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Author Topic:   Steering cable sheath splitting - replacement required?
russellbailey posted 06-25-2002 02:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for russellbailey   Send Email to russellbailey  
The sheath on the steering cable on our 1980 Striper 15 has a small split in it. It appears to just be in the outer sheath close to the motor, right after the bend straightens out. This is the original cable.

Is this dangerous? I realize it should probably be replaced but I've got two weeks of vacation and boating coming up in July and it would be difficult to fit it in prior to that time. I don't quite know how the cable is constructed. If it is like a cable on a bike, the outer plastic sheath is non-structural, and this minor split would not be a safety issue at this point.

A temporary reinforcement (if needed) I thought of could be to put a couple of hose clamps over the sheath split, but I don't think this necessary. The cable still feels sturdy there.

I'm assuming I should replace it, right? If so, would it be just as well to replace the steering gear at the same time? It does not seem to add much cost. I'm not going to go hydraulic - should I get a NFB model steering gear?

I have a 1988 70 hp Evinrude on the back, if that affects the answer any.


Russell Bailey

Bigshot posted 06-25-2002 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
She is shongo! justa matter of time before it freezes up. Get a new helm too because of the nominal cost. You can spring for a NFB but I do not find it necessary on a 70 or below.
Seabrook posted 06-25-2002 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Seabrook  Send Email to Seabrook     
Long-term, will have to be replaced. Short-term, A-OK to use. Have had that on several older boats. The outer plastic is non-structural. It simply covers the other two layers. It is a coaxial cable. An outer stranded metal and an inner solid metal cable. Outer metal will start to rust like crazy in salt walter and eventually seize up or break. In the short term, spray into the crack with Corrosian-X, clean excess spray from plastic and seal crack with that nasty black liquid electrical tape that comes in a can. You will be good to go for your summer. Fix in the off season.
whitefoot posted 06-28-2002 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for whitefoot  Send Email to whitefoot     
Watchout, though. It may be dangerous to use a cable with a split housing. I had one go out on me last summer. A small slit in the housing became a gaping gash one trip and I lost complete control of the steering. Fortunately I was going slow and was just completing a 180...going back for my hat that flew off.

Remember, your cable will always choose the path of least resistance. If your housing splits wide enough, the cable will buckle out of the split when you turn the wheel rather than turn the motor. What I did to get home last year was wrap a roll of electrical tape to close up the housing. I would recommend doing the same, or something to reinforce the housing wall before use.

You should notice cable seizure before you take your boat out. If your housing fails and splits open it will be in a second and it could happen at a high speed.

Hobie1981 posted 06-29-2002 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hobie1981  Send Email to Hobie1981     
CorrosionX...good stuff, good stuff. and you can order via their website.


Rockford posted 08-05-2002 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Rockford  Send Email to Rockford     
I had the same scenerio on my '79 Newport with an 80 HP Merc. Mine was actually split and rusted for about three years before I replaced it. It worked fine. I beleive the inner cable on the Morse cables are stainless steel.

When I replaced it, I ran a length of reinforced clear PVC hose over it to provide additional protection. It's only needed from where it exits the tunnel to the engine. I did the same thing when I replaced the shift cables- a trick I saw done in Baja on the fishing Pangas.

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