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When I put my boat up in late November I checked everything out and all was working. I just went down to the boat and the steering is locked up. I am hoping that maybe it just got some water in it and maybe a hair dryer will fix this. If anyone has an opinion it is welcomed.
 

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I'll assume outboard.

Sometimes corrosion will build up on the SS rod - on where it goes into cylinder. Old school trick was to put engine hard over so entire rod was inside cylinder. It is wise to turn wheel lock to lock every two weeks or so as well.

We can try to spray the SS rod with WD 40and wipe any grit off. Then have a helper gently turn steering wheel left / right as you gently wiggle engine. If it frees up - gently increase going left / right until it goes lock to lock. Resist urge to turn wheel all the way as it frees up. Take it slow - back / forth.
 

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Make sure you look behind you to ensure nothing is blocking the arm. Stupid I know but one hard turn of that wheel is 1.5-2 hours of labor and a couple - four hundo im parts. If nothing is blocking like skip said patiently and slowly work oil into the cylinder. May wanna wait until a warm day unless you're hell bent on fishing.

-Evans
 

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Once you get it free, update your fall winterizing checklist to include:
-Remove steering shaft
-Clean tube with 12 gauge shotgun brush and solvent
-re-lube with waterproof trailer bearing grease and re-assemble.
 

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Can and will happen to most outboards used in saltwater if you neglect the maintenance. What brand of motor? Mercs are notorious for this issue. I suspect that its the grade of steel they are using. Once you get rust inside the shaft you need to remove it completely or you will continue to experience the problem. I cant stress this point enough. Look for a heavy duty round wire brush that you can attach to a cordless drill. Run it through the sleeve until it comes out clean. Depending on the degree that its rusted this can take a while. Lube well with a high quality grease, and relube regularly.
 

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Can and will happen to most outboards used in saltwater if you neglect the maintenance. What brand of motor? Mercs are notorious for this issue. I suspect that its the grade of steel they are using. Once you get rust inside the shaft you need to remove it completely or you will continue to experience the problem. I cant stress this point enough. Look for a heavy duty round wire brush that you can attach to a cordless drill. Run it through the sleeve until it comes out clean. Depending on the degree that its rusted this can take a while. Lube well with a high quality grease, and relube regularly.
It happened to my Merc. I tried everything until I finally replaced my steering cable. BIG job. Had to take the motor loose and move it to re attach. Hope that is not the case for you...........Gary
 

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Before you attempt to move the steering...... warm up the cable end and sleeve at the motor. It is most likely filled with grease and grime. The grease hardens with the cold temps and prevents movement of the cable within the sleeve. Use an electric heat gun or a hair dryer to warm the cable. Use copious amounts of WD 40 to remove grease and grime from the cable end. Continue cleaning the cable end until no more junk is visible. Best to have a helper turn the wheel EASILY so the gears are not ruined while you attempt to move the motor from side to side. You should be exerting more pressure on the motor than your helper is on the wheel. This is very important!!!

If the cable end is extended outside the cable sleeve you can use a 2 x 4 as a lever to break loose the cable end AFTER it has been flooded with WD 40. A device (lever) can also be attached to the cable end (hole) to pull the cable out of the sleeve. Be careful doing any of this so you don't make a bigger mess than you already have.

One thing I would not do is refill the cable sleeve with grease. It does not need it though many advise to do it. There's already enough junk inside the tube to keep the tilt tube from rusting. Sometimes the motor has to be disconnected from the transom in order to remove the steering cable completely. This is when I would clean everything inside the tilt tube with a 12 gauge brass brush and 1 or 2 rod sections from a shotgun cleaning kit and an electric drill. Then lightly apply a minimal amount of lubricant to the inside of the tube. I said MINIMAL! Don't fill it with grease or you will be doing this work all over again soon. Apply lubricant to a long rag and drag it back and forth through the tilt tube or use a shotgun cleaning swab to perform this function.

Been there, done that, to many other peoples' motors. It's not a difficult task. Good luck.
 

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As they get older most need more lube...

As mentioned above, preventive maintenance, and not sitting around are the key.
 

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I had her converted to hydraulic steering after three episodes like above. The motor had to be lifted off to get the clearance to remove the old cables.
 
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