|Mercruiser Sterndrive Information|
Excessive steering play can be a serious and dangerous condition.
The drive should have very little side-to-side freeplay.
Have a friend hold the steering wheel tight while you stand behind the boat and swing the drive back and forth. It should move very little.
If you have excessive movement, inspect the area at the top of the Gimbal Ring where the steering shaft passes through the gimbal ring and into the boat.
(See image below)
There must be NO free-play between the gimbal ring and the shaft.
As you can see by the image above, there are two bolts passing through the gimbal ring. These bolts where torqued to 50-55 ft pounds when the unit was first assembled. It helped the gimbal ring clamp-down tightly on the upper steering shaft.
The ONLY time these bolts should ever be torqued is when the gimbal ring is new and it is being installed for the first time.
They should never be torqued in an attempt to eliminate free-play in the steering. Free-play is a result of wear and distortion in the gimbal ring.
If you have free-play, the gimbal ring has to be replaced. NEVER tighten the two retainer bolts if you have free-play. If you attempt to tighten these bolts there is a good chance the gimbal ring will snap and fail. This usually happens while you are on plane and going fast.
Damage, Injury or Death can result from gimbal ring failure.
The Service Manual for your drive explains in detail how to replace your gimbal ring.
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