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Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

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  • Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

    My steering is difficult on a used boat I just inherited. Glastron 18' with an Evinrude 140 VRO, with Rack steering.

    Initially the steering was frozen. Lubed a few zerks and worked it to point where now the wheel turns pretty easy when turning engine to starboard, but takes a lot of muscle to move engine to port.

    I disconnected the steering and engine moves freely, so eliminates that.

    I tried to remove the pin that is at the end of the cable from the tilt tube but could not pull it through the tilt tube.

    In fact, it seemed the end sticking out the port side of the tilt tube moved separately from the rest of the cable? I am new to working on boats, but isn't the bar at the end of the cable (that gopes thrugh the tilt tube) supposed to be a solid piece? I thought I broke it so I reassembled everything and the steering works, so I don't think I broke anything, but still, it is hard and I think the culprit is a gunned up tilt tube.

    I believe (based on reading) I need to remove the entire cable, and the bar, from the tilt tube, blast it with PB Blaster then clean it with a gun cleaning kit - test the cable and steering wheel while it is disconnected to be sure that is okay and a clogged tilt tube is the problem - the reassemble with the right lubricant for the tilt tube.

    Am I heading in the right direction. Why won't the cable bar pull out of the tile tube. Is the solution to tap it and drive it through the tilt tube with a metal rod?

    Thanks..sorry for long story...

  • #2
    Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

    Gents, I think the bar at the end of the cable that runs through the tilt tube is the steering rod. So, I am trying to remove the steering rod that is stuck in a gummed up tilt tube.


    • #3
      Re: Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

      Soak it down with penatrating oil and drive it out with a long punch.You may have to loosen the motor from the transom to get enough clearance to get the cable all the way out.Do NOT try to bend it or it will be trash.Clean the inside of the tilt tube with a 5/8 drill bit and don't be stingy with the grease.
      If you can read this thank a teacher.If you can read it in english THANK A VETERAN


      • #4
        Re: Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

        Don't be surprised if you need an engine hoist to remove the steering cable.
        I got one off craigslist for $125,
        paying $37 ea time to rent one didn't make sense.
        See FAQ Files.

        Get the genuine factory service manual.


        • #5
          Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

          Thanks ENSIGN and jonesg. I see what you are saying. Get a hoist to hold the engine, loosen the bolts, then move the engine far enough to the port side to get the clearance to remove the steering rod from the tube. It is definitely tight in there, and I can see I will need to actually swing the engine away from the transom to make clearance to punch out the cable rod.

          I have a 140 HP Evinrude and I am sure it is heavy.

          Gents, I need to think this through.

          The boat sat for 3 years. My gut feel is th etilt tube is gummed up and the root cause of my problem which I want to describe to you and get your feedback on 1) at first the steering was locked. 2) I greased up the tilt zerks - which I know have no impact on the cable, just the tilt, but began working the steering wheel while a buddy moved the engine back and forth. It finally gave and moves fully to port and starboard, but stiff is crap to port. 3) I removed the steering cable and nut and some hard chunks of waxed up grease came out, but then put it back in place. 4) I have been working the steering back and forth, wiping the brown rust colored grease off the rod at each turn and spraying penetrating oil on it to try to milk more crap out of there. It is getting better, but still a bit difficult. Far from smooth, easy and ideal.

          I do not see anywhere to grease the rack and pinion. It looks like a closed unit.

          As stated before, when I disconnected the steering cable the engine moves back and forth with ease, and freely.

          Based on what I have observed and read, I think the tilt tube is gummed up, but I cannot eliminate other cable steering problems. I am nbot a marine mechanic. What are your thoughts?

          And if you thinkalso the tilt tube is likely problem area, is there any other way of freeing it up?



          • #6
            Re: Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

            I do several every wear,99% of the time it's a gummed uptilt tube and the only way to clean it is to remove the cable.
            If you can read this thank a teacher.If you can read it in english THANK A VETERAN


            • #7
              Re: Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

              get a big hammer, 99% replace cable.
              FLORIDA GATORS
              TEBOW Country

              Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
              That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.


              • #8
                Re: Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

                Are you saying that 99% of time just go ahead and replace the cable while you have the engine off and cable pulled out?


                99% of time people replace cable and it is not even necessary. i.e. cleaning the tilt tube and re-installing will get it working like a dream again...99% of time!!

                Replacing the steering cable seems doable, but some work, and if not necessary I could spend the time and money elsewhere!

                Follow Up questions:

                1) Is white lithium grease the best grease to use?

                2) When I reassemble, are there any components, gaskets or seals that will need to (should) be replaced when re-assembling.

                3) Is there any way to lubricate the rack and pinion, or is that just not necessary? It looks like a closed box with no lubrication points.

                Thanks all. iBoats forum is the bomb!! I appreciate ya.


                • #9
                  Re: Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

                  Just did my steering on my Striper and was told I may need to remove the engine also. There was no way to pull out the steering cable due to clearance. I was able to loosen the bolts securing the engine to the transom then cock the engine on one side about 1 1/2" away from the transom, the other side tight to the transom. This gave me the correct angle and considerable clearance to easily remove the cable. Luckily I did not have an issue with it being frozen in the tilt tube. On another occasion, different boat, it was easiest to cut the cable remove the tilt tube and put in a new one purchased on eBay for a few bucks.


                  • #10
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                    Trying to Remove Steering Cable to Clean Tilt Tube

                    Update. I continued to move the steering, with nut on, then with nut off, cleaning the brown grease off the steering cable rod each time it was exposed then spraying it with liquid wrench, repeat, over and over again and it is now working smoothly. I probably moved it left and right wiping and applying liquid wrench each time 200 times.

                    I am going to go ahead and apply some white lithium grease to it and see if it stays smooth for a bit, then continue to apply it over the summer.

                    If it hardens on me again I will lift the engine, remove the cable and clean the tilt tube.

                    I appreciate all you help. Thank you.

                    I tried to start my engine today (1985 Ev 140 VRO) after 3 years NO. I will start a new thread for that.