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DaleHardy

Suddenly Super Stiff Steering

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DaleHardy

Went to use the boat yesterday and the steering was very stiff, both ways, at idle and at speed. Like struggle with two hands to steer. History in reverse order:

One day prior, mobile mechanic changed my water pump. While at it he greased rudder housing per my request as it seemed a little stiffer at the beginning of the season (AP

(Apri) than it was when we put it up. (late Septemberish) 

When we bought it last Spring, the steering was stiff. The rudder was also bent toward aft. I replaced both the rudder and housing myself early last summer and that fixed the steering.

I spoke with the mechanic and he acknowledged greasing the housing. Couldn't think of anything he did that would have caused it. Nothing seems to be interfering or impinging on housing/ steering cable mechanism.

Three weeks ago one of our ballast bag hoses came disconnected so we pumped enough water into the hull that the auto bilge pump came on. Water may have gotten deep enough to wet the rudder housing and steering cable. Used the boat the following week and no issue with steering. Two weeks with no usage, then the mechanic replaced the water pump.

Today, I disconnected the steering cable.  Steering wheel then turned freely, however I couldn't freely move the rudder by hand with the lever arm. Could move it it with difficulty; from under the boat with two hands.

There is no evidence of rudder having been hit. No scratches or dings and it looks unbent in any way. The top edge of the rudder looks paralell with bottom of the boat. Last years bent rudder was almost touching gel coat on aft side. This one is not.

I also removed grease fitting on the odd chance that perphaps too much grease would maybe bind it up. No grease out of the fitting hole by pressure when I removed it. I put it back and then pumped some more grease in myself. Turned the wheel a bunch of times and its not any better or worse. I"m completely perplexed. Do i replace the rudder housing again just to see if that's it???

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jwl019

It is probably time to replace the steering cable most likely:

 

 

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DaleHardy

I was thinking but like I said, I disconnected it from rudder and steering was one finger free and rudder still two hands stiff. 

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Chaabo

Your mechanic probably over-greased the rudder and blew one of the o-rings in the process.

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DaleHardy
13 minutes ago, Chaabo said:

Your mechanic probably over-greased the rudder and blew one of the o-rings in the process.

So is that a thing? I was wondering if something like that could happen.

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DaleHardy

Figured it out. In case anyone is wondering like I was, yes its possible to over grease something. In this case the hydraulic pressure of the grease raised the upper plastic grommet at the top of the rudder box, which had the effect of raising the rudder up so that the top of the rudder was rubbing hard against the brass fitting under the boat. We dropped the rudder, cleaned out some grease, tapped the grommet back down into place and reinserted rudder. Turns with one finger now!

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Michigan boarder

It seems satisfying to see that you sorted out your super stiff steering symptoms.

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