The steering table, also known as a pedestal, is the central component of the helm station on any size boat. It houses the steering gear mechanism which connects to the rudder and allows the captain to smoothly control the direction of the boat. Over decades of use, the steering table is subjected to near-constant stresses from weather and wave action. The steering gear inside receives thousands of revolutions as the wheel is turned through each voyage. So, it’s not surprising that steering tables eventually wear out or become damaged. When play develops in the wheel, the gear starts slipping, or parts break altogether, it’s a clear sign that the steering table needs replacement.
Replacing a boat’s steering table is a complex but doable project for an ambitious do-it-yourselfer. It requires removing the old table, installing new mounting hardware, aligning the gearbox, reconnecting steering lines, and testing everything for proper operation. While it’s not an easy undertaking, it will save the expense of paying a yard to do the work. With the right Boat Parts, patience, and this step-by-step guide, you can replace your boat’s steering table and get back to smooth and confident steering.
Step 1: Remove the Existing Steering Table
First, you will need to completely remove the old steering table assembly. Start by disconnecting the steering cables from the steering gear under the table. Label each cable as you disconnect it to make re-installation easier. Remove any bolts or fasteners securing the pedestal shaft to the boat. Lift the table assembly straight up and off of the mount.
Step 2: Remove Old Mount
With the table removed, you can now access the mount underneath. This may be secured with bolts through the deck or bonded directly to the deck. Carefully remove any remaining fasteners or adhesive residue. Grind or sand the area to create a clean surface for the new mount.
Step 3: Install New Mount
Follow the instructions provided with your new steering table to properly install the new mount. This will likely include through-bolting or bonding with adhesive. Make sure the