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  1. #1
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    Default Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Hi All,

    I started a thread on this steering problem about 2 weeks ago and have not resolved as yet!! I have attached some pictures to better describe my problem.

    I really think I don't fully understand what I have going on here. The problem is that my steering is frozen. I have disconnected the drag link from the ram, and the engine swings freely by hand. I have had this problem in the past and was always able to free the steering by soaking the ram on the port side of the engine (picture 2) with PB Blaster or Kroil, back off the large nut on the starboard side of the engine, (Picture 3-4) and inject penetrant. Some time I had to bang on the ram to start it to move and allow the penetrant to seep into the ram and tilt tube.

    This time the above process is not working so I devised an injector (Picture 1) to force the penetrant into the ram, tilt tube and cable with air pressure. I have been doing this for several days. No luck so far. I even got out my air hammer to vibrate the ram. Hasn't budged so far. When I used the air hammer, I had the nut and cable backed off in picture 4.

    As you can see in pictures 3 and 4, the cable and sheath operate just fine to starboard from the helm with the large nut completely backed off. Cable and outer sheath move in and out of the tilt tube together just fine! Ram on the port side (Picture 2) doesn't budge. This is telling me that it is the ram that is frozen in the tube. However, I am not sure exactly how the cable and ram work inside of the tube. Does the cable slide inside the ram?? I have not tried heat as of yet and I am reluctant to do that. I'm not sure where to apply the heat if heat is the best way. Give me some clues!! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

    Geek
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Chief Petty Officer Rscardina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    based on the pictures..im confused.. the ram is connected to the cable so when you steer the ram slides in the chamber left and right depending on which way you turn the steering..

    explain one thing... the picture shows the connecter yo made up..for squirting lube or pentration fluid.. the other photos show the ram half out..

    is the ram hanging up inside the tibe or do you have ram showig on both ends..???

    if your cable is junk then i say extend till most of it show out the strabod side and cut it off..then pul the rest out.. if you are not replacing the cable then try taking the grease nut off the starbord side (if you have one there)..

    it should slide apart pretty easily

  3. #3
    Chief Petty Officer Rscardina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    i just re-read your post... sounds like the same thing my friend ran into...

    what we did was depending on how much ram you have to works with will determine how best to proceed...

    we took a screwdrives and slid it into the steering hole on the ram and then hused a hammer to pull it out some..lubbed the portion exposed and hammerd the oother way... did this sevral times before she would move smoothly enough to free it up.. we also took the greese fitting off the nut as well as the nut itself on the starbord side... his showed signes of water..so the ram looked rusty in color.. once we got it off i used a small metal pike cleaner on a rod to clean out the inside and smacked some fresh grease in before inserting the ram again.. re-assembled eveything and added more grease..so far she is smooth and working properly.

    dont be shy..give it some good whacks...i never tried heating...dont know if that would do much..

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Thanks for the replies! The problem I am having with this is that, no matter what I seem to do to resolve this frozen steering problem, I am getting nowhere. The thing that confuses me is that with all of the soaking with penetrants, and actually using an air hammer on the end of the ram, the ram hasn't budged inward one millimeter. It is hard for me to believe that a couple of months layup could cause corrosion that has resisted even an air hammer. I keep thinking that there is something else stopping the ram from moving inward other than rust.

    I have not tried to hammer the ram the other way as yet. The insertion of a screwdriver or bolt in the ram so I can get the air hammer chisel on the ram to hammer it in the other direction is a good one. There is not alot of room for the air hammer going to the port side. (outward) If I can get the air hammer chisel on the ram sufficiently I am going to try the other direction tomorrow.

    One thing I am trying to avoid is replacing the tilt tube because I hear it is really a bear even if the engine is dismounted.

