Fab1

Maintaining your boats cables and grease points

35 posts in this topic

Here is a common issue with the boating public at one time or another,the stiff steering/throttle etc caused by neglected cables and moisture getting in them or worse totally frozen and unable to move freely.

Im maintaining a teleflex steering cable hear but this method works on cables ranging from bicycle brakes to hand brakes on cars,trust me I've used it on everything and do all my outboards cables like I'm about to document.

What I like to do is disconnect the cable from the outboard side and the helm side leaving the cable in place and force feeding transmission fluid through the cable using an adapter I have made up using compressed air to clean and lubricate the cable.

As alot of you guys don't have access to a compressor for demonstration purposes I have totally removed my cable and used a small portable air matress inflator to achieve the same thing.

Years ago I used a tyre valve contraption and even hanging the cable up vertically with a funnel attached and gravity feeding the trans fluid will work but much slower.

The first step is to undo the drag link retaining nut as shown here and thread the 2 washers and nut back on the thread so that they don't get lost-If the outboard moves freely by hand it indicates that the bushings are in working order and lubed,if its stiff you need to pay attention to the pivot bushings.

If the helm is stiff there's an issue with the cable or the helm itself,if it moves freely it indicates a helm and cable in good order.

post-20199-0-27901400-1448171284_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-57278000-1448171577_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-35934600-1448171613_thumb.jpg

Next you want to remove the plastic nut from the tilt tube,be carefull there's an o ring inside that's suppose to stop water/moisture entering-post-20199-0-56439400-1448171902_thumb.jpg

The plastic nut showing the o ring that lives inside-post-20199-0-04868200-1448171989_thumb.jpg

Now remove this large locknut for the steering cable-post-20199-0-61268100-1448172098_thumb.jpg

With the locknut removed you can start sliding the ram out of the tilt tube-post-20199-0-48028600-1448172206_thumb.jpg

You can see the oil has become emulsified if you look closely,only one thing can cause this-Water.

Here the ram has been removed further and you can clearly see the contaminated sludge on the ram-post-20199-0-73064400-1448172409_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-90258700-1448172517_thumb.jpg

Inside the tilt tube is the same,rust coloured sludge-post-20199-0-20039800-1448172616_thumb.jpg

Here I've wrapped some emery cloth around a steel bar to use with brake cleaner to clean out the tilt tube-post-20199-0-47245600-1448175055_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-51447200-1448175132_thumb.jpg

You can see the rusty colour of the rag I've placed under the tilt tube opening(Why manufacturers don't make the tilt tubes out of stainless I don't know)Maybe I'll fit stainless to mine.

This image shows the ram starting to rust-post-20199-0-45591300-1448175473_thumb.jpg

A bit of a sand with emery cloth and it's like new again-post-20199-0-27917500-1448175579_thumb.jpg

Ram cleaned up with brake clean and rag-post-20199-0-17013400-1448175799_thumb.jpg

Tilt tube nice and clean also ready for assembly later-post-20199-0-21177400-1448175892_thumb.jpg

Now that we have the outboard end all disconnected and cleaned up it's time to move onto disconnecting the cable at the helm.

This is a shot of the helm where you need to first remove this R clip-post-20199-0-55089500-1448176073_thumb.jpg

Now you need to push this pin in with a small screwdriver or similar to unlock the cable and pull on the cable to pop it free-post-20199-0-18030100-1448176208_thumb.jpg

The cable is driven by a worm gear inside the helm which feeds the cable out of it's housing automatically by turning the steering wheel to starboard you'll see it feed itself out-post-20199-0-05452800-1448176446_thumb.jpg

Once the cable comes all the way out of the helm it's simply a matter of feeding the cable back along the Gunnel and completely removing it from the boat-post-20199-0-58741700-1448176593_thumb.jpg

Ok it's time to clean out the old gunk from the cable and lubricate its entire length with fresh transmission fluid.

