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Product Tutorials > Steering System Tutorial >

FAQ on Steering system




Q: How do I know which type of control cable I need?
A: In order to determine that, you need to know what brand(s) of engine and control head are on the boat. Mercury/Mariner/Force and OMC/Johnson/Evinrude engines usually require an "OEM type" cable when using those engine makers' control heads. OEM type cables have special end fittings designed to connect to the control and engine with minimal hardware. Generally, all other engines and controls use a "universal" 3300/33 type control cable. Universal cables have 10-32 threaded ends and often require extra hardware to connect to the engine and control. Contact the engine manufacturer if you need details on the hookup. Diesels and twin station vessels may use larger diameter (4300 or 6400 type) universal cables; 4300/43 type cables have 1/4-28 threaded ends and 6400/64 cables have 5/16-24 threaded ends. Refer to the "Control Cables" section of the catalog for more information.
Q: How do I know what length control cable I need?
A: This depends on two things: a. Are you doing a first-time control cable installation? Outboards: Measure from control along unobstructed cable routing to center of outboard. Add two feet to allow for loop which provides unrestricted engine movement. Round up to next whole foot and order than length cable(s). Stern Drives and Inboards: Measure from control along unobstructed cable routing to shift and/or throttle connection. Round this dimension off to the next whole foot and order that length cable(s). b. Are you replacing an existing cable? Measure the existing cable as follows: Measure the cable from tip to tip in inches, and round up to next even foot. Order that length cable
Q: My control used to work fine, but now one lever is hard to move. What should I do to fix this?
A: First determine where the problem lies. There are three possible trouble areas: the control, the cable, and the throttle or transmission connection. By isolating these one at a time, you will find the problem. Engine(s) must be OFF when performing these checks: a. Disconnect the cable at the throttle or transmission attachment point. Move the throttle or transmission arm through its arc to be certain there is no restriction or binding. If the arm is stiff or binding, clean and lubricate moving parts. If this does not solve the problem, make the appropriate repairs. Generally, the force required to move a throttle or shift arm should be no more than 5-10 pounds. b. With the cable disconnected at the engine end, try to move the control lever. If it moves freely, the problem was the throttle/transmission arm. If the control handle is still to hard to operate, disconnect the cable from the control. If the lever operates smoothly, the control cable needs replacement. If the lever is still hard to move, lubricate the lever pivot point in the control with penetrating oil and a light grease. c. If the problem is with a throttle lever, you may have a cable brake installed to limit cable feedback to the handle. If this is the case, loosen or remove the brake. If throttle lever creep back is a problem on the boat, you should consider installing a Teleflex CH5600 SLT control. This unit will stop cable creep without sacrificing a smooth feel. See the "Engine Controls" section of the catalog for details on the CH5600.
Q: I want to install an autopilot on a boat with cable steering. What parts do I need?
A: Teleflex does not make adapters or interface parts to connect an autopilot to mechanical cable steering. This is left to the autopilot manufacturers. We do however strongly recommend that if you are installing an autopilot, upgrade your mechanical steering to a SeaStar® hydraulic system. SeaStar® is designed to interface with most autopilots and will give you superior all around performance.
Q: I need to replace the steering system on my boat, but I looked at the back of the helm and saw it was not made by Teleflex. I want to install a Teleflex system, but how do I know which one I should get?
A: Generally, replace rotary with rotary and rack & pinion with rack & pinion. Rotary helm gearboxes are round in shape. Rack & pinion helms are tubular and connect to a long, thin metal rack housing. The following is a brief cross reference: Morse Command 290 Rotary: use Teleflex Safe-T QC for power-assisted or NFBTM 4.2 Rotary for non-power-assisted. Morse Command 200 Rack: use Teleflex Back Mount Rack for power-assisted or NFBTM Rack for non-power-assisted. Morse Command 200 Rotary: use Teleflex Big-T for power-assisted or NFBTM 4.2 for non-power-assisted.

 
Q: I would like to upgrade the steering in my boat to Tilt Steering. What steps do I need to take?
A: First determine the brand of steering in your boat, then whether it is mechanical or hydraulic. If you do not have Teleflex steering, your options are: a. Replace the helm and cable (or hoses and cylinder) with a Teleflex System or b. Contact the steering maker for options. Tilt steering is not available from all steering makers. If you have Teleflex steering that was made after 1991, you probably only need to purchase a Tilt helm and Tilt mechanism. (Tilt helms have a special shaft to engage the Tilt mechanism.) The existing cable or hoses and cylinder are likely compatible with the new helm. Determine what kind of Teleflex steering you have, then refer to the appropriate section of this catalog for the Tilt Steering helm part number. Tilt helms are available for the following Teleflex systems: - Safe-T "QC" and "TS" Helms (1968-present) - Rack & Pinion Single & Twin Cable Helms (1984-present) - Big-T Helms - NFBTM Safe-T II, 4.2 & Rack Helms (1991-present) - SeaStar® 1.7 (I) & 2.4 (II) Helms (1991-present) - SeaStar® PRO Helms (1993-present) Some pre-1991 systems may require purchase of additional items and/or dash modification. Call Teleflex Tech Support if you need assistance.
Q: I need a link arm to connect the steering cable output ram to the tiller of my outboard. Can I get the link arm from Teleflex?
A: No. You should obtain this link arm from the engine maker. Link arms vary by engine, and the engine maker offers the correct link arm for your particular brand and model.

 
Q: How do I measure steering cables for a vessel with two steering stations?
A: The only cable steering system available for twin station boats is the Teleflex Big-T. One cable with two outer jacket (casing) sections is used to make the run from the engine/rudder to the lower station helm and then to the upper station helm. The cable required is Part No. SSC81AxxBxx, where XX = the lengths of the two cable sections in feet. The letter "A" in the part number represents the cable routing path distance between steering stations. The letter "B" represents the cable routing path distance from the lower station to the engine/rudder area. These measurements are in even foot increments. (For example, if the cable routing from engine to lower station is 18 feet and the path from station to station measures 16 feet, order an SSC81A16B18.)
Q: I'm replacing a Teleflex rack and pinion cable in a 1985 boat. I ordered an SSC124
A: Note the old cable's rack housing color. It is probably green, meaning the old cable is a "TR188" model. This is a Teleflex system, but the helm will not bolt up to the new SSC124 cable. Replace the helm and bezel kit with "The Rack" versions.





  
       


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