Gone Outdoors

How to Replace the Steering Cable for a MerCruiser 4.3L

by Will Charpentier

To remove or install the steering cables that control the Mercruiser sterndrive, you must first disconnect the cable at the power steering unit, then disconnect the other end of the cable from the steering flange on the sterndrive itself. The installation and removal is fairly straightforward, as long as you know the location the "hidden" clevis that keeps the steering cable sheath in place.


1. Unbend and remove the cotter pin in the clevis pin at the top of the power steering unit, using needle-nose pliers. Remove the clevis pin.

2. Unbend the cotter pin in the clevis pin beneath the steering cable, on the cable sheath's clevis, using needle-nose pliers. Remove the pin from the clevis. Lift the steering cable from the power steering lever.

3. Loosen the self-locking coupler using a 9 mm open-end wrench. Lift the steering cable free from the power steering unit.

4. Loosen the 13 mm nut at the end of the steering cable guide tube using an open-end wrench. Remove the cotter pin from the end of the clevis pin on the sterndrive’s steering cable mounting flange. Lift the cable free.


1. Apply a liberal amount of heavy marine grease to the steering cable ends.

2. Install the cable in the clevis at the top of the power steering unit. Insert the clevis pin and secure it with a fresh cotter pin.

3. Secure the clevis pin through the steering cable sheath's clevis.

4. Fit the self-locking coupler through the power steering unit’s locking plate and tighten to 35 foot-pounds using a torque wrench.

5. Grease the part of the cable sheath that passes through the steering cable guide tube with heavy marine grease. Push the cable through the steering cable guide tube.

6. Fit the cable end into the steering cable mounting flange Insert the clevis pin through the flange and cable end and secure with a cotter pin.

Items you will need
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • 9 mm open-end wrench
  • 13 mm open-end wrench
  • Heavy marine grease
  • New cotter pins
  • Foot-pound torque wrench
  • 5/16-inch box-end wrench, or 5/16-inch socket and ratchet


  • Mercruiser Service Manual Number 11 -- Bravo Sterndrives; Mercury Marine

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

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