In my blog from last week, I described how to replace an old worn out Teleflex steering cable for your outboard boat. This week, let’s look at how to maintain a steering cable in like-new condition, so you’re unlikely to have to replace yours for a long time to come. It’s pretty easy with an outboard boat: What can shorten the life of a cable is dirt, salt, and debris. If your boat is in salt water, Teleflex recommends cleaning and greasing the cable twice a year. For freshwater boats a once-a-year inspection, cleaning, and greasing should suffice.
First remove the cable from the engine by removing the nylon lock washer from the drag link, then loosen the nut from the tilt tube to free the cable from the engine. With the cable free of the engine, extend the tube cover to expose the ram inside. Clean the entire tube with a soft cloth, removing any old grease or debris. Check the tube to make sure there are no score marks on the inner tube, and if all is well, liberally grease the inner tube ram with white lithium grease. Then retract the tube and reattach the tilt tube to the engine.
Again, Teleflex recommends using a brand new nylon lock nut when reattaching the drag link, and to make sure the nut that attaches the tilt tube to the engine is snug, so there’s no play in it. For a visual review, watch the video below from Jamestown Distributors video on steering cable maintenance.
With a clean cloth, some lithium grease, a new nylon lock nut, and 15 to 20 minutes of time, your steering cable is serviced for six months to a year depending on the waters that you boat in. Happy boating!