Mechanical FAQs (Cont.)

I just bought a NFB (No-FeedBack) helm and cannot turn the shaft by hand. Why?
I want to install an autopilot on a boat with cable steering. What do I need?
How do I measure steering cables for a vessel with two steering stations?
How do I remove the steering cable from the engine's tilt tube?
The steering cable’s “core wire” is broken. How can this be repaired?
Without the steering wheel on the shaft, NFB helms are very difficult to turn by hand. This reason is the
No-FeedBack clutch is always on “standby” to grip the helm shaft and hold it steady against torque
feedback from the engine (which can make the steering wheel turn on non-No-Feedback systems). Once
the helm is mounted in the dash and the steering wheel is properly attached, you will be able to turn the
shaft easily. Follow the installation instructions completely.
SeaStar Solutions does not make adapters or interface parts to connect an autopilot to mechanical cable
steering. This is left to the autopilot manufacturers. We do however strongly recommend that if you
are installing an autopilot, upgrade your mechanical steering to a SeaStar hydraulic system. SeaStar is
designed to interface with most autopilots and will give you superior all around performance.
NOTE: Autopilots cannot be used with any type of mechanical NFB (No FeedBack) steering. In that case,
you MUST upgrade to SeaStar.
The only cable steering system available for dual station boats is the SeaStar Solutions Big-T. One cable
with two outer jacket (casing) sections is used to make the run from the engine/rudder to the lower station
helm and then to the upper station helm. Please see the Big-T Dual Station product pages, earlier in this
NOTE: The cable for this system is special-order and non-returnable, so please take extra care when
Disconnect the link arm that attaches the output end of the cable (telescopic ram) to the tiller arm of
the engine. Unscrew the large nut that attaches the cable to the tilt tube (support tube). If the cable was
greased regularly, it should slide out through the tube.
If the cable does not easily slide out, spray inside the tube with liberal amounts of penetrating oil. With
care, use a small hammer and block of wood to tap the cable out (after the attachment nut has been
removed from the tilt tube). Severe blows can damage not only the cable but the engine's tilt tube and
other areas. This process requires care and patience. Do not try to drive the cable out by turning the
steering wheel — this can damage the helm.
Steering cables cannot be repaired.
If a steering cable inner core wire separates or breaks within the steering helm (gear box), the steering
cable must be replaced with the correct one for the helm.
The helm may need to be replaced as well. Cable breakage within the helm may have caused damage to
the gears. A helm cannot be repaired and must be replaced as a unit.
If the correct replacement cable and/or helm is no longer available, replace the helm, bezel and cable with
an appropriate SeaStar Solutions steering kit. See chart on pages 9-12.
STEERING - FAQ (Mechanical)