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Old 13 May 2010, 09:30   #1
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NFB cable steering

Hi Everyone. I have 'Non Feedback Steering' as came standard on a 5m Humber rib. Its great except that on other and older similar size ribs I've tried, their steering is much more satisfying to use. ie. you can actually steer by using one finger.
Is this a compromise to be paid on 'NFS' steering where you loose responsiveness or is my cable uncharacteristically stiff ? I do notice my steering cable is of a heavier gauge to these other ribs.
I was considering changing the cable for a smaller gauge (merc 60hp) and even seeing if there is such a thing as a non NFS system ? Is this wise ? any thoughts anyone ? I also have steering 'wheel play' which I would love to get rid of or at least tighten up can this be done ?
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Old 13 May 2010, 10:05   #2
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I'm not an expert by any means, so I am sure others will come along and add to this.

On my previous boat the steering got very stiff and I had the cables replaced (like for like) and it made a massive difference.

You may be able to lubricate the existing cables, also check the route of your cables and ensure there are as few bends as possible and any that there are, are as gradual as possible.

Play in the steering could be down to the mechanics in the Hub so you may need to replace it (The one I had was a sealed unit so no parts to changes) and it used to slip as the gearing had worn (possible due to the stiff cables) so had to get it repaced.

Alternative - go for hydraulic steering.

Mike
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Old 13 May 2010, 10:16   #3
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i personally love nfb steering,
was supprised just how good it was,
my last rib fitted with a 130hp turned as good as hydraulic and dead light to move,
i would be checking cable runs to see if there is an un required tight bend, or it is tie wrapped up some place that is not needed to be tied to, also disconnect steering bar and see if motor rotates freely minus the steering ? possible the business end that needs lubing up which in turn will re strict movement,

or a replacement cable possibly is needed there not that expensive to be honest
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Old 13 May 2010, 11:36   #4
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Cable is usually faster steering than hydraulic (my Sea Star is something like 5.5 turns lock to lock. Cable is usually more like 3.5 to 4.5 or so.)

Several things can cause heavy steering: grease getting old and ahrdening in either the cable jackets themselves, or the steering tube on the motor; kinks or sharp bends in the cables; the helm binding up for whatever reason. If it only happens at speed and primarily in one direction, it's a sign that you're fighting prop torque (adjustable with the anode trim tab.)

First step would be to try and isolate exactly what's causing the drag: Disconnect the cables at the motor, and see if it's the motor or the steering system that's hard to turn. If it's steering, disconnect the cables from the helm, and see if it's cables or helm.

You *may* be able to clean out and re-lube the cables; might be simpler to replace them. The helm can be rebuilt and cleaned up, if that's the problem. If it's the motor, well, I've personally never had to deal with that (though a friend is going through that as we speak - they take their boat to a shop for service, and are currently researching different shops as the last one hasn't solved the problem.)

Luck;

jky
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Old 13 May 2010, 12:11   #5
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So is Hydraulic Boat steering better than cable or both the same.

Cable steering if something goes wrong its not too costly to repair but Hydraulic I would have thought would be very expensive.

It was a question I was going to ask later.
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Old 13 May 2010, 17:26   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyasaki View Post
Cable is usually faster steering than hydraulic (my Sea Star is something like 5.5 turns lock to lock. Cable is usually more like 3.5 to 4.5 or so.)
Depends on the capacity of the helm unit. My Seastar helm is 2.4 cu. in., which gives around 2.75 turns lock to lock. IIRC, the Teleflex Big T and Safe T cable helms are around the same.
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Old 13 May 2010, 19:59   #7
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On my Humber how heavy the steering was varied a lot according to the trim position of the outboard. My normal cruising position was fine, but trimmed right out and particularly right in, it was a two-handed job especially going to starboard.

My Osprey is going to have hydraulic because that's what they supply, but I'd happily have cable again - I think it's got a much worse reputation than it deserves.
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Old 14 May 2010, 09:13   #8
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Even "rope" steering can go stiff if the pulleys aren't lubricated once in a while!

As for the slack, pop the wheel's hub off & check the nut that holds it onto the shaft. I was forever having to re- tighten the one on my Searider.......
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Old 14 May 2010, 09:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonar View Post

Cable steering if something goes wrong its not too costly to repair but Hydraulic I would have thought would be very expensive.
when mine broke internally at WOT the twin outboards went full lock and we(3) went over
could have been very expensive
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Old 14 May 2010, 18:31   #10
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when mine broke internally at WOT the twin outboards went full lock and we(3) went over
could have been very expensive
That can happen with hydraulic as well though, if something causes sudden fluid loss. I think I remember reading a MAIB bulletin a couple of years back where this happened and an engine went hard over at speed and the occupants were chucked out of the boat.
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