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Thread: Steering Cable

  1. #1

    Unhappy Steering Cable

    I'm just wondering what others have experieced with their steering cables sticking after sitting all winter. Is this a common issue? I've only owned a boat for a few years, so I'm still a rookie on the learn. I always greased the output cable shaft and grease the zerts on the outboard before I put her to bed. Nevertheless, every spring I had to monkey it loose to break free.

    Well, this year I pulled the cable out of the outboard to see what the hell the problem is. What I found, is an inverted telescoping shaft that receives no lube in between the inner & outer shaft. The only way to clean and lube it is to remove it from the outboard. This will become an annual ceremony for me unless you guys know of something else that works.

    Also, what type of lubricant would you use?

    Please share your experience.

  2. #2
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    um... Wasilla...


    I got tired of messing with cable steering systems (for the reasons you mentioned) and installed a Baystar hydraulic system on my 17' Arima Sea Ranger. Most people told me that it wouldn't be worth the expense, and that the boat was too small for hydraulic steering. But I did it anyway (I get like that sometimes).

    I must say that in addition to the benefit of not having to mess with the cable system any more, the steering is much better. After three hours fighting the wind and waves in PWS I used to be plumb wore out. Now I barely notice the steering at all. It's like switching from manual steering in an old truck (yes, I used to have an old '67 Ford) to a new luxo-cruiser with power steering.

    Well... that might not help you out much, but that's how I dealt with it anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

  3. #3

    Default Steering locking up

    It happened to me too, it was the tube on the motor where the cable end went thu. Took it apart and it was rusted and seized up. Took a 12 gauge shot gun cleaning brush and polished the inside and used marine grease.
    Still the salt gets in as the tube comes out the other side, (you can see the grease on the tube) so had to do it every 4 years.

  4. #4


    Doug, corrosion is always a problem with steering cables. I had to fight them every spring too. Besides ensuring you lube them up often, I don't know of any "shortcut" to keeping them in top order. I finally broke down and went hydraulic.

  5. #5

    Default What type of grease?

    Would molylithe (white) grease work better than the conventional marine grease? It seems to be thinner than other types of grease and might not become as waxxy.

  6. #6
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    The steering rod and reverse gate rod on my sportjet have a rubber boot similar to the boots made to cover a steering stabilizer shock on a vehicle. I would imagine this would cut down on water and dirt problems on an outboard steering rod if you can find one that will fit. Just a thought.

  7. #7


    Spray some Corrosion-X HD it will coat and stop corrosion.

    I lubed a shaft with the regular corrosion-x that was frozen up on a friends boat for two years he stopped going fishing and the boat sat.

    It loosened it up and works fine, this stuff cleans out the junk.

    I have a Jennings 22 that I was going to get rid of because it always jammed I cleaned it 3 times to give it another chance, had the corrosion-x on the table so I used it for lube worked the action a few times and all this carbon starts to come out. It sold me this is great stuff.


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