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Loss of steering yesterday! Any ideas crew? Help if u can

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Ok so yesterday after wake boarding it was mid day and we were taking surf sets and went to pull a rider and steering wheel cranked to left boat went hard right towards the shore. I brought throttle down to neutral and didn't know what the hell happened. Tried again and same thing. Could only turn left at very low speeds and even then was barely turning. Began cruising back to the dock and would have to drive slow to steer left. Anytime we built speed up turning left was not happening. When getting close to dock I put the throttle down a little one last time and about19 mph boat engine turned off and felt like it would if u struck something. Restarted engine and limped in about 100 yards to dock. Was tricky pulling onto trailer. Once pulled out of water I looked underneath the boat. No visible damage. I am stumped and looking for ideas from u guys if u have ever heard or seen anything similar.

Boat is 2013 mxz22

Checked prop, no bends

Checked tracking fins, no damage

Checked hull, no damage

Checked surfgates, no damage and mounting secure

Checked rudder, no damage

Had wife turn steering wheel and watched rudder turn both ways

I am stumped , any ideas????

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Check the 4 bolts securing the helm to the rack under the dash.

Other than that, you said rudder turned both directions, it isn't spun 180 is it? Also check the adjustable section on the rudder to make sure it isn't loose.

Edited by oldjeep
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Your steering linkage is out of alignment and you "spun" the rudder around so it was facing the wrong way. I've seen this happen on a '13 VLX before... If you crank the wheel all the way one direction, and have some thrust hit the rudder just right, the linkage under the engine can "spin" and the rudder will be facing the wrong way. There are some limit adjustments that a mechanic can make to the steering linkage cable so it doesn't happen.

Look real close at your rudder and make sure it's facing the correct direction now, the rudder shaft should be at the leading edge of the rudder with the large surface trailing (towards the back of the boat) and the small adjustment "fin" at the trailing edge...

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Is the 'outer' portion of the steering cable securely attached at both ends...?

Have you grabbed the rudder and tried hard to push it side to side while someone holds the wheel to make sure that it is not 'floating' due to the cable outer detaching?

Had you previously just done a very hard reverse? Sometimes the rudder can get dragged back 'over centre' if reversing hard with the rudder at full deflection. You may have done this and locked up with there rudder in the prop although I would assume there would be readily visible evidence on the prop and/or rudder.

EDIT: Ha! Three of us posted the same answer at the same time...

Edited by GreenMan
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Sorry guys, I am a little lost on this one, I am not as dumb as I seem but this topic has me a little confused, I think a little more frustrated than anything, any pics u may be able to provide? Thanks for taking the time to respond

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Just went outside and grabbed rudder and tried to manually turn it, if I grab it and force it righ it will go completely sideways, if I try to force it left it turns very little in that direction

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If you look in the engine bay on drivers side, you will see the steering cable going to the rudder. There is a small aluminum "L" bracket attached to the side that the cable intersects with before it actually attaches to rudder. This bracket came loose on my 2013 allowing a little flex in the steering cable when turning. It allowed the rudder to turn sideways and lock up where I couldn't turn. After I re-tightened the bracket, I never had the issue again.

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Just went outside and grabbed rudder and tried to manually turn it, if I grab it and force it righ it will go completely sideways, if I try to force it left it turns very little in that direction

I'll assume the steering wheel was kept stationary during your check?

I would be having a good look around inside the engine bay while the rudder is manually pushed aside as you described above. Look to see what is moving.

  1. Is the rudder shaft just spinning inside the tiller arm clamp (would require tiller key to be sheared or missing)?
  2. Is the tiller arm rotating with the rudder? If so, good!
  3. Is the cable inner properly attached to the tiller arm and moving back and forth with the arm? If so, good!
  4. Is the cable outer remaining stationary and not sliding back and forth with the inner? If not, Bad! Reattach as required.
  5. If all the above are OK, is the cable outer moving back and forth behind the helm? If so, Bad! Reattach as required.

Maybe above will assist...

Edited by GreenMan
  • Like 1
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