    Geek

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    I think the advice in post #3 is exactly how you should go about this.
    Went to take my boat out a couple weeks ago and found the steering was froze solid. Basically did what rscardina wrote in post 3 and was able to get it moving.
    Found it was the piece you pictured getting stuck solid in the tube.
    Once we were able to move it freely we were able to slide the tilt tube off and out. (no need to dimount engine to remove tilt on mine)
    Used a pipe cleaner and pb blaster and cleaned tube smooth, put back on and re-greased.
    Works great.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Quote Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post
    I think the advice in post #3 is exactly how you should go about this.
    Went to take my boat out a couple weeks ago and found the steering was froze solid. Basically did what rscardina wrote in post 3 and was able to get it moving.
    Found it was the piece you pictured getting stuck solid in the tube.
    Once we were able to move it freely we were able to slide the tilt tube off and out. (no need to dimount engine to remove tilt on mine)
    Used a pipe cleaner and pb blaster and cleaned tube smooth, put back on and re-greased.
    Works great.
    I agree,...and when it is in storage over the winter, it's a good idea to work it once in awhile...use the steering wheel, and manually move the engine port to starboard...do it once a week...I learned this on my last boat after year 4 of owning her...it took quite a bit of effort to free it up that spring....
    “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”
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    1990 Bayliner 2002 Capri Cuddy /125 Force " Breaking Wind "

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Thanks for the replies!! Tried briefly last evening to hammer the ram out of the pivot tube in the port side direction. Put a large nut and bolt (about 3/8") in the hole at the end of the ram. Couldn't use my air hammer because the chisel couldn't reach the bolt effectively. Hit it a few licks with a 2lb hammer, but it hasn't budged yet. I tried a new penetrant called CRC Freeze-off into the starboard side of the pivot tube with the starboard nut off and the cable backed off. A lot of rusty crud came out. I am going to inject a 50-50 mixture of ATF and Naptha into the port side of the tilt tube with my air pressure injector. The naptha is a very good solvent and the ATF will be the lubricant. I intend to fill up the entire tilt tube area and into the cable as far as the mixture will go toward the helm. Keep the suggestions coming!!

    Geek
    Last edited by Geekie1; June 15th, 2010 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Meant port not starboard

  8. #8
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Sawsall...... Cut the cable..... it MUST be replaced anyway.

    If the cable is still routed to the helm you may never get it out.

    Cut the cable.

    Remove the ram end.

    Clean the steering tube.

    Remove the helm end.....

    Order a new cable from iboats.
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Thanks Bob VT,

    I am replacing at least the cable. I also have a Sawsall ready to go. The reason I have not cut the cable so far is that I have not seen any movement in the ram either in or out. If I cut the cable, I still have a ram that is frozen in the tube. I am going to give this process another couple of days before performing surgery. If anyone has any ideas short of cutting the cable or replacing the tilt tube I am ready to listen!!

    Geek

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Hi Bobvt,

    Reading your response has led me to more questions. As I said earlier, I am not sure how the steering mechanism works at the tilt tube.

    Question 1 - If I free the ram, why can't I remove the cable without cutting it? My boat is a Wellcraft V20 and I have a lot of clearance on the starboard side. I have a rod box on the starboard side I can remove and since I just restored the rod boxes I know I have fairly easy access to the cable which has slack amidships.

    Question 2 - My understanding (or lack thereof) of the engine end steering system has the cable from the helm telescoping (sliding) inside of the ram. How is the motion of the cable transmitted to the ram if it slides inside the ram?? Is it locked in place to the ram when the nut on the starboard side is fully tightened?? Unfortunately, I am not a mechanical engineer.

    Geek

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    I had to cut mine and replace the tube.......
    1974 Wellcraft V-20 CC Steplift/ 1999 150 HP Mercury Bluewater http://www.wellcraftv20.com/gallery/album115
    1975 Wellcraft V-17 CC Steplift
    My CW site www.enfieldwargraves.smugmug.com
    My book I authored http://www.blurb.com/books/1137672

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    I had the same problem. I loosened the starboard nut and had to pound like crazy with the 2lb hammer to drive the ram through the tube. I used a long socket extension to drive it once the end of the ram was inside the tube. It took a few sessions to do it. Once it was out, I cleaned the inside of the tube with a drill mounted long wire brush and solvent. Regreased, and it works like new.

