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Time to Replace Your Boats Mechanical Steering Cable

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When Its Time to Replace Your Boats Mechanical Steering Cable

For vessels with mechanical steering, when there is too much play or friction when you steer, it is likely time to replace the steering cable. This is not a very difficult task; an average DIYer can perform it. Here are some tips to ensure your new steering cables ease of installation.

  • Always replace your boat steering cable with the same type that had been originally installed; rack with rack, hydraulic with hydraulic and rotary with rotary. This way your craft will continue to handle as well as it did the first time you took her out on the water.
  • Look at the casting numbers and letters on the cable jacket and on the helm. Those markings will determine what type of cable you will need.
  • Parts formechanical steering systems are not sold individually. For safety reasons, these components must be replaced as a unit.

How to Measure to Determine the Right Steering Cable

Next comes the only tricky part in your boat steering cable install. How to measure to make sure you buy the right mechanical steering cable. For rack or rotary cables you'll need three measurements:

  • Measure the distance from the centerline of the wheel to the gunwale or deck (if a downward mount). This is measurement A
  • Measure the distance from the dash to the transom. This is measurement B
  • Measure the distance from the gunwale to the centerline of the cable connection at the centered tiller. This is measurement C

Here is the equation for installations through the engine tilt tube:
A + B + C + 6 = the cable length (for sizing always round up)
Here is the equation for installations mounted to the transom or the splashwell:
A + B + C - 6 = the cable length (for sizing always round up)

A boat steering cable attachment to the motor through the engine tilt tube is universal. Wholesale Marine carries SeaStar Solutions kits that will allow users to replace any steering system application. If you get stuck or just want some helpful advice, give us a call. Were boaters too, and will be glad to discuss any requirement you may have for your craft. Give us a call, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM at (877) 388-2628.