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Boat Throttle and Shift Cable Replacement

Boat Throttle and Shift Cable Replacement – Video Transcript

This program is about how to measure control cables. Have you ever been on your boat and you've noticed that all of a sudden your controls are too stiff, or if your levers are moving too far, before you can engage the throttle or transmission? If that's the case there's a good chance you're going to have to replace the control cable.

In order to do that, you're going to have to know which type of engine and which type of control head you have on your boat. So, what you've got available is an OEM specific or OEM type of control cable or you've got a Universal control cable. If it's an OEM Type, specific control cable, that simply means that the control cable has the appropriate end fittings for your specific engine and your control head. So as an example, it would be either Mercury outboard or maybe it's a Volvo engine; could be Suzuki, could be Yamaha, etc. So the OEM type, or specific cables, have the appropriate end fittings already on the cable.

Now the other cable that's available to us is a Universal type of control cable. This cable comes with threaded ends. In order to use this cable you're going to have to match it up with the appropriate connection kit. The connection kit is going to have to be specific to your engine and to your control head.

So now, how do I know what length of control cable I need? The best thing you can do, or the best way to determine an exact replacement in length, is to look at the plastic jacket on the cable itself. If it's a Telefax cable it will say TFX and the last two digits in the model number will represent the cable length in feet. If it's a Morse Cable, it will be the last three digits and that will be in inches.

And, one thing to be aware of is that some of the cables that are on the boats that you may take off the boat, will be in half- foot increments, because it's an OEM cable. However, the replacement cable is available only in full one-foot increments. So, take the cable, measure it tip to tip, and then round up to the nearest foot. That'll be the replacement cable that you need.

When you're installing a new shift and throttle control, you're going to need to know the correct length for the control cables. In order to do that, you need three measurements. The first measurement is from the control, back along the gunnel, to the point where the gunnel and the transom meet. That's your first measurement. Your second measurement is from the intersection of the gunnel and the transom, over to the centerline of the engine. Your third measurement is from the centerline of the engine, to the point where the throttle attachment occurs, as well as the shift attachment. When measuring control cables for outboard applications make sure you add four feet to the A, B,and C dimensions. This provides plenty of cable for the engine to move back and forth.