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Author Topic:   17' Montauk Steering Feedback
Hooks posted 12-30-2005 01:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for Hooks   Send Email to Hooks  
My '98 Montauk has a lot of feedback through the steering wheel from the motor. It has a Safe-T-Steer cover over the helm, so I was thinking it should be a zero feedback type system, but this is far from the case....Does anyone know why I would get so much feedback? Is their an adjustment that can be made to correct the problem?
Maximus posted 12-30-2005 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Maximus  Send Email to Maximus     
The Teleflex 4.2 NFB system is one of the best upgrades you make to your Montauk...Not just for comfort but for safety.
where2 posted 12-30-2005 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
The Teleflex Baystar hydraulic steering setup is the second best upgrade you could install. Seastar hydraulic being the best.

I've got a Baystar setup on my 15' Sport and will never go back to cable steering... Let go of the wheel at 30mph if you wish, the boat continues on course... Its a joy for anyone to run, and my wife no longer complains about steering feed back when I'm skiing.

Back to your original question: If you are getting a one sided tug on your wheel at planing speed, you should adjust the steering tab located just behind the propeller on your lower unit. It should have a central bolt located just in front of the little fin. The tab is adjustable to counteract the natural tendancy for the engine to pull to one side due to the direction of rotation of the propeller. My original Teleflex cable steering was the "basic" helm which always pulled to one side at certain engine trim angles and engine RPM's.

Take a ratchet set along, and adjust the tab in small increments until you reach a happy medium. It's far cheaper than a replacement helm. You may find little numbers located on the tab with respect to a - on the lower unit. These are just reference so you can tell whether you're going up or down or are at the same place you just had it.

Hooks posted 12-31-2005 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hooks  Send Email to Hooks     
Thanks for the advice, I guess my steering system is doing what is expected (giving feedback)...I don't know why it is called Safe-T, because I think with a beginner boater at the helm who doesn't know how to trim properly, it would be anything but Safe!
where2 posted 12-31-2005 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
In comparison to the old cable and pulley system, a Safe-T is a Huge improvement!

Once the little tab is adjusted, you won't have to tinker with it again until after you have the water pump serviced (because no mechanic ever puts them back on in the same spot after they service the water pump).

Tom W Clark posted 01-01-2006 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Your problem is not the steering, it is the tim tab on the motor that is out of whack. Before you change anything with your steering system, you need to adjust the tab correctly.

You can't just bury the problem of steering torque by masking it with fancy steering system.

sosmerc posted 01-10-2006 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc didn't say what engine or prop you were running.
I have found that most engines on a Montauk can (and should) be mounted so the cavitation plate is slightly above the bottom of the hull...this reduces drag, steering torque, and spray. If you are running a quality stainless prop such as a Laser II, HighFive, Rapture, can run the engine even higher to improve over-all performance. Keep in mind that torque feedback at the wheel will change as you adjust your trim angle under should be able to adjust to a point where you could actually let go of the wheel due to zero torque at the helm. Proper adjustment of your trim tab is important...but it won't correct for torque at all trim settings.
Hydraulic steering is an awesome upgrade that does make it possible for anyone to drive the boat...even if they don't understand how to trim it properly underway.
LHG posted 01-10-2006 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I thought all later Montauks came with the 4.2 Teleflex no-feedback helm. But maybe not, or maybe yours was changed.

You should not be getting feedback, which is defined as CONTINUOUS pull on the wheel. The no-feedback unit has a clutch that locks the unit once it is turned, so no feedback occurs. But it will still be harder to turn - just not harder to HOLD on a straight course.

You can very easily determine which helm head you have by looking at it. The no-feedback unit is silver in color, and oblong in shape. The Safe-T is just round.

If you have the no-feedback, and it still causes you to continuously fight the wheel pull, even when running straight, you need a replacement. If you have the old helm, you might also get the replacement head. See and you can order just the head replacement for about $100, the best price you will find.

I run a jackplate mounted 150 Merc on a 21' Whaler which only has the conventional single cable Safe-T steering head, and much to my surprise, inspite of the engine HP and boat's 47 mph top end, it works fine, with little or no pull. The secret, for me at least, is to set the engine's trim tab straight (creates no drag but is contrary to popular recommendations), and trim the engine up until you reach the neutral steering position at a given speed. This will give you the most efficient speed, steering and economy situation. My engine is running elevated about 1", with a either a Merc Laser II prop (faster) or a Vensura 4 blade prop, which also reduces helm pull.

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