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Steering after a steering cable failure (twin engined Yamahas)

Bruce

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Sunday evening I had the unfortunate experience of breaking a steering cable.

I felt the pop in the steering wheel when it happened. At speed I noticed I had less cornering to the right. But I anchored and backed toward the shore at two locations while traveling perhaps 10 miles without an issue.

When we headed back to the ramp I discovered that I could not turn right. I barely managed to dock while @Rana and the kids made circles. They barely managed to make it back to the dock. I then proceeded to make four or five circles to the left as I tried to figure out how to get the boat to go straight.

Eventually I determined that the port steering cable was broken and that if I powered down the port engine I could steer when running on the starboard engine alone. I was able to put the boat onto the trailer but needed to restart the port engine to get her fully loaded.

Once out of the water I found that turning left the broken cable would push the port jet to the left but it would not retract it when turning right. I believe that when running at speed the force of the thrust was centering the jet allowing the boat to run straight.

I hope this never happens to you but if it does it may help you navigate your boat back home.
 

itsdgm

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Great info. Thanks @Bruce.
 

swatski

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@Bruce I always wondered about that kind of scenario, thanks for sharing the experience, very useful!

Also another big reason to add the second @Cobra Jet Steering LLC linkage/steering rod to newer boats with the keel/rudder.

--
 

Marvin willis

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I had a steering cable break on my jet ski just as I was approaching a bridge. It finally slowed down right before crashing. I had to steer the nosel by hand to get back to the ramp
 

Murf'n'surf

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You might try to tie the nozzle up facing straight back and steer with the other motor.
 

Bruce

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You might try to tie the nozzle up facing straight back and steer with the other motor.
I believe that at speed the thrust was blowing the nozzle straight back. I had no issues going straight at speed.

If you tied the nozzle in place I believe you would no longer be able to turn left.

It might make sense to tie a rope between the nozzles if your port cable is broken so that the starboard nozzle would pull the port to the right.
 

Bruce

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Left at speed or docking speed?
The spinning to the left was at docking speed. Above no wake speeds the nozzle would straighten itself out.
 

luckie_529

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I had mine break 50 miles from home. Drove back ok at speed as long as I did not need to turn fast. Powering down the one motor to load helped out a lot.
 

Cobra Jet Steering LLC

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You might try to tie the nozzle up facing straight back and steer with the other motor.
actually the nozzle will automatically go to center with a broken cable it will also make a left turn due to the broken cable pushing IF it is broken inside the cable housing otherwise it will just push straight. Cables usually break making a right turn as it is pulling on the inner cable. remember with twin engines if the nozzles are straight as they would be with a broken cable you can steer with the thrust of the engines in open water returning to port, however once you are in tight places you need to use just the one engine as mentioned.
 

Britboater

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actually the nozzle will automatically go to center with a broken cable it will also make a left turn due to the broken cable pushing IF it is broken inside the cable housing otherwise it will just push straight. Cables usually break making a right turn as it is pulling on the inner cable. remember with twin engines if the nozzles are straight as they would be with a broken cable you can steer with the thrust of the engines in open water returning to port, however once you are in tight places you need to use just the one engine as mentioned.
Useful info as I was just thinking what if a cable broke while crossing to Bimini?
 

Cobra Jet Steering LLC

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@Britboater I should also add that in your case you are in a lot better shape due to the magnum A K steering you added to your boat.
Consider the fact that both nozzles have extra steering provided by the fins mounted on the nozzles because they stay deployed at speed and will continue to steer the boat, plus the second tie rod will continue to turn both nozzles even if one steering cable is disabled. I call it the redundancy factor of my Magnum A K system, not only does the second tie rod even the work load it also adds a backup to the steering system.
The original factory system with just one tie rod from the right side nozzle would be a big issue if that side broke considering that side does the lions share of the work load and the history of cable failures on the right side.
In that scenario the left nozzle would continue to turn and the boat would respond to the helm but very slowly especially considering that the hull has the large keel down the middle resisting directional changes so in rough conditions it could lead to a disaster especially in a crossing situation like the Bimini trip . In normal situations one could get to shore and swap the tie rod over to the opposite side to be able to operate the rudder and return to the boat ramp or dock to have the cable fixed. Out there you need MacGyver with you. and a roll of duct tape obviously.
 

Ana Maria

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I have a 1997 Yamaha Exciter 220 and cables are kind of rough when steering, it is difficult to change the cables? Anyone has instruction on how to change them? Any help will appreciated!!
 
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