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thebill

2004 VLX Steering cable play?

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thebill

Steering cable has play on my 04 VLX..

 

I put a new cable in last season because my steering was tight, and now IMO its way loose as it has dead space for correction..its OEM from Bakes and put on correctly..I'm suspecting that little block it goes through before it attaches to rudder..any ideas?

 

 

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formulaben

Could be the block that holds the cable sleeve end as you suggested. 

Other possible culprits:

  • Tilt mechanism worn (mine needed tightening)
  • Rack bolts under helm are loose
  • Tiller hardware loose/worn
  • Rudder box bushings worn out

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thebill
13 hours ago, formulaben said:

Could be the block that holds the cable sleeve end as you suggested. 

Other possible culprits:

  • Tilt mechanism worn (mine needed tightening) where do i locate and tighten this, steps please?
  • Rack bolts under helm are loose-"where do i locate and tighten this, steps please?"
  • Tiller hardware loose/worn-where do i locate and tighten this, steps please?
  • Rudder box bushings worn out-where do i locate and tighten this, steps please?

any links to resolving these above suggestions , thanks in advance

 

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formulaben

Bill, I re-ordered these from easiest to hardest, so go in that order...hopefully it's the first one since the you replaced the rudder cable.  I re-read your first post and have to ask, is there really a dead space that you can feel or are you just not used to a really light steering wheel?  I ask because a new cable really changes how it feels.  One item I didn't list was the steering pinion (usually one piece with the steering tilt mechanism.)  If the pinion gear is worn then you'll have free play regardless if the rack/cable is new or not.  Also, if the steering didn't have a dead space before, then bullets 3 and 4 below probably aren't applicable.

  • Rack bolts under helm are loose

Directly under the dash you'll see 4 bolts holding the rack (rectangular metal box at end of rudder cable) onto the steering pinion hardware.

  • Tiller hardware loose/worn

At the top of the rudder you'll see the tiller arm connected to the rudder cable; make sure this is tight with no free play.  Whoever installed the new cable shouldn't have touched the rudder block, but check that just in case; it should be firmly attached with locking nuts on both sides.  The rudder cable itself has a locking nut at the end of the outer sleeve that attached to the hardware near the rudder block, make sure that's tight.

  • Tilt mechanism worn (mine needed tightening)

Assuming you have a tilt steering wheel that is the same as mine, you can tighten it up a little by removing the steering wheel and there will be 2 main bolts holding it to the dash framework.  In my case, if I over-tightened them, the steering would get tight and bind slightly, so keep that in mind.  FYI, if you happen to remove it and disassemble it is a bit of a puzzle to get back together.  I did it to lube it up and would do it again, but it's a 3-hand challenge.  Don't remove the 6 bolts on the steering wheel, but pop the center cap off and remove the nut...don't loose the key when you pull it off.

  • Rudder box bushings worn out-where do i locate and tighten this, steps please?

This is "inside" the rudder; the rudder shaft goes up into the rudder box.  To allow it to move and to keep water out it has a collection of bushings; a couple O rings, grease seal, and a somewhat large teflon bushing.  If these wear out you'll get a stiff(er) rudder, but it could also give some free play.  You'd also likely see water leaking through if that's the case.  To check it, just go back to the rudder and wiggle it side-to-side and front-to-back to check for free play in the bushings.

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justgary

Have a helper (a child is excellent for this, and a spouse may be good enough) gently wiggle the steering wheel back and forth just in the "free play" zone. 

Look in the bilge at the stern and observe the connection at the rudder end of the cable.  If nothing is moving, the problem is at the helm. 

If you see the cable end moving about what you would expect for the amount of wheel movement, check to see where the motion stops (tiller hardware or rudder box).

Now that you have found the problem, refer to @formulaben's excellent repair guide. 

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thebill

thanks guys i have some work to do lol ill post back on findings

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thebill
22 hours ago, justgary said:

Have a helper (a child is excellent for this, and a spouse may be good enough) gently wiggle the steering wheel back and forth just in the "free play" zone. 

