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25 daytona steering issues? Maybe ...

Austin236

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This isn’t the first cat I’ve driven but it is the first 25 daytona I’ve driven. I know they like neutral trim, but as soon as I rollover onto plane the boat wants to dart to the left or right and then back and forth until trimmed up and over 50 ish mph. It runs straight as an arrow over 50. It’s a stock 496/bravo setup with a 26p bravo and imco dual hydraulic assist rams. The only thing I can find is there’s a little bit of play in the bushings on both sides of the rams. I will replace this week but it doesn’t seem to be enough to cause this issue. Also there appears to be a lot of play in the steering wheel before the drive actually begins to steer. Is this just the hull characteristics or do I have another issue... thanks. I have a lot of seat time in a magic scepter and an eliminator fun deck and never experienced anything like this.
 

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Definitely sounds like a steering issue. I had a 25' and it did not do that. Also my buddy had a 25' with a 496HO that I got to drive quite a bit and it also didn't do that.
 

Austin236

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Definitely sounds like a steering issue. I had a 25' and it did not do that. Also my buddy had a 25' with a 496HO that I got to drive quite a bit and it also didn't do that.
That’s what I’m thinking... hope I can get it figured out. Thanks!
 

Husqy510

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It's hydraulic assist, so probably an issue with the cable or helm. I had hydraulic assist and had a failure of the cable that could have been catastrophic at speed. Needless to say we upgraded to hydraulic to the helm with the help of Racey and imco
 

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Austin236

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It's hydraulic assist, so probably an issue with the cable or helm. I had hydraulic assist and had a failure of the cable that could have been catastrophic at speed. Needless to say we upgraded to hydraulic to the helm with the help of Racey and imco
I will take a look at the cable!
 

Austin236

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maybe a loose or worn tiller arm?
There is zero play in the drive when trying to move it by hand on the trailer, just a little bit of movement in the imco rams where there’s a little bit of slop in the bushings on either end, but nothing severe enough that would cause this issue IMO...
 

Shlbyntro

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There is zero play in the drive when trying to move it by hand on the trailer, just a little bit of movement in the imco rams where there’s a little bit of slop in the bushings on either end, but nothing severe enough that would cause this issue IMO...
If the issue is in the cable or at the helm like stated above, you won't be able to feel the play when shaking the drive with your hand because the slop is in the mechanical system, not the hydraulic one that is attached to the drive
 

02HoWaRd26

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I would 100% definitely NOT test the boat to 50+ again!

Sounds like a cable, or more. I’d start with the bushings only like 30$ at IMCO NV, as well have someone hold the drive and see how much play in the steering wheel before it bites. But yes that is Not the hull
 

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If its hydraulic assist the cable that is turning the drive over time stretches out, they are not adjustable so you have to remove and replace it, otherwise you will have a ton of slop in the steering to the point of being dangerous once the cable stretches out. You can replace the cable or spend the money for the new helm and hydraulic lines to the stern and be done with it.

Are there hydraulic lines to the stern or just a cable? If its a cable its assist set up.

Not sure what the cost is on the cable but the upgrade to full hydro on mine ran around $1200, it will be more if you only have one ram on the drive now as you will need two. My boat started as a 496 at 72 mph so the assist was reasonable, over time it evolved into a 125 mph boat and the assist set up became a safety issue.

And your drive isnt moving enough to cause the darting, its you and the steering inputs not being able to catch up and being delayed. Once you get up to speed you have less boat in the water and the issue becomes less noticeable.

My only issue with the 496 is that it did not have enough power to make the hull work. On a daytona you need to get to 70-75 before the engineering on the hull begins to truly work. After the three or bounces in the low 70's and you continue to accelerate the boat becomes a completely different boat for the better.

I have had 14 daytonas over the last 10 years.
 

Austin236

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If the issue is in the cable or at the helm like stated above, you won't be able to feel the play when shaking the drive with your hand because the slop is in the mechanical system, not the hydraulic one that is attached to the drive
So I should remove the imco rams from the drive and retest to see if here’s any slop?
 

Austin236

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I would 100% definitely NOT test the boat to 50+ again!

Sounds like a cable, or more. I’d start with the bushings only like 30$ at IMCO NV, as well have someone hold the drive and see how much play in the steering wheel before it bites. But yes that is Not the hull
I definitely don’t plan on taking the boat out again till the issues found and resolved! Definitely going to replace the ram bushings just for good measure... just seems unlikely that it’s causing this dramatic of a problem! I will look into the cable. Thank you
 

Austin236

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If its hydraulic assist the cable that is turning the drive over time stretches out, they are not adjustable so you have to remove and replace it, otherwise you will have a ton of slop in the steering to the point of being dangerous once the cable stretches out. You can replace the cable or spend the money for the new helm and hydraulic lines to the stern and be done with it.

