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  1. #1
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    Tilt Tube Bushings

    Serial #0G703213

    I went to Crowley Marie's site and looked at the exploded view of the Sportmaster Transom Bracket but it doesn't show a bushing, even though there's supposed to be one in there. See below:
    https://www.crowleymarine.com/mercur...s/2706_240.cfm

    I thought maybe they show it somewhere else, so I looked at the Swivel Bracket, which shows a bushing of some sort NEAR the tilt tube, but not one AT the tilt tube. My boat is not with me at the moment, but I could swear the tilt tube goes into the bigger hole where the #6 zerk fitting goes. Is it possible that the #7 bushing in the picture is indeed the tilt tube bushing, but is in the wrong place in the drawing? I wouldn't think so, especially since they've had years to correct it. See below:
    https://www.crowleymarine.com/mercur...s/2706_210.cfm

    Am I missing something here, and/or looking at the wrong diagrams? Any help would be appreciated.

    FWIW, my Service Manual doesn't show them, either, yet a boat shop I went to said they indeed have bushings in there. The guy was a real piece of work with a bad attitude, so I won't be going back to them again, so here I am.

    Thank you.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

  2. #2
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    number 7 is a plastic bushing for the pin that holds upper end of hydraulic cylinder in place (that raises motor up and down) tilt pin has no bushing that i have ever seen i just scrapped out two swivel brackets as your showing they had no bushing!!! Tiller arm does have upper and lower bushings depending on what year model dictates which material they are made from. if you have slop in the tilt pin pin its the first ive heard of

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEXAS20225 View Post
    number 7 is a plastic bushing for the pin that holds upper end of hydraulic cylinder in place (that raises motor up and down) tilt pin has no bushing that i have ever seen i just scrapped out two swivel brackets as your showing they had no bushing!!!
    So, the tilt tube has no bushing, as you've seen firsthand. No wonder there isn't one in the drawings.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEXAS20225 View Post
    if you have slop in the tilt pin pin its the first ive heard of
    I'd say I'm seeing as much as 3/32" of play when I stand at the back and tilt up and down, but NOT ALL THE TIME. It seems to be more noticeable when I take the boat out of the water, and tilt it up and down as I install the support bracket for towing. After towing it home, I've noticed that the play is often reduced to about 1/16" and sometimes less. In fact, I was worried about it, and recently towed it to a shop to show them, but when I got there, it seemed like hardly any play at all. When the tech saw the little bit of play he said it "looked a little dry" and recommended I let him grease it up real good to see what happens, instead of replacing the bushings, since that would cost a significant amount. FWIW, he specializes more in Yamaha, rather than Mercury, so perhaps Yamahas have bushings, but Mercs don't?

    This is kind of what I see on my Merc. Not as bad, but in the exact same place as in this video of a Yahama:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTYRT_JlUko

    Since you seem to have experience in this area on Mercs, and just dismantled two swivel brackets, I'm hoping you might be able to answer a few additional questions:

    1) What exactly does the bore in the swivel bracket look like where the tilt tube slides into it? If there are no bushings, are there "collars" manufactured on each end of the bore, or is it just a smooth bore all the way through, and the bracket pivots along the entire length of the tilt tube?

    2) Do you happen to know if the bracket actually has play in it by design, and that the oversize is supposed to be jam-packed full of grease? I ask, because I wonder if I should be greasing the heck out of this area until it's completely oveflowing out the ends, since there is no bushing.

    3) In your opinion, do you think it's possible that either the "collars" (if there are any), the bore that the tilt tube sildes into, or the tilt tube/pin itself can wear out? I sure hope I didn't ruin anything by possibly letting it get too low on grease, ESPECIALLY if there is no bushing.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Basnova; 10-17-2021 at 10:14 PM.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

