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How can you drive a triple engine boat after total steering failure?

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How can you drive a triple engine boat after total steering failure?

Old 05-13-2015, 10:25 AM
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Default How can you drive a triple engine boat after total steering failure?

Hi all, had an interesting day out today..........

Went island hopping and stopped at a quiet island about 20 miles from the mainland. Time to go home, started off and immediately my steering felt rough and was 'catching' as I turned the wheel. Steering became less responsive and eventually lost almost all feel at the wheel and finally wouldn't turn the engines at all. I'm still way out to sea and we're in typical snotty 4-5' chop predominantly on the starboard bow. I'm running Verados and I'll worry about what went wrong later, right now, I just want to get boat and crew home safely. I'm not a mechanic and pulling off an engine cowl while hanging out the back in the slop wasn't going to solve the problem, so I just set about getting home.

Principles for outboard v sterndrive should be basically the same? Starboard engine rotates anti-clockwise, port and centre rotate clockwise. Engine are pretty straight so I head off and the engines do a slight turn to the right as I get on the plane. I figure the best thing is to run the two outer engines only so the counter rotating props to the outer will balance the torque twist. Didn't quite work, they still want to pull to the right a bit but with the centre engine tilted fully up and the port trim tab fully down, I have created enough drag to balance the steering in a straight line and adjust the starboard tab slightly to steer. 3,800 rpm @ 30 mph, going well but then I get greedy.

I start the centre engine and try on all 3. Big circle to the right and the engines are now turned slightly into a right hand turn. Tried like crazy to to 'push' the engines straight but all to no avail. Couldn't move them. A little p***** off, we headed back on the starboard engine with occasional touches of reverse on the port engine to maintain our course.

Back home safely, long trip and a blow to my ego.

Can anyone tell me if there would have been a better way to tackle the problem of driving with no steering?

R.E. The problem, I did see oil on the water near the port engine so I suspect we've lossed a hose or a pump somewhere. I looked under the cowl when we got back but couldn't see anything terrible in the dark so i'll wait for the experts to diagnose. (If someone tells me there's a magical over ride switch somewhere or a button or something I might just kill m self!!)

Thanks in advance for any opinions,

RR

P.S. Thanks for reading this way too long post!!

Last edited by rak rua; 05-13-2015 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:37 AM
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I assume you do not have hydraulic steering across all three motors, correct?
All three have individual steering, correct?
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:42 AM
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Bring some ratcheting tie straps and some tools with you next time you venture offshore.
If you have any independant control of throttles ,that may of helped fine tune tracking.
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Sydwayz
I assume you do not have hydraulic steering across all three motors, correct?
All three have individual steering, correct?
I think Verados have an in built electric power steering pump but I'm not sure if all three have the pump and/or which one operates the system. It is a hydraulic system so I've probably lost all the oil from the system now also. Tie bar is fitted across the front of the three engines, standard Fountain setup. I'm expecting it to be something fairly simple but I'm sure it will still be expensive!!

Also running the electronis controls so I only have two shifters not three so the centre engine (when running) will automatically sync with the other two.

RR
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