Saturday, May 11, 2024

How To Measure Boat Steering Cable

B Are You Doing A First

Measuring a Steering Cable- Teleflex Marine

Measure Cable Routing Path in Boat as Follows:

A = Center line of wheel to gunwale ,B = Dash to transom ,C = Gunwale to cable connection at centered tiller .

For Tilt Tube Mounting, add A, B & C + 6, and round up to the next foot. Order that length cable. For Transom/Splashwell/Stringer Support Mounting, add A, B & C, then subtract 6 and round up to the next foot. Order that length cable.

As Youve Probably Gathered By Now There Are Two Types Of Steering Hydraulic Or Mechanical

Installing a new steering system to your vessel

Consider, do you prefer Cable Steering or Hydraulic Steering?

Hydraulic Steering cost more in the beginning but you will appreciate it, once you have it, especially when manoeuvring tight corners or travelling long distances. Hydraulic Steering is becoming a product range which caters to all types of vessels from 5 metres to over 100 metres. The range of hydraulic boat steering has increased dramatically over the past 20 years with considerable emphasis being placed on the growing need for more efficient and powerful steering equipment to handle larger vessels, and larger horsepower on smaller vessels.

Auto Pilot Systems are another item becoming very popular on the larger vessels 5m above and run in conjunction with hydraulic steering. Wanting to improve performance to faster response or lower steering effort, hydraulic steering can be the way to go for you.

Boat Steering Cable Boot Description

A boat steering cable boot is usually made of rubber and is designed to be installed on top of the output end of the boat steering cable on the engine end. The boat steering cable boot provides complete protection from weather and other elements, and it also helps to prevent the lubrication on the cable from being washed away.

A boat steering cable boot will run you about $10-$50, depending upon which one you need. Click here to check prices on the boat steering cable boot for your boat.

Is Your Boat Steering Cable Stuck?

Sometimes, if your boat has been sitting for an extended period of time, your boat steering cable may become stuck. There are a couple of different methods to try to resolve your boat steering cable being stuck.

You could first try using a little WD-40 and a rubber mallet to see if you can loosen up the stuck boat steering cable. If that doesnt work, you can follow the instructions in this video we found on how to deal with a boat steering cable stuck.

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Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. provides lists of the best marine hydraulic steering products for boaters who quickly want to know what to get. When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we earn affiliate commissions that support our work. Here is an explanation of exactly what we do, and how to support our work.

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Why Choose A Multiflex Steering Cable And Helm Kit

The Multiflex easy connect Rotary Helm engine control steering cable is made from non corrosive materials with a lubricated stainless steel inner cable that makes for maximum efficiency. These boat steering kits suit most brands of engines from 1968 to now and are suitable for boat engines up to 200HP.

Boat range in size from 8 feet to 22 feet and are in 1 foot increments. If your boat has not been set up with a steering kit before, then you will need to add one of the three alternative engine connection kits.

Multiflex steering cables can be attached directly to the tilt tube on all popular brands of engines. It has a minimum bend radius of 200mm and a stroke length of 228mm. These steering cables are compatible with most Teleflex and Ultraflex helms and cables, and other brands on the market.

How To Measure Cable Length Needed

Mechanical Steering

We can manufacture any length cable needed in 1/2 foot increments.All systems and cables are the same price up to 15′.Any length beyond 15′ is $3.00/foot additional cost.

MEASURE AND ADD 8 INCHESMeasure from the center of the helm position to the center of the engine and add 8 to this measurement.

ROUND UP YOUR MEASUREMENTRound up your cable length measurement to the nearest ½ ft length .

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No Feedback Or Zero Torque Technology

Most steering systems in our catalog are available as standard or No FeedBack types. No FeedBack, which Uflex calls Zero Torque, isolates the driver from the engines torque. With traditional steering systems, the engine has a tendency to turn to the right, which the driver compensates for by keeping pressure to the left on the wheel. This also allows the boat to turn rapidly to the right should the driver lose his/her grip on the wheel, resulting in a dangerously tight turn.

NFB helms have a clutch mechanism built in which keeps the boat on course without constant fighting. The only time you feel the engines torque is when you turn the helm. There are no disadvantages to the NFB systems, other than a modest $40.00 additional cost over regular systems, and we heartily recommend them if you are replacing your steering system. NFB cannot be used with PowerAssist or autopilots.

Big outboards have lots of torque coming from the prop. The UFLEX Zero Torque helm locks this out, isolating you from this constant tug on the wheel.

Measuring For Your Steering Cable

When replacing the steering system on your pontoon boat you will need the following measurements to determine the cable length.

A. Measure from the center of your pontoon’s console to the edge of the starboard side of your deck.

B. Measure your pontoon boat’s deck length from the center of your console to the point where your engine is attached to the transom.

C. Measure from the starboard edge of your deck to the center of your transom.

Add A,B, C + 12″, round up to the closest foot and that’s the length you need.