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    If it's a single ram it can get sloppy if you run it past the trim guides....the part with holes where the tilt pin would go...... if ya ever put one there. What happens is the side load beats the tilt pin hole when you go past the slide/ guide......The 3 ram ones will not go past that point as it will leak down under load........past the 2 short rams......Plus the single type has a different load point......the upper trim hole vices the trim tube...... closer distance. The 3 ram has a lower thrust point so different load on the tilt tube......No bushings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave S View Post
    If it's a single ram it can get sloppy if you run it past the trim guides....the part with holes where the tilt pin would go...... if ya ever put one there. What happens is the side load beats the tilt pin hole when you go past the slide/ guide......The 3 ram ones will not go past that point as it will leak down under load........past the 2 short rams......Plus the single type has a different load point......the upper trim hole vices the trim tube...... closer distance. The 3 ram has a lower thrust point so different load on the tilt tube......No bushings.
    I appreciate your reply, but I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Singe ram, double ram, triple ram. It also seems like you mean there's a difference between tilt pin and tilt tube. Sorry, but I am not well-versed in these terms, but I would like to understand what you're trying to teach me.

    I have a Promax 300 and Sportmaster. Do I have a single, double or triple ram? There is a long bolt in the holes at the bottom of the transom brackets. 4th hole from the back. Is that what you mean by tilt pin? What do you mean by running past the trim guides?
    Last edited by Basnova; 10-18-2021 at 01:01 AM.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

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    If you post a picture of what you have these guys will better understand and be able to better explain to you what you have and need. We really like helping guys that want to learn so we need to ask for more information to help you better.

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    The provision that Mercury made for pin bore slop ... is to "just" buy a new one ...

    However , those are sloppy from the factory. I have some who send me brand new swivel brackets to bore the hole and install billet "bushings" , which once installed, get reamed to size with a piloted tool that span's both sides at once ..


  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonicss33 View Post
    If you post a picture of what you have these guys will better understand and be able to better explain to you what you have and need. We really like helping guys that want to learn so we need to ask for more information to help you better.
    I posted a link to a video in post #3 above. Perhaps you missed it? Here it is again. Although it's of a Yamaha motor, this is the play I am seeing, although it's not as bad as the one in the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTYRT_JlUko
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz View Post
    The provision that Mercury made for pin bore slop ... is to "just" buy a new one ...

    However , those are sloppy from the factory. I have some who send me brand new swivel brackets to bore the hole and install billet "bushings" , which once installed, get reamed to size with a piloted tool that span's both sides at once ..

    Holy crap! Thanks for the pic. That helps me know I am indeed talking about the same bore you are.

    So, you're saying that the stock bore itself can have too much "tolerance" so the tilt tube fits too loosely in it, correct?

    I guess when you guys refer to the tilt "pin", you are referring to what I am calling the tilt "tube", right?

    Is the hole/bore the same size all the way through, such that the full length of the pin/tube maintains contact with the swivel bracket, or are there raised "seats", "bushings", or whatever you want to call them, manufactured into the bore at each end and the pin/tube rides on those, thus only parts of the tube/pin are in contact with those parts of the bore?

    Regardless of terminology, would you say there is a slim chance of the pin/tube being worn, and that the hole/bore in the swivel bracket is more likely worn, or has been loose since I bought it in 1998, but never noticed it, and maybe I'm noticing it now because there's not enough grease in it to take up the space? Short of having to send you a swivel bracket at this point, for starters, should I just cram as much 24c in there as possible (while tilting it up and down to try and get the grease all around the pin/tube) to see what happens? Or, is there a better grease that would have more volume?
    Last edited by Basnova; 10-18-2021 at 01:33 PM.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

  11. #10
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    Tube is more accurate. Pin has one less letter to write .. LOL
    Actually , aftermarket side steering unit's have a solid pin arrangement , so both are correct ..
    Much like John Deere .. Merc uses an odd ball size 1.032 tube/shaft ..

    I call a swivel bracket .. the bucket , but that's another story ...

    Welp , if the pin bore of the bucket was solid all the way across , there would be no where for the grease to go in , let alone travel out to each end. Nor hold any in reserve.
    So there is somewhat of an open area in the middle , with aprox. 2.500" of engagement area at each end.
    Once it start's making mud (brown/metalflake grease) damage is being done.

    If the tube nut's were left loose , chances are good that the transom bracket hole's have been "wallerd" out.

