Replacing my steering cable on my 2001 SN 196CB

astrickastrick Posts: 8
I'm considering replacing my steering cable on my 2001 Ski Nautique 196CB. I'm looking at the gas tank and am able to see the rudder assembly underneath it. Any advice? Do I need to remove the gas tank, or is there a way to get behind it to access the rudder? Should I just pay the $1000 to have this done professionally?


  • EdmundEdmund Posts: 207 Baller
    @astrick If it is like my 1998 (which I think it is), you do not need to remove the gas tank. Take out the middle floor panel and you will have access to the rudder connection with a bit of a reach. Take several photos of the rudder/steering cable connection before you start and make a detailed note of exactly how the existing connection is set up. I did not take photos, and on the slow test drive, mine would lock into turning only one direction. (I am glad it was a slow test drive. :o) Had to readjust the connection and now it is fine. If you are unsure, then have a boat mechanic do it. I don't know what the going rate is for a steering cable replacement.
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    Thanks Edmund. Is the 98 a bubble-butt like mine? I just realized today that the rear most carpeted panel above the rear portion of the gas tank also comes out. With the sliding rear seat back removed, I think I might have have better access to the rudder connection from above, behind the gas tank. Though it looks like the rudder might be under the tank, but I'm not sure. How was your's? I'll check that out later today. Good tip on the photos. On a different post, they recommend attaching a rope to the free end of the cable and pulling it through and then using the rope to pull the new cable in from bow to stern. At a shop I talked to, they recommended cutting the bow end of the old cable, attaching it to the stern end of the new one and using the old cable to pull the new cable into place. What did you do? Do you have a recommendations on that?
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    BTW, a local shop told me they charge $1000 for a cable replacement. The part is $200.

    I'm hoping this is the right cable->
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 586 Crazy Baller
    It is super easy on the bubble butts.
    1. Remove the dog house (2 pins at the rear hinges and 2 gas shocks)
    2. Remove the back seat (clips on the posts on either side)
    3. Remove the center floor board

    I haven't worked on the 200 or newer boats, but maintenance on the TSC hulls is insanely easy.

    I would get a pull rope in place prior to removing the old cable. It is pretty easy with an electricians fishing tape. I'd also pull in a pull wire when you pull in the new steering cable for future use. Never know when you might need it again...

    I'd recommend dropping and greasing the rudder while your in there. Just be sure to replace the stainless steel safety wire.
  • Ski2000Ski2000 Posts: 88 Baller
    Having tackled this before, in my 2000, It’s possible to get to the rudder assembly without removing the tank. You have to remove the carpeted cover over it. Next you have to loosen the straps that hold down the tank, and remove them (3/8 socket I believe).
    Then take some blocks and lift and block up the tank do you can get under it to reach the rudder assembly ( much easier with little to no gas in the tank).
    I do this each year to grease my rudder and check the linkage.
    It’s involved, but worth doing yourself if it saves you $800. Then I’m also the guy that took on the Repower myself in my garage.
  • EdmundEdmund Posts: 207 Baller
    @astrick That looks like the correct cable, but I always call or e-mail to verify parts like this before they are shipped.
    You had a couple of more posts with more details on how to replace the steering cable. My boat is a BB like yours. Remove every panel you can find and you will have more room. I did not, however, have to loosen the fuel tank straps to replace the cable; maybe I will to grease the rudder.
    I just checked my e-mail orders and it has been almost nine years since I replaced my cable. I thought it was just a few years ago. Either time is flying since I am having so much fun, or I am losing my mind because I am getting old (probably the latter). Good luck, and be certain to perform a slow test drive afterwards; spin the steering wheel all the way around from one direction to the other multiple times to check out your handiwork.
  • Ski2000Ski2000 Posts: 88 Baller
    The issue I’ve had with the 2000-2002 bubble butt over the 97-99 is the difference in the fuel tank. The 2000+ have a more horizontal fuel tank that limits the access to the rudder.
  • thagerthager Posts: 5,566 Mega Baller
    edited April 13
    For a 2002 196 (Not a bubble butt) you access rudder thru floor of storage compartment. Just pull it up.
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 819 Mega Baller
    Why do you think you need a new cable?
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    Guys, this was super helpful. I was able to pull out the access panels and see how I can lift the tank to get to the rudder. Unfortunately, the gas tank is full, so I don't want to try to lift it now. Also the carpeted cover over the tank only seems to be removable if you remove the upholstered side panels on one side. So, I'm going to do this in a couple of months when I need to remove one of those panels anyway, and I can plan to burn down the gas before I start. Thanks to you all, I think I'm ready! Thanks a ton!
  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 854 Crazy Baller
    While not a bubble butt, I dislocated my shoulder fishing the cable on my 02 196. It was generally a pretty easy process.

