. If you reverse it in the tilt tube, like I have done on my 18, it will help counter steering torque, as the ram exerts more force when it is traveling out of the cylinder.

I'll tell you, that 22 of yours keeps getting better and better! I'm waiting for you to tackle a bow pulpit installation next!

kingfish posted 04-14-2003 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
You must be reading my mind...
kingfish posted 06-01-2003 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I performed all the removal work referenced above with the boat on the trailer; I purchased the two threaded brass plugs from a local hardware store, and even though I wrapped the threads excessively in heavy petroleum-proof teflon tape, they still leaked (just a little), and lost an occasional drop of fluid into the motor well; the steering really worked fine though.

It finally occurred to me that the problem with the leak was the cylinder was tapped with straight threads and the threaded cap was of tapered, pipe thread conformation. So just before I legft for a trip up into Canada I went to a hydraulic supply shop here in town and bought a couple of the correctly threaded caps, and they came with o-rings, and they stopped the leaks dead. that was the good news.

The bad news was that when I dropped the boat in the water it would not turn to the right. It didn't slip, the wheel simply wouldn't turn.

Well it finally dawned on me (and I guess if I had my head on straight, I should have been clued in all along), that I had an enclosed hydraulic system here, and when I installed caps that really worked, and that didn't allow that little bit of air to get in through the loose threads, the pressure built up inside the cylinder when I tried to turn, and everything locked up!

I fixed things temporarily by installing threaded barb connections into the two old power steering ports, with lots of teflon tape, and completing the circuit with a short piece of tubing between the two barbs, so air, fluid, or whatever could move back and forth freely when I turn in either direction.

It works really well and doesn't leak now, but it looks a little hokey. During the course of all this, I carefully and completely bled the working hydraulic steering system, and I can honestly say that I can sense *no difference whatsoever* in my current steering as opposed to when I had the power steering hooked up. I could spin the helm with one finger then and I can do the same now.

I did look a little more closely at the front-mount cylinder we have on the Teleflex hydraulic steering system on the 225 Yamaha on our other boat though, and I am committed to ordering one for my Outrage now and replacing the jury-rigged sustem I currently have, even though it does perform well.


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