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Axis A24 - getting stuck in a right hand turn - anyone ever experienced this issue? Ideas?

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I'm having an intermittent issue with our 2020 A24. The boat will handle perfectly and then suddenly will get stuck in a right hand turn. 

My 23 year old was having it happen to him w/o me on the boat so I initially assumed it was just silliness on his part but I was able to replicate it.

It happened to me with all ballast tanks full (or mostly full) while maneuvering and without the surfgate on. After bringing the boat to a complete stop, the steering wheel turns freely and while viewing the rudder & cable from inside the boat it appears to be moving freely all the way to the left stop and all the way back to the right to the end of the cable but with no effect on seeming to be stuck in a hard right turn.  I tried to get my head underneath the boat to see what the actual position of the rudder was but it was a very choppy day and my lake's visibility is less than 2 feet on a good day so after a few knocks to the head by the swim platform I gave us and decided to try some more inside-the-boat experimentation.

Even after emptying the ballast tanks and confirming the surf gate and wedge were definitely off, it was still stuck in a tight right turn. 

At low speed I basically rotated the steering wheel stop-to-stop as fast as I could and about midway through at one point something suddenly felt slightly different and I regained normal steering control. 

When the boat is out of the water, everything seems to be working fine but this has happened 5+ times at this point.

We took the boat in for service and, not surprisingly, the dealer could find nothing wrong with it and want to count it (undoubtedly) as user error. They have not, however, lake tested it (in the lake they are 100 feet from) and are resistant to doing so. I'm not interested in taking the boat on a 10+ hour road trip for a week long lake vacation without nailing down what's going on with it. Now that I'm back in town I'm probably going to have to go over to the dealer and convince them to let me put the boat in their lake myself and try to replicate the problem but am hopeful that someone has either encountered a similar issue before or has some informed ideas.  I've had a Malibu or Axis for the last 20 years so I'm not a complete newbie. I know that a loaded boat, especially if you don't let the surf gate retract, does not like to turn but this has been a different sort of experience. 




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Are you able to verify the key is in the rudder tiller/shaft keyway?  Also, did they check that it is tight?  I would turn the wheel full right and then have someone try to hold the rudder while you turn the steering wheel (both directions) and see if it is slipping.  Not sure if your steering is different, but I'd check that the rack & pinion bolts are secure under the helm and that the cable end is secure on the rudder block (end of cable sleeve) where it is able to rotate slightly.

Also, when turning full right, does it hit a firm stop?  Are you able to continue further if gently forced?

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Posted (edited)

Well, the boat is at the shop now so I can't confirm your suggestions until I get by there. It's also been in there for a couple of weeks so I'm working on some degraded memory of finer details. I'm pretty sure that before taking it in I held onto the rudder while someone turned the wheel while out of the water and it didn't slip but I'll definitely try it again. I didn't really investigate under the helm because it seemed to be working fine visually. 

I can't remember which side has the post as a hard stop but it will hit that and stop firmly with no more cable/wheel play. On the side opposite the physical stop, it stops firmly but obviously doesn't have the same sense of finality if you keep twisting the wheel but it doesn't move appreciably.

Thanks for the recommendations, I'll definitely try them out when I can in-person.  My shop definitely claims to have investigated every piece of the steering assembly but didn't find anything amiss. 

Edited by ice9v2
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You may be able to adjust the rudder end of the cable to keep it from getting so far out that it experiences "gimbal lock" if that is what is happening.

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It sounds like you are experiencing chine lock. I used to have that happen occasionally with my 06 VLX when it was fully loaded and making a right turn. 

Do a search.

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I would check the steering tube mount on the starboard stringer.  Make sure all of the bolts on the bracket are tight and the steering cable is threaded tightly to the tube.  It is very difficult to get to because one of the sea water cooling hoses sits right on top of it.

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6 hours ago, obski said:

It sounds like you are experiencing chine lock. I used to have that happen occasionally with my 06 VLX when it was fully loaded and making a right turn. 

Do a search.

It sounds like he experienced it, stopped and tried to check the rudder then went again and it was still doing it so I don’t think it’s chine lock. 

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