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Joe D

2003 235SSI loose steering

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I recently purchased a used 235 SSI with 220 hours on the 496 Magnum Bravo III I/O.  The steering is slightly loose and the marina mechanic stated this issue is common due the high torque of the motor causing more than usual wear on the steering cable and it's components.

My question is has anyone done the steering cable replacement on a 235 SSI?  It seems access to the helm is not so straight forward, and how difficult is it to replace the cable?

Thanks

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You may want to also to check the gimble ring where it connects to the steering pin. They are known to loosen and wear if not properly re torqued every season. A commonly overlooked maintenance issue.

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Thanks I will have that checked as well, but the mechanic had his head way deep in the bilge while I shook the steering and he saw the play in the cable and cable end 'teeth'.

I see that your post shows that your running 24 pitch props.  Was that they way the boat was set up new, or did you make a prop change?  I have 26 pitch props and run up to 4900 RPM.

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I've replaced both cable and helm unit on my 230ssi because of a broken cable. A little play is normal. I would try to compare the amount of play with another boat so you don't spend money or time and end up with the same result. That being said it's safety first so check everything thoroughly. You don't want to have cable break at speed while turning in a narrow channel. Don't ask me how I know. 

On my 230 it wasn't that hard to do. I removed the screwed in cooler mount which helped a lot and the bottom of the helm station was open. Don't think you have that luxury. I also needed a large but short length open end wrench for the nut on the steering rack.  Somewhere between 1" to 1-1/2" as I recall.

If you're gonna replace the cable change out the helm unit also. The helm unit pulls the cable internally through itself and it's not serviceable and you can't see if it's worn. At least mine wasn't. 

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Adding to the post with a slight twist.  I was asking my mechanic, (whom I trust, experienced and NOT trying to rip me off) about the -in my opinion- abrupt shifting possibly due to slightly high RPM (showing 800 at the tach) at idle and idle in gear.  I went with him on a bay test after he recommended changing the 26 Pitch props, which needed recon anyway, to 22 pitch.   The scanner confirmed a proper 650 RPM at idle, and the 22 pitch props made the abruptness of the shift a little smoother.  At WOT we hit the rev limiter at 4975 RPM.  Didn't really get a full MPH reading with the GPS but it was around 53 MPH.  (i did 58 MPH on the lake at about 4800 RPM with the dinged up 26 pitch props at time of purchase)

The next step after consulting Mercruiser (mechanic did research said the 496 rev limiter should kick in at 5100) and the Prop shop is to cup the 22 pitch props to back off the rev limiter kicking in, and gain a few MPH above the 53 MPH.  

The boat has no Bottom Paint currently, and the mechanic ran the boat with 24 pitch props and he said it ran like #$%@!.

Any thoughts??? I see that Mi3sons is happy with the 24s, and that makes me curious about why the 24s didn't work with my set up.

Mi3sons what is you WOT MPH with the 24s???

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7 hours ago, Joe D said:

Adding to the post with a slight twist.  I was asking my mechanic, (whom I trust, experienced and NOT trying to rip me off) about the -in my opinion- abrupt shifting possibly due to slightly high RPM (showing 800 at the tach) at idle and idle in gear.  I went with him on a bay test after he recommended changing the 26 Pitch props, which needed recon anyway, to 22 pitch.   The scanner confirmed a proper 650 RPM at idle, and the 22 pitch props made the abruptness of the shift a little smoother.  At WOT we hit the rev limiter at 4975 RPM.  Didn't really get a full MPH reading with the GPS but it was around 53 MPH.  (i did 58 MPH on the lake at about 4800 RPM with the dinged up 26 pitch props at time of purchase)

The next step after consulting Mercruiser (mechanic did research said the 496 rev limiter should kick in at 5100) and the Prop shop is to cup the 22 pitch props to back off the rev limiter kicking in, and gain a few MPH above the 53 MPH.  

The boat has no Bottom Paint currently, and the mechanic ran the boat with 24 pitch props and he said it ran like #$%@!.

Any thoughts??? I see that Mi3sons is happy with the 24s, and that makes me curious about why the 24s didn't work with my set up.

Mi3sons what is you WOT MPH with the 24s???