Are there hydraulic lines to the stern or just a cable? If its a cable its assist set up.

Not sure what the cost is on the cable but the upgrade to full hydro on mine ran around $1200, it will be more if you only have one ram on the drive now as you will need two. My boat started as a 496 at 72 mph so the assist was reasonable, over time it evolved into a 125 mph boat and the assist set up became a safety issue.

And your drive isnt moving enough to cause the darting, its you and the steering inputs not being able to catch up and being delayed. Once you get up to speed you have less boat in the water and the issue becomes less noticeable.

My only issue with the 496 is that it did not have enough power to make the hull work. On a daytona you need to get to 70-75 before the engineering on the hull begins to truly work. After the three or bounces in the low 70's and you continue to accelerate the boat becomes a completely different boat for the better.

I have had 14 daytonas over the last 10 years.
This seems extremely accurate, it’s a dual ram assist setup, cable to the helm. But this makes perfect sense as there seems to be so much slop to the wheel, by the time it starts turning, I can’t turn the wheel fast enough back and it ends up over correcting back the other way. The steering wheel feels very disconnected to the drive.
 

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This seems extremely accurate, it’s a dual ram assist setup, cable to the helm. But this makes perfect sense as there seems to be so much slop to the wheel, by the time it starts turning, I can’t turn the wheel fast enough back and it ends up over correcting back the other way. The steering wheel feels very disconnected to the drive.
With a 496 I would probably just replace the cable, a assist set up is more than enough at the speeds the boat will attain. I would get a quote to do both repairs and then decide from there.
 

Austin236

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With a 496 I would probably just replace the cable, a assist set up is more than enough at the speeds the boat will attain. I would get a quote to do both repairs and then decide from there.
Will do! Thanks!
 

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I can’t remember what lower unit that boat has but the most bang you can get for your buck to go faster is a minus two lower. Pretty much all single Daytona’s work much better with them compared to a standard length lower.
 

Austin236

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I believe I’ve found something, I removed the imco rams from the drive as I’m going to be replacing the bushings anyways and checked the gimbal and steering for play. All seems well, but while checking out where the steering cable mounts to the powersteering Brazil actuator , the flats on the cable guide tube weren’t aligned vertically, more like 45 degrees. Merc says the flats must be perfectly vertical for the actuator to work as designed or you will have steering issues. Going to call imco tomorrow and order the bushings for the rams and reinstall the steering cable with the cable guide aligned correctly and hope this fixes the problem. Thanks guys
 

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Shlbyntro

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I believe I’ve found something, I removed the imco rams from the drive as I’m going to be replacing the bushings anyways and checked the gimbal and steering for play. All seems well, but while checking out where the steering cable mounts to the powersteering Brazil actuator , the flats on the cable guide tube weren’t aligned vertically, more like 45 degrees. Merc says the flats must be perfectly vertical for the actuator to work as designed or you will have steering issues. Going to call imco tomorrow and order the bushings for the rams and reinstall the steering cable with the cable guide aligned correctly and hope this fixes the problem. Thanks guys
The tube that those flats are on should be free spinning and can be turned fully 360 degrees once the steering cable nut is broken free on the steering tube. They are really just a wrench slot for changing the cable. Ive never heard of them having to be clocked myself and have changed 100s of cables without issue there. With no play in the tiller or the gimbal ring, I'd be more focused on the cable and helm components looking for that slop. Especially if you have a tilt mech on the steering wheel. Thats generally where I find the play in steering systems when the gimbal ring isn't the issue.
 

Austin236

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The tube that those flats are on should be free spinning and can be turned fully 360 degrees once the steering cable nut is broken free on the steering tube. They are really just a wrench slot for changing the cable. Ive never heard of them having to be clocked myself and have changed 100s of cables without issue there. With no play in the tiller or the gimbal ring, I'd be more focused on the cable and helm components looking for that slop. Especially if you have a tilt mech on the steering wheel. Thats generally where I find the play in steering systems when the gimbal ring isn't the issue.
It’s not a tilt helm, just a standard Morse helm. There is about 1/8th of a turn of wheel slop before the cable engages the actuator which I assume is well within tolerance for a cable to assist setup? So not much play from the helm to the actuator. And there’s no side to side play between the drive and the tiller arm, just by moving the drive back and forth by hand in the free play of the cable without actually turning the wheel , I see zero play. The drive seems perfectly sync’d with the tiller arm. There is about 1/8th of an inch up/down play in the gimbal, although I assume that isn’t severe enough to cause my issue? The only other issue I see besides the flats on the steering cable guide tube is there appears to be a little bit of fluid around the tube on the side where the steering cable screws on. Maybe the actuator is slightly leaking? The power steering level is fine, actually it’s a little but full for being cold. Up to the hot line.
 

