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Converting tiller to steering.

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  • Converting tiller to steering.

    Found out I need a rebuilt powerhead for my johnson and can't afford it. I have a 40hsp Tohatsu MD40 1990 motor that is tiller steering. I want to mount it on the pontoon and convert it as inexpensively as I can to remote steering/control. I am assuming I will need a steering linkage, throtle/shift cable and a new control box. I will also need a new starter switch, tilt control and such. Has anyone here ever done this type of conversion? If so are there any shortcuts/pitfalls I need to look out for? Can I perhaps use the control box with some sort of adaptor that will take it from Johnson to Tohatsu? If you need more info to answer this let me know.


  • #2
    Re: Converting tiller to steering.

    Mine is a Suzuki converted from a tiller but i didn't do it. It was fairly simple because the motor had mounts that fit a remote steering/clutch/throttle already and because it was left all manual -- no electronics to worry about.I'd check and see if the Tohatsu motor was sold as a remote steer and try to get a real Tohatsu shop manual (not a Clymer)to figure out what parts may need to swap over (a dealer might let you photocopy one for a price). I'd also look for a parts motor to help make the switch. One tip is that on mine the guy couldn't get the tiller arm off without all kind of issues so he just hacksawed it off near the base. 8 years later no regrets on that . Another is that if you stick with manual start you can rig another kill switch in series with the current switch and run it up to near the throttle control on a toggle switch and then easily kill the motor from the steering station (a necessary saftey feature).

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    • #3
      Re: Converting tiller to steering.

      Already electric start. And the same motor was offered with tiller or remote so I would figure it would be a matter of changing a few things out. Gonna go talk to the "dealer" tommorow. He no longer sells motor only works on them but he still is the Tohatsu expert in the area.

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      • #4
        Re: Converting tiller to steering.

        Your motor comes both tiller and remote as standard.The steering manufacturers (Morse, Teleflex or any) have simple connectors. If the tiller is difficult to remove, check if it can stay and simply be driven via the remote - as a passive second device.Might even come handy some day when you want to steer from rear.

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        • #5
          Re: Converting tiller to steering.

          What about the throtle/shift? I have them for the Johnson am i gonna have to buy a new box and cables like I think or is there adapters? I have been trying to look and it looks like I will need new stuff.

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          • #6
            Re: Converting tiller to steering.

            Nah - either the connectors of your cable will have to come of or you'll have to get a fix (that is, invent something).I'd start by checking if the movement equals - if so, your remote box push/pulls the right amount (disrance) and your box doesn't care which motor is at the other end.By the way - have you checked if somebody will swap your engine for an OMC?

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            • #7
              Re: Converting tiller to steering.

              Actually, converting can be a big pain. It's best to go to the dealer, as was suggested, and see what specialized connectors are needed -- and then just buy it.I'm trying to set up a boat for remote use of a trolling motor (actually two diff. motors I want to be able to interchange). The Chrysler actually had a substitute tiller handle, with a wierd banana shape, that provided the point for the steering hookup.Then there is the steering tube -- Tohatsu hopefully mounts that through the bracket like other models (not the case with the smaller motors I'm working with).

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              • #8
                Re: Converting tiller to steering.

                Thanks guys I guess i have enough now to know what to do. As far as swapping motors not a chance. The tohatsu has been to heck and back with me w/o ever requiring anything major except a good drying out. It has been sitting a while though as is giving me a little problem with staying lit at a idle but that is most likely a problem that is an easy fix.

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                • #9
                  Re: Converting tiller to steering.

                  i converted a 8 hp nissan tiller to a remote .. had to get cable holder apparatus for to hook the 2 cables to the motor & nylon parts to hook cable ends to throttle & shift... sold as a group/a pack a hook-up pack..thru nissan in texas. ( home distrib.) also bought generic shifter at boat us an teleflex cables.. everythin' hooks up & goes with universal 3300 cables

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