Steering Problem on 170 Montauk?

TravellerTraveller Posts: 84 Greenhorn
Hi, All!

My Boston Whaler Montauk 170 is getting unbelievably hard to steer. It has Teleflex no-feed-back steering that came with the boat when I bought it new in 2008. I have read that there is a design issue with the Montauk 170 that makes it impossible to get the steering cable out of the trim tube on the outboard. The cable goes into the hull too close to have enough play to remove it. I think the outboard has to be unbolted and lifted off the transom to remove, clean, and lubricate the cable and tilt tube - assuming there isn't more wrong than rust.

The motor is a Mercury 90 4-Stroke. Would you recommend having new steering installed? If so - considering the size of the motor, stay with mechanical nfb steering as opposed to hydraulic? And would I need to have a Mercury tech do the work, or could any marine mechanic change steering?

Thanks for any thoughts.


  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 2,023 Captain
    Take the bolt/nut off where the cable attaches to the steering arm. Now, turn your wheel back and forth and see how difficult it is to turn. You can also turn the motor itself by pushing on it side to side. See which is more difficult to move; either the whee/cable or the motor itself. This way you can narrow down your problem.

    You may be able to clean out the "tilt tube" or grease the engine yolk.

    Many smaller boats require the motor to be lifted off the transom in order to gain access to the cable.
  • jbdba01jbdba01 Posts: 144 Deckhand
    When was the last time you greased the tilt tube?

    Hydraulic would be really nice but is a bunch more expensive than grease maintenance.

    My cable is 13 years old and it will seize up if not properly maintained. After it seized once I've gotten a lot better at maintenance.

    I have basically the same boat but with a 90 Yamaha. The owners manual shows where it needs grease. There's no need to remove the engine for the maintenance.
  • gandrfabgandrfab Posts: 20,529 AG
    One outboard I had I was able to open the ends of the steering ram at the outboard and manually pack with grease. Got me by for many years.
    :BUNNY gestapo

  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,343 Officer
    I found a drawing of a cable luber that uses air pressure to force oil into the cable. You still have to remove the engine to get to the cable. For the OP's question, hydraulic steering sure is nice. Try the tilt tube first.
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