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Replacement Of Existing Cables:

If possible, find the part number stamped on the plastic jacket of the old cable. If you removed the old cable, measure for the replacement cable as follows:For Rotary Steering Cable Replacement: Measure Existing Cable as follows: Measure plastic cable jacket in inches, add 18, and round up to next foot. Order that length cable.For Rack Steering Cable Replacement: Measure Existing Cable as follows: Measure plastic cable jacket in inches, add 30, and round up to next foot. Order that length cable.For JBS Jet Boat Cable Replacement: Measure Existing Cable as follows: Measure old cable from tip to tip. Order that length cable.

A Is The Cable You Are Replacing Rotary

Teleflex – Measuring Steering Cables

Rotary is a spiral wrapped black core wire sticks out at helm end of cable. Rack and pinion cable has long metal housing with rack gear inside .

Measure the cables plastic jacket in inches.If rotary, add 18, and round up to the next foot. If rack & pinion, add 30 and round up to the next foot. Order that length cable.

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Boat Steering Cable Replacement Cost Estimate

Boat steering cable replacement cost at a dealership will run you anywhere from $300-$650, depending on the make and model of your boat. However, many folks opt to do it themselves, as the boat steering cable replacement job is relatively easy.

If you do go the DIY route for your marine steering cable replacement, you can find the best and usually cheapest replacement Teleflex cables on .

Here are some of the best boat steering cables available for sale.

Check Price

Engine Control Cables Correct Measuring Procedure

When replacing or adding new engine boat control cables we must find out the correct measurement and length along with engine type. Each vessel with mechanical engine controls will always have two engine control cables. One for shifting and one for throttling engine. Over time these cables will wear and need to be replaced some time. If replacing the old control cables and they are being replaced with the same brand name it is easiest to try and find a part number or length on the jacketing of the cable itself. If you are able to obtain this information then measuring for new engine control cables will not apply. However, with no prior information as to what cables you have and length you will need, then apply the process below and you should be good to go. See the sequence and charts below.

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How To Measure For Control Cable Install

FOR NEW INSTALLATION, measure A + B distance from the control along an unobstructed cable routing to clutch and / or throttle connection. Round this dimension off to the next whole foot: you will have your cable length. We recommend that the cable bends have a minimum radius of about 8 . For outboard engine installations, it is necessary to add three feet to the obtained length, in order to allow the engine movement.

To determine the needed length of the REPLACEMENT CABLE, measure it from tip to tip. When ordering, specify the cable length in feet, rounding the dimension off to the next whole value. If any kit is required to complete the cable connection, you will need to consult the control cable engine connection kits.

How To Measure For A Steering Cable

How to Measure Steering Cables

When replacing your steering cable, it’s best to remove and measure your old cable before ordering the replacement. If measuring your existing cable isnt possible, follow our guidelines below.

Measure as indicated along intended cable routing:

A = Gunwale to Centerline of cable connectionB = Length along Gunwale C = Centerline of Wheel to Gunwale

Tilt Tube Mounting

A + B + 6″ = Total MeasurementRound the total measurement off to the next full foot.

Example:A + B + C + 6″ = 138″ or 11’6″

Transom Support Mounting/Splashwell Mounting/Stringer Support Mounting

A + B + C + 6″ = Total Measurement

Example:A + B + C + 6″ = 138″ or 11’6″

Use this measurement to select your new control cable.If you have any questions along the way, feel free to speak with one of our technical representatives at:1-888-OVERTON .

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Control Cable Cross Reference Guide

The chart below is a cross reference chart on what engines require what control cables. In the chart below list two types of cables . One is a standard series and the other is what we call the Mach series cable which is heavy duty. Both cables will work for your application but the Heavy duty cables will last longer, because they are more robust.


How To Measure A Boat Steering Cable The Correct Way

Whether its for replacements or new installation, you have to be thorough on how to measure a boat steering cable. Its inevitable as the boat ages and the steering system is exposed to wear and tear of regular use.

There are hot-stamped numbers found on the cable jacketing, and they can help you measure the steering cable correctly. However, this only works when you use the same type and brand of cable.

Experts say that its more cost-effective to have a new steering kit. But measurement will have a formulation, which this article will show you. Continue reading the best way to measure a boat steering cable below.

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Replacement Boat Steering Cables

Replacement Steering Cable Guide

When choosing a cable remember to make sure and validate what system you currently have. Cables are made for Rotary steering and Rack and Pinion steering. If your helm is older than 2001 you will require the K66 kit for connection to your helm when replacing a Rotary steering cable. This is considered a threaded helm. See chart above.


New Installations Or No Previous Cables

PBN Tech TV – How to Measure For a New Steering Cable

Be particular of these parts that you need to measure:

  • A = Wheels centerline to gunwale or deck
  • B = Dash to the transom
  • C = Starts with gunwale and along the centerline of cable connection on the centered tiller

When the installation is done through the engine tilt tube, you must add A, B, C, and 6 inches. You may need to round it off to the next foot. If cables are mounted to transom, springer, or splash well, add all the measured parts and deduct 6 inches. Then, you need to round to the next foot.

