Honda Steering Issue

Discussion in 'Outboard Maintenance' started by FSUfisher, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    My Honda BF50 all of a sudden decided not to steer anymore today. I have had some issues with the steering tightening up the last few months but didn't think anything of it. Over the weekend it became stuck, but I wrestled the wheel a little bit and the steering loosened up considerably. This was all while being hooked up to the earmuffs. Today the thing won't budge.  :-/ I'm pretty sure it's the pivot tube on the motor, and I tried playing with it to no avail.
    Anyone have any ideas? My manual says nothing about steering at all.  :mad: The boat has not even seen saltwater in months, and no water at all for a few weeks, although I start it quite often on the hose. Any help would be awesome!
     
  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Corrosion in the teleflex cable   :eek:

    Steering cables are not designed to last forever.
    The steel core rubs against the sheathing inside the cable
    and creates an opening where it becomes a metal to metal
    friction point. Add moisture and you get corrosion.
    The corrosion fills in the small gap around the cable
    and keeps the core cable from moving. Time to replace!

    The primary cause of the friction point forming
    is due to cable installations with too small a radius bend.
    The smaller the radius of the bend, the harder the core cable
    rubs on the inner sheathing. Keeping moisture out of the cable
    slows the formation of the problem. The best way I know of to
    do that is to install a Steersman Nut on the tilt tube. Keeps dirt
    and moisture out, allows for easy lubrication of the cable end.

    http://www.steersman.com/html/whatitdoes.html
     

  3. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Well-Known Member

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    What really does you in with your steering is to use the boat a few times then let it sit for a few months....
    That almost guarantees it freezing up on you. If you used it weekly you'd never end up stuck. There are a few things you can do to minimize the problem once you get it un-stuck. As Brett said a steering tube nut with a zerk fitting keeps moisture out (kind of...) and allows you to work grease into that area. Another trick is to store your motor with the ram all the way extended since the less of it in the tube the less surface area to freeze up. You should also work the motor regularly, turning it from lock to lock with a little spray lube on the ram when you're not able to get out on the water with it.

    A frozen steering cable is something that marine mechanics see all the time. The first thing they'll do is un-hook your steering cable and try to work the ram portion by twisting it back and forth instead of trying to move it in and out. If you can get some rotary motion going with PB Blaster or other penetrating lube you may be able to re-hook up your cable and get things going. Try to avoid using much force with your steering hub since you can break it.... Shops will use heat if the above sequence doesn't do the trick. Good luck and post up what works.
     
  4. gnuraider

    gnuraider Well-Known Member

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    Don't want to hi-jack the thread, but this is another great excuse to use on the wife..."Well Honey, you know how you hate when I have to spend money on the boat...well, if I don't go fishing at least once a week, my steering cables are sure to freeze up...and you can imagine how much they will cost to repair"...I love it!

    :)

    Dave
     
  5. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Did you know that in the saltwater environment,
    a teleflex steering cable requires twice yearly maintenance?

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IucARiVT0JE[/media]
     
  6. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll do what you all say and disconnect the cable and try to loosen the tube manually. Hopefully I can get at it tomorrow...
     
  7. mark_gardner

    mark_gardner I Love microskiff.com!

    how old is your setup ?
     
  8. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    The motor is a 2005. In fact, the warranty just ended, I believe. How ironic.
     
  9. mark_gardner

    mark_gardner I Love microskiff.com!

    your rig isnt that old then so i should think it would come apart fairly easy. if you can get it apart then clean and  lube as required and as preventive maintenance i would lube it atleast once a year if not twice
     
  10. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    So I gave it a little shot this afternoon, to no avail. The steering cable is definitely stuck inside the pivot tube, and I can't get it out, at least by rotating it. The problem is the tube rotates with the rod, and I don't have a way to stop that. I thought about tapping the rod out with a hammer, but I'm afraid to make matters worse than they already are. :mad:
    Any advice?
     
