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BobT

Steering problems?

Question

BobT

A year ago in September I bought a 1998 Sylvan Adventurer 1600 with a 90hp Johnson. So far I am well pleased but I have one concern. This is the first time I have ever owned a boat with a steering console. Everything seemed to function fine until later in the fall when air temperatures began to drop. I noticed the steering on my boat began to get very stiff. This spring my steering remained very stiff until about July when the air temperatures again returned to more summertime patterns. The problem appears to be most noticeable at temperatures below about 65 degrees. This problem is significant enough that I feel it is actually a little dangerous.

I disconnected the cable from the outboard and verified that the outboard itself flops like a fish so it isn’t the source of the problem. I also removed the rack from the pinion and lubricated the rack in case that was the problem. I am convinced the cable inside the sheath maybe requires lubricant.

I believe it is a Teleflex brand rack and pinion system. Is it common for these cable systems to get stiff when cold or is there more likely something wrong with my steering cable that needs attention? Is there any practical way for me to lubricate it and if so, would that be a solution?

This fall after I park the boat for the winter I plan to remove the cable, hang it with the rack up, and pour oil into the rack housing. I can’t tell if the oil would be able to work its way into the cable sheath or if it is sealed but I thought it would be worth a try. I also thought maybe I could place the cable in an oil bath for a while and let the oil work its way in from both ends. Don’t know how I’ll do that just yet. Maybe get some PVC pipe, put it inside, fill it with oil and cap the ends for a few weeks.

Any suggestions?

Bob

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Valv

Steering cables are not serviceable. If they become stiff it's best to replace them.

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marine_man

What I would try, and what will be difficult, depending on your motor / transom set up, would be to remove the steering cable from the motor (unscrew the 1 1/8 or 1 1/16 nut, disconnect motor drag link) and clean and re-lubricate that portion of the steering cable. That is likely where your stickiness is coming from. Once you remove the steering cable from the motor turn the wheel all the way to the right and clean all the old grease out (citri solve works good for this) and re-grease it with a marine grade grease (OMC Triple Guard Grease, etc).

If there is no way to remove the steering cable from the motor (and you have no way to lift the motor off your boat) you can try and removing the drag link from the steering cable and extend the cable all the way and clean as much as possible... which may help your problem.

If it comes down to steering cable replacement it's really not that hard of a job... sometimes difficult to route the cable, but if you have a way to take the motor off if needed to get the cable installed (you can always cut the cable with a bolt cutters to remove it easier without removing the engine) any one with a basic mechanical apptitude can replace a steering cable.

Good Luck!

marine_man

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HawgMan

If you're going thru all the trouble to take it out & lube it,I'd just replace it. You've done most of the work pulling it out. Once you have the cable out,there should be a number stamped on the cable sheath,this is your part number. I had to replace one of my dual cables this spring. Getting it out wasn't to bad,but try'n to fish that baby thru a foam filled bass boat & try to hit the factory routing tube was another story.

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Nutty Fisherman

if you do pull the cable out try to tie a rope or something to the other end of the cable so if you have to put another one in you can pull it through with the rope.

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BobT

I think you may be right HawgMan. I'd hate to go through all the work only to find out the stiffness is caused by something inside that is more serious than just a lube problem.

Thanks,

Bob

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Valv

That's a good decision BobT, the number of housing will be like SSC62XX where the XX is the lenght of the cable, you should be able to get it at dealer with no problem, but if they don't have a rack and pinion style you might have to upgrade to rotary, let me know I might have all you need.

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marine_man

That's a good decision in my opinion as well... thought I'd make sure you had all the options though before you made a decision...

marine_man

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