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Old 06 January 2007, 09:20   #1
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Best position to lay up steering?

Just had a quick check over the boat this morning and had to deal with siezed up steering - again. The problem, as I'm sure you all know, is the push rod through the tilt pivot. Though it was freshly greased (i. e. extended, cleaned and fresh grease wiped on, then turned till the rod was completely enclosed) at lay up time, it was stuck. Spent the next half hour climbing into the boat and off again, alternately taking up the slack on the NFB wheel and trying to shoulder the engine round. A few gentle taps with a hammer on the end of the pushrod finally got it going. WD40 and 3in1 freed it up and cleaned sticky grease off and the helm's now silky smooth and light.

The boat is on a mooring for much of the season and the steering sometimes becomes stiff if not used for a while. Which is the best position to leave the steering to stop this happening? Hard a starboard (push rod fully extended), or hard a port with the rod completely enclosed, or midships? What's the best lubricant to stop it seizing?

Tony
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Old 06 January 2007, 10:49   #2
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Conventional wisdom with regard to hydraulic rams on machines (diggers etc) is for them to be retracted as far as they can be but then a conventional ram is full of oil so it makes sense to have as much as possible on the oily side of the piston oil seal.

I would have said the same for steering but it doesn't seem to work in yours. It may be easier to unseize if it's mostly on the outside!?

Have you tried lubricating it with something less "gloopy" like maybe motorcycle chain lube spray? This leaves a good lubricating layer but doesn't dry out in the same way that grease does. Just a thought - it may make no difference. I use chain lube on all sorts of things because it is runny when you spray it so it gets in everywhere, then thickens afterwards.

Maybe hydraulic steering is the answer. Mine gets a bit sticky if it hasn't been lubricated for a while but a good scoosh from a grease gun in all the appropriate places and it is fine.
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Old 06 January 2007, 12:06   #3
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Don't think I've had this problem, so don't have a good answer, but logically, why not leave it in amidships? that way, if it does get seized somewhat, you at least have the chance of turning both ways to try and release.
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Old 07 January 2007, 03:48   #4
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I found it best to leave it fully extended and to wash it thoroughly with fresh water after use.
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Old 07 January 2007, 06:27   #5
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Have you cleaned out the inside of the tilt tube?


It might be worth trying using Castrol motorcycle chain wax rather than chainlube-same principle but it leaves a white sticky coating that stays on better than chain lube.

The other alternative is this stuff:-

Corrosion block grease on ebay

which I use liberally on underwater fittings and anything that might sieze. It seems to work rather well though it's double the price of normal grease.

I've got a grease nipple on the end of the tilt tube fitting as well which helps-everything is sealed in with an o-ring. Aladdin's cave sells them.
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Old 08 January 2007, 07:03   #6
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Thanks for replies guys.

No real definitive answer then? The problem definitely seems to be the grease I've been using is becoming very stiff and sticky. I wonder if the salt air has anything to do with that. I've used the same grease in all the other grease points on the engine with no apparent problem and the 'squeeze out' is normal and not stiff.

Stephen - I've used chain lube on steering chains on a boat, but they weren't exposed to the weather. Might be worth a try.

Nos4r2 - The WD40 and 3in1 I used to free the thing seemed to clean out the tube. I kept turning lock to lock and cleaning the pushrod until it came out clean. Didn't feel brave enough to take the thing to pieces. Might try the chain wax. Anti corrosion grease sounds good.

As for stowage position - perhaps middle or fully extended. Maybe best to give it a wiggle every week :-)

Cheers Tony
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Old 08 January 2007, 08:16   #7
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Maybe it would be worth cleaning it out with carb cleaner or some other powerful solvent to make sure no gungy stuff is left inside, then putting the grease in?

