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So I took my boat out for her maiden voyage as my property today, and it lasted however long it takes the wife to park the truck and walk back down the ramp. I have never had to use a boat without a dock before; however, all the docks at my lake are out of the water due to drought.

 

I was backing up to the ramp to pick up my wife when I thought I heard/felt something, she heard and felt nothing. I pull away from the ramp and I notice the steering wheel is stuck and the boat goes into a hard turn. I shut everything down, don the mask and sure enough my rudder is deflected ~120 degrees and is completely stuck. I couldn't have been going even 2 mph but the results speak for themselves, I have absolutely screwed up my new boat's steering.

 

So, any idea what I might have done and how much damage the wallet is going to take? Is the MB steering pretty much the same as any other V-drive (ie, can I take it to any boat mechanic?).

 

I seriously don't understand how I could've damaged the boat. There isn't even a scratch on the rudder, and my wife was standing right there and heard/felt NOTHING but again, my rudder is definitely stuck.

 

The only way I can even comprehend this end result would be if there was some kind of male and female sliding fitting in the steering/cable column. Perhaps I "hyperextended" it to the point where the male portion cleared the edge of the female portion and then "missed the hole" when the tension was relieved. I don't even know if such a fitting exists but I was going so slowly I can't imagine I actually bent a steering rod.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading and I'm hoping the repair doesn't take too long or cost too much.

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Wow.. that sucks..

 

is the rudder stuck or the steering wheel.. or both?

 

did you get it out of the water?

 

Did you look down behind the motor at the linkage where it connects to the rudder?

 

Do you have any pictures?

 

I know thats a lot of questions but need more information.

It kind of sounds like you backed the rudder up into the ramp and twisted it around possibly breaking the linkage. You prop is probably ok since the rudder hangs lower

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Well if both are stuck then you probably did not break the cable but something probably got bent or as you said hyperextended in the linkage. Don't know what it would cost but I'm sure most any boat mechanic could fix it.

 

Sorry you had such a bad day on your first day out

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Hey - here is a picture of mine. Can you describe what it looks like compared to mine? Can you verify the keys are set the same and the linkage on the tiller arm is the same? Also, can you see where your tiller arm nut is compared to the zerk grease fitting? How about the height of the rudder in relation to the tiller arm? I am uploading one with colors so you can see what I am talking about and then describe what you are seeing as well -

 

Red - keys (between tiller arm and rudder shaft)

Black - zerk grease fitting

Yellow - tiller arm locking nut

 

 

post-25983-13640719927_thumb.jpg

 

Oh - this probably isn't a huge mistake either - the boat is still floating. Just on a side note - my alternator was bad the first 30 minutes of having the boat and now there are no issues. Once you work this out, it will be a summer of nothing but fun.

 

Also, you could probably fix this yourself unless your rudder shaft got bent or something crazy. Take a look at the pictures and see what you think.

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Based on what you said Pilot, it sounds like the tiller arm is pointed straight at the bow and in that position you probably cant get enough leverage with the steering wheel to get it to turn back.

if you can get down in there and unhook the linkage where I added an arrow to SkiSki's picture, then you should be able to rotate the rudder back to where it needs to be and then re-hook the linkage.

Also want to check for any cracks in the fiberglass and check for leaks in the fiberglass / seal next time you put it back in the water.

 

 

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I inspected the area yesterday and saw no evidence of cracking; however, I was surprised at the quantity of water in the boat -- it was up to the linkage arm. Is this more than you typically get in your boat (and keep in mind, my boat probably spent under a half hour in the water)? If so, just add some water sealant around the mounting plate?

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Personally, I have only removed the plug in the back of the boat once or twice. I think I usually get it in there from the kids standing on the back hatches drip drying. I would say you should get little to no water in there.

 

I am just guessing, but it may be possible that you pushed your rudder up some and maybe that let a little water through. Someone else might have a better idea. I am just guessing.

 

I have seen people bend their rudder before breaking the fiberglass in that location. With you only going 2mph like you said, I doubt that broke the fiberglass. Can't rule it out, but pretty unlikely. Only real way to see is to go to the ramp and back it in to look.

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On second thought, did you see your bilge drain water? If it was up to the linkage arm, I would say your bilge pump may not be working. Depending on the angle, I think that would put your bilge pump under or close to under water.

 

And I didn't specifically state it, but no, I don't think you should have water up to that point.

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I've got a couple observations and a question

 

 

1) If you look at the steering shaft just beyond the black cover near the linkage, mine is threaded but not apparently screwed into anything while the picture MidnightV10 posted doesn't seem to have any threading. Is this just the quality of the image or is this a hint as to what might be wrong?