Mine revs to 4900 with the 24's. What is your drive ratio?

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Tired engine . Needs some parts to run strong again.  Have your tach & rev limiter accuracy checked by your good mechanic only. Use a newer GPS unit for speed accuracy.

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I'm having the 26 pitch props reconditioned and maybe I will squeeze a bay test in before it gets too cold with the 26's.  Having the steering system including the cable, tilt and helm mechanism replaced for peace of mind, and hopefully an improvement.  I have the OEM drive ratio, its 1:81-1?  

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On 11/17/2017 at 0:38 PM, Joe D said:

I'm having the 26 pitch props reconditioned and maybe I will squeeze a bay test in before it gets too cold with the 26's.  Having the steering system including the cable, tilt and helm mechanism replaced for peace of mind, and hopefully an improvement.  I have the OEM drive ratio, its 1:81-1?  

I don't recommend going down to 22" Bravo 3 props. I honestly can't imagine that the 24" props ran like fecal matter. 22" sure would be nice if you're planning on your ride becoming a refugee boat. Beyond that, the engine is straining for nothing. Louder, thirstier, slower.

5150 RPM for cut-out sounds like for 496 Mag HO (rev range 4600-5000), not the standard 496 Mag. (rev range 4400-4800)

NOTE: you could opt for a Teleflex (now SeaStar) HPS rotary steering system for less slop, but your current helm is the Teleflex OEM splined style, not the keyed standard type. Would require a new steering wheel. I don't think Teleflex makes an HPS OEM version helm though. Often gimbal ring and square/square steering shaft take a beating too.

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I found the Mercruisers of 5.0L with power steering to be very sluggish at idle & require a effort compared to a car with power steering.

Then I installed a www.wanderfin.com oon the drive.  UNREAL change. Almost straight, no wandering at no wake speeds. LOVE it.

BUUTTT ( Seems like there is always a BUUTT )

I found that the boat acquired a severe case of TOO MUCH POWER STEERING at HIGH SPEEDS & TURNS.  If you cut the wheel at 35 mph & let go. The wheel would continue turning to tighten the turn.  Have to be carefull not to take my hands off the wheel in a fast tight turn.

However. No hand on the wheel off plane.   It also removed all the  " slop "  in the steering system feel. I am touchy about sloppy / loose steering.

All 3.... 5.0L are Alpha 1.

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I did run the boat after changing both the steering cable and tilt helm and prop work before winterizing.  Results???   Steering is tight, almost no slop, that's a plus.  However during the bay test down the narrow canal near my mechanic the boat 'wanders' left and right slightly without moving the wheel.  I don't really have a base line of how it operated previously, due to the looseness of the steering wheel. 

With the re conned 26 props, I was able to get 59 MPH at WOT on my navionics app thats a plus also.  Some 235SSI owners have reported MPH in the low 60's with the same setup, I guess i'll have to settle for 59 MPH as a top speed.  I don't run WOT alot, but its fun to do occasionally.   Bottom paint should slow me down a bit too, part of the convenience of keeping it docked at the marina 

 

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1 hour ago, Joe D said:

I did run the boat after changing both the steering cable and tilt helm and prop work before winterizing.  Results???   Steering is tight, almost no slop, that's a plus.  However during the bay test down the narrow canal near my mechanic the boat 'wanders' left and right slightly without moving the wheel.  I don't really have a base line of how it operated previously, due to the looseness of the steering wheel. 

With the re conned 26 props, I was able to get 59 MPH at WOT on my navionics app thats a plus also.  Some 235SSI owners have reported MPH in the low 60's with the same setup, I guess i'll have to settle for 59 MPH as a top speed.  I don't run WOT alot, but its fun to do occasionally.   Bottom paint should slow me down a bit too, part of the convenience of keeping it docked at the marina 

 

When running down the canal you were at no wake speeds right?  If so you had the common bow wander of virtually all monohulls.  Duo prop/Bravo 3 drives will eliminate some of the wander but every boat I have ever had wandered at idle speed.

59 at WOT is smoking in most Chaps.  Yours with the 496 and bottom painted hull, that is probably all you can expect.

It does sound like you resolved your loose steering issue which is awesome.

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