FWIW I use Castrol SX2 on my outboard - because it's what we sell at work - and have had no problems. I did get some special Johnson waterproof grease with the bits and bobs I ordered for the engine, but I decided it was too much of a pain in the butt to try and fill a grease gun with it when I can use SX2 which is already in 400g tubes!
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Old 08 January 2007, 10:29   #8
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Re cleaning the tube out-I took the cable out and stuck a big length of m10 threaded bar into mine as a substitute for a file (try finding a round file that long). It got the crud out quite well.
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Old 08 January 2007, 13:32   #9
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When I de-rigged the old Merc, I found that the inner (cable) side of the lever you see was also very crudded up, with dried up grease, salt & corrosion. I don't know that there's a good way to get at that part. I'll ask the tech when I pick up my boat tomorrow. If the answer is to remove the steering cable from the tilt tube, I'm screwed, as I need to remove the engine to get the cable out. Should have bought a cable 1 foot longer... but it looks cleaner with the legnth I have... Next time!
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Old 10 January 2007, 17:36   #10
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When I de-rigged the old Merc, I found that the inner (cable) side of the lever you see was also very crudded up, with dried up grease, salt & corrosion. .....!
Yeah. I'm beginning to think the answer might be regular applications of oil, (maybe ordinary motor oil?). Hardened grease is no lubricant anyway. If the oil dissolves the hard grease well and good. After my treatment the steering's finger light. I'm not keen on taking things apart if they're working (F1 engines are much more reliable since the mechanics were stopped from taking them apart quite so often). Could create more problems. We'll see how I get on this coming season.

Tony
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Old 10 January 2007, 18:31   #11
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One of the questions I asked when I pickup up my RIB with the new motor yesterday was how to best maintain the steering cable. It's fantastic right now, of course!

The answer from the tech was white lithium grease, applied monthly. Extend the steering cable all the way out, remove the gland where the steering cable rod exits the tilt tube, WIPE THOUROUGHLY, relube with the white lithium and reinstall the gland. He said failure to properly clean the rod was the most common fault.

I asked a lot of questions!
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Old 11 January 2007, 06:50   #12
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One of the questions I asked when I pickup up my RIB with the new motor yesterday was how to best maintain the steering cable. It's fantastic right now, of course!

The answer from the tech was white lithium grease, applied monthly. Extend the steering cable all the way out, remove the gland where the steering cable rod exits the tilt tube, WIPE THOUROUGHLY, relube with the white lithium and reinstall the gland. He said failure to properly clean the rod was the most common fault.

I asked a lot of questions!
Excellent. I'm sure mine was just gunged up with dried grease. I'll add that to the list of regular checks. Have fun with the new boat when you can. Hail and violent storm 11 right outside the door just now, waves breaking across the road. Bit wild for ribbin'.

Tony.
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Old 11 January 2007, 10:51   #13
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When I derigged the old engine I cleaned the cable pretty thoroughly. I'm sure the tech cleaned it again before he lubed it up and installed it. Plus the fact that the steering yoke on the old motor was all gunked up with tired old grease, no matter how much new grease I pumped in, with a heat gun applied to the outside, motor propped up by the skeg, I couldn't get fresh grease all the way through, so the motor itself was stiff to turn.

Last winter I lubed, but didn't go turn the wheel at all, so in the spring it was frozen up. Just going an giving the wheel a spin back and forth every couple of weeks makes a big difference too.
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Old 11 January 2007, 11:21   #14
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Last winter I lubed, but didn't go turn the wheel at all, so in the spring it was frozen up. Just going an giving the wheel a spin back and forth every couple of weeks makes a big difference too.
Yes, I think it's lack of use as much as anything. Clean out, new lube and giving it a wiggle regularly is probably the best way.
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Old 11 January 2007, 14:03   #15
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Excellent. I'm sure mine was just gunged up with dried grease. I'll add that to the list of regular checks. Have fun with the new boat when you can. Hail and violent storm 11 right outside the door just now, waves breaking across the road. Bit wild for ribbin'.

Tony.
Don't be a wimp. How often can you drive your rib on the public highway
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Old 12 January 2007, 07:34   #16
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Don't be a wimp. How often can you drive your rib on the public highway
:-D :-) About three times a year usually. Trouble is, cars get there first (it happens at the 'rush hour') and it's only a single track road. The record is two actually floating at the same time - a VW Polo and a mid sized Mercedes. The drivers, together with several sensible people who'd stopped when they saw the surf, watched from my sitting room window as their cars were washed against the edge of my lawn. I gave them all cups of tea. When the tide went out a bit, both cars were well and truly in the ditch. :-) The Polo was dry inside. I think the Mecedes owner was a bit fed up.
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