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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Southeast Georgia
    Posts
    3

    Question Mercury outboard skeg

    I'm going to weld a torque tab to my outboard skeg to combat excessive steering torque, I have never welded on a outboard. I would like to get a little feedback/advice from someone who has. Is the metal cast aluminum? Since the tab goes to the back edge of the skeg top to bottom do I need to worry about radiant heat at the top destroying my prop shaft seal? Should I preheat the metal?

    I have several options but I will most likely tig weld it, what amperage range should I be looking at? I have all the miller weld calculators but they cannot cover everything. I'd rather ask someone who knows.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
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    2,239

    Default

    All Mercury outboards have a "trim tab" provided to counter "steering torque". I highly recommend you try adjusting that prior to futzing with welding a tab to the foot. This trim tab also serves as a zinc, and it's not uncommon to find that it's been eroded over time. Maybe time for a new one.

    From the questions asked, you'd be better served taking the unit to a professional experienced in skeg welding, rather than destroying the foot yourself. Get it too hot and you're going to destroy the seals in the lower unit.

    No "Miller Calculator" is going to help you in this instance.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Southeast Georgia
    Posts
    3

    Default Already tried the trim tab

    Already tried the trim tab adjustments it helps but does not stop the excessive torque. I have the motor on a hydraulic trim and jack plate which gives one neutral postion for torque, which everything has to be loaded just right in the boat. If the livewell is full it will throw it back off kilter.

    The instructions on the aluminum torque tab have it being installed with rivets and epoxy or welded. I can turn the pulse down on my syncrowave to very low amperage, with the water cooled torch, I think I can weld about an inch and let it cool down or I can hit it with my spoolgun with the mig. I'm leaning to the low and slow tig and feather it in. I think I can keep it cooler with the tig. It will only need about 4" of weld bead. I did not really want to drill holes in the skeg and rivet it.

    I figure I'll leave the oil in the gearcase to help keep it cool and then when I'm done welding it i'll change the oil.

    I know there are people who weld new skegs on to replace broken ones. If I'm too worried about the seals I'll pull the shafts and seals and check the bearings and replace the seals.

    Thanks for the replies I'm hoping to get some more feedback before i weld it. I have plenty of projects in line in front of it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Bossier Parish La.
    Posts
    549

    Default

    Check with the EXPERIENCED MECHANICS (not the showroom dealers) at a Mercury dealership first on the torque steer problem. They may know of an easier, better fix than you are wanting to do. Then if that doesn't suit you, take your trim tab off and build a duplicate with the tab offset in the direction you need it moved. The trim tab is supposed to have a range of movement to counteract the torque steer problem.
    Also you could try another propellor. I have on occasion changed a boat prop with one of the same pitch, diameter, and manufacturer and had to make a trim tab adjustment to correct torque steer. Check to see if you can find a propellor repair shop in your area, too. They may be able to make recommendations or modifications to your existing prop to solve this. It would be worth exploring all these options first, before welding on the skeg. Then if all else fails you can give that a try. Good Luck and like was said already get someone who is experienced with welding on O/B skegs to work with you on it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,562

    Default

    Looks to me like if you have your own Syncrowave you don't even need to ask
    Just get the paint stripped off and make sure everything is clean, bare aluminum, and weld it. Forget the pulse. 4 inches ain't crap IMO. Welding it cold won't help....you'll simply heat the entire thing up before it will weld. Crank it up to where it starts welding right off, and it will not get the entire unit nearly as hot that way.
    I would use 4043 on that myself.
    When you are done are you planning on painting it? It can corrode BETWEEN the parts.

    Before I welded it, I would remove the prop and put the eagle eye to it, and make CERTAIN it (the skeg itself) wasn't tweeked (bent) to the left a tad. That would explain a lot.
    In my exp. Bass Boat owners are the cheapest, most tightwad boat owners of all, and NEVER have their skegs worked on until they absolutely have to. And even then they are simply taking about six different people's advice at once and mixing it all up.
    If you really wanna get some top notch answers, then post up some decent pics.
    I do dozens and dozens of skegs a year. My shop is on the busiest ramp on Lake of the Ozarks. It is nothing to see 200 bass boats launching in a day there, even in the winter. And they have a tournament about every week as well. All that said I can drive thru the lot and see dozens of bent skegs on top notch boats with every bell and whistle they can buy. I can't really tell you why. Just how I see it.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
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    2,239

    Default

    Hey FK,

    Agree with nearly everything you said except...

    I'll put the sailboaters right up there with the bass boaters.

