How to Install Boat Engine Control Cables

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Installing, or "rigging," the cables for a boat's engine may vary somewhat because the remote control boxes have different features. All use the same arrangement for connecting both the throttle and shift cables to the lever that, when pushed forward or backward, makes the boat move forward or backward. Since the shift cable is the first to move when you move the throttle/shift lever, complete the shift cable installation before installing the throttle cable.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Measuring tape

  • Adjustable wrench

Rigging to the Remote Control

Move the control lever to "Neutral." Ensure the gear case is also in neutral by spinning the propeller. Open the case of the remote control.

Place the end of the throttle cable on the throttle arm and the end of the shift cable on the shift gear. Push a cotter pin through the ends of the cables and bend the ends of the pins with a pair of pliers.

Close and secure the case of the remote control unit..

Rigging the Shift Cable

Find the throttle mounting location on the port side of the motor. Slide the cable and cable barrel though the barrel-shaped mount called the "barrel holder." Measure the distance between the barrel holder's center and the mounting pin of the shift rod with a measuring tape.

Push inward on the shift cable until you feel resistance. Place the barrel of the shift into the bottom hole in the barrel holder. Thread the flat nut and lock-washer onto the pin and tighten with an adjustable wrench.

Move the remote lever, shifting the gear case through forward, neutral and reverse while spinning the propeller slowly, by hand. Move the motor into "Neutral" to rig the throttle cable.

Rigging the Throttle Cable

Connect the cable to the throttle lever. Place the lock-washer on the throttle lever and thread the flat nut onto the lever, tightening it securely with an adjustable wrench.

Adjust the cable so the cable barrel so that the installed throttle cable will hold the throttle arm against the stop. Move the remote throttle into gear and out of gear several times to check the operation of the throttle linkage.

Set a piece of onion-skin paper between the idle stop and the throttle arm. Try to remove the paper: if the cable adjustment is correct, the paper can be removed with a slight drag, but without tearing. Adjust the cable at the cable barrel, if necessary.

Move the remote throttle to "Neutral." Lock the barrel holder with the cable latch.

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