Look in the bilge at the stern and observe the connection at the rudder end of the cable.  If nothing is moving, the problem is at the helm. 

If you see the cable end moving about what you would expect for the amount of wheel movement, check to see where the motion stops (tiller hardware or rudder box).

Now that you have found the problem, refer to @formulaben's excellent repair guide. 

I think i may have stumbled on the problem , went to the block where the steering cable nut is attached to the male plastic thread , if i pull on the cable coming from steering wheel, it has an inch or two of play 

 

I tried tightening it but the threads spin i tried holding the other side ie the tube but it still spinning.. I have to get the nut tighter and stop that PLAY as i dont think it belongs there , does it? so whats the best way to keep those plastic male threads from spinning while i tighten the cable nut? is it just tightening the block nuts , ie those large nuts on either side of block holding the tube i assume?

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thebill
Posted (edited)

not sure if this works but i posted a video on on youtube ,

 

this movement can be normal can it?

 

 

Edited by thebill

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formulaben
Posted (edited)

Not, that's not normal.  That large nut is what locks the outer sleeve to the steering block so that the inner cable is the only thing that moves.  Looks like a failed mechanical crimp where the nut retains the sleeve.  Maybe you can get it warrantied? 

In the meantime maybe you could jam the sleeve back into the nut and then try to epoxy it in place?

Edited by formulaben

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thebill
17 hours ago, formulaben said:

Not, that's not normal.  That large nut is what locks the outer sleeve to the steering block so that the inner cable is the only thing that moves.  Looks like a failed mechanical crimp where the nut retains the sleeve.  Maybe you can get it warrantied? 

In the meantime maybe you could jam the sleeve back into the nut and then try to epoxy it in place?

LOL thanks but i was thinking i can find a way to hold the male plastic tube threads from spinning so i can simply tighten it further..I dont believe i ever got it tight ie nut fully seated because the tube started spinning and i didnt notice..so ill try and see if i can get the nut tighter from the steering cable to the Pivot cable block before e i panic lol

 

but lets be clear that part i can pull on are you sure its not suppose to pull  in and out at all? I think the nut says hand tighten or do not over tighten stamped on it but cant tell as its dark and tight down there..ill email bakes to ask them and find that install paperwork again that came with the cable to verify..thanks

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ahopkinsVTX

There should be a second black plastic nut on the other side of the carrier that locks the black threaded piece in place. Then you should be able to tighten the silver lock but. I’ve done this with pliers, on the lake, upside down, pinned against very hot exhaust manifolds. 

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formulaben
3 hours ago, thebill said:

but lets be clear that part i can pull on are you sure its not suppose to pull  in and out at all?

Absolutely it should not be able to move back-and-forth like that; that's what giving you the dead spot.

For sure don't over-tighten but once it is hand tight you should NOT be able to move the sleeve back and forth at all.  So yeah, maybe unscrew it and clean the threads and try again.  Add some lube if it isn't going on smoothly. 

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thebill
2 hours ago, formulaben said:

Absolutely it should not be able to move back-and-forth like that; that's what giving you the dead spot.

For sure don't over-tighten but once it is hand tight you should NOT be able to move the sleeve back and forth at all.  So yeah, maybe unscrew it and clean the threads and try again.  Add some lube if it isn't going on smoothly. 

I used two tools Channel locks held the threaded end of Pipe sleeve and tightened with a Crescent on the nut..got it tight, no movement..

 

so next time i hit the water, ill drop back in with an update.. 

 

thanks for the advise..

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justgary
2 hours ago, thebill said:

I used two tools Channel locks held the threaded end of Pipe sleeve and tightened with a Crescent on the nut..got it tight, no movement..

 

so next time i hit the water, ill drop back in with an update.. 

 

thanks for the advise..

I think you just whipped it. 

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