"Loose" Steering/Outboard Swivel

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LDUBS

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I’m pretty sure something similar was discussed in an earlier thread. Doggone it, I sure can’t find the thread and I don’t think there was ever a resolution.

I have remote steering. It is a single cable Teleflex Safe-T rotary steering system. My outboard is a Mercury 25 HP four stroke with power tilt & trim.

The steering is very “loose” with the result that at slow trolling speed the outboard sways all over the place. For example, if I stand or sit on the right side of the boat, the boat leans slightly to the right and the outboard will flop over to the right. If I move to the left side, the outboard flops over to the left. This is a real pain when I’m by myself and trying to strip out line or lower a downrigger. If I don’t pay attention, the boat will be going in circles before I know it. Obviously, it is not an issue when I have my hand on the wheel.

I would like a little tension on the steering or outboard swivel bracket so the motor doesn’t flop to whichever side the boat happens to be leaning. Again, I’m talking about idling along at 2 mph. This is not a prop torque issue. I have the trim tab set to counter prop torque at speed.

I’ve heard or read that some steering systems have a tensioning knob to address this. Unfortunately mine doesn’t have that feature. I also can’t find anything obvious to add tension to the outboard’s swivel bracket. I hope I'm missing something.

Hopefully I’m not the first to have this issue and someone can offer some advice on how to address this.

Thanks.
 

Rumblejohn

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I have a four stroke 30 Merc with Teleflex, and the set up should be similar. Mine has very little "play" in the steering. The bolt holding the steering arm to the motor bracket on yours is different than mine, and mine was installed incorrectly by the dealer. The one mine uses is an American Racing Products (ARP) shoulder bolt specific for Heim joints. I has a larger than normal head, to keep the arm connected should the joint fail. It should be installed from top to bottom, lock nut on the bottom ot the motor bracket. At any rate the motor shouldn't flop at any time, something is wrong.
I would take it to a reputable Mercury dealer and have it checked out.

John
 

LDUBS

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Rumblejohn said:
I have a four stroke 30 Merc with Teleflex, and the set up should be similar. Mine has very little "play" in the steering. The bolt holding the steering arm to the motor bracket on yours is different than mine, and mine was installed incorrectly by the dealer. The one mine uses is an American Racing Products (ARP) shoulder bolt specific for Heim joints. I has a larger than normal head, to keep the arm connected should the joint fail. It should be installed from top to bottom, lock nut on the bottom ot the motor bracket. At any rate the motor shouldn't flop at any time, something is wrong.
I would take it to a reputable Mercury dealer and have it checked out.

John

I probably didn't explain this well. There is no "play" between the steering wheel and the outboard.

Here is the "real life" example of what happens. I go to the right rear of the boat to adjust a down rigger. I'm not holding the steering wheel. The boat will lean (list) to the right because my weight is to the right. The outboard will pivot to the right and the steering wheel will turn accordingly. If I sit on the left, same thing except to the left side.

I would just like some tension or dampening on the steering system so the outboard will not fall off to one side or the other when I'm not holding the wheel. Again, talking about slow trolling -- not at speed.

I guess I could "lash" the wheel like Horatio Hornblower used to do, but checking with a dealer is be a better option.

Thanks!

PS: No one better tell me the solution is to go on a diet. Haha.
 

TheLastCall

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Buy a cooler fill it with ice and your preferred refreshments. Push it to the opposite side that your standing on.

Stay hydrated.

I’m probably not much help since I run a tiller but I found in a other forum a dampener type thing.

https://www.rib.net/forum/f50/inflatable-tunnel-cat-speed-wobbles-26994.html

Might not be enough tension to keep it from turning completely but it would slow it.

Or just keep a bungee handy and bungee the wheel when you step away.


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CedarRiverScooter

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Maybe I am too harsh here but think that one should never leave the helm unattended while motor is in gear.

If you were to fall out, boat would be a safety hazard to you & others.
 

Shaugh

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Virtually all outboard motors have a friction adjustment screw on the swivel bracket... If you tell us the exact year and model of your motor I'll find it for you...

On most Mercurys its called the copilot ... a little lever that adjusts friction:

https://www.marineengine.com/parts/mariner-outboard-parts/25-efi-3-cyl4stroke/0r106999-up-usa/conversion-kit-tiller-handle-electric-879147a09
 

JL8Jeff

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Have you greased the tube the cable goes through (you can see the fitting on the front)? The grease should provide some resistance while still allowing smooth movement.
 

