How to adjust free play in steering wheel?

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Plus the new cable is way more hard to turn than before. I lubed the rod, both inner/outer real good. I even took a severe bend out of the routing of the cable. It should be very smooth now, but it’s stiffer.
I've never worked on this stuff before, but I am a trouble shooter so...
First, if possible, try operating the cable(s) without anything hooked up. You should be able to slide the cables easily. The sheath should be lubed with cable lube as some lubricants just bind things like this with dryness. Once you know everything is smooth, move to the next area. Be sure all the stuff that gets moved by the cables is able to move easily by hand and if not, hone in on the stiff items and repair. If all that works well, I would look at the steering box, if I can call it that, and see if the unit can be taken apart to be inspected, lubed etc. and repair or replacement as necessary.
Inspect and lube or repair each item as you go. Take your time and enjoy and learn too. Take a few more pics so we can see in there and try and help.
Don't give up and don't take it to "someone" because that someone is you. There's nothing better than getting to know whatever equipment you own.
Keep us in the loop and good luck.
You should have bought the kit. The stiffness you are feeling is the bad helm eating your new cable.

There is a reason that Teleflex only warranties the cables if you buy the kit with the helm included. The helms go bad more than the cables. Change your helm ASAP.
I ordered a new helm last night. This morning I moved linkage to that hole furthest away from motor thinking that would increase leverage. It did. Much better. I’m going put it in the water for a test ride today.


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I just would like to understand how this helm works bc there isn’t any noticeable binds, grinding, looseness, or anything that would lead to me feeling like something is wrong with the helm.
The helm and cable work like a worm gear winch. Think of "spring" at the end of the cable like a screw. When the gear turns each of the teeth are pushed in the spacing between the springs which then either pushes or pulls the cable depending on direction. Of course over time the gear wears and the spacing between them essentially gets bigger. Now you are trying to put the bigger spaced gear into the small new spring. Like Tony says you are damaging the new cable already.
It's worth noting that you can install the cable through the steering gear backwards on some models... Ask me how I know, hard to drive a boat that steers opposite!
There's actually quite a bit of play with the Teleflex helms so don't be surprised that the new one still has play in it. Yours doesn't look all that bad, it won't be a big difference with the new helm, mine is pretty similar.
Yeah I’ve been informed that it won’t be much better and that going hydraulic will still have play.

Nonetheless, it is much smoother now with new cable. Much safer. Hopefully the new helm will reduce the stiffness a bit more. We’ll see.
Does your boat drive straight if you let go of the wheel? As long as the motor/fin is adjusted correctly it should hold a straight line regardless of the play in the wheel. I always wondered if it's because of the shake of the motor at lower speeds that there is play in the steering so the wheel isn't constantly shaking as well. This is probably true with the older 2 strokes more than the newer 4 stroke motors.
Today I went hunting and the steering is a lot better. Yeah the boat now stays pretty straight when let go. New cable must be breaking in some bc it was smooth and not jerky at all. Looking forward to new helm next weekend.
It’s on the list for this week. Honey Do’s first, then my stuff last. Haha.


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It’s a “no feed back” helm. We’ll see. As of now, the steering is satisfactory. Hopeful the addition of this new helm takes it to “great”. Should know by Sunday night bc I’m going scout hunting spots during the day.
I’m trying to install new helm right now and I can’t get this off the helm shaft. The steering wheel came off easily, however I can’t figure this out. I can’t see anything like a woodruff key that would be keeping it from coming off. Every video I see never has this piece under the wheel. I sprayed it with WD40 and trying to pry it off but it won’t come. I don’t want to break it, so I’m asking for help.