On the helm end of the cable I've attached a 3/4 diameter piece of hose around 2 foot long using a hose clamp-post-20199-0-64214700-1448177378_thumb.jpg

You want to hold the open end of this hose vertical,Here I've utilised the garage roller door track and wedged the hose in the channel(fits like a glove)-post-20199-0-41618000-1448177553_thumb.jpg

Now add approximately 200ml of transmission fluid into the hose(don't worry any excess just pours back into the bottle later)-post-20199-0-67017500-1448177692_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-57108500-1448177745_thumb.jpg

Here's the portable pump I'm using to force the transmission fluid through the entire length of the cable until it comes out the outboard end of the cable for this demonstration(If you have compressed air,use it)-post-20199-0-10595700-1448177882_thumb.jpg

Now attach the pump to the open end of the hose with another clamp as shown-post-20199-0-09864000-1448178122_thumb.jpg

Place something to catch the oil coming out of the outboard end of the cable,here I've used a bucket lid-post-20199-0-54821900-1448178249_thumb.jpg

All you need to do now is turn on the pump and work the outboard end of the cable in/out by hand for a few minutes until fresh transmission fluid comes out indicating that the cable is now clean and lubed throughout its entire length as shown here-post-20199-0-82386900-1448178459_thumb.jpg

I've now got a clean and lubed cable ready to install back on the boat-post-20199-0-58741700-1448176593_thumb.jpg

Now it's a matter of feeding the freshly refurbished cable back up the gunnel-post-20199-0-93622000-1448178727_thumb.jpg

The cable coming out under the dash-post-20199-0-50507700-1448178860_thumb.jpg

Now you need to feed the cable into the helm and turn the steering to port to feed the cable all the way into the helm as shown-post-20199-0-44058900-1448179040_thumb.jpg

Once the cable is pulled all the way into place it will automatically lock in place by the pin you depressed at the beginning and then install the R clip you removed-

Now that the helm end is finished its time to re-install the outboard end making sure you use transmission fluid in the tilt tube,anti seize on the threaded locknut and loctite on the drag link nut and your done.

Hopefully this aids those of you that have cable issues and want to maintain them.

You can use marine grease,lithium grease in the tilt tube if you want but nothing lubricates the cable like tranny fluid in my experience.

Cheers.

post-20199-0-32243700-1448171411_thumb.jpg

post-20199-0-43997200-1448178588_thumb.jpg

post-20199-0-81686400-1451384873_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a few more photos I couldn't fit in my original post for some reason.post-20199-0-13134800-1448180926_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-76010400-1448180971_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-05724400-1448181011_thumb.jpg

I also greased all grease nipples-post-20199-0-15104600-1448181118_thumb.jpg

This job took less than an hour while I cooked these delicious chicken wings-post-20199-0-68898100-1448181054_thumb.jpgpost-20199-0-12299700-1448181090_thumb.jpg

Hopefully it gets someone out of trouble.

Fabian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Fabian,

That is a very detailed and informative post.

Thanks for taking the time to post it.

Cheers

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fab - Great post mate & spot on as steering cable seizures in the tilt tube area are a real pain. Thanks for taking the time to put the post up. I am sure it will help lots of raiders deal with this very common issue.

Cheers Blood Knot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys,if this post helps just one raider it was more than worthwhile as i can imagine how frustrating boating issues can be for those of us that don't know how to go about fixing something.

My dad drummed into me when I was a little boy that if you can help someone you help them.I've carried that all my life and will try to help where I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting !!! just tackled this job with ease after following your instructions : ) Ive been looking at this for a while and your post was very useful ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post Fab and thanks for posting. Definitely on my maintenance list!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting !!! just tackled this job with ease after following your instructions : ) Ive been looking at this for a while and your post was very useful ...

Good to hear it was of help.Well done for giving it a go.

Great post Fab and thanks for posting. Definitely on my maintenance list!

Anytime,your steering will feel completely rejuvenated once your done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a reason that steering is harder in one direction and easier in the other?

nice write up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a reason that steering is harder in one direction and easier in the other?

nice write up!

Normally the resistance should be roughly equal when turning in either direction on dry land.It's normally slightly easier turning to port than it is to starboard in my experience as your pulling the cable into the sheath as opposed to pushing it out.But when on the water prop rotation direction will make it slightly easier to steer in one direction as opposed to the other.Also the setting on the trim tab under your anti cavitation plate can have an effect if it's out a few degrees.Tight bends in the cable,Issues with the helm itself,Collapsed bushings in outboards steering shaft,frayed strands of wire internally in steering cable along with dried contaminated lubricants can all have an effect on steering effort required.Sometimes the steering is equally harder both ways,other times there will be more effort required in one direction than the other.