LDUBS

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CedarRiverScooter said:
Maybe I am too harsh here but think that one should never leave the helm unattended while motor is in gear.

If you were to fall out, boat would be a safety hazard to you & others.

I agree that safety should always be a concern and a priority. Seeing solo boaters trolling is pretty common on the lakes I frequent. When fishing with a partner, we may or may not stop trolling when we get a fish on. When I am by myself I always put the boat in neutral before I stand up to land a fish. I have an oversize net with a long handle. It is positioned so it is easy to grab when needed. I keep the deck area completely clear. I wear an auto inflatable PFD. When setting a rigger I’m sitting down. If windy, I troll with the wind while stripping line/setting the rigger. If it is really rough, I’m usually not there. If it becomes rough, I leave.

Because I am often out by myself, I’ve been thinking about one of the wireless kill switch gizmos. They are pretty expensive.
 

LDUBS

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The ice cooler solution has a certain appeal.

Thanks for the responses. My outboard is a 2013 Mercury 24 HP EFI four stroke (3 cyl). The SN is 0R541534. It is electric start, remote steering, and has power tilt/trim.

I lube the steering tube routinely so am probably already seeing that benefit.

You questions and comments have kind of led me to understand what is going on. Before now, I pretty much skipped through the Owner and Service Manual sections dealing with tiller or manual models because that isn’t what I have. Shaugh’s link to the part diagram led me back to my Service Manual diagrams. I see that the steering friction adjustment (co-pilot) is only on the manual tiller model. It is not on shown on my electric start/power trim model. Why? I don’t know for sure but guess it is because of the remote steering. The pivot shaft looks pretty much the same, but the swivel brackets appear to have some differences. I’ve attached an image of my outboard’s swivel assembly below. The pic is of the right side with motor tilted up. Arrows point to where the “co-pilot” would be on a tiller model.

Starboard Side View.JPG

So, I need to find out if the co-pilot kit will work on my configuration and if it will accomplish what I want. Cost is $95. Alternatively, upgrading to No Feedback Steering might be a potential solution. I think I might be able to upgrade the helm without having to buy a new cable but it is still $$. Quite seriously, the easiest and least costly might be TheLastCall’s “manual auto-pilot" (bungee cord). I think I will try that first.

At least I feel I understand the situation better. But who knows, I could still be missing something.
 

Shaugh

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It seems that the remote steering versions of Copilot have a simple friction collar on the shaft ?

https://greatlakesskipper.com/mercury-quicksilver-steering-co-pilot-assembly-boat-kit

https://www.marineengine.com/parts/mercury-marine-accessory-parts/steering-systems-and-components/1994-up/co-pilot-assembly-52148a7-and-52148a8

That's actually pretty dangerous to run a boat without that controlling friction. If you let go of the steering wheel under acceleration it could go into full turn lockup.
 

eshaw

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Save yourself some money. The friction lock, autopilot, whatever you want call it won't work with the remote control engines. I've converted mercury engines both ways, tiller to remote and remote to tiller and from what I've seen the steering mechanisms interfere when using a cable type of steering. You could switch to electric steering like a Panther unit for an example. I don't see a cheap fix for your problem that would be fool proof.
 

Stumpalump

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I use the quick turn ratio No-Feed back. I don't know if the cable is the same. It takes a bit of getting used too and you will remember how much it took when friends or family drive and struggle a little with it. The getting used to is this: When you initiate a turn the wheel is extreamly hard to turn unless you back up a tiny bit to unlock the wheel. To go right you bump the wheel left for an instant before you go right. If you don't the extra force required to overcome the feedback gets a little old. Besides that it's safer if you fall out because the boat will not circle and run over you and it holds its coarse. If this is a boat you love and will keep for a long time then cut your loses and buy a hydrolic helm. Night and day and is what I wish I bought. Being the cheap bass tard that you/we are :mrgreen: snag a steering stabilizer and brackets off of a junkyard truck or better yet a Mercedes Benz. They use the Mercedes Benz units on inflatable outboard dingy racers overseas and are cheap on the aftermarket. Maybe a street bike steering stabilizer would work as well or get mounting ideas from them.

21ni5w1.jpg
 
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