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  1. #1

    Default Bizarre new steering cable problem

    I've just replaced the steering cable on my boat, as the old one had a lot of free play.

    The good news is that the free play is gone, the bad news is that now it's really hard to turn the steering wheel!

    Everything at the helm end if connected up fine. And the cable moves with the wheel.

    At the stern, with the link arm to the outboard disconnected, the steering wheel is easy to turn, and the steering rod moves through the tilt tube nice and easily. The outboard turns easily by hand, and the link arm rotates freely.

    However, when I connect the link arm to the end of the steering rod, suddenly it's really hard to turn the steering wheel, and impossible to turn the outboard by hand.

    What did I screw up?! All the individual elements are working well, but connect them together, and it all goes to ****!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    Never mind, I fixed it, but no idea how!

    I took the stern apart again, stared at it all quizzically for a few minutes, then put it back together again, and now it works fine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Maryland - USA
    Posts
    7,709

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    something was binding up.....at least it's resolved!!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    Quote Originally Posted by makomark View Post
    something was binding up.....at least it's resolved!!
    I spoke too soon It seized up again on the water, and needed me pushing with both arms to move the wheel in either direction.

    As I knew that the cable should be good, as it's new, I went ahead and replaced the helm, but the problem is still there!

    Only when the steering cable and the outboard are connected is it stiff. The second that they're disconnected, each element works fine.

    I checked the drag link isn't binding, and it's nice and loose.

    Help!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Brandon, VT.
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    Is drag link too short? Did you replace with same length steering cable?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    Hi Jim,

    The old cable worked fine, aside from the free play, which is why I changed it. The new cable is the same length (13ft) and takes the same route, without any excessive bends etc. So I'm assuming the drag link is OK, as it was before, and it isn't binding on anything. Also, here are the things I'm tried to pin down the issue:

    Disconnect drag link, helm connected.
    - Outboard pivots easily by hand, as no cable attached.
    - Steering turns easily, and cable passes through the tilt tube with ease.

    Disconnect Helm, drag link connected.
    - Outboard pivots easily by hand, and steering cable exits/enters the sheath with no issues.
    - Steering turn easily, as no cable going though it.

    So all I can deduce is that the helm is fine, the cable is fine, and the tilt tube is fine! But, when all are connected up, the issue occurs.

    One thing I thought of was that when I installed the cable, I only had copper grease in the garage, so I used that, both on the tube that slides through the tilt tube, and also (having extended the cable) the tube that slides within that tube. I've since cleaned it off, and applied white lithium grease, so I don't know if that's an issue?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Maryland - USA
    Posts
    7,709

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    You may want to check the helm unit real good....if it has some age on it, the drive may be worn where it actuates the cable....you won't see it until there's a load on the cable and then the binding occurs....sometimes it gets bad enough you can work the cable at the outboard end and never see the wheel move....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bizarre new steering cable problem

    I just replaced the helm with an identical one (brand new), but the issue persisted.


    I then took the stern end apart, and reamed on the tilt tube, even though the cable was sliding through it fine. I got a load of rust out of it, and put it back together.


    Now it's a little easier to move mid-position, but turning further towards either port or starboard lock, and it binds up still.

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