Technical Reference / FAQs (Cont.)

How do I know which control cable I need?
What kind of ongoing maintenance do cables need? Can they be repaired?
In order to determine that, you need to know what brand(s) of engine and control head are on the
boat. Mercury/Mariner/Force and OMC/Johnson/Evinrude engines usually require an “OEM type” cable
when using those engine makers’ control heads. OEM type cables have special end fttings designed to
connect to the control and engine with minimal hardware. Generally, all other engines and controls use
a “universal” 3300/33C type control cable. Universal cables have 10-32 threaded ends and often require
extra hardware to connect to the engine and control. Contact the engine manufacturer if you need
details on the hookup. Diesels and twin station vessels may use larger diameter (4300/43 or 6400/64
type) universal cables; 4300/43 type cables have 1/4-28 threaded ends and 6400/64 cables have 5/16-24
threaded ends. Refer to the “Control Cables” section of this catalog for more information.
We suggest the following periodic maintenance be performed at least twice a season:
a. Check overall operation for proper gear engagement, full and idle throttle, and
overall feel.
b. Visually inspect control head cable, as well as engine and transmission cable attachment points for
proper tightness of fasteners, correct operation of all moving parts, worn or broken items, cable
chafing or misalignment, etc.
c. Do not lubricate core wire (moving wire inside the casing). If the cable operates stiffly, replace it.
d. Keep cable ends dirt and corrosion free.
e. Lubricate pivot points and sliding parts of the cable with a good quality, water-resistant grease.
When to replace a cable or connection hardware:
a. Excessive free play felt at the control even after all cable connections have been verified as in good
working order.
b. Visual inspection shows signs of chafing, breakage, bent, loose or worn parts.
Never attempt to repair a cable. Always replace a malfunctioning cable. A cable cannot be properly
repaired in the field and must always be replaced as an assembly. Attempting to repair a cable can result
in control system failure, leading to personal injury and/or property damage.
This depends on two things:
a. Are you doing a first-time control cable installation?
Outboards: Measure from control along unobstructed cable routing to center of outboard. Add four
feet to allow for loop which provides unrestricted engine movement. Round up to next whole foot
and order that length cable(s).
Stern Drives and Inboards: Measure from control along unobstructed cable routing to shift and/or
throttle connection. Round this dimension off to the next whole foot and order that length cable(s).
b. Are you replacing an existing cable?
Measure the Existing Cable as Follows: Measure the cable from tip to tip in inches, and round up to
next even foot. Order that length cable.
How do I know which control cable length I need?