Airline_BoatUSAd_10-12.qxd:Layout 1 10/18/12 4:14 PM Page 1
T.N.: I’ve wrestled with this problem, too.
Some people have problems with the
steering cable becoming frozen within its
sheath. But your issue involves the push/
pull rod, which is connected to the aft
end of the cable and also to the motor.
The rod must travel within a tube, which
is typically anchored either at the well
wall or to the transom or at the engine. It
is typically referred to as a “tilt tube” if it’s
on the engine. The rod becomes frozen in
that tube or difficult to move.
I’ve found that often penetrating oil
(such as PB Blaster or WD- 40) squirted
liberally into the tube works. Let it soak
in over time – sometimes a lot of time
– maybe several days with frequent reapplication. It helps to let the motor lie
over on its side to allow gravity to soak
the oil in when you do this, but this may
be impractical with a large motor bolted
to a transom.
Sometimes you must tap on the end
of the rod to free it to move within the
tube. If you have to tap, it’s important to
not spread the rod or otherwise deform
it with your tapping. The rod is usually
made from stainless. Use light to moderate taps and perhaps a “soft” metal such
as bronze between the rod and the hammer. I keep an old bronze propeller shaft
on hand for projects such as this. Or if
you use a hammer, use a block of wood
to absorb the impact and avoid transmitting its full force to the rod in a way that
could deform it.
As you’re tapping, have a friend turn
the steering wheel with a little force in
the direction you want the rod to travel
so that you’re applying pressure on the
rod to move it from that end. This takes
a lot of patience. But if you tap and
squirt in the penetrating oil, it usually
works … eventually.
If you get the rod out of the tube, ream
out the tube of old grease, rust, and salt.
I’ve used an appropriately sized threaded
bolt before in a pinch, but it’s best to use
a good steel wire round brush, preferably not too stiff to avoid scratching the
inside of the tube. After the brush, use a
lightly oiled rag. After this cleaning, lube
the inside with a good water-resistant
grease, such as white lithium, but not
too much. Also, clean the rod with penetrating oil and apply waterproof grease
before reinserting it.