Boat Maintenance Tips September '13

Boat Maintenance Tips September '13
The annual service checkup just got a new twist.

Every year when your outboard is in for annual maintenance, there are numerous detailed points that are inspected and serviced, now a new one has been added.

Yamaha published an article recently that discusses removing the steering arm from the tilt tube; clamp bracket bolt is the technical term for it. This is the tube the steering rod extends through and this rod should pivot up and down or swivel as the engine is tilted. The tilt tube is stationary and should not move. The tube does have bushings outside of it that require lubrication on a regular basis. The two grease fittings on the front of the bracket lubricate the bushings to tilt bracket only by two small holes allowing grease to penetrate only the outside of the tilt tube.

Whether your boat has cable or hydraulic steering, the steering rod that goes through this bracket can bind up over time due to the grease drying and losing its lubricity. How many times have you or a friend let a boat sit that has cable steering and, when you get ready to use it, you find the steering is stuck.

Hydraulic steering will not bind in the side to side movement. The motion that affects hydraulic steering when the rod is binding or frozen, is when the trim and tilt are activated; there is no ability for the rod to pivot, it will bend the solid steel tiller arm on the engine up and down and grind on the engine's bracket. This is a very dangerous condition!

This recently was seen firsthand and it makes perfect sense to remove the steering cable or arms on hydraulic and remove the shaft, run a brush with cleaner through the tube, lubricate and reinstall.

It is amazing to see how powerful a tilt and trim system is when combined with a seized part. Hydraulics will win every time. Lubrication of the fittings has always been a part of regular maintenance here at Coastal Bend Marine and if you incorporate it into your own PM program you will enjoy many long term benefits.

Have a great fall season,

Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine
Port O'Connor, TX