Boating - - BOAT DOC­TOR Q&A -

In the Fe­bru­ary is­sue, Vasil Koleci wrote about his prob­lem of dif­fi­cult steer­ing on his Volvo Penta stern­drive. The Boat­ing Doc­tor’s anal­y­sis of a seized steer­ing fork is 99.9 per­cent cor­rect. The steer­ing fork has seized due to a lack of lu­bri­ca­tion over the years. Even though it has a grease nip­ple and you may have re­li­giously pumped grease into it, it usu­ally does not pre­vent the steer­ing fork from freez­ing up even­tu­ally, be­cause the grease usu­ally comes squirt­ing out at the top (path of least re­sis­tance) be­fore it goes all the way down and reaches ev­ery spot of the shaft and bush­ings. It’s a de­sign flaw, and you may loosen it up a lit­tle by forc­ing pen­e­trat­ing oil through the grease nip­ple, but in the end, the only way to re­ally fix this prob­lem the right way is to re­move the fork, clean it thor­oughly, make sure that all grease grooves are clean and open, and repack it with grease and put it all back to­gether. But here is the prob­lem. This is not an easy job be­cause the fork is most likely so stuck that it takes spe­cial tools or ex­treme in­ge­nu­ity on your part to do it your­self with­out do­ing more dam­age than good to your boat. Some peo­ple have bru­tally ham­mered it out, and if the fork is not too stuck, it may come out, if you are lucky. If not, you can crack the hous­ing, and then you are in a world of hurt. But you cer­tainly will have a dam­aged fork and will have to re­place it. I had the same prob­lem and gave it a lot of thought, and then built my­self a tool to do the job. En­closed are pic­tures of my steer­ing-fork puller, show­ing how you can do the same and save your­self a ton of money.

Good luck!

Rick Wet­zler Mo­bile, Alabama A: Thank you for shar­ing, Rick.

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