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Author Topic:   Steering
bluewater posted 10-16-2002 01:07 AM ET (US)   Profile for bluewater   Send Email to bluewater  
I am having a problem with extremely tight steering on my montauk. I bought some "marine" grease for my gun and proceeded to lube up the fittings near the motor. Nothing happened.

Has anyone had this problem before?

I've never done this before, but I think I am going to have to go ahead and replace the cable from the steering wheel to the motor. Has anyone done this before? It looks like only two bolts have to be loosened on either end of the cable itself. ("worm drive" cable?) Is this as easy a fix as I think it is, or am I getting over my head? Take one off, and put the other on....
Any help would be greatly appreciated.


NedsPoint posted 10-16-2002 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for NedsPoint  Send Email to NedsPoint     
Bluewater - I've done it on several boats with different steering rigs. The new cable will come with simple instructions. If I can do it, you can. As a matter of fact, once on a V20 Wellcraft, I had the boatyard do it, they charged me $300 labor alone and they screwed it up to boot!!

Relax - do it yourself. A 2 hour job max (or in my terms, about 3 beers).

DaveS posted 10-16-2002 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for DaveS  Send Email to DaveS     

I second what NedsPoint said...I would recomend, however, if you are going to change the steering cable, you'd be better off upgrading the entire steering setup. The extra $20 you'd spend for the kit, it's well worth it. I did this on my newtauk and the job was much easier than I could have imagined.

Good luck...

prj posted 10-16-2002 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Bluewater, relatively easy job that i just accomplished in less than ideal field conditions at a campground. My cable had broken shortly after launch.

As i had to replace my entire helm/cable assembly, it was not inexpensive at about $200. I would recommend starting with just the cable. Word of caution, i was caught in an "old style/new style" helm corner. The cables available OTC would not fit my "old style" helm so i had to replace the entire system. I have heard of an adapter, but surprise, the guy selling me the system "didnt have one and they dont work anyway". Be prepared for this issue.

In "lubing the fittings near the motor" confirm that you are not just lubing the zerts to the motor pivot point (thats what i was doing). You need to pull the steering arm out of the motor tube, clean the tube interior thoroughly, grease the arm and slide it back in. Check this first.

Finally, check previous thread from 10 days ago or so titled "Teleflex, something or other".

Brcurcio posted 10-16-2002 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Brcurcio  Send Email to Brcurcio     
Bluewater, I just installed new helm, wheel, and cable on a 15 and it was a piece of cake. Do it yourself!!!
Montauk posted 10-16-2002 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Montauk  Send Email to Montauk     
I have used the screw on adapter to convert my helm from "old style" to "new style" type steering cables and have had no problems after 2 years of use. Unscrew the cable from the helm first, unwind it from the helm and tape or tie it to a rope or wire, then unscrew it from the steering tube and pull it out. The engine should not have to be unbolted from the transon to do this. Now pull the cable back at the motor dragging the rope or wire with it through the tunnel in the boat. You now have something to pull the new cable back through the tunnel up to the console. Clean the tube out as previously mentioned and attach at the motor first then at the helm. Make sure the wiper nut is holding the greas into the steering tube, it should wipe the rod clean when it turns the motor.
bluewater posted 10-16-2002 04:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewater  Send Email to bluewater     
Thanks for the help guys. Another question: What is the proper terminology for this? Do we just call it a "steering cable", or do we call it "teleflex?" I am not sure exactly what I need. To save some money right off the bat, I will just buy the cable, if necessary.

prj- Exactly how old was your steering assembly?

nedspoint- I may stretch the time limit out a bit so I can get at least a four beer minimum out of it ;-).


ratherwhalering posted 10-16-2002 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Teleflex is a manufacturer that makes an entire steering assembly, including the steering arm, cable, and helm "box". I would first unbolt the steering arm from the engine. If the rod moves in and out of the tube easily when you turn the helm, and the engine is difficult to turn back and forth when freed from the steering arm, then your cable is not the problem, the engine pivots may need cleaning/repair. If it is still hard to turn when disconnected from the engine, I would remove the steering arm from the tube. Undo the steering nut (the big nut on the cable side of the steering tube) and try to slide the steering arm out of the tube. This is a tight fit, and if you can't get the arm out, you may have to loosen the engine bolts to get enough clearance. Just try not to gouge your gel coat. Once this is removed, try the helm again. If it is easy to turn, there is probably corrosion in the tube, not the cable. I'd clean the tube with alot of degreaser and a brillow pad stapled onto a wood dowel. Consider replacing the rubber seals at the end of the tube, and adding a zert to the steering nut and/or directly on the tube. Re-grease and re-assemble.
If the helm is still tight after removing the arm from the tube, I'd just replace the whole system with a teleflex 18' NFB rotary helm. Is should fit your existing dash holes and mount. The kit comes with instructions, and is very easy to do. The reason I'd replace the whole thing is because it will be cheaper in the long run to buy it as a package, and you'll wont have to worry about if the steering box will fail.
Montauk posted 10-16-2002 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Montauk  Send Email to Montauk     
Good points ratherwhaling, however if you remove the cable at the helm first it gives you some slack to slide it out of the steering tube without scratching the gel coat.
Jim Bennett posted 10-16-2002 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Bennett  Send Email to Jim Bennett     

Would agree with previous comments aboutb replacing entire system instead of just cable. Would also recommend that you replace with Teleflex No-Feedback System. Of course, hydraulic system is best but pricey. Replaced old Teleflex system on my 73OR21 with NFS and very pleased.

ratherwhalering posted 10-16-2002 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
That is a good point, Montauk. I wrestled the arm out of the tube first, disconnected the helm end, then pulled the cable through the tunnel from the stern. It makes sense, especially because when I installed the NFB system, I did it in (my) reverse order. I inserted arm in the tube, then ran the cable. I was amazed at how much easier it was to install than to remove. Thanks!
BW23 posted 10-16-2002 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
Before you replace the cable, try lubing just the shaft that extends and retracts from the hinged steer tube. Very common for them to gum up especially when lubricated with non-water resistant grease. Clean the shaft with alcohol, wd-40 or like and re-lube with the proper water resistant grease.

I bet this works. Good luck.

SSCH posted 10-16-2002 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for SSCH  Send Email to SSCH     
Two thoughts. Teleflex has a new BayStar hydraulic system that is really nice and a lot cheaper than the SeaStar we are all familar with. It will work with any power in the rating range for a Montauk.

Second. I hope you've checked the engine to be sure it is able to turn freely by hand with the cable off. If not, I'd sure do that before I bought a new cable or steering system. Often that is the problem in little used boats. You may need to have those bearings looked at.

prj posted 10-17-2002 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
bluewater, my cable / helm assembly was original to the boat i assume and boat is an '88 (or '86, forget). Steering became stiff due to aged grease in steering arm tube and lack of maintenance by previous owner and inadvertantly, by me. Ultimately, the cable broke near the helm. Again, thanks to MONTAUK for the field assistance with my replacement project.

Note that removing steering arm MAY be difficult IF you do not have a jack plate for the outboard. I do, and had no problems.

good luck

bluewater posted 10-21-2002 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewater  Send Email to bluewater     
Can't thank you all enough for the replys. This should be a nice winter project.


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