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Aligning dual rack and pinion steering?

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  • Aligning dual rack and pinion steering?

    I have dual cable Teleflex rack and pinion steering. I disconnected each one at the helm individually, to isolate which cable was the problem. That worked. It's a bent ram inside the tilt tube.

    However, turning the steering wheel when one rack was connected, and one not connected, advanced one ram more than the other.

    So when I reconnected both racks, I was way off. Even if I get the two rams even enough to reconnect the steering arm link, I'm way off when I turn the steering wheel. I might get half a turn one way, to full stop, but 2 or 3 turns the other way.

    I'm not smart enough to figure out how to get it all aligned again.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I know the position of the outboard - either centered or all the way port or starboard - is important when I am reconnecting the cables. And I know the cable position inside both racks is important, and that's only accomplished with the steering wheel. But I don't know the order of the steps to take.

    Because I disconnected one rack but not the other, and turned the steering wheel many times during troubleshooting, the cables are no longer in sync. One was advanced and retracted independent from the other.

    Getting the stern ends of the two steering rams even, and reconnecting the steering linkage is easy. But when I turn the wheel, I only have a half turn to one side, and 3 or so turns to the other.

    I'm sure there is a clear way of getting both racks on the same page, but I can't think of it.


    • #3
      I figured it out...thought I'd post, in case anyone else ever has this issue with dual rack and pinion steering cables being out of sync.

      If one of the two racks was moved by the steering wheel during troubleshooting, independently of the other (one was connected at the helm, while one was disconnected), the racks are out of sync, and it's evident by looking at the steering rams at the transom - one ram is out farther than the other. (Obviously this is only possible with the steering arm link disconnected.) It's also evident, once everything is connected, when the steering wheel will turn a lot one way, but prematurely reach full stop turning the other way.

      To fix:

      1. Disconnect one rack from its pinion under the helm.

      2. Turn the steering wheel all the way port or starboard.

      3. Disconnect that same rack from its pinion under the helm.

      4. Connect the other rack under the helm.

      5. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the same side - port or starboard - as in step 2.

      NOTE: Look at the rams at the transom. They might be slightly uneven. Turn the steering wheel a little to adjust until you are sure the steering arm linkage will meet both rams evenly, and will reconnect easily. I checked by attaching the arm's linkage.

      6. Reconnect the other rack under the helm.

      Both steering rams should be even at the transom now, and able to be attached to the steering arm linkage evenly and easily. And the steering wheel should be able to turn the motor full port and full starboard.

      The reason my racks were way off, is because I wanted to isolate which of the two cables was causing trouble. The only way I could think to do that, was to turn the steering wheel with only one rack attached at a time.

      I am a novice. If my steps could cause damage or injury, PLEASE offer comments. I will edit accordingly.
      Last edited by Projectus; September 30th, 2017, 01:08 PM.


      • #4
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        Glad you got it figured out, I don't think you damaged anything, But if you have autopilot, it may need to be re calibrated.
        If ya can't fix it with a hammer,ya got yourself an electrical problem.