 

2) No idea what that screw and washers lying loose are from, sorry the bottom is dirty but such was the quality of the water that ended up in there.

 

3) Instead of removing the horizontally imposed screw that attaches to the linkage, might it be better to remove the verticall imposed bolt instead? I'm thinking there is probably a lot of pressure on that joint right now, not sure if it matters either way.

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On second thought' date=' did you see your bilge drain water? If it was up to the linkage arm, I would say your bilge pump may not be working. Depending on the angle, I think that would put your bilge pump under or close to under water.

 

And I didn't specifically state it, but no, I don't think you should have water up to that point.[/quote']

 

I'm not concerned about the bilge pump (yet). I should have clarified that i saw water up to the arm with the boat on the trailer which was sitting on the launch ramp.

 

It was still more water then I had expected; however, it was all pooled at the back so I mistakenly overstated the amount of water inside the boat.

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This should be an easy fix.

 

Have someone sit at the helm and slowly rotate the steering wheel while you get down inside there. You said there is a little play in the steering wheel now. if you rotate the steering just a little the linkage and the tiller arm should line up in a straight line, then use a 2x4 or something like that to leverage that connection over to where it pops back into the right position. I say use a 2x4 just so you dont pinch your fingers or something.

 

your boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SkySki's boat

 

 

 

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Not sure if the problem is related or not, but at the point where the cable is fixed to the hull on my boat became loose after a season of use. I have not looked to see if it can be adjusted or needs to be replaced yet, but if yours is loose it might have been the cause to why your rudder moved too far to begin with.

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I've got a couple observations and a question

 

 

1) If you look at the steering shaft just beyond the black cover near the linkage' date=' mine is threaded but not apparently screwed into anything while the picture MidnightV10 posted doesn't seem to have any threading. Is this just the quality of the image or is this a hint as to what might be wrong?

 

2) No idea what that screw and washers lying loose are from, sorry the bottom is dirty but such was the quality of the water that ended up in there.

 

3) Instead of removing the horizontally imposed screw that attaches to the linkage, might it be better to remove the verticall imposed bolt instead? I'm thinking there is probably a lot of pressure on that joint right now, not sure if it matters either way.[/quote']

 

 

 

The threading allows for minor adjustments in the linkage so that when the steering wheel is at its center position, you can adjust the rudder to be centered as well... Like a turnbuckle.

 

The "extra parts" in the bottom of your boat seems to be pretty common. I found some of that stuff as well in mine.. assume just leftover from the manufature process.. Check that the plastic inserts seperating the storage lockers from the engine have all of their nuts and washers.. those can vibrate loos pretty easy but I wouldnt worry too much about finding a washer here or there..

 

As for the water in the bilge.. I agree with SkySki.. check you bilge pump is working. Every boat is a little different. Mine stays really dry.. I dont think I have ever seen my bilge come on but I have heard of others who accumulate water.. but in a half hours time.. yours seems a little excessive. do a little leak testing next time you go out.

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I agree with all of the above - a large hammer will probably fix that. I wouldn't take it anywhere. They will charge you $1-200 just to hit it with a hammer.

 

I am only kidding about the hammer - the 2x4 trick should work.

 

I thought there were stops somewhere in the steering system that stops it from doing this. I can't picture where those stops are though. Anyone seen stops? With a little time I could probably find what I am thinking about. It is possible MB's don't come with stops.

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I'm finally home and plan to try fixing this tonight. You seriously think I should muscle it back instead of disconnecting and reconnecting? Seems like I'm asking for trouble doing the brute force method; however' date=' it is something I'm proficient at.[/quote']

 

well see how much play or tension is on it.. I am guessing it is loose right now but will see some tension when you start to slide it over. it shouldnt take much to unhook the linkage if you have too

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Fixed, thank you guys so much for your help. I thought I'd done thousands of dollars of damage but as far as I can tell, the steering is as good as new. Now to go leak test, then next weekend maiden voyage v.2!!!

 

I guess it is fitting, my maiden voyage of my old Mastercraft was a near disaster. I had only ever dealt with boats that only have a plug in the back and nobody ever told me about the plug in the floor on MCs. Just as I was bringing the boat in to dock the bilge pumps all turned on, and after trailering it about 10 miles the water finally stopped coming out the back. I called the dealership the next day to ask if it was abnormal to have so much water in the boat and he asked if I'd checked both plugs. "Both plugs?"

 

I hate learning the hard way but it seems my skull is too thick to do any other. Anyways, thanks again and can't wait to try her out again.

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