Cable steering specialists or repair options?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by nopeda, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. nopeda
    Joined: Aug 2013
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    Location: GA

    nopeda Junior Member

    I have asked about this particular problem more than once in this forum and have learned several things but still have the problem. The steering cable in my 1968 43' Lazy Days houseboat is seized up because on the motor end about 3' from the end the outer jacket has been cut and it seems to be rusted solid. This boat has a propeller and rudder with no out drive. I've soaked the cable in PB Blaster for over a week then tried tapping very sharply on the end, then 50 lbs (or more) of pull to the end tapping on the cable, and it did not budge. At this point it seems safe to say that section of the cable is beyond repair. But the rack is fine and that end of the cable seems to be fine. The cable had a large loop in the front end of the boat due to extra length so it would probably still be long enough if the bad section could be cut out, the outer jacket be cut back and another end be welded or crimped to the end of the good part of the cable. Does anyone have experience doing or having that sort of repair done? It seems there must be cable repair specialists out there somewhere, though probably not boat specialists, but so far I haven't been able to find any.

    Continuing the frustrating attempts it seems this is a Ride Glide system. My rack is in great shape and looks like this:

    Vintage Mercury Marine Boat Ride Guide Steering Rack & Pinion with Helm | Green Bay Propeller & Marine LLC https://greenbayprop.com/ride-guide-heavy-duty-16-6-rack-pinion-boat-steering-cable-w-helm-gb440450885

    so I don't need a new rack though I'd gladly pay for a cable with that type rack if I could find one. If I could find a cable long enough with this sort of rack end: eBay https://tinyurl.com/yy2ewfqv that would be great but imo I need at least 38' and that one is a bit short and that's if what is pictured is what would actually arrive. Sometimes you don't get what's in the picture. At this point it seems I need a 11111A~~ or 76043A~~ type steering cable with the ~~ being at least 38', or 40', or... If anyone knows a place to check for vintage cables like that please let me know.

    At West Marine they have the SS141~~ type cable and the threaded part from the motor end of my cable fits on it perfectly so that end would work great. But the new rack would not bolt up to the old helm and the tooth spacing may or may not be compatible if I could make a bracket to addapt it. It looks like it could be an option though. Another is that maybe the cable could be removed from the SS141~~ rack and be made to secure to the old rack. Have any of you made a repair that way before, or tried to?
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Steering cables are too cheap to repair. Also, steering is a critical factor for safety. Are you trying to keep the boat original? Otherwise, it will be cheaper, better and easier to put a complete modern rotary system.
     
  3. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    My first thought was you are working far too hard to fix versus buy something that will work.

    Since Gonzo has far more experience; I suggest you heed his wisdomz
     
  4. nopeda
    Joined: Aug 2013
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    nopeda Junior Member

    I also have a fly bridge. So I'm guessing it would involve replacing both steering columns, both cables, and 3 helms. I haven't checked into it but again guess it would be over a thousand dollars and a lot of work and time. And if I pay someone else to do it instead of doing it myself probably another thousand plus dollars. The cable is out of the boat so if I could send it someplace and have it repaired for a few hundred dollars, if that were possible, I could put it back in without replacing everything else for a lot less time, effort and money. One possible option I finally found is that type of cable, new, but it's 58'. I need about a 40' but am thinking since there's plenty of room I could put a big loop up front and another in the rear. I have only found 3 cables that seem like they would work, one 34', one 58' and one 62'. I feel sure there must be a 40' or 45' out there somewhere but I have not been able to find one.
     
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Do you have two or three helms?
     
  6. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I have some of that stuff laying around. I have the rack, a good helm, and a good end or two of shorter stuff from a 24' boat; not sure it is much help to you.
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    If it's just the cable, some marine shops can fabricate a new one to the required length, but whether that works out substantially cheaper, you'd have to get a quote.
     
  8. nopeda
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    nopeda Junior Member

    Can you name any in particular that could do it? If they can fabricate a new one maybe they could also just chop out the bad section on the motor end of the old one and put a new end on it if I send it to them.
     
  9. nopeda
    Joined: Aug 2013
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    nopeda Junior Member

    I have 2 on the lower deck and one on the fly bridge. Since last I posted here I learned that the place on ebay with the 58' cable has 10 available. Also found 2 places that say they have 40' cables, so will call them tomorrow and if they actually have one in stock will buy it immediately. At one place it's under $300. So far it sounds too good to be true. I need to not be fooled into believing it until it gets here...and maybe not until it's actually making the rubber wag back and forth.

    Since writing the paragraph above I tried ordering the first of the 40' cables. At the website they give no indication that it's unavailable and in fact even tell you about their great discount at 27% off. But luckily I knew enough not to believe it and called to make sure it's available, which it is not. So what would have happened if I just ordered it online expecting it to arrive as they lead you to believe?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  10. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Obviously I'm not in your part of the world, but I recall years ago having a similar problem, and being told "if it's just the cable, we can "swage" one up for you", but I elected to buy a complete new steering set-up, as they had a superseded model one lying around at a cheap price, and the cable length was about right. Whether they could do that in-house, or order one in, I have no idea, but probably the former, as otherwise you'd just expect a replacement cable from the manufacturer's parts inventory.
     
  11. nopeda
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    nopeda Junior Member

    My racks and helms seem in good shape but I'll bet there's somebody out there that would love to have your stuff. In my pokings around at places near here I met one guy who said about a year ago he helped a friend who had a boat supply store that was closing it down and going out of business. He said there were a bunch of old steering cables--some of them that were long--the man offered to give him but he didn't have any use for them. They ended up going in a dumpster. There are probably similar situations all over the country, and some where they went into somebody's basement or garage instead of a dumpster, but even with today's easy communication systems how to connect with them?
     
  12. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    You might find something at a boat or outboard wreckers yard, if the length is too long, there'd be tube or cable fabrication shops that could shorten it.
     
  13. nopeda
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    nopeda Junior Member

    Since I've become pretty curious about possible alternatives to this type of situation I'd like to find what they meant by that if you would be willing to let me know the name and location of the company, or their email address.
     
  14. nopeda
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    nopeda Junior Member

    It seems that there should be such places to me also but so far I haven't been able to find one or anyone who has had experience with that sort of thing. Also in the general searches I've made on shortening steering cables the results have consistently been that it can't be done, though I'm still not convinced of that yet.
     

  15. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    So long ago I can't remember, but it wasn't Teleflex steering, and the shop was in Brisbane Australia, but maybe no longer exists.
     
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