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Rack And Pinion Helms

The rack and pinion helm includes a pinion gear fitted directly on the steering shaft that engages a rack gear in a tubular housing. Rack steering is the most efficient mechanical system for moving the cable, but its drawback is its width. Rack steering requires a long rack housing that cannot fit behind many dashboards. Although a rack and pinion helm can be installed at several different angles in relation to the dash surface, using 10° or 20° wedge kits mounted under the bezel , rack helms have less mounting flexibility than rotary helms.

The primary difference between a rack and pinion and rotary helm is the form factor of the helmhow it fits in the space behind the mounting surface. Rotary helms extend a few inches above and below the axis of the steering wheel, and a few inches in the opposite direction of the steering cable. On boats with very low dashboards, rotary helms may not have enough vertical clearance. Rack and pinion helms are long rectangular boxes extending about 1′ away from the direction of the cable, but they are very compact vertically.

Measuring For Outboard Boat Steering Cables

TIP: Check for part numbers on existing cable jacket.The last two digits of the part number may indicate the number of feet, or the last three digits may be the number of inches. With cable removed from the boat:Rotary Steering Cable: Measure only the outer plastic cable jacket, add 18â, and round up to the next foot.Rack Steering Cable: Measure only the outer plastic cable jacket, add 30â, and round up to the next foot.With cable installed, or no existing cable:Measure the steering cable path from the steering wheel center line to the engine connection, as follows:A = Center line of wheel to gunwale B = Dash/console to transomC = Gunwale to centerline of cable connection at centered tiller.

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Mechanical Advantageresponse Vs Effort

Another attribute to consider is the mechanical advantage of the helm, or how fast it turns. When a helm is specified as having a certain number of turns lock to lock, it means the number of steering wheel rotations necessary to fully extend the cable from a retracted state. Faster gear ratios require fewer turns, but there is heavier helm pressure to offset engine torque. Slower gear ratios require more turns, but there is less helm pressure when turning against prop torque.

Maintaining Your Steering Cable

How to measure for a new boat steering cable

We suggest the following periodic maintenance . Clean and lubricate the engine tilt tube or cable support tube, and the steering cable telescopic output ram as follows:

  • Remove the steering cable from the tilt tube
  • Clean the tilt tube inside diameter thoroughly
  • Remove corrosion in the tilt tube with a wire brush. Wipe until all loose material is removed.
  • Lubricate the tilt tube with a good water-resistant grease
  • Scour the steering cable telescopic ram with a brass wire brush and wipe until clean
  • Lubricate the sliding parts of the telescopic ram with a high-quality water, resistant grease
  • Reassemble making sure all fasteners are correct and tight and there is no binding or excessive free play in moving parts

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Wrapping Up The Measurement Of The Boat Steering Cable

Theres no need to worry about how to measure a boat steering cable. The ways are simple and uncomplicated. Everyone can easily follow the steps, and you only need to be attentive with the numbers. You may write them down to not forget them.

Measurement of steering cable is both essential for new installation and replacement. Keep an eye on this boat part because it can cause some issues if not attended to.

How To Measure Control Cable

Note: For Outboard Engine installations add three feet to the obtained length to allow engine movements

For Replacement Cable

Note: For Engine cable installation the recommended minimum bend radius is approximate 8

We have been associated with Multiflex for more than a year and we have fabricated Multiflex hydraulics systems on fishing vessels.We have got good reviews from the vessel owners and seamless results from the products. Compared to the competitors multiflexproduct have excellent quality standards and good service query response. Would like to associate long-term relationships and bringtechnology changes into the fishing vessel industry.

Actually, I have known Mr. Gupta for a long time from a meeting in an exhibition in Dubai and I also have followed their company since that time. We know they have been dedicating to develop and create good products and systems for the marine industry and they are doing very well. We have tested their hydraulic steering system OC-700 with OH-23 helm pump and EDGE control cables for a period of time.

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Time To Replace Your Boats Mechanical Steering Cable

When Its Time to Replace Your Boats Mechanical Steering Cable

For vessels with mechanical steering, when there is too much play or friction when you steer, it is likely time to replace the steering cable. This is not a very difficult task an average DIYer can perform it. Here are some tips to ensure your new steering cables ease of installation.

  • Always replace your boat steering cable with the same type that had been originally installed rack with rack, hydraulic with hydraulic and rotary with rotary. This way your craft will continue to handle as well as it did the first time you took her out on the water.
  • Look at the casting numbers and letters on the cable jacket and on the helm. Those markings will determine what type of cable you will need.
  • Parts formechanical steering systems are not sold individually. For safety reasons, these components must be replaced as a unit.

How to Measure to Determine the Right Steering Cable

Next comes the only tricky part in your boat steering cable install. How to measure to make sure you buy the right mechanical steering cable. For rack or rotary cables you’ll need three measurements:

  • Measure the distance from the centerline of the wheel to the gunwale or deck . This is measurement A
  • Measure the distance from the dash to the transom. This is measurement B
  • Measure the distance from the gunwale to the centerline of the cable connection at the centered tiller. This is measurement C

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