How to install a boat steering cable

Written by karinda baker
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How to install a boat steering cable
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Just as an automobile requires the entire steering system to function properly in order to avoid potential deadly accidents, so does the steering system on a boat that’s on the river. Not only should you inspect the steering cable for possible rust every three months or so but you should also inspect the steering system when you feel tightness or hesitation in the wheel. Most problems in the boat’s steering will be due to a failing cable, so don’t put your boating experience on the back burner; installing a boat steering cable requires only a second set of hands.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Assistant
  • Box wrench
  • Upholstery cover
  • New steering cable

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  1. 1

    Pull up the boat’s floorboard to expose the mufflers, the old steering cable and the driveshaft. Separate the steering cable from the top of the boat’s fibreglass, wood or metal rudder (stem that directs the path of the boat). Follow the old cable path with your eyes and hands until you are well past the ski locker and gasoline tank and remove the other end of the steering cable connected to the hull of the boat.

  2. 2

    Remove the bolt from the wall of the fastener that looks like a bow with a box wrench to make room to continue working to remove the steering cable. Pull the boat’s rudder arm toward your body. Unscrew and remove the centre nut on the steering connection and from the top bolt.

  3. 3

    Move the hand button or lever so that you can move the driver’s seat as far back as it can go. Get on your knees and crawl underneath the boat’s dashboard. Find the long rectangular bar (rack-and-pinion assembly) connected to the steering column by four small bolts. Keep removing these bolts with a wrench until the assembly piece falls off.

  4. 4

    Remove the obstacles that are in your way, such as the kickboard, heater or radio accessories, so you can see the old steering cable as it passes through the hull of the boat. Cover the upholstery and carpet in your boat to keep oil and grease off. Ask your helper to pull the old steering cable until it is free as you are in the middle guiding the part away from other areas of the boat.

  5. 5

    Compare the new steering cable to the old steering cable to make sure they match. Feed the new cable through the same spots in which you did the removal. Reinstall the steering assembly and rudder. Reinstall the kickboard, heater, other accessories and parts.

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