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Seized steering

Bryant fish

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This comes up all the time, there's a couple of steps first, disconnect the steering from the motor to make sure it's the cable and not to motor seized (it will probably be the cable) if the motor moves freely by hand, it's time to investigate if it's seized where it goes through the front of the motor (tilt tube) it probably will be, sometimes a gentle tap on the stainless shaft will free it enough to get it moving, be careful not to burr the end, once it's loose, remove it completely by removing the big nut on the side, clean the inside of the tilt tube out, and clean the shaft, grease with ONLY marine grease, not bearing grease or water proof grease (OMC Triple Guard is the best) reassemble and go boating. If it's the cable and helm again, toss the lot and replace with a brand name unit, don't try to lube it.

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Yeah motor moves fine it's actually  a twin 40 setup I disconnected 2nd one to make it easier to move I'm in Sydney and it's pissing down so can't do much.only checked it because last time I went out (about 2 months  ago bloody covid) it was stiff and had to disconnect 2nd motor to free it up. 

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24 minutes ago, noelm said:

Almost all steering is "reliable" hydraulic has its issues too, as with anything on a boat, maintenance is critical.

Very occasionally they can leak but you won't get this sort of thing happening - ie seizing up after 2 years. Also much less effort required to operate as well as needing very little maintenance.

Edited by slowjigger
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59 minutes ago, Bryant fish said:

As I asked before does the helm need greasing I don't think so but maybe wrong

Not normally no, cable steering is OK, but there's a couple of things that need attention, the rod where it goes through the front of the motor gives the most trouble, the tilt tube on the motor is plain old steel, and rusts. The outer cable can rust away causing all sorts of problems (but I doubt that's your current issue) and the wrong grease gives major problems, it just goes hard in salt water.

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This is what I've always done.Here is a common issue with the boating public at one time or another,the stiff steering/throttle etc caused by neglected cables and moisture getting in them or worse totally frozen and unable to move freely. 
Im maintaining a teleflex steering cable hear but this method works on cables ranging from bicycle brakes to hand brakes on cars,trust me I've used it on everything and do all my outboards cables like I'm about to document. 
What I like to do is disconnect the cable from the outboard side and the helm side leaving the cable in place and force feeding transmission fluid through the cable using an adapter I have made up using compressed air to clean and lubricate the cable. 
 As alot of you guys don't have access to a compressor for demonstration purposes I have totally removed my cable and used a small portable air matress inflator to achieve the same thing. 
   Years ago I used a tyre valve contraption and even hanging the cable up vertically with a funnel attached and gravity feeding the trans fluid will work but much slower. 
The first step is to undo the drag link retaining nut as shown here and thread the 2 washers and nut back on the thread so that they don't get lost-If the outboard moves freely by hand it indicates that the bushings are in working order and lubed,if its stiff you need to pay attention to the pivot bushings. 
   If the helm is stiff there's an issue with the cable or the helm itself,if it moves freely it indicates a helm and cable in good order. 
Next you want to remove the plastic nut from the tilt tube,be carefull there's an o ring inside that's suppose to stop water/moisture entering- 
The plastic nut showing the o ring that lives inside- 
Now remove this large locknut for the steering cable- 
With the locknut removed you can start sliding the ram out of the tilt tube- 
You can see the oil has become emulsified if you look closely,only one thing can cause this-Water. 
Here the ram has been removed further and you can clearly see the contaminated sludge on the ram- 
Inside the tilt tube is the same,rust coloured sludge- 
Here I've wrapped some emery cloth around a steel bar to use with brake cleaner to clean out the tilt tube- 
You can see the rusty colour of the rag I've placed under the tilt tube opening(Why manufacturers don't make the tilt tubes out of stainless I don't know)Maybe I'll fit stainless to mine. 
This image shows the ram starting to rust- 
A bit of a sand with emery cloth and it's like new again- 
Ram cleaned up with brake clean and rag- 
Tilt tube nice and clean also ready for assembly later- 
Now that we have the outboard end all disconnected and cleaned up it's time to move onto disconnecting the cable at the helm. 
This is a shot of the helm where you need to first remove this R clip- 
Now you need to push this pin in with a small screwdriver or similar to unlock the cable and pull on the cable to pop it free- 
The cable is driven by a worm gear inside the helm which feeds the cable out of it's housing automatically by turning the steering wheel to starboard you'll see it feed itself out- 
Once the cable comes all the way out of the helm it's simply a matter of feeding the cable back along the Gunnel and completely removing it from the boat- 
Ok it's time to clean out the old gunk from the cable and lubricate its entire length with fresh transmission fluid. 
On the helm end of the cable I've attached a 3/4  diameter piece of hose around 2 foot long using a hose clamp- 
You want to hold the open end of this hose vertical,Here I've utilised the garage roller door track and wedged the hose in the channel(fits like a glove)- 
Now add approximately 200ml of transmission fluid into the hose(don't worry any excess just pours back into the bottle later)- 
Here's the portable pump I'm using to force the transmission fluid through the entire length of the cable until it comes out the outboard end of the cable for this demonstration(If you have compressed air,use it)- 
Now attach the pump to the open end of the hose with another clamp as shown- 
Place something to catch the oil coming out of the outboard end of the cable,here I've used a bucket lid- 
All you need to do now is turn on the pump and work the outboard end of the cable in/out by hand for a few minutes until fresh transmission fluid comes out indicating that the cable is now clean and lubed throughout its entire length as shown here- 
I've now got a clean and lubed cable ready to install back on the boat- 
Now it's a matter of feeding the freshly refurbished cable back up the gunnel- 
The cable coming out under the dash- 
Now you need to feed the cable into the helm and turn the steering to port to feed the cable all the way into the helm as shown- 
Once the cable is pulled all the way into place it will automatically lock in place by the pin you depressed at the beginning and then install the R clip you removed- 
Now that the helm end is finished its time to re-install the outboard end making sure you use transmission fluid in the tilt tube,anti seize on the threaded locknut and loctite on the drag link nut and your done. 
Hopefully this aids those of you that have cable issues and want to maintain them. 
  You can use marine grease,lithium grease in the tilt tube if you want but nothing lubricates the cable like tranny fluid in my experience. 

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1 hour ago, Bryant fish said:

Yeah Noel I can't see any reason why this has happened that's why I'm thinking helm end just have to  wait for rain to stop so I can look at it

The helm usually goes due to gears breaking due to extra pressure from a stiff or frozen steering. Another point is that if your tilt tube is rusty this could be the reason for your reoccurring problems.

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56 minutes ago, Bryant fish said:

Thanks  all will see what it is when rain stops just bloody  annoying  but that's what's happens when you have old stuff

Old stuff with a 2yr old helm shouldn't do that.Helms should last decades.Somethings amiss buy we don't have x-ray vision.The Helm is either faulty/broken or the issue on the engine side.Tilt tube,bushes,etc,swivel bracket. 

 Don't stress as anything can be fixed with detective work on your part,time and some money.

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1 hour ago, Bryant fish said:

So pulled cable out bloody thing seized $120 for a new one not to bad but hopefully lasts longer. now just the weather needs to clear

You only replaced it 2 yrs ago.Should last year's longer than that.I would of cleaned it out and relubed then invested the $120 else where.

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On 11/27/2021 at 6:04 PM, Bryant fish said:

Hey fab may try and fix it for a spare.new 1 is multiflex didnt realise till I got to shop it wasnt teleflex would have happily paid extra for it

Teleflex is the go.Make it a habit of turning the wheel from lock to lock every now and again while it's sitting there and store your boat with the steering ram retracted too.

Hopefully you get many more years from this one.

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