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Steering Play

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)

Checking for play in steering

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.
Change your Alpha Gear Lube
Change your Bravo Gear Lube
Why does my drive lube have white streaks?
Why does my drive lube have gray mush?
Replace Your Alpha One Water Pump
Replace your Alpha Gen II Water Pump
Rebuild your Bravo Raw Water Pump

Troubleshoot & Replace your Alpha Shift Cable
Troubleshoot & Replace your Bravo Shift Cable

Replace your Alpha One Bellows & Gimbal Bearing
Replace your Alpha Gen II Bellows & Gimbal bearing
Replace your Bravo Bellows & Gimbal Bearing
Why does my drive "Growl" when I turn?
Water is leaking into my boat from the transom

Replacing your Trim Sender Switches
My Trim doesn't work but my Trailer Switch does
My Trim Gauge is Pegged

Rebuild your Alpha One Upper Driveshaft Housing Assembly
Rebuild your Alpha One Lower Gear Housing Assembly

Check your Engine Alignment
Check for Excessive Steering Play
Troubleshoot an Overheating Problem
Should I remove my thermostat?
Why do I overheat when going fast?
Troubleshoot a No-Crank Condition
Troubleshoot a No-Start Condition
My Engine Backfires and/or Surges and has Lack of Power
What is an Anti-Syphon Valve?
My Engine blows Steam from the Exhaust
Why do I hear a "clakity" sound while at idle?
Exhaust Manifolds...IMPORTANT Information
How do I Winterize my engine?

What is Galvanic Corrosion?
I have a Bravo III Galvanic Corrosion Problem
What is a Mercathode?
All about Zinc Anodes
How do I check my carburetor?
What carburetor do I have? A Rochester or a Mercarb?
I have water in my fuel
My fuel smells like varnish
My fuel is old
My engine has been sitting for several months without being run.

I have a Mercruiser 470, 485, 488, 190, 3.7L Engine
I have coolant dripping from the front of my engine
Can I install a regular Alternator instead of the Stator-Rotor?

Converting an OMC to a Mercruiser

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