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98 Ski Nautique Steering went bad overnight


WIRiverRat
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Skied yesterday on my 98 ski nautique and everything was fine, went to go today and it takes two hands to turn the wheel even out of the water. We did not hit anything and nothing is on the rudder and it is not damaged. Would a steering cable go this suddenly? I could turn it with a finger yesterday... what else should I be checking, or do I need to pull the boat out and drop the whole rudder box from underneath? Any help is appreciated.
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Have you looked at the area where the cable connects to the rudder? Could be something jammed in there. I stored my boat in a friends barn one winter. Turns out there was a big bag of walnuts in the barn, and squirrels ate them in my boat all winter. I had hundreds of shells in my bilge area that literally took years to clear out. One time my steering jammed up like that, and sure enough, some shells made there way back to that area and jammed up the linkage.
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  • Baller

Check everything. But that is a common failure mode for my cables. Some strands in the cable break or corrode and jam into the cable sheathing. It can turn so I can safely get home. I've actually cycled it enough with some oil to get it loose enough to finish a couple sets. But a new cable is an immediate need. They aren't that expensive. I have a spare in my boathouse.

 

Remember to use a rope tied to the old cable to pull the new one back through. Pain in the a$$ job but doable.

 

Eric

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I had an '08 196 where a steering cable went that fast, actually during a joy ride. Started the ride handling like an SN, and 5 minutes later like a 70's outboard. I can happen. I should add, it was the first drive of the spring FWIW.
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My bilge had always been spotless, and then the nozzle for the hot water shower leaked and put a bunch of water in the bilge without me noticing right away. Looks like that was the culprit. Old cable is out and new one is going in today. Thanks for the help.
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