As you can see many things can cause stiff(erratic) steering but usually the main culprits are the helm itself,the cable or contaminated grease or bushing failure on outboard side.

Hope this helps as this has been my experiences working on a few outboards through out the years.

Others with more knowledge than myself might help a little more as it's very hard to diagnose an issue without seeing it myself.

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fab 1 .   I'm about to attack the stearing  box but I'm a bit confused with yr terminology

You say to remove the cable , to me that's the cable or rod inside the tube or the housing  , correct ??

Then , are u saying , to also remove the tube or housing which the cable slides in ??

On my boat that is easier said than done , any way that's my problem

Could u perhaps clarify

Tks

Geoff    

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nice one fab .I just done mine recently..good info for those that don't know..keep up the good work..rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12 May 2017 at 11:42 AM, Geoff said:

Fab 1 .   I'm about to attack the stearing  box but I'm a bit confused with yr terminology

You say to remove the cable , to me that's the cable or rod inside the tube or the housing  , correct ??You need to remove the whole steering cable from the boat.Its possible to disconnect both ends from the outboard and the helm and force tranny fluid through the cable also.

Then , are u saying , to also remove the tube or housing which the cable slides in ??Im talking about pressing the pin on the helm and turning the wheel which will feed the cable out of the helm.

On my boat that is easier said than done , any way that's my problem

Could u perhaps clarify

Tks

Geoff    

 

 

 

On 12 May 2017 at 9:16 PM, rickmarlin62 said:

nice one fab .I just done mine recently..good info for those that don't know..keep up the good work..rick

Thanks mate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet another incredibly detailed set of instructions Fabian. U r a very capable instructor mate. Cheers, BN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, big Neil said:

Yet another incredibly detailed set of instructions Fabian. U r a very capable instructor mate. Cheers, BN

Thanks mate,hopefully it helps people have a crack when and if the time comes.

cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Fab1 said:

Thanks mate,hopefully it helps people have a crack when and if the time comes.

cheers.

It sure does help FAB! I'm giving it a crack today! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scratchie said:

It sure does help FAB! I'm giving it a crack today! 

All the best mate.Let us know how you go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

My mobile mechanic disconnects the steering cable behind the steering wheel and simply uses a pressure pump he made his self to push hydraulic fluid through the cable, turning the wheel from side to side as he does it.. As soon as it starts to come out the engine end he stops, all up it takes less than 5 mins. 

Edited by JonD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, JonD said:

My mobile mechanic disconnects the steering cable behind the steering wheel and simply uses a pressure pump he made his self to push hydraulic fluid through the cable, turning the wheel from side to side as he does it.. As soon as it starts to come out the engine end he stops, all up it takes less than 5 mins. 

That does nothing for the corrosion inside the tilt tube mate.All he's doing is forcing fluid through the cable trying to keep it lubricated but is forgetting the tilt tube.Don't mean to be rude but that is not a steering cable service.

The only way to do it properly is to dismantle,clean and lubricate everything as above and grease all   Grease nipples while your there.

Now you know why I do everything myself.

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Fab1 said:

That does nothing for the corrosion inside the tilt tube mate.All he's doing is forcing fluid through the cable trying to keep it lubricated but is forgetting the tilt tube.Don't mean to be rude but that is not a steering cable service.

The only way to do it properly is to dismantle,clean and lubricate everything as above and grease all   Grease nipples while your there.

Now you know why I do everything myself.

Cheers.

It goes without saying he also greased the nipples, ive also never had stiff steering myself due to my mechanics maintance, maybe the fact I stick 350-400 hrs on mine per year helps keep it moving freely. By the way I have replaced cables on second hand boats I've purchsed and they are pretty cheep.

Sorry I don't quite get why you do everything yourself, are you saying a fully qualified mechanic with a fantastic reputation doesn't know what he's doing and if we don't do what you are doing will cause problems.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JonD said:

It goes without saying he also greased the nipples, ive also never had stiff steering myself due to my mechanics maintance, maybe the fact I stick 350-400 hrs on mine per year helps keep it moving freely. By the way I have replaced cables on second hand boats I've purchsed and they are pretty cheep.

