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Steering upgrade to rack and pinion on 1996 response?


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Hi guys

New to the forum. Has anyone done a steering system upgrade from the standard cable to a rack and pinion system? I assume i need to replace both the steering column and the cable. antything else required? tricks/tips? Are ther modifications needed to the dash area? Part numbers for Column and cable?

Boat is a 1996 Response LX

searches don't seem to come up with anything on a full upgrade




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But why?  The stock cable in good working order is totally fine.  Look up the length and purchase a new cable, readily available through any marine supplier.  With a new cable you will literally be able to spin your steering wheel with 1 finger, and way less hassle than all the work required to change to rack and pinion.

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Thanks for the reply. I just purchased the boat a few weeks ago and the previous owner had a new cable put in at the local malibu dealer. On the invoice that he gave me a copy of. The service manager noted that:

"After cable replacement steering is alot better but still a little hard. Due to age of the boat and design of the steering
system this is normal. Could be fixed by installing updated steering column and newer style rack steering system."

That is what lead me to looking into replacement.


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My 2 cents: to verify this is true, I'd disconnect the cable from the tiller arm and see if the rudder is binding up in the rudder box.  If so, either gently lube it up or if it has play then go one better get a new packing kit.

  • Like 2
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I upgraded to rack and pinion on a ‘96 Mastercraft Prostar 190 (sold that boat) and on my ‘97 Malibu VLX. I would do it again. So smooth, one finger turning, you can spin from lock to lock with the flip of the wrist.   Feels like a brand new boat. Like the tech said the old rotary/ cable systems suck. 

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Either way both systems work.  In my '97 I have play in my rudder (more than I should) but with a new cable steering is effortless, feels like a new boat too.  As @formulaben stated disconnect the cable and check the tiller arm and rudder.  If it's binding it won't matter if you upgrade to rack and pinion, that issue will have to be addressed regardless.

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  • 1 year later...

Any update on this?  Currently changing out cable although I agree upgrading to a new rack in a 96 Echelon has been considered.


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