  11. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Were you able to loosen the nut on the other end of the tilt tube?
    The one that allows you to remove the cable.

    Banging metal on metal would be bad!
    But wood on metal will transfer impact and not mushroom your steering ram.
     
  12. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    If you're talking about the nuts holding the pivot tube to the motor assembly, I was able to loosen the port side nut, but not as much the starboard. I honestly didn't play with it too much, because I'd rather either get more information and try again or take it to a dealer than make matters worse than they already are. I started doing the steps exactly like described in the video and Capt. Lemay's post and got stuck at the part where I try to rotate the steering arm free from the pivot tube. Thanks guys for the help, and thanks Brett for the video link. Once it gets fixed I will be pulling the steering rod out periodically and greasing it.
    The problem I believe is that I originally took the naive approach to this whole thing. This is my first boat with remote steer, and I figured as long as I greased the zerk fitting on the pivot tube enough, things would be fine. Now I know that those fittings have nothing to do with the interaction between the rod and tube. Nothing beats hands-on experience...
     
  13. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Unscrew the nut indicated in red.
    This will allow you to remove the cable.
     
  14. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    Yep, did that and the road end would not pull out of the pivot tube. I really appreciate your help though!
     
  15. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    I bought a used boat that had a seized steering ram.
    I ended up gripping the tilt tube with channel locks
    with the jaws padded with an old towel, and gently twisting
    the flattened end of the ram with an adjustable wrench
    until the ram worked itself loose. Between WD40 and the
    twisting I was able to remove the cable completely from the tube.
     
  16. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    Channel locks may be the only thing that will properly grip the pivot tube the way it's set up. I almost bought a pair from Tractor Supply but impulsively fell for a 3-pack of those adjustable crescent wrenches instead in the checkout line this afternoon (horrible idea; they broke). I may give it one more chance, but the only time I can take it to the shop is tomorrow morning, and pick it up next Friday (four-day work week schedule). I don't know if I should just cut my losses and have the boat usable by next weekend or keep picking at it.
     
  17. Un-shore

    Un-shore Well-Known Member

    Lets back up here a little, forgive me if I missed anything in the post but you should not have to mess with the nuts that are on the pivot tube/motor bracket. The only thing you would need to do is disconnect the steering linkage, back off the aluminum nut on the cable as shown in Bretts picture and then pull the cable and rod out the side the nut is on. that is the to the left in Bretts picture, the starboard side.

    The rod is supposed to pivot with the pivot tube until it is disconnected at the steering linkage.

    Somebody here mentioned that it might be a good time to replace and I agree, it is now completely frozen and even if you do get unstuck it will keep getting stuck now that the sleeve is worn. Who knows what condition that cable is with that in mind as well as the corrosion factor.

    Somebody also mentioned not to use force because it might break the steering, I will add that worse would be if you "almost" break it and then it finally breaks at the wrong time.
     
  18. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    Since I felt this was a little more sensitive than I could handle right now, and I don't have the time to work on it and fish, I broke down and took the thing in. One day, when I have a backup boat, I will fix it myself. To make something good come out of the arm I'm gonna give the place for the repairs, I'm having them add a stainless steel steering wheel to the other cable end to round out the new steering system. Never again will I take the naive route to maintaining my steering system.
     
  19. FSUfisher

    FSUfisher Well-Known Member

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    Got the boat back and was pleased to find the steering cable did not have to be replaced. The shop had a tool that cleaned out the inside of the pivot tube and they said it was good to go after that.
    One question I do have for future reference is: when the steering freezes up, is it okay to break the rod and tube by use of shear force (i.e. bashing with a hammer, or delicately tapping with a soft mallet) or by torsion (twisting the rod to break it free)? The torsion trick didn't work for me but I have a feeling the shop just hammered the thing out, which I might have been able to do myself, but was scared to.
     
  20. Tom_C

    Tom_C Well-Known Member

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    I don't know for sure but I would of tried with a Rawhide mallet. [smiley=smashfreakB.gif]