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Thread: Jet easy right/hard left

  1. #1

    Default Jet easy right/hard left

    I have a 21' North River Commander 310hp Marine Power with a Hamilton 212. The boat pulls to the right like a truck with a front end alignment problem. It steers easy right but hard left under power. Easy both ways when putter'n. It does the same with kicker on or off the boat. It doesn't matter how I load the boat. It's a pain on long trips because I have to grip the steering wheel tight and keep pressure left to go straight. The boat has done this since day one. I asked the salesmen and he said that it was probably the trim tabs in the back that needed to be bent. There's about 1/4"-1/2" of the bottom plate sticking out beyond the transom. If these are the tabs?, they look straight to me. I'm embarrassed to say that I've babied the boat and only bumped bottom one time on a sand bar just enough to get a hard look from the Mrs. and grins from my daughters. In other words the bottom is still in new condition. I tried to get it in the shop several times but something always came up and then winter hit about half a lifetime ago. Is there something easy that I can check and fix so I won't miss Boo Boo this spring with my boat in the shop or in line outside the shop?

  2. #2
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default check the nozzle

    Dwlong,
    Not sure about an inboard, but an outboard jet has two vertical fins within the exhaust end of the nozzle. By adjusting those vertical fins, one can eliminate this problem.
    Read your manual if you have one and it should clarify how to fix this problem.
    Take a flashlight and look inside the outlet of your jet and see if you also have two vertical fins that could be bent slightly with a pair of pliers.
    The horizontal trailing edge off the transom/bottom of your boat is not your problem. This minor extension off the back off the boat will effect how the bow rides not how it steers.
    Any reputable boat shop should also be able to assist you w/out charging a fee.
    Of course you'll have to run her in the water to verify if you corrected the problem...only a few more months!
    BK

  3. #3

    Default

    Make sure your reverse cup clears the nozzle. It sounds like the jet stream is hitting the cup.

  4. #4
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    Default steering

    By steering hard, do you mean it's hard to turn the wheel, or that you can turn the wheel, but the boat doesn't respond?

    If it's hard to turn the wheel, you could have air in your steering lines if you have hydraulic steering. Or, there could be something obstructing the steering ram.

    But I'm suspecting you mean you can steer but the boat doesn't respond as well to the left. While it could be affected by the trim tabs, I'm more inclined to think the steering ram and the tiller arm weren't set up correctly.

    I use a Hamilton 1031 in my gillnet boat. I'm trying to remember, but I think the throw is something like 7 1/2 inches on my steering ram, but I could be wrong on that tho by a little.

    Start by turning your steering wheel hard over each direction and marking on your transom how far the tiller arm travels each direction. Next, unbolt the steering ram from the tiller arm. With your hand, push your tiller arm each direction and see if it will go farther one direction than the marks you made. If so, that is your problem, you aren't getting full thrust in one direction. If that is the case there are a couple ways to adjust it. One is to move the mounting bracket of your ram to a spot determined to allow full thrust both directions, and the second way is to adjust where the ram attaches to the tiller arm. Some tiller arms have only one hole for attaching the ram and others have a series of holes that go the length of the tiller arm. The farther out on the tiller arm (from where it attaches to the steering shaft that goes through your hull) you attach the ram, the longer the thrust it takes to go from hard over to hard over. You need to find the spot that matches the thrust of your ram. If your ram throws 6 inches, you need to find the hole that allows 6 inches of turn from hard over to hard over. What happens is, if they aren't matched, you can turn hard one way, but not hard over the other way. Turn your steering wheel until the ram is all the way in, then turn it so it is all the way out and measure the difference in the length. That is your throw. Next, while the ram is still unattached to the steering tiller arm, stick a black marker in the mounting holes one at a time and make a mark at hard left and another at hard right as in the first picture. Then measure the difference of each hole.
    Find the one that most closely matches your thrust, in the second picture. In my example, I used 6 inches of thrust, but yours may be different.

