Toddavid

Steering uh oh?

17 posts in this topic

Launched on Lake George today for our annual vacation. Motored to our rental house dock with no issue. Wind blowing hard out of the north, boat bobbing and weaving big time in the swells. After securing, I noticed draft was much shallower than I thought and trimmed up drive fully.

After the water calmed a bit, I took her out for a spin. About 200 yards from the dock, I'm suddenly going in circles. Steering is not responding and I'm cranking left and right, running her backwards and forwards. Nada. All I got is full starboard going forward and full port in reverse. First thought: this is going to be a tricky ride back to the dock (straight into the setting sun, too). 200ft deep, can't throw an anchor. Thinking maybe my drive was pounding on the rocky bottom at the dock and is fubarred.

I power up the hatch and start looking around, cranking on the steering. I see the cable has a cap nut on it where it inserts into the rack and that's fully off the threads. Break out the tool kit and lock her back down. Steering now steers, and disaster averted for time being as I get her back to the dock.

However, now that I'm studying a system I've never looked at under power, I'm unsure what I'm seeing is normal. When I get near full lock the rack pivots up and down. Grabbing it it seems to be normal play in the pivot pins, but I'm not sure and I'd hate to find out at speed. Thoughts?

Jumped in water back at dock with scuba mask and I see no damage to drive, so all good there.

IMG_1681

 

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Sounds normal, mine does that as well.  I'm shocked it came loose.  Mine is so tight that I've never been able to bust it loose.  So I wasn't sure it would separate there.

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1 hour ago, Toddavid said:

Launched on Lake George today for our annual vacation. Motored to our rental house dock with no issue. Wind blowing hard out of the north, boat bobbing and weaving big time in the swells. After securing, I noticed draft was much shallower than I thought and trimmed up drive fully.

After the water calmed a bit, I took her out for a spin. About 200 yards from the dock, I'm suddenly going in circles. Steering is not responding and I'm cranking left and right, running her backwards and forwards. Nada. All I got is full starboard going forward and full port in reverse. First thought: this is going to be a tricky ride back to the dock (straight into the setting sun, too). 200ft deep, can't throw an anchor. Thinking maybe my drive was pounding on the rocky bottom at the dock and is fubarred.

I power up the hatch and start looking around, cranking on the steering. I see the cable has a cap nut on it where it inserts into the rack and that's fully off the threads. Break out the tool kit and lock her back down. Steering now steers, and disaster averted for time being as I get her back to the dock.

However, now that I'm studying a system I've never looked at under power, I'm unsure what I'm seeing is normal. When I get near full lock the rack pivots up and down. Grabbing it it seems to be normal play in the pivot pins, but I'm not sure and I'd hate to find out at speed. Thoughts?

Jumped in water back at dock with scuba mask and I see no damage to drive, so all good there.

IMG_1681

 

On my 1985 rack, movement is normal.  Denny.

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1 hour ago, Duane2135 said:

Sounds normal, mine does that as well.  I'm shocked it came loose.  Mine is so tight that I've never been able to bust it loose.  So I wasn't sure it would separate there.

There was a lot of grease on the threads, could have been wiping off the exposed cable I guess. But no loctite on the threads. Had to use a wrench on the nut and one on the flats of the machined cylinder it threaded on to. Have no idea why it worked loose on its own, but relieved to know that may have been my only issue. Was bummed thinking my whole vacation was shot on day one when the steering crapped out.

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That's why I've tried to bust mine loose, so I could be sure it was greased up.  Mine has lock tight on it!

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Do you have a shop do the winterization / maintenance? Or perhaps a major repair done. If yes, maybe they disconnected / lubricated the cable end as a maintenance thing and didn't tighten it back up enough.

Since your boat is only a 2014, maybe it was never fully tightened from the get go.

I just replaced mine and put no loctite on it, but it is tight...... That up and down movement at full range of steering is normal.

Sine the cable loosened up, I would check the two anchor pins / bolts that hold the steering ram inplace to be sure the pins are tight and the lock tabs are inplace and locked against the pin / bolt heads.

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Yikes, glad you were able to avert a very treacherous situation. Not sure I'd feel comfortable accelerating with that until you know it's tight.

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13 hours ago, Toddavid said:

I power up the hatch and start looking around, cranking on the steering. I see the cable has a cap nut on it where it inserts into the rack and that's fully off the threads. Break out the tool kit and lock her back down. Steering now steers, and disaster averted for time being as I get her back to the dock.

However, now that I'm studying a system I've never looked at under power, I'm unsure what I'm seeing is normal. When I get near full lock the rack pivots up and down. Grabbing it it seems to be normal play in the pivot pins, but I'm not sure and I'd hate to find out at speed. Thoughts?

Jumped in water back at dock with scuba mask and I see no damage to drive, so all good there.

IMG_1681

 

Once you tighten the steering cable nut, you should be good to go. No one would have replaced the steering actuator under warranty by chance? Have found some of those particular actuators leak and spew power steering oil into the bilge. Doesn't appear to be the case with yours judging by the picture. Very glad to hear no one was hurt; great idea going for a test drive and having tool kit on board! Seriously, top marks.

One word of caution: don't recommend pushing or pulling on steering actuator while the engine is running. Some actuator designs can move when pressure is placed on them, and can pinch fingers. In such a case, they have no respect for flesh and bones. Enjoy your vacation!

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Thanks everyone. Took her out this morning on a glass smooth lake and all seems proper.

Pops, I'm second owner so I can't speak to what the previous one did, but I do all my own work and never touched that fitting. Had only 74hrs on her when I bought her so who knows what happened during that time.

Shepherd, good to know she should be shipshape in that dept now. I was a mechanic in a previous life, so I've had my fair share of mechanical war wounds, appreciate the word of advice. Not sure if rack was ever replaced, hasn't been on my watch.

Gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about if that nut had decided to liberate itself while I was at speed. The sudden change in direction would surely have thrown people violently around the cockpit, and if there happened to be any other craft in the area, watch out.

I strongly suggest everyone here to periodically check their nuts! B)

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FYI, this is why everyone should have an oar on a boat. An oar could keep you off the rocks in a time of need.

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I love watching racks bouncing up and down as they are worked to the left and then to the right!

 

 

Oh wrong forum, LOL 

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3 hours ago, Duane2135 said:

I love watching racks bouncing up and down as they are worked to the left and then to the right!

 

 

Oh wrong forum, LOL 

So you hunt deer in the off boating season? 

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5 hours ago, Denny said:

So you hunt deer in the off boating season? 

 2 legged dear ;)

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Mine comes with an adjustable wedge that is held on with a bolt.

It is designed to loch around the hex headed nut.

I guess the newer ones are new and improve, and don't require a safety feature.

IMG_5716_zpsd3yhahbx.jpg

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I think someone back then knew something bad could happen without a lock plate, which means someone made the conscious decision to save 25 cents at the expense of a pretty catastrophic risk to the user.

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12 hours ago, Toddavid said:

I think someone back then knew something bad could happen without a lock plate, which means someone made the conscious decision to save 25 cents at the expense of a pretty catastrophic risk to the user.

Ya, we use to say, it cost more, and you get less. Denny.

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