Mercury steering cable question

Ben Heiser

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I just noticed cleaning the boat the other weekend that the steering cable housing can move in and out of the the large nut that is attached to the steering tube. It can move in and out just a bit more then an 1/8”...not sure why?

Boat is new to me this year, steering isn’t tight at all and steers fine. In looking at some disassembly and assembly vids the nut can move back and forth on the cable once uninstalled? I could tighten the nut about 1 more flat and that was it.


Before I try to investigate moreI just wanted to get some thoughts....and if it’s normal 23 year old wear?
 

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seasick

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I don't recall if mine moves but this is what the manual says
The coupler nut has a locking ring in the threads. Make sure the nut is drawn up fully and its internal plastic locking ring is engaged. If you do not tighten this nut fully there will be excessive play in the steering system. Connect the cable output ram to the engine tiller arm as shown in the instructions packed with the connection kit. NOTICE Ensure that the cable output end is not bent when installing
Of course if all is working well, just leave it alone but keep an eye on the play to see if it is getting worse.
 

Ben Heiser

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I don't recall if mine moves but this is what the manual says
The coupler nut has a locking ring in the threads. Make sure the nut is drawn up fully and its internal plastic locking ring is engaged. If you do not tighten this nut fully there will be excessive play in the steering system. Connect the cable output ram to the engine tiller arm as shown in the instructions packed with the connection kit. NOTICE Ensure that the cable output end is not bent when installing
Of course if all is working well, just leave it alone but keep an eye on the play to see if it is getting worse.
Exactly my thoughts, keep an eye on it...there is play up at the helm as well but the steering is smooth as glass. The previous owner had it well lubed! I maybe feel it a bit at idle leaving the launch but never at high speed.

Wife and I agreed after 24 months with this boat we will repower or upgrade (in 12 months now) and a repower will for sure have hydraulic steering!
 

Ben Heiser

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Sounds like a plan!
I think after looking and thinking about how much play in the helm there is I might as well spend the $250 in parts on a new helm and cable. I believe it’s original.
I sometimes read that the motor had to be lifted to get the cable out of the tilt tube...but it looks like a fairly straight shot to pull out? Anyone have any experience on a 208?
 

Sparkdog118

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I would first give the nut a final tightening to see if the play goes away. Sounds like it is a half turn shy of where it should be. This may save you a few bucks. If it has been properly serviced, there is a good chance that it does not need to be replaced. First loosen it a half turn then proceed to tighten the nut farther than it is now working it back and forth slowly.
 

Ben Heiser

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I would first give the nut a final tightening to see if the play goes away. Sounds like it is a half turn shy of where it should be. This may save you a few bucks. If it has been properly serviced, there is a good chance that it does not need to be replaced. First loosen it a half turn then proceed to tighten the nut farther than it is now working it back and forth slowly.
I did try to tighten the nut and the play remained. I didn’t back it off and then re-tighten though, I may try that next.
 

Ben Heiser

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Update, winterizing the boat I took the cable out of the tube and loosened the tube on the outboard. Put it all back together and right now. Cable doesn’t move in nut at all. Must be internal of the nut not seated on the tube correctly? Not sure but good now