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  1. #1

    Default Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left easier

    I have a 1999 2855 Bayliner Ciera Sunbridge, 7.4L Mercruiser 454 Bravo III with power steering. Purchased the boat a few months ago knowing there was some steering issues-has gotten worse over 3 months. The steering wheel is very hard to turn right even with both hands. To the left it is much easier but harder than it used to be. Filled power steering fluid and the power steering belt is fine. I undid the steering cable from the actuator and the wheel turns nice and free so I have eliminated the steering cable as the culprit. I also replaced the steering cylinder actuator with a new unit. However, the same problem still exists.

    Another thing to note, when I first bought the boat I noticed the power steering pump was bone dry as the old owner was not aware that the boat even had power steering - DOH! However, the pump does not make any noise and it seems like I am still getting pressure from it for a left turn but not right. Am I correct to assume that if the power steering pump was shot the wheel would be very hard to turn in both directions or could the pump be bad? Does this sound like the high pressure power steering hose may be damaged or clogged? I am not sure if a new steering control valve came as part of the new steering cylinder actuator or if the control valve could be not functioning right? Any suggestions as to what could be causing this would be extremely helpful as I have been pulling my hair out on this for weeks. Thank you - Scott

  2. #2
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left eas

    I would suspect a steering cable going to the PS cylinder on the transom being unable to move around. It has to be free to move in and out of the cylinder plus fore and aft as the cylinder swings.
    The moving in and out is what positions the shuttle valve inside the PS cylinder.
    Don S.


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  3. #3
    Senior Chief Petty Officer 04fxdwgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left eas

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevelleguy71 View Post
    I have a 1999 2855 Bayliner Ciera Sunbridge, 7.4L Mercruiser 454 Bravo III with power steering. Purchased the boat a few months ago knowing there was some steering issues-has gotten worse over 3 months. The steering wheel is very hard to turn right even with both hands. To the left it is much easier but harder than it used to be. Filled power steering fluid and the power steering belt is fine. I undid the steering cable from the actuator and the wheel turns nice and free so I have eliminated the steering cable as the culprit. I also replaced the steering cylinder actuator with a new unit. However, the same problem still exists. Another thing to note, when I first bought the boat I noticed the power steering pump was bone dry as the old owner was not aware that the boat even had power steering - DOH! However, the pump does not make any noise and it seems like I am still getting pressure from it for a left turn but not right. Am I correct to assume that if the power steering pump was shot the wheel would be very hard to turn in both directions or could the pump be bad? Does this sound like the high pressure power steering hose may be damaged or clogged? I am not sure if a new steering control valve came as part of the new steering cylinder actuator or if the control valve could be not functioning right? Any suggestions as to what could be causing this would be extremely helpful as I have been pulling my hair out on this for weeks. Thank you - Scott
    Experienced that also, but only when I blew the PS hose, losing my power steering. When under power, would turn fine to the port, but almost impossible to the stbd at certain RPM's, telling me the PS was fighting the prop torque all the time (and maybe eating up horse power / fuel in the process). By replacing the flat plate anode on the drive with a Bravo III trim tab anode, I was able to all but eliminate the pull to the port side with the PS belt disconnected. With the pump connected and operational the power steering itself isn't fighting the prop torque and I figure it has to be making the PS work less, saving me some HP and possible increasing fuel economy to some degree.This is just a suggestion to eliminate the hard port pull to some degree and looks like you have some other problems to contend with. I guess your problem will lead to investigate if your power steering is working or not. Doesn't sound like it from your description. Don S. is a guru when it comes to Mercruiser stuff and I would follow each and every one of his suggestions to get to the bottom of the problem before jumping into some unknowns / expensive parts replacements.
    '92 Chaparral 2550 SX Sport
    454 BBC Mercruiser Bravo 1
    Tow with '04 F150 Larriat SuperCab 4x4 5.4 Triton
    US Coast Guard Aux.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left eas

    Thank you for the response guys. Don, how do I make sure my steering cable is moving freely enough inside the cylinder each way? Should I unhook the cable at the cylinder and lube up the cable end and pivot points and swivel ring as my manual suggests and make sure the guide tube is free of gunk and lubed properly? Do I unhook the cable from the cylinder and pull on the cable manually by hand and see if it stretches far enough back and forth freely?

    I at first suspected the steering cable as the issue so I took to a marine mechanic and he said he unhooked it and the wheel turned nice and easy and said my cable did not need to be replaced. But maybe it is restricted in the cylinder housing somehow or maybe there is not enough slack in the steering cable before reaching the cylinder connection - how much slack and movement should be in the cable?

    04fxdwgi , thanks alot for the input. I will try and play around with the cable at first as Don suggests. my boat, with engine on at any speed (even sitting at dock) the wheel is extremely hard to turn right. Since my power steering pump was empty when I got it, I am wondering if I have a leaky PS hose too - although it must be minor because the fluid is holding its level and I dont really see any fluid anywhere. I may just take the PS hoses off and the power steering pump out and replace them just to eliminate them as the culprit, worst case scenerio, but I will try looking at the cable movement first.

  5. #5
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left eas

    how do I make sure my steering cable is moving freely enough inside the cylinder each way? Should I unhook the cable at the cylinder and lube up the cable end and pivot points and swivel ring as my manual suggests and make sure the guide tube is free of gunk and lubed properly? Do I unhook the cable from the cylinder and pull on the cable manually by hand and see if it stretches far enough back and forth freely?
    Ayuh,... That's correct...
    It's usually the cable end, INSIDE the tube that the corrosion causes the problem...
    Ya need to Completely remove the cable, from the tube....
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  6. #6

    Default Re: Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left eas

    Thanks for the suggestion Bond-o I will try that tomorrow. Its been pretty nasty weather in Seattle but anxious to get out there. I will report back with my findings. - Scott

  7. #7
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troubleshooting Stubborn Power Steering Issue. Wheel hard to turn right, left eas

    While it may sound like an easy fix, corrosion causes stiff steering in both directions, not just one.
    Don S.


    Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
    That is what the forums are for.
    Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

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