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dougs09chally

Loose steering on '04 Sunscape LSV.

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dougs09chally

I am a new malibu owner and so far the only complaints I have are a steady leaking shaft packing (but I am learning how to deal with that by reading posts on this forum) and loose steering. I have half to three quarters turn of play on the steering wheel before it moves the rudder. My friend has an '04 Response and his steering is like a sportscar. Any suggestions how to make it tighter? Is there adjustments at the rudder or at the wheel?

Edited by dougs09chally

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Lance B. Johnson

Hi and welcome. No adjustments to tighten the steering.

Start by checking to see that all the mounting points for the cable housing are tight and secure. Also check the connection at the tiller arm. Check things out at the helm and make sure the rack isn't falling out or something.

If everything checks out then the problem is most likely a steering cable. One guy can replace it but having a friend sure makes it easier.

My money is on the steering cable but check everything else out first. Mine did the exact same thing and the steering cable fixed it.

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dougs09chally

Thanks Ruffdog. I checked out everything you suggest. Spent an hour on the weekend checking every nut and bolt and pulling on every connection. Everything seems to be tight. The boat only has 66 original hours so I find it hard to believe that anything is already worn out.

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Lance B. Johnson

If the bilge has ever had a lot of standing water (shaft seal?) and the cable has been wet it will fail prematurely. The new cables are better btw.

I think mine only had 350 hours or so when I changed mine. I'm still thinking steering cable if your sure you checked everything else out.

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dougs09chally

Thanks. For the small investment I think I will order a new cable.

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scfdfireman

Usually a tell tale sign of a bad cable is that it's difficult to turn the steering wheel. I've never seen one that has too much play, but there's always a first time. If both ends of the cable are secured and the arm is tight on the rudder then I would think that it's play between the two gears of the steering box behind the dash. Have someone turn the wheel back and forth as you look around at the rudder, clamps on the cable and behind the dash.

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JPeterman

Yeah, I would think you could isolate the problem by having someone turn the wheel back and forth in the slop range and watching the tiller end of the cable. If the tiller end of the cable isn't moving then the problem has to be in the steering wheel column or rack end of the cable. Next step might be to remove the 4 bolts holding the rack on the back of the steering wheel and advancing/retracting the rack with the tip of a screw driver to see if there is slop in the cable (or turn the tiller and watch the rack). I don't see how there could be an issue with the main part of the cable as it's just a long metal rod running down the length of your boat. I'm guessing the problem is either chewed up ridges on the rack end of the cable or a chewed up gear on the back of the steering column that matches up with the rack or maybe something in the steering column. I don't know how that all works but the cable is quite simple.

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dougs09chally

Thanks. All good suggestions. I'll check all that out before resorting to replacing the cable.

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