Sorry I don't quite get why you do everything yourself, are you saying a fully qualified mechanic with a fantastic reputation doesn't know what he's doing and if we don't do what you are doing will cause problems.

 

Doing the hours you do will certainly help keep the steering free ,but I can assure you there will be corrosion inside your tilt tube that hasn't had time for the rust to weld itself to the inner tube unless your running a stainless tube due to your frequent use.For the rest of us that have our boats laid up for extended periods there is no substitute for a proper service.I stand by saying that just forcing hydraulic fluid through the cable is only a partial service.If your mechanic tells you otherwise I'd find another one it it where me.

Your idea of a cheap cable may be someone else's idea of expensive too.

You don't understand why I do everything myself?here's my reason.

Because I can and I save a heap of money in the process and NO ONE will do the job like I will.

Your mechanic may have a good reputation but he's doing a partial job by just oiling the cable.If you want to prevent stiff/frozen steering you have to be thorough.

If you want to prevent stiff steering you need to attack the cable,tilt tube and all pivot points properly especially if you are a boater that uses their boat a lot less than you do.

In conclusion just because some one is qualified doesn't mean they're any good.Not saying it's the same with your mechanic just saying through personal experience. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theres nothing on any steering cable kit instructions to say you need to do anything more than the standard maintenance most people do or have done, same goes for the outboard maintenance booklet.

I was led to believe cables can get worn and create play hence replacing a teleflex NFB cable at bellow $130 every 10 years isn't expensive even for someone like me out of work.

Im sure the job you have done is first class but in reality very few will bother and just just opt for what manufactures recommend  when it comes to maintaining their boats and engines. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JonD said:

Theres nothing on any steering cable kit instructions to say you need to do anything more than the standard maintenance most people do or have done, same goes for the outboard maintenance booklet.

I was led to believe cables can get worn and create play hence replacing a teleflex NFB cable at bellow $130 every 10 years isn't expensive even for someone like me out of work.

Im sure the job you have done is first class but in reality very few will bother and just just opt for what manufactures recommend  when it comes to maintaining their boats and engines. 

Go and try to make a warranty claim on a rusty cable or tilt tube and you'll find your answer.They will laugh at you and say it is neglect on your part.You'll also find that usually the same people that neglect the steering on their boat or do minimal maintenance are the ones that sooner or later will be asking for help with seized steering.The same goes for wheel bearings etc.

You keep doing what works for you.

1 hour ago, JonD said:

Theres nothing on any steering cable kit instructions to say you need to do anything more than the standard maintenance most people do or have done, same goes for the outboard maintenance booklet.

I was led to believe cables can get worn and create play hence replacing a teleflex NFB cable at bellow $130 every 10 years isn't expensive even for someone like me out of work.

Im sure the job you have done is first class but in reality very few will bother and just just opt for what manufactures recommend  when it comes to maintaining their boats and engines. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

im with you Fabian and try to do all my own maintenance..i begrudge paying $60/$75 per hr or more when I can do it myself..my boat was stolen by my ex and I bought it back a few months ago..in the time it was sitting the steering froze so I just fixed that basically same as your post I then bought second hand trailer and reconfigured all rollers to suit and balanced trailer and boat  the trailer guy wanted to charge me $550 to do this..i replace spark plugs pull carbies apart and clean them..ive had boats all my life and wouldn't be able to afford one if I had to pay for any or all work to be done by so called proffesionals..so like you and many others il keep doing everything I can do myself..a big thank you for all the effort you put into these posts..congrats..rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Why are you saying you'll  this and you'll that? So I'm about to have my very first mechanical failure in 42 years of owning boats yes had my first at 12 and I'm now 52 and never had a single breakdown or problem from any boat or  engine or trailer because I have them maintained.

Only ever replaced one steering cable which was on a 12 yr old Haines signature 540f, this was done as soon as I purchsed the boat but I dare say my mechanics procedure would of also fixed it, just felt new was better than trying to fix up something I had no history on.

Each to their own but to make out I will have an issue that my manufacturer is going to laugh at me about is completely laughable in itself.

Just add my last service ( filters oil and gearbox oil ) on my Yam f 70 4 stroke was $150 which included less than 5 mins to lube the steering cable ( 5 mins $6-7 ). The service before which inclided filters oil and impellor was $200.

Edited by JonD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      61,644
    • Total Posts
      492,928