    The question was asked of you if you have a single ram , or three ram . Single ram uses a boat mounted pump with two hoses running externally to the cylinder.
    Still some out there , but getting a little harder to find a good one / worth more money.
    Three ram is one self contained unit , still plenty out there , easier , cheaper to just replace the one you have.
    Your diagram / link is that of a single ram .. so which do you have .. ?

    The "brand new" one's I have done .. were/are for guys who want everything as tight as possible , usually for racing purposes.

    If yours is unacceptable to you , best thing to do is take it apart and clean it up and look at every single part and piece .. it will tell you what it wants .. not what any of us "think" it needs ..

  12. #11
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    Thanks so much for elaborating on the pin/tube issue and for explaining more about the bore.

    How can I tell if the tube nuts are loose?

    I don't have a pump mounted on the boat, and although I have heard the term many time, forbthenkife of me, I can't wrap my head around what "ram" refers to. Part of my confusion lies in the fact that I hear the term used in reference to the tilt system, as well as the steering system, so I really don't know what a ram really is. If I take a pic, what part do you want me to take a pic of? Should I shoot from the front of the motor so you can see the steering, should I take a pic of the side, or should I take a pic of the lower part of the motor where there are two pins with balls on the end that tilt the motor up?
    Last edited by Basnova; 10-19-2021 at 09:58 AM.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

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    No need for pics .. its a three ram , two little guys on the outside , one larger in the middle. The system in its entirety is referred to as the "clamp bracket".

    If your mechanical skills are limited to not being able to check the tilt tube nuts , I would think its best to get a outboard mechanic in your area to look at it and make any needed repairs.
    If you insist on doing it yourself, I would start with a manual, some tools .. etc.

  14. #13
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    Thank you for the explanation of my 3 ram clamp system.

    While I don't have the experience that you obviously do, I am somewhat mechanically inclined, a bit more than the typical weekend warrior. To give you an idea, I have rebuilt a few automotive engines over my lifetime, but not transmissions. I have not yet dug into my outboard, other than replacing the fuel pump in my VST, replacing trim sender and gauge, and oil and plug changes (haven't really had the need to do anything else), but I am pretty well-equipped as far as tools go. Full tool chest with metric and SAE, air tools, torque wrenches, etc. I also have the factory service manual, but it isn't as detailed as I expected it to be. I think it's more for someone that already knows how to disassemble and rebuild an outboard and lower-end, but needs the specifics of this particular race motor.

    In regards to the tilt tube nuts, I guess I wasn't clear. As you know, the hydraulic steering is connected to the ends of the tilt tube, so I was trying to ask if there was a specific procedure for checking the tilt tube nuts' tightness. Like, do I need to remove the steering first, and if so, is there a particular sequence for removal and installation of it. And, is there a specific torque for the tilt tube nuts, and that sort of thing.

    Because I don't have the experience and room to do everything, I certainly would visit a shop, although there isn't a good one within 2.5 hours of me, but if it's something I can do myself, I am willing to at least try.

    I'm kind of wondering if that bore has worn a little over 23 years and 460 hours, so I'm not so sure it's a matter of loose nuts or not, but if you, or anyone else, is willing to spend the time to provide me with instructions, or steer me in the right direction, so I can check the nuts, I'd appreciate it. If, on the other hand, it's too time-consuming to outline the procedure, I would understand that, too.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by Basnova; 10-19-2021 at 11:37 PM.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

  15. #14
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    I think I got a little off track here. I originally thought the tilt tube bushings would have been in the transom brackets, which is why the whole swivel bracket moves up and down on the tilt tube. But the transom brackets diagram don't show the bushings. So, I figured I'd look at the swivel bracket diagram.

    Are there bushings in the transom brackets where the tilt tube slides into the transom.brackets? Or is that also a "no"?
    Last edited by Basnova; 10-20-2021 at 12:45 AM.
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

  16. #15
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    Based on the video of that Yamaha motor, I think the play I have may be in the transom brackets, but they don't seem to be available from Mercury any more. What options do I have if it ends up being wallowed out transom brackets?
    1998 Viper Coral 201
    1998 Mercury Promax 300 with Sportmaster

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