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Author Topic:   Stiff helm and weird clicks...
rathersailing posted 11-06-2001 12:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for rathersailing   Send Email to rathersailing  
I recently purchased a 1987 Montauk with a 1987 90 HP Johnson. The helm is VERY stiff, and there is some play (and weird clicks) in the steering box. I removed the steering cable at the engine, and the "swing" on the outboard was easy. (I cleaned the engine pivot tube with synthetic steel wool and a wood dowel rod). The steering was still stiff with steering rod removed from the pivot tube.

I next disconnected the steering wheel cable connector, and the wheel spun freely, as it worked the steering coil. I added marine grease to the coil and reattached it to the steering wheel assembly.

I figure it must be the original cable. It may also be that the rod is bent, because it was a NIGHTMARE to remove and install. When removed, there seemed to be plenty of play between the rod and housing, so I suspect the cable is sticky.

Is there a way to remove and grease the cable without removing the housing? Can I even remove the rod/cable from the housing and grease it? How hard is it to reinstall the cable and the coil into the steering box?

bigz posted 11-06-2001 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Sounds like you need a new steering cable --- you can't remove the cable from the sheathing -- probably corroded.

You might even consider, since Teleflex cables aren't cheap, going to a whole new kit with the "no-feed back" feature --- includes helm and cable --- guessing the cable alone runs around $110-120, a whole kit around $150-160.

rathersailing posted 11-06-2001 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for rathersailing  Send Email to rathersailing     
Thanks for the tip. I wasn't sure if you could remove the cable from the sheath...I guess not. I suppose I'll wait until next year, when I get a 4-stroke, to replace it.
grandmufti posted 11-06-2001 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for grandmufti  Send Email to grandmufti     
There is a way to inject Lubriplate into the cable if you have modest mechanical skills.I did a cable on an older boat when I was strapped for cash years ago and it came out quite well.
The procedure is as follows:Obtain a piece of 1 1/2" or 2" nylon round stock about 3 inches long.Drill a hole thru the center lengthwise the same size as the outside diameter of the cable to be greased.Next saw the piece in half lengthwise.Take one of the halves and drill and tap a 1/4-28 hole in the center to which you will install a grease fitting.
Next pick a place in the rear of the cable preferably in a bend where water would collect.Very carefully with a Dremel tool or handgrinder grind a small hole in the cable sheathing.Be careful not to cut the drive cable.
Now take the 2 halves of Nylon with the grease fitting installed and secure them over the hole in cable with 2 hose clamps.
Attach grease gun to fitting and pump full of Lubriplate till it comes out the end of the cable.You may need someone to work the steering while you pump to work the juice into the cable.
Do not use regular grease in cold climates as it tends to stiffen the steering when cold.
grandmufti posted 11-06-2001 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for grandmufti  Send Email to grandmufti     
Almost forgot make sure you clamp a piece of rubber hose slit lengthwise over the hole you made in the cable to keep out future water.
bdb posted 11-07-2001 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
Big Z is right. Lots of folks don't realize that cables and helms wear out and corrode. Since they're the only thing keeping you in control of your boat they should be replaced. Corroded and stiffened cables can lock up at any time...and will almost certainly pick the most dangerous and deadly time! Best to replace.

Harpoon Harry

Bigshot posted 11-07-2001 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
get the whole kit, helm is stripped if clicking, etc.
rathersailing posted 11-07-2001 12:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for rathersailing  Send Email to rathersailing     
I'm tempted to try grandmufti's method, just because it is so ingenious, but the replacement is $139.00 at West Marine, so It looks like replacment time. Anyone know how long the cable is?
Bigshot posted 11-07-2001 03:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
18 foot cable, just did mine. Make sure you get the helm(kit) if it is clicking. There are gears in the helm that will strip if the steering is pulled hard. The cable Helm costs almost as much as the cable but only like $35 more in the kit. With a 1987, don't risk it.
bigz posted 11-08-2001 05:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
R-S --- Shoreway Marine -- Teleflex --Safe T-II complete system $158 for an 18' cable their part # 2327018, which BS states is the correct length -- direct replacement for your current helm and cable -- if you get their catalog and take it to West they will match the price, or just order it from them -- good luck --
Bigshot posted 11-08-2001 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
If anyone is unsure what cable length they need, it is written in the cable housing. Some give inches, most give feet. Montauk uses a 18. 13's use an 8 or 10 depending on console I believe. 15 I have no clue and once agian would depend on console. I replaced one on my 88 15 SS but that was 7 years ago.
rathersailing posted 11-08-2001 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for rathersailing  Send Email to rathersailing     
Thanks, guys. The matching price is a GREAT idea. I'm taking the afternoon off, and can hopefully complete this project before it gets dark! I'll keep ya posted. Looks like I'll be getting the rack system, with the "no return" feature!

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