    I had done the same as you before when it was getting stiff to turn (squirting WD40 on it), but I think that the use of the WD40 with the old grease actually caused a kind of hydro lock on the ram.

    Good luck, and keep pounding!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Thanks to all,

    The ram is free and my steering is now working as new.

    It would not be appropriate if I didn't thank you for the replies that led to the resolution.

    1. - None of the penetrants worked like magic and I cannot credit any of them with substantially freeing the tilt tube ram or cable etc.. I tried the following: Kroil; PB Blaster; CRC Freeze-off; mixture of ATF and Naptha; etc. I forced, with air pressure, all of the penetrant products into the tilt tube/Teleflex ram, cable assemblies to the point that all of the above snake oil was running out of the helm and onto the floor of the boat.

    2. - After the above, driving the ram to port was the answer. Credit to Rescardina!! One major breakthrough was being able to get my air hammer on the ram to drive it to port. I inserted a 3/8" bolt into the ram hole on the port side and tighten down with two nuts and lock washers. I found a v-shaped air hammer chisel that was long enough and dull enough not to cut the bolt/nuts. The air hammer was effective enough to move the ram to port about 1/4" after about three minutes of hammering. After the initial hammering, it was about another 30 minutes of hammering, lubing, and cleaning, I could move the ram by hand. I could have never, never, never, have freed the ram without the air hammer. I cannot understand how the ram could have frozen that tight in only 3 months inactivity however it did. I lubed the ram once last year. Obviously that was not enough. Teleflex recommends taking apart the cable/ram and lubricating the tilt cable/tube/ram once a year if in fresh water and twice a year if in salt water. The process to do that is on Utube!

    What I am going to do going forward is:

    1. - Force Fluid Film into the steering system using my air pressure injector till it comes out the helm. Fluid film is the best anti-corrosive lubricant in my estimation for salt water marine use. I was turned on to this stuff by Rodbolt, an Iboats Yamaha guru back in about 1996. I use it on my engine, trailer wherever I see rust or corrosion. Works great!! After the Fluid Film treatment, I am going to grease the ram/tilt tube with white lithium grease as per Teleflex. Oh, I have been an Iboats member for a long time, about 300 posts, not 6-7!! Had a computer problem which caused me to create a new membership titled Geekie1

    2. - Add a jam nut with a grease fitting to the port side of the tilt tube to more adequately protect the ram.

    Thanks for everyone's help!! I hope I can help someone else as much as you have helped me!!!

    Geek

  14. #14
    Lieutenant Commander seabob4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Geek,
    Glad you got the issue resolved! It is a mazing how absolutely "frozen" the rod can get inside the tilt tube...been there, done that...

  15. #15
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Clean the hell out of that steering tube. A 3/4" plumber's brush for copper tubing works good and you can crush the handle so it fit's in the 5/8" tube opening. You have to almost clean it like a gun barrel.....people have used 12 gauge brushes but the plumber's brush is stronger.

    Once cleaned smear it with grease. Be sure to clean and grease the threads where the steering tube attaches to the motor.

    There are fittings you can install to grease the tube but honestly I have little faith in how they work.

    BTW I just replaced the tilt tube in a V-4 I bought used that was rusted beyond use..... cost me over $125 and I did the work myself....... not a fun job.
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Ya gotta love an air hammer...one of my favorite tools in my shop.... I never throw away dull bits for it either...they still have a use...
    “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”
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    1990 Bayliner 2002 Capri Cuddy /125 Force " Breaking Wind "

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Hi Stachi,

    I'm fortunate that I am a tool freak. I became one about 50 years ago as a hot rod (32 Ford Roadster) motor head and I spent a lot of time replacing headers, mufflers, tail pipes, and doing lacquer paint jobs! Air compressors and air hammers were my salvation for nearly everything!! Guess what: After all this time I still have all of the tools and every time I pull the right one out of the box, I feel vindicated. (My wife thinks I should sell my unneeded tools) Haven't found an unneeded tool yet!!! My legacy for my children is my stash of tools. However, for them to appreciate this legacy, they will need to find out to use them!!!