    Next you want to attach the ram to the correct hole. You may have to change where the ram is mounted also. If it is mounted to close or too far away from the tiller arm, it will affect the throw again. If you need to change it, unbolt it from the transom and bolt it back to the tiller arm. Then if your ram is on the right of the tiller arm facing the transom, as in the illustration, turn your steering wheel so the ram is all the way in. Next make sure the tiller arm is all the way to the right towards the ram and mark new bolt holes for mounting the ram. Drill and re-bolt and fill in the old holes and your problem should be solved.

    PS if your tiller arm only has one hole, you may have to drill a new hole in it in the correct spot.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5

    Default

    The steering wheel turns easy both ways when idling and when out of the water. It appears to turn the same amount both ways. The problem is when under power it become difficult to turn the steering wheel to the left but very easy to turn right. The boat responds both ways but you have to keep constant left pressure on the wheel to go straight. If you let go of the steering wheel the boat will wander off to the right.

    I don't remember seeing any fins inside the jet but I'll look again when I get the boat back from Silver Streaks. I dropped it off Jan 05 to get roll bars installed over the soft top to carry gear. I guess they're busy because it's still sitting in the lot. I'll ask them what they think but I'm sure they would want it in the water to check.

    It was difficult for me to believe the cause to be the small lip tabs in the back. I don't think they would cause the steering wheel to be stiff. I suspect a misalignment of the jet.

    I'll measure everything when I get it back. I'll even read the manual .

  6. #6
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    Default

    try rotating the insert in the steering nozzle 90 degrees. the nozzle comes off with 4 bolts, then pop yhe insert out and rotate it. some of the inserts are not machined very accurately causing steering issues

  7. #7

    Default Hard steering

    You did not say if the boat was new when you got it? is it hydraulic or cable steering? if its a cable type hard steering under power often times is from a worn steering cable, the cable wears a groove inside the casing and when there is a little pressure on the nozzle the cable runs deep into the grove rather than on the slick lining like it should, the reason its easy one way is that would be when your pulling rather than pushing, an easy test for this is have someone hold pressure on your nozzle while its on the trailer and if a worn cable is the culprit it will act just like it does under power. as far as the wanting to turn issue I'm sure Ben at Silver Streak will have a fix.
    19' Lowe Roughneck
    90/65 Honda 4 stroke
    Outboard Jet

  8. #8
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by DWLong View Post
    I have a 21' North River Commander 310hp Marine Power with a Hamilton 212. The boat pulls to the right like a truck with a front end alignment problem. It steers easy right but hard left under power. Easy both ways when putter'n. It does the same with kicker on or off the boat. It doesn't matter how I load the boat. It's a pain on long trips because I have to grip the steering wheel tight and keep pressure left to go straight. The boat has done this since day one. I asked the salesmen and he said that it was probably the trim tabs in the back that needed to be bent. There's about 1/4"-1/2" of the bottom plate sticking out beyond the transom. If these are the tabs?, they look straight to me. I'm embarrassed to say that I've babied the boat and only bumped bottom one time on a sand bar just enough to get a hard look from the Mrs. and grins from my daughters. In other words the bottom is still in new condition. I tried to get it in the shop several times but something always came up and then winter hit about half a lifetime ago. Is there something easy that I can check and fix so I won't miss Boo Boo this spring with my boat in the shop or in line outside the shop?

    I saw a very nice and relatively newer Weldcraft jet boat very very similar to this one at Greatland Welding in Palmer last summer. Gary asked me to take GOOD look at it and see if I could figure out what was wrong with it. I asked him what the symptoms were and he said that they were the same one's that you're having. So I walked behind the boat and looked hard at the back of the boat from about 20' away and realized that this boat came from the factory crook-ed! Yep... The bottom delta pad was approx 6" offset to the left of where the jet came out (which was centered) in the boat. Crooked! Have ya looked at your hull? Just cause it's new or in mint shape, unfortunately doesn't mean that it's right... My .02... Good luck...

  9. #9

    Default

    Lowe and Slow, It's an 06 but was brand new in 07 when I bought it and it has cables. I'm sure they aren't worn. I've only got 25-30 hours on the boat. I thought about the cables but I haven't tried to hold the nozzle.

