Curious to what type of steering this is and what is a replacement for it.

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I’m completely new to types of steering’s on boats, I recently purchased a 1983 Champion 20 foot fish/ski and the steering is really tight. Ive cleaned and greased both cables at the motor and it still takes 2 hands to turn. I would like to just replace it, I believe it’s a rack and pinion style but unsure of a correct replacement. The cables are stamped 12 foot.
 

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alldodge

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Welcome
Post some pics of what you have?
Select "Attach files" button and upload pics so we can see what your talking about
 

alldodge

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Guess I need one further back but if the pic shows a push/pull cables (2 cables) and they are bent that tight, then they are to long. No steering cable other then maybe some hydraulic (an those should not be that much either) cables should never be bent that much

All steering cables have a bend radius and most are no less then 2 ft radius
 

dwco5051

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First thing to do is pinpoint the problem. Disconnect the cables from the motor and see if the wheel turn freely and the cables move smoothly. With the cables still disconnected move the motor both ways by hand. My first guess would be on a 40 year old boat that both the cables are rusted/corroded. It is also possible that the motor itself is hard moving if the bushings in the mounting bracket have stiff grease or corrosion. Once you know for sure what the problem is your questions will be better answered.
 
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Guess I need one further back but if the pic shows a push/pull cables (2 cables) and they are bent that tight, then they are to long. No steering cable other then maybe some hydraulic (an those should not be that much either) cables should never be bent that much

All steering cables have a bend radius and most are no less then 2 ft radius
I was thinking the same thing. And you’re correct there’s 2 cables there.
 
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First thing to do is pinpoint the problem. Disconnect the cables from the motor and see if the wheel turn freely and the cables move smoothly. With the cables still disconnected move the motor both ways by hand. My first guess would be on a 40 year old boat that both the cables are rusted/corroded. It is also possible that the motor itself is hard moving if the bushings in the mounting bracket have stiff grease or corrosion. Once you know for sure what the problem is your questions will be better answered.
I disconnected them and tried turnin the wheel and it was still stiff as if they were still connected. The motor turns freely and near effortlessly with them disconnected.
 

alldodge

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I posted a second picture of where they bend. Could I go with just any type rotary or rack and pinion as long as the cables are correct length?
For most part YES

The comment I made in first post saying cables were bent to tight is incorrect, those are not the cables, they are electrical cables

The cables feeding the racks appear to not be bent much at all in 2nd pic
 
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For most part YES

The comment I made in first post saying cables were bent to tight is incorrect, those are not the cables, they are electrical cables

The cables feeding the racks appear to not be bent much at all in 2nd pic
I looked at some seastar rack and pinion cables but they don’t seem to be the same style mounting as these so I would assume I would have to replace the helm as well regardless.
 

dwco5051

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I looked at some seastar rack and pinion cables but they don’t seem to be the same style mounting as these so I would assume I would have to replace the helm as well regardless.
Yes, there is a good chance it may have a lot of wear even if you can find the exact match cables. Ordering the helm and the cables as a set you will find the helm is the least expensive part of the deal. If it was a special to you boat and you were planning on keeping it for years think about spending the extra bucks and go hydraulic.
 
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Yes, there is a good chance it may have a lot of wear even if you can find the exact match cables. Ordering the helm and the cables as a set you will find the helm is the least expensive part of the deal. If it was a special to you boat and you were planning on keeping it for years think about spending the extra bucks and go hydraulic.
I looked at hydraulics as well, what is a good reputable company to go with on hydraulics?
 

alldodge

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I don't think there is a bad hydraulic steering for your size boat. The big names are Sea Star and Latham, and Mayfair Marine makes some lower cost ones
 

dingbat

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If you boat in the cold, hydraulics are not your friend.

Think space shuttle disaster. It’s not if they leak, it’s when they leak
 
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