    One trick I learned was when you remove the old one, tie a rope to the rudder end and as you pull the cable out, it brings the rope with it. Then as you swap with the new one and use the rope to help pull the cable back through. Also a 2nd hand will make it easier as well.
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    Someone asked why I think I need a new cable. The steering is a bit stiff and the previous owner said he owned the boat for over 10 years and never replaced it. In my general boating experience, steering cable replacement is a predictable maintenance item. I am going to disconnect the cable and check the rudder first, but anticipate the cable will need replacing.
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 1,008 Crazy Baller
    I don't own a nautique, but have to ask if the cable has been maintained (greased) regularly? I'm assuming CC cables like others have grease fittings. My ski buddies with boats much older than that one (early 90's) , and mine included, still have original cables that work great. If something is truly at the end of its lifespan then fine, but like anything else lifespan is largely driven by maintenance. If cc's of that vintage can't be lubed or adjusted..... never mind.
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 819 Mega Baller
    When you said 10 years it jogged a memory of a previous discussion on cable replacement as a basic maintenance item. Here's the link; sounds like yours is due for a change.
  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 854 Crazy Baller
    When I replaced mine, I also dropped the rudder and it had a dried coat of old grease that I cleaned off then added a light film of waterproof grease. Made it turn like butter. Since its essentially like a 15 min job, I have do it every other year or so.
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    A couple of different perspectives, but I'm hearing I need to be greasing it AND replacing it once every few years. My boat has 700 hrs on it, but it sounds like the years are just as important as the mileage. Where are the grease zerts? Obviously, I can look around, but if someone can say where to look, that'd be handy. Again, it's a 2001 SN 196CB. Thanks again guys!
  • thagerthager Posts: 5,566 Mega Baller
    Probably didn't come with zerk fittings. Drop the rudder out bottom of boat and apply light coating of marine grease then reinstall. Need a person outside the boat to catch the rudder once nut is removed. Gravity usually wins! I did mine on the lift and got to fish it off the lake bottom the first time....
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,882 Mega Baller
    edited April 15
    Let's see! Very little good information by you bubble butt owners..
    Yes you might be over your head with the 2001 bubble butt cable replacement.
    Reminder to those that dont have 2000 and 2001 models. they had a trunk and the gas tank pokes
    out and is a flat tank. Yes the gas tank must be removed on those models to replace the steering cable and service the rudder.
    That includes removing a combing pad to get the tank to slide out from under the transom.
    About a 4 hour job. Can be messy if you have a full tank of fuel and no way of extracting it..
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 1,008 Crazy Baller
    edited April 15
    @Jody_Seal - Can’t pump it or siphon it out?
  • SteveBSteveB Posts: 6 New Baller
    Agree with Jody. We have a 2000 bubble butt and the seat base and fuel tank have to come out. Taking the engine cover off helps as well. It is not an easy job to unstrap the tank, disconnect the fuel lines and get the tank out of the boat. Really is a two person job and you definitely want the tank to be pretty empty.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,200 Mega Baller
    @Jody_Seal not everybody got the flat/forward tank in 2000, like many transitional year things with CC. My 2000 not only has the 97-99 tank but the 97-99 graphics as well! Special order but I know there were a few more.
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    @Jody_Seal and @SteveB are saying to completely remove the tank, but @Ski2000 above says you avoid removing the tank by jacking it up and blocking it and reaching underneath. Does that make sense? If I can avoid disconnecting stuff, wouldn't that be easier? Maybe that's a minor detail. Not sure.
  • Ski2000Ski2000 Posts: 88 Baller
    @astrick You nailed it. Jody is right, to get the tank out you have to pull at least one combing pad and rotate it out. I still have to disconnect the fuel fill line and the straps to block it up and get to the rudder, but I can do it by myself.
    After a few times I can get it down to about an hr for the rudder service and steering cable check/ maintenance.
  • astrickastrick Posts: 8
    @Ski2000 Don't s'pose you live in Wisconsin!? Ha! The composite of all these comments is starting to make sense to me. I'm a little surprised there is so little consensus around how often one should change a cable. I have had the experience of breaking a cable while skiing. So, I know first hand that it happens. The boat wasn't that old.
  • GaryJanzigGaryJanzig Posts: 197 Baller
    The life of a steering cable can vary. If you keep your bilge dry you should be able to get 800-900 hours out of one. If not, they can go bad in one or two seasons.
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