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Extremely hard to steer


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Hello all. I have a 2003 wakesetter LSV. I am the original owner. It had been sitting for about 10 months. I took it out this past weekend and had difficulty steering. It was very tight. I was seriously afraid something would break. I had to use a lot of strength to get it to go. Is there something I could grease or is something seriously wrong? Moving the rudder after it was out of the water was almost impossible.

Any Help is appreciated!!

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steering cable probably needs to be replaced.

start by greasing the rudder. there are two grease fittings at the top of the rudder. don't over do it, just a couple of squirts.

then remove the cable from the rudder and see if the rudder swings free.

if it does then it's probably a cable problem.

replacing the cable is a few hours, maybe an afternoon if you are mechanically challenged.

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definitely the steering cable. Costs around $200 for the cable and you could have it installed for $100'ish if you are lazier than tvano!

Edited by ice9v2
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Thank you. Is it dangerous to drive in that condition? I wouldnt want to break the cable while picking up a rider.

Does anyone know a good mechanic in Yuma or near Lake Martinez, Fishers or Hidden Shores?

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definitely the steering cable. Costs around $200 for the cable and you could have it installed for $100'ish if you are lazier than tvano!

I would not start with the steering cable. I just had this problem in my 99 Wakesetter. The actual metal piston (not sure what it's called) needed to be greased, and I greased the fitting. The steering wheel actually locked up so I couldn't turn it at all, but now it's smooth like butter. I would try that before going through the hassle of replacing the cable.

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While it might not be the cable - I replaced a couple of steering cables on my 99 sunsetter vlx and that description pretty accurately depicts my experience.

I don't think it's really dangerous to drive with it - mine tended to loosen up with increased use. The most dangerous thing for me was that my lake is pretty busy and I needed to be able to make a quick turn to get back to shield my dropped skiers...

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subscribing....I have this problem on my '03 xti that I bought from a guy. He let it sit all last seaon. I was doing some research and found that it is most likely the cable or rudder zerks. But I also found this:

http://www.bakesonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=1399

Any thoughts on whether this could be the problem or not?

How about on some pointers on how to get to the rudder on the inside of the XTI? I am a Malibu/inboard newbie and not sure how to go about it. Thanks.

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I would think that you could relatively easily see that piece (the pivot) in the rear-bottom of the engine compartment (at least that was where it was on 99 VLX toward the drivers side).

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The xti is a mid-mounted engine direct drive though, so my rudder isn't in the engine compartment. I think I may need to pull the ski locker and/or gas tank????

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I just had the same issue with my 2001 Sunsetter. It has been sitting for about 10 months before I purchased it in April. Steering wheel was EXTREMELY hard to turn at idle and underway. I greased the rudder but the steering did not improve. Had a local shop replace the steering cable and now I can turn the wheel with one finger.

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I would seriously lean towards the problem being the steering cable vs. that pivot. The cable has been culprit twice for me on my old boat with those same symptoms -and always at the beginning of the season after it was used less.

As for the DD - I guess for once having a v-drive is mechanically easier. I am always jealous of the ease of repair on my friend DD Malibu compared to mine.

Edited by ice9v2
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To get to the rudder on your XTI you will have to remove the wall in your "trunk", I think its a total of about 5 or 6 screws, and then remove a 2' section of the floor which is directly about the rudder assembly.

';

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The most common reason for the cable to get sticky like this is getting water in it. Usually it enters through the seal on the tiller end of the cable. I highly recommend you buy a special aftermarket seal for the cable. Uses double o-rings and a zirc to grease it. Well worth the money. Your steering will never get stiff again, at least not from the cable. The good cables are all stainless but the water mixes with the grease that's in there and turns into stiff crud.

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  • 2 years later...

While it might not be the cable - I replaced a couple of steering cables on my 99 sunsetter vlx and that description pretty accurately depicts my experience.

I don't think it's really dangerous to drive with it - mine tended to loosen up with increased use. The most dangerous thing for me was that my lake is pretty busy and I needed to be able to make a quick turn to get back to shield my dropped skiers...

Do you have the steering cable part number for the 1999 Sunsetter VLX or a link to an online part store?

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  • 4 years later...

My dad has a 2001 sunsetter LXI model and the steering has become really stiff I have been reading a lot of comments about different versions of malibus having steering issues I was wondering if it is the cable on our boat how do you go about lubricating it for our boat/ getting to it 

 

thanks

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Can't really fix a steering cable by lubricating it once it's bad.  Best to just replace.  Disconnect, tape the new one to the old one, and pull through.  That or pull the old one out with a guide rope left behind.

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