    Swampdonkey, I've looked at the bottom and haven't noticed anything crooked. It doesn't feel like the boat is wanting to go right. It feels like the steering wheel wants to turn to the right. On occasions I can let go of the wheel and it may go straight for a short time but the steering wheel usually turns to the right on it's own under power. I'll ask Ben at Silver Streaks if he can take a look while it's getting a new rack.

    akgravelpumper, That sounds easy enough. I'll give it a try if nothing else becomes obvious.

    Thanks everyone for all the advice.

  10. #10
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    Default Hard Steering

    DW,

    The suggestions above are good, but start with the easy stuff first. There's a chance that the steering cable bushing thru the transom has some sort of lateral pressure affecting it with power applied. You might want to have someone look at the movement of the nozzle/ cable etc while it's sitting on a trailer not running and see what the cable does when you turn the wheel. It's a place to start....good luck.

  11. #11
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    Default sterering again

    Don't forget to check the actual steering wheel mechanism. Sometimes that gets bound up and it's hard to turn one direction.

  12. #12
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    Default It's you trim tab..

    Your trim tab isn't always straight, and shouldn't be straight if you
    boat is not running true straight and easy to turn in both directions..

    Operate your boat at normal cruising speed,
    trimmed to desired position. Turn you boat
    to the left and then to the right, and note
    which way it turns the easiest.
    If adjustment is needed, loosen the trim
    tab bolt and make small adjustments. If
    the boat turns more easily to the left,
    move the trailering edge to the trim tab
    to the left. If the boat turns more
    easily to the right, mover the trailering
    edge of the trim tab to the right.

    Rear of tab (trailering edge)
    Front of tab (leading edge)

    Hope this helps....

  13. #13
    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Default

    Talk with Ben While boat still there at his shop He has been at this for yrs, Straight Keel, Little bent down right side of extension on transom of boat,Also have him Ck the cut in the Nozzle make sure it is centered,Let us know what you find!

  14. #14

    Default Same issue in a '05 North River

    DWlong,

    Yours sounds like the same issue I am having with mine. I bought mine used with a 125 hours on it and ran it last season. It has the same pull to the starboard as a car that is out of alignment and pulls to one side. The steering isn't as much hard when turning to port, as the boat is tending pull towards starboard. If I take my hands off the wheel, the boat will start turning to the starboard.

    I had forgot about this annoyance until I read this thread tonight.

    Go out to your boat, lift the reverse cup out of the way, exposing the turn nozzle. Feel the inside, back edge of the turn nozzle. Let me know if there is a raised edge on that inside lip. Mine has one of the starboard side of the nozzle but is smooth on the port side. I've got a hunch that this is what is making it pull to the starboard. If I get time tomorrow, I'm going to make a couple calls to see if this might be the problem. I'm thinking, if I take a dremel or a sanding wheel and carefully smooth that lip off, I may have solved the problem. I want some confirmation first, before I ruin the turning nozzle by doing something I shouldn't have.

  15. #15

    Default

    alaskahick, The nozzle has a very very slight lip (from the mold) on the inside starboard side. This may be the problem but it's a very slight lip. I think mine can be sanded down. Good catch but too late. I had Ben take a look and he couldn't find anything wrong soooo he installed trim tabs . He talked me into them. Said they would cure the problem, decrease RPMs by 300 for better economy, and get it up on step quicker with a heavy moose load. I dropped it off to get a roof rack and Spitlift brackets put on. Funny thing is I brought it home with a rack/brackets, trim tabs, stomp grate, and a welded kicker mount (to clear the tabs). Webster dictionary should read: boat; Big hole in the water.

    Thanks for everyones advice. Now I have to wait till Finger Lake opens to find out if the tabs work.

  16. #16
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Spitz Lift

    You are going to like the Spitz Lift. I installed one last year and that thing saves my tired old back. I made a bracket to use it with my pickup as well. Sure makes swapping my kicker motor EZ. Would love to see a photo of the bracket and lift when you get it.





    Sorry for the detour, back to your regularly scheduled program.
    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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