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Author Topic:   Steering Cable Frozen
Larry posted 10-17-2007 09:29 PM ET (US)   Profile for Larry   Send Email to Larry  
Tried to take my boat out of a two year moth ball today and all looked ok but the steering cable was frozen. The Teleflex mechanism turns fine once the cable is disconnected. Is there any fix for this short of cable replacement? I can't see any corrosion on the ends.
ModernRocketry posted 10-18-2007 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for ModernRocketry  Send Email to ModernRocketry     
In all but one case I have been able to free to cable using brute force. A block of wood and a hammer have been my tools of choice.

Recently I encountered one that would not free itself. It had to be replaced.

In an effort to minimize this, I will coat the cable ends with water proof grease before and after use. Seems to help.

Bella con23 posted 10-18-2007 02:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
I agree. Lean on it and it will break free. After that you'll never know it froze up.
Mobjack posted 10-18-2007 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mobjack  Send Email to Mobjack     
Do not, I repeat, Do not LEAN ON IT. That is a really good way to bust the teeth off the gears in the teleflex steering box inside your console. For some reason(maybe it happens every year) this spring there was a rash of these posts on here; mine was one of them. If you search posts starting in, say, late march, on into june, you should find about ten or twelve revolving around this.

In my case, after a long winter of maintenance I put her in the water for the first time, looking pretty, backed out of the ramp and tried to cut the wheel to turn around. It wouldn't budge. I "Leaned on it", still wouldnt budge, so I "leaned on it" again, and it broke loose completely. You could spin my destroyer wheel like "The price is right". This resulted in having to completely replace the helm gearbox, and since it all comes in a kit, I did the cable too.

There were a million different pieces of advice on how to free it, you can find them by searching the posts from this spring, if you still aren't clear on it come back here and I will tell you how we fixed mine.


Bella con23 posted 10-18-2007 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bella con23  Send Email to Bella con23     
My 1977 SeaRay WE240 froze up every couple of years after an extended lay up. I "leaned" on it every time. That cable and helm lasted 20 years and is still in service with the new owner.

I completely agree that there is lean on it and there is LEAN on it. A mechanically minded person can feel the difference. If your not comfortable with feeling the breaking point of mechanics, then by all means take the time and effort to remove the cable, soak it with Rust Blaster or whatever, and tap the ends with a hammer and a block of wood.

Let us know what worked to free it up.

highspeed_jd posted 10-18-2007 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for highspeed_jd  Send Email to highspeed_jd     
Hmmm. This little perdicament would make you Larry the cable guy. There is a good spray called "Free-All" which, in my opinion, is better than WD-40, S-OK, and the others. See if you can spray down it a few times and try to get it loose. It might take a while to do this. It might take a few days of this but it might work.
brisboats posted 10-18-2007 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for brisboats  Send Email to brisboats     
Do not "lean on it". Work the cable free from the motor end where it can withstand more blunt force trauma, heat and cursing than the helm end.


Casco Bay Outrage posted 10-18-2007 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Try this simple thing first.

Remove the nut on the port side (where it connects to the arm) at the engine bracket and soak the inside of the cable with PB Blaster. Let sit a day. Re soak.

With everything connected, try tilting full up and full down repetitive times.

This simple effort can often "break it loose". Once all is loose, pull the cable from the engine bracket and clean it out really well and lubricate.

Hope it helps.


cotton posted 10-18-2007 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for cotton    
Tried the blocks and hammering and soaking, leaning on it and nothing worked. Took it off at the motor end and used an adjustable bar clamp to push it in until it broke loose. No damage done but I check it ever so often to make sure it stays free. Worth a try and little chance it will damage it. Good luck.
Larry posted 10-18-2007 11:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Larry  Send Email to Larry     
Thanks for the suggestions. I will soak it with pb blaster and try a block and hammer. I have it disconnected, the gear box end looks stronger. Mobjack I tried a search and nothing close came up, how did you do it? Will twisting the inner cable help?
Mobjack posted 10-19-2007 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mobjack  Send Email to Mobjack     
When I put the boat up last summer I noticed that the steering got a little sticky a couple of times, but would work loose as I got going. I didnt think anything of it, and had not even considered that it would sieze inside the tube. but sure enough, during winter layup, it did. what was strange was, I moved the motor side to side quite a bit during some maintenance I did in December, January, and it was fine. By the end of February(sitting in a dry heated shop the whole time) it was frozen solid.
Numerous people who also had this problem this spring had other methods, and I think mine was harder than is typical to break loose, but here is what I did.

1. bought several different types of anti-corrosion, breakaway chemicals, some mentioned above, including PB Blaster and Free-All, started soaking it. Soaked it overnights for about a week, re-applying spray every night on my way home from work. No dice.
2. Disconnected everything at the engine end of things and started tapping the end of the cable with a brass hammer, a little tentatively, just trying to pop it loose.(At this point we were still trying to do it in a way that would save the steering cable, later we found a gash in the cable about four feet from the engine and decided it would be a good time to go ahead and replace it too). Still no love.
3. Third try: I became much more agressive with the hammer, and managed to drive the cable end flush with the tilt tube. (The whole time I had been going on the assumption that the film of corrosion which was bonding the cable would "break loose" at some point and the cable would slide right out. This was not the case, and all the way to the tilt tube it continued to be difficult.
4. When I got to the tilt tube I tried using a large punch centered in the hole to continue my efforts with the hammer, but this did not work well and we stopped gaining ground.
5. Got a pnuematic air hammer with a chisel bit involved in the efforts and it took about thirty seconds to punch it the rest of the way out.
6. Replaced the cable, replaced the helm, re-pulled everything thru the rigging tunnel. Overall it took a friend and I about three hours to fix it.

Bella Con, perhaps a 1977 24' Sea Ray and a 1985 17' montauk do not have the same helm gearbox. I know that, as you suggest is important, I am very in tune with how far to push mechanical things towards their particular breaking limits. I cranked on the wheel once, no dice. Cranked on it again, no movement.(drifting away from the ramp at this point) I gave it a third crank, and right about the time that little voice in the back of my head started to say whooooaa, I felt it shatter and the wheel went into freespool. I am simply suggesting not to lean on it, because in that steering system, those gear teeth are your weak link, and I thought I knew how far I could push it as well, having always been able to break it free before by moving the wheel.

Good luck Larry.

ModernRocketry posted 10-19-2007 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for ModernRocketry  Send Email to ModernRocketry     
To lean or not to lean...

Different boat have different part.

I lean on mine because it is only a few $$$ more to replace the whole steering system vs. just the cable. And it's a heck of a lot easier.

But this may be a trait of Novurania's

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