    My 1984 Wellcraft V20 is my current Duce Roadster!!

    Geek

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    I don't understand, teleflex cable is pretty cheap. Why not just pull a whole new cable with sheath? Now you have a brand new steering cable and you don't have to worry about it next time you take the family out boating.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    As I see it , why replace it , if you can repair it....save the money for something that cannot be repaired....
    “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”
    John F. Kennedy





    1990 Bayliner 2002 Capri Cuddy /125 Force " Breaking Wind "

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Geekie1 View Post
    Hi Stachi,

    I'm fortunate that I am a tool freak. I became one about 50 years ago as a hot rod (32 Ford Roadster) motor head and I spent a lot of time replacing headers, mufflers, tail pipes, and doing lacquer paint jobs! Air compressors and air hammers were my salvation for nearly everything!! Guess what: After all this time I still have all of the tools and every time I pull the right one out of the box, I feel vindicated. (My wife thinks I should sell my unneeded tools) Haven't found an unneeded tool yet!!! My legacy for my children is my stash of tools. However, for them to appreciate this legacy, they will need to find out to use them!!!

    My 1984 Wellcraft V20 is my current Duce Roadster!!

    Geek
    Heya Geek , we live pretty close to each other....where do you boat ? When I have a usable boat , I dunk it in the Delaware river....Linden Ave. A public ramp...near Ben Salem...I hope to splash my current project (pictured below)in a month or so ...Gods be willing...lol
    “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”
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    1990 Bayliner 2002 Capri Cuddy /125 Force " Breaking Wind "

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    GatorMike, the problem was that the ram was stuck, the cable was OK. If he had cut the cable, he still would have had to pound the crap out of the ram to get it out.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    One other item you need to take care of now is pull the entire cable out of the sheath, clean out all of the solvents and crud you have forced into it with the pressure setup.
    Then use the proper lube to the cable upon the install
    the ram and cable are one unit, so when the cable moves the ram moves, no telescoping of any parts. The tolerances between the ram and pivot tube is very tight and only need a few thousandth's of crud to jamb it up.
    Pressure setup is a good idea.
    Good luck with it and remember to pull it and lube it at the end of the season
    Mike
    MHG
    19' key west CC
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Frozen Steering Teleflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Stachi View Post
    Heya Geek , we live pretty close to each other....where do you boat ? When I have a usable boat , I dunk it in the Delaware river....Linden Ave. A public ramp...near Ben Salem...I hope to splash my current project (pictured below)in a month or so ...Gods be willing...lol
    Hi Stachi,

    When my boat is 100% ready to go, I keep on the trailer at my house in Cape May County NJ. That way, wherever the fishing is good I can trailer to a launching ramp that is the closest to the hot spots. It spends the winter in my driveway in Doylestown Township. No excuse for letting the steering getting frozen like I did! That won't happen again.

    As to the suggestion about taking the cable and steering mechanism apart and cleaning out all of the Kroil, PB Blaster, ATF etc. I think that is a good suggestion. I have already pulled the cable and ram out of the tilt tube and cleaned the tilt tube with a spiral wire brush. I don't know if everyone is familiar with "Fluid Film" but many marine service organizations including large scale ocean shipping organizations say that it is the best salt water anti-corrosive lubricant on the market. Where I buy it is a local tractor dealer/service shop and they swear by it. One thing I am sure of. If I forced FF into the ram and tilt tube to the point of having it come out of the helm, which I did, there will be no better cleaning job I could do!! How did I know all of the snake oil is out of the cable. The prior lubricant I forced into the tilt tube before FF was ATF. As you know, ATF Dexron is bright red. When the red was gone so was the crud and penetrants.

    Geek

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