Procedure for Tight Steering Fix.
The most common cause of steering getting tight on older skis is corrosion between the steering bushings and the aluminum parts. This is much more common in saltwater, but happens in freshwater as well.
If your steering has gotten tight, you first need to determine if it is tight at the column/handlebars or at the nozzle. If you can't tell by feel, remove the steering cable from the nozzle and this should tell you where the fix needs to take place. If your ski has the newer plastic nozzle in use, it won't corrode and you most likely have a steering handlebar bushing problem. Both procedures are on this page.
Nozzle Bushing Fix
- 13mm socket and rachet
- 10mm socket and 10mm wrench
- Sandpaper (240 grit or finer)
- Antiseize compound (automotive stores have it)
- Remove the upper and lower 13mm bolts (#45 in above picture) and take the nozzle off.
- Pound/press out the stainless sleeves (#22) in the upper and lower pivot points of the nozzle.
- Pound/press out the nylon bushings (#23) in the upper and lower pivot points of the nozzle.
- Take a piece of 240 grit or finer and wrap it around the appropriate size deepwell socket and sand out the corrosion from the aluminum nozzle upper and lower holes where the nylon bushing is inserted. Also, scrape off any corrosion from the nylon bushings.
- Apply some antisieze to the holes in the nozzle and reinstall bushings (#23) in the nozzle. Then reinsert the stainless sleeves.
- Reassemble the steering and you should be set.
Handlebar Bushing Fix
- 13mm socket and ratchet
- Long flat screwdriver
- Brake cylinder hone (automotive store)
- Antisieze compound (automotive stores have it)
- Oil (sea doo lube will work)
- Open the hood and remove the tray gaining access to the steering.
- Remove the 13mm bolt (#25 in above picture) and take the steering cable plate off.
- Remove the handlebar rubber cover and disconnect any wires/cables so that you can remove the steering shaft/handlebars. This requires that you disconnect the throttle cable and the start/kill wiring and heat sensor if applicable. Remove the handlebars (this may require some twisting/pulling effort if really tight).
- Pound out the upper and lower nylon bushings (#13 in above picture) using the long screwdriver. You may have to work at it for a while to get them out. Try not to damage the aluminum housing underneath the bushings.
- Once you get the bushings out, attach the brake hone to a drill and using a little light oil, hone out the corrosion where the bushings seat in the aluminum housing (#24).
- After honing, coat the aluminum honed areas with some grease and pound in new bushings using a block of pine as not to damage the bushings.
- Once bushings are all the way in, apply some grease the steering shaft and reinstall the handlebar/cables/wiring/steering plate in the reverse order they were removed and you should be set.