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Author Topic:   Steering Cable Removal
Steve1 posted 09-04-2001 10:05 AM ET (US)   Profile for Steve1   Send Email to Steve1  
This is a great forum. I recently owned a 13 ft BW that, believe it or not, got hit from behind on the starbord side (right where I was sitting) by another 13 ft BW. Luckily, I heard the boat at the last minute and leaped for my life. This forum provided me with alot of great info on fiberglass repair. I was able to restore the starboard side of the BW to as good as new condition.

Now for my problem. This past year, I replaced the 13 ft BW with a 1983 15 ft center console BW. I've done a lot of work refinishing the boat and motor. The problem I have is that the steering (when turning to port) will not turn the motor completely. I read in an earlier article that the grease in the tilt tube sometimes hardens and prevents the steering cable from retracting completely.

This past weekend, I attempted to remove the steering cable from the tilt tube. I disconnected the steering cable nut from the tilt tube and the steering bar of the motor, but could not extract the cable form the tilt tube. I noticed that the tilt tube was full of hardened grease and removed a considerable amount. I sprayed both ends of the tilt tube with liquid wrench. I then placed a block of wood on the opposite end of the steering cable and struck it with a hammer. The port side of the steering cable slides easily into the tilt tube but stops within two inches of the tube and will not go any further. I repeated this many many times with no success. Am I doing something wrong? Is there something else preventing the steering cable (bar) from sliding out of the tilt tube or is it possible that the interior of the tilt tube is corroded?

This is an older motor and it appears that the previous owner neglected it for past three years. The boat is in great shape and the motor (after rebuilding the water pump and lowere unit seals) runs great! Any suggestions?

Tom W Clark posted 09-04-2001 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Just to clarify: you are saying that the cable initially moves in the tilt tube but that the end of the steering cable stops when it is within 2" of the Port or "exit end" of the tilt tube?

If the cable is now moving at all within the tilt tube, then you've got the corrosion/seizing part of it beat.

You don't say what motor you have on the boat, but I remember when I had my 15' with a Johnson 70 that in order to get the cable out you had to loosen the mounting bolts of the motor, (the starboard bolts a little, the port bolts a lot), so that the angle of the tilt tube was more aligned with the steering cable. The cut out in the transom forced the cable to bend too tightly to simply withdraw the cable straight out with out doing this.

Cpt Quint posted 09-04-2001 11:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Cpt Quint  Send Email to Cpt Quint     
Your tilt tube is dried up. You can try heat. Use torch of hairdryer to heat up the tube. Then make a large iron rod(cut flush a peice of rebar or something)and place it on the end and start 3/4 quarter rapid taps w/hammer until you break the seal. you will need some porting equipment to clean out that tube once you have the cable out. you can use a long drill bit and wrap steel wool around it and slide it in the tube with some wd-40.
Steve1 posted 09-04-2001 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve1  Send Email to Steve1     
Thanks for the responses. The motor is a 50 hp Evinrude and the clearance seems fine for the cable to slide out without binding. Your correct in that the cable is moving, its just that I can't get the steering bar (that travels inside the tilt tube) to retract all way, thus limiting the degrees I can turn the motor (when turning the direction of the boat to port).

When I loosened the nut on the steering cable, I was able to pull the stearing cable away from the tilt tube about 3/8ths of an inch. I could see and removed dried grease inside the tilt tube, but because of the limited space, I could only reach inside the tube for about an inch and a half.

Will heating the tube loosen the remaining dried grease? If so, I'll try that next.

Thanks again.

Bigshot posted 09-05-2001 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Try not to use heat. There are plastic like bushings in there that will melt. If you have no choice then do it but get the new bushings in.
70_Katama posted 09-05-2001 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for 70_Katama  Send Email to 70_Katama     
As crazy as it sounds, I bought a 10" drill bit ($8) just a little smaller than the circumference of the tilt tube. I placed the flat end in the tube and hammered on the bit side. It took a while, but I was able to remove it with no damage. Cleaned out tube with a gun clearer, re-installed the cable with a steersman nut and lubricated. Works like new.
PS. I did this after it sat all winter. It was rock solid.
Steve1 posted 09-10-2001 08:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Steve1  Send Email to Steve1     
Just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone for their tips.

I was able to soak the steering cable (where it enters the tilt tube) for two days. I then, as was suggested, used 3/4 rapid taps and the cable began to move! It took me 45 minutes to completely remove the cable using rods inserted into the tilt tube (and Tom you were correct, I had to loosen the motor mounting bolts to tilt the motor in order to completely remove the steering cable).

Also, as suggested, I used my shotgun cleaning rod with the wire brush attachment to clean out the tilt tube. I reassembled the steering cable and it now works great!

Thanks again for you valuable suggestions.

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