Shlbyntro

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It’s not a tilt helm, just a standard Morse helm. There is about 1/8th of a turn of wheel slop before the cable engages the actuator which I assume is well within tolerance for a cable to assist setup? So not much play from the helm to the actuator. And there’s no side to side play between the drive and the tiller arm, just by moving the drive back and forth by hand in the free play of the cable without actually turning the wheel , I see zero play. The drive seems perfectly sync’d with the tiller arm. There is about 1/8th of an inch up/down play in the gimbal, although I assume that isn’t severe enough to cause my issue? The only other issue I see besides the flats on the steering cable guide tube is there appears to be a little bit of fluid around the tube on the side where the steering cable screws on. Maybe the actuator is slightly leaking? The power steering level is fine, actually it’s a little but full for being cold. Up to the hot line.
Id imagine that the fluid you're seeing at that tube is just some old melted grease from the steering cable. No fluid flows through there. All youre fluid flows by the shaft that is just below and slightly forward of the steering tube. That up and down play in your gimbal ring is indicative of either a worn tiller or at the very least, a loose swivel pin nut. In a cable over external hydraulic assist application, it can cause jumpy steering if its bad enough
 

Teague_JR

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I believe I’ve found something, I removed the imco rams from the drive as I’m going to be replacing the bushings anyways and checked the gimbal and steering for play. All seems well, but while checking out where the steering cable mounts to the powersteering Brazil actuator , the flats on the cable guide tube weren’t aligned vertically, more like 45 degrees. Merc says the flats must be perfectly vertical for the actuator to work as designed or you will have steering issues. Going to call imco tomorrow and order the bushings for the rams and reinstall the steering cable with the cable guide aligned correctly and hope this fixes the problem. Thanks guys
I was reading through this thread getting ready to type this exact thing. It’s a little known fact the wrench slots orientation matter to the valving in the Brazil. Coincidentally most people end up with them pretty much up and down just by how you grab it with a wrench but if you have then sideways the steering WILL do some funky hunting kind of stuff. It won’t want to recenter naturally.

full hydraulic helms will also do something similar if the steering post splines are bottomed out into the female hub in the helm itself.
 

Teague_JR

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The tube that those flats are on should be free spinning and can be turned fully 360 degrees once the steering cable nut is broken free on the steering tube. They are really just a wrench slot for changing the cable. Ive never heard of them having to be clocked myself and have changed 100s of cables without issue there. With no play in the tiller or the gimbal ring, I'd be more focused on the cable and helm components looking for that slop. Especially if you have a tilt mech on the steering wheel. Thats generally where I find the play in steering systems when the gimbal ring isn't the issue.
Incorrect. It does matter. I wasn’t aware of it myself for many years until one gave us some weird issues...
 

Austin236

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I was reading through this thread getting ready to type this exact thing. It’s a little known fact the wrench slots orientation matter to the valving in the Brazil. Coincidentally most people end up with them pretty much up and down just by how you grab it with a wrench but if you have then sideways the steering WILL do some funky hunting kind of stuff. It won’t want to recenter naturally.

full hydraulic helms will also do something similar if the steering post splines are bottomed out into the female hub in the helm itself.
Thank you! Going to give the new ram bushings and the wrench slot orientation a try this weekend and hope that’s my issue! I really appreciate the feedback from all of you.
 

Shlbyntro

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Incorrect. It does matter. I wasn’t aware of it myself for many years until one gave us some weird issues...
I was reading through this thread getting ready to type this exact thing. It’s a little known fact the wrench slots orientation matter to the valving in the Brazil. Coincidentally most people end up with them pretty much up and down just by how you grab it with a wrench but if you have then sideways the steering WILL do some funky hunting kind of stuff. It won’t want to recenter naturally.

full hydraulic helms will also do something similar if the steering post splines are bottomed out into the female hub in the helm itself.
This could be the reason I've never had an issue.... lol
 

Teague_JR

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Thank you! Going to give the new ram bushings and the wrench slot orientation a try this weekend and hope that’s my issue! I really appreciate the feedback from all of you.
my only other thought is it has way too much weight in the nose or its a single step bow rider or something? The steering cable slop could make you feel like youre chasing it around a lot?
 

02HoWaRd26

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I bought the stainless tilt helm, charlyn, hoses, filter etc to convert my last boat from cable to full power. It too was “just a 496 boat” but it made the boat feel so much better. At all speeds but specially at the docks and no wake zones, took me the better of a full day start to finish in my garage. And was a bit under 2k, save about 250$ if you go non tilt. Call Ron at IMCO he will set you up.
 
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