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Guides

Replace & Maintain Powerboat & RIB Steering

When you are dusting off your boat in preparation for the new season, you may find that your steering is stiff or seized. Salt deposits from last season and corrosion over the winter break clog up the gears and cable, making it difficult to turn the wheel. You may be able to free up the steering with some lubrication but if your system is old and worn then it may be time for a change. 

The majority of mechanical steering systems fitted to smaller powerboats and Ribs are the rotary type with a planetary or reduction gear system. A drive gear engages with the helical core of the steering cable and crates a linear push /pull motion when the steering wheel is turned.

Main Components of a rotary cable steering system

 

Helm – Dashboard mounted rotary or rack gearbox to which the steering wheel is mounted. All that we sell have the common ¾” tapered shaft to fit a steering wheel.

Cable – Push- pull cable with a helical core that connects the helm to the engine/rudder

Bezel – Dashboard trim that covers the helm

Why not just buy a steering cable?

 

You could buy a new cable only to find that it sticks or jumps due to worn gears in the helm. Best practice is to replace both the helm and steering cable.

 

What length cable do I need?

TO MEASURE A STEERING SYSTEM: A + B + C + 6" - THEN ROUND UP TO NEXT CABLE SIZE.

When looking at a replacement cable, ideally we should take the measurement off the existing cable, it is normally stamped in to the plastic jackey. If this isn't possible, use the diagram above to work out your rewuired length.

Note: the diagram applies to tilt tube mounting only, if your cable is mounted to the splashwell or transom via a ball joint, subtract 6" instead of adding it.  

Choosing a Steering System Kit...

Small outboards up to 50hp

SH8050 Light Duty Steering Kit

  • Suitable for small outboards up to 53hp 
  • 2.6 turns lock to lock
  • Port or starboard cable entry
  • Kit consists of : Helm, Bezel, Cable & steering wheel

 

Larger Outboards up to 100HP

Safe-T QC Steering Kit

  • Primarily designed for small power-assisted sterndrive boats but can be used for Outboards up to 100hp & inboards ​
  • 3 turns lock to lock
  • Port or starboard cable entry
  • Kit consists of : Helm, Bezel,  & Cable

 

Larger Outboards up to 100HP - No Feedback

Safe-T II No Feedback Steering Kit

This clever steering system has a no feedback clutch in the helm that locks the wheel when not being turned and then disengages when the wheel is moved – eliminates torque steer (the boat turning on its own due to the rotary motion of the prop) and offers easier steering 

  • The best choice for outboards (up to 100hp) driven boats but also suitable for inboards 
  • 3 turns lock to lock
  • Port or starboard cable entry
  • Kit consists of: Helm, Bezel & Cable

 

Steering System Maintenance

 

Lubricate the steering cable rod regularly with white lithium grease such as Ramonol – do this at least twice a year e.g the start and end of the season.

Remove the cable from the helm end, clean and then use Ramonol to grease the exposed helical inner core– this can be done once a year either at the start or end of the season.

While the cable is out of the helm, remove the helm backing plate, clean and re grease the internal gears with Ramanol.

Tip - Use a Davis Lube II Nut to make rod end lubrication easier – this nut fixes onto the end outboard pivot tube and lubricates and seals the steering cable rod end.

 
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