    The windfairies think the wind is free, and everything else should be as well.
    Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
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    Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
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    More grinders than hands

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,562

    Default

    Yea I did a couple of mast repairs.
    Stuff that they were too cheap to replace that shoulda been.
    I had to literally bid them both to the penny.
    I like the performance boat crowd....esp over 100 mph
    The mom and pop crowd really pays the bills tho. When the boat repairs are "Mom approved" the money flows pretty freely. Generally the fancy bass boats are more like a stock car, as far as moms are concerned.
    Cheap aluminum fishing boats are more mom friendly around my neck of the woods

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    Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
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    Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

    Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
    Miller 30-A Spoolgun
    Miller WC-115-A
    Miller Spectrum 300
    Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
    SPEEDGLAS 9100XX

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4given View Post
    Already tried the trim tab adjustments it helps but does not stop the excessive torque. I have the motor on a hydraulic trim and jack plate which gives one neutral postion for torque, which everything has to be loaded just right in the boat. If the livewell is full it will throw it back off kilter.

    The instructions on the aluminum torque tab have it being installed with rivets and epoxy or welded. I can turn the pulse down on my syncrowave to very low amperage, with the water cooled torch, I think I can weld about an inch and let it cool down or I can hit it with my spoolgun with the mig. I'm leaning to the low and slow tig and feather it in. I think I can keep it cooler with the tig. It will only need about 4" of weld bead. I did not really want to drill holes in the skeg and rivet it.

    I figure I'll leave the oil in the gearcase to help keep it cool and then when I'm done welding it i'll change the oil.

    I know there are people who weld new skegs on to replace broken ones. If I'm too worried about the seals I'll pull the shafts and seals and check the bearings and replace the seals.

    Thanks for the replies I'm hoping to get some more feedback before i weld it. I have plenty of projects in line in front of it.
    4given,

    I don't know if you tried to install your torque tab yet but I will share with you what I know.

    It sounds to me that you are running a fairly light outboard with a jack plate for one or two reasons or maybe both and maybe a bass boat because you mentioned a live well.

    Obviously when you raise the motor you feel the torque in you steering wheel, because now you have pulled the prop blades at or near the surface which tends to load the steering in one direction.

    Depending on were your prop shaft center line is, at or ABOVE the keel you could be truly surfacing your propeller and the factory "Fishing" motor anode tab above your propeller is worthless.

    And as another poster stated "All Mercury outboards have a "trim tab" provided to counter "steering torque" he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Mercury Racing does not supply them with the Hi Performance motors, because these motors typically are running surfacing propellers and gear cases and that tab would be completely out of the water, however they do cast a torque tab that you are talking about on the side of the skeg, so not ALL Mercury motors have them.

    On my personal boat with twin counter rotating 300x's, sportsmaster lowers and cleaver propellers I ground my torque tabs off, completely flush. Why did I remove them? I have full WPM hydraulic steering and that little tab scrubs speed.

    Now as one poster suggested you might try a different prop, you would be surprised at the difference of one prop to another and one manufacture to another, style, rake, cut and pitch. But be advised, good custom hi performance propellers are spendy, mine ran $1500.00 each but you can also spend $15K each!

    Its sounds like you have a Tig machine, now get some 5356 filler and go to town on it. I have probably installed 50 nose cones to customers "fishing" lower units that want to mimic the factory Sportsmaster or CLE lower units and have never dismantled the lower unit to do the welding and I have to put a lot more heat into it because of the physical size of the cast cone with not one failure.

    As another poster stated don't dilly around with low amperage, forget the pulse and set it like you were tigging 1/4" plate, in other words get in and get out and you won't have any problems.

    Another thing to remember, I have put those tabs on before and then had to grind them back a bit to fine tune them because they made it over compensate.

    Good Luck!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    43

    Default

    I've replaced many a skeg on those broken off, for different Marina's. One thing to always take in account is the amount of heat applied to the lower unit. There are seals there, so be advised if you apply too much heat you'll damage the seal. If only the lower portion was broken, I used TIG to repair. If it was up higher where the material is thicker, I'd use MIG. (I had 2 engine driven welders on my rig, and MIG & TIG).

    Clean all paint and dirt prior to welding. Modest preheat will help if you tig.


    Good luck with your project.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,562

    Default

    If you really want to get technical, melting the seals is the last of your worries. At least that will let you know you are living dangerous.
    If you get it hot enuff, you can cause the bearing bores to become out of round.
    I have seen people do this with mig as well as tig.
    Just because a mig gets in and out fast, doesn't mean you cannot get it too hot.
    I have seen one poster here get an Alpha drive hot enuff with his spoolgun that it caused internal cracking during the cooldown.
    Mig puts a ton of energy into metal fast and furious.
    Basically, you need to know what in the he!! you are doing if you're gonna do this type of work for money, and wanna clear a profit

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    Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

    Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
    Miller 30-A Spoolgun
    Miller WC-115-A
    Miller Spectrum 300
    Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
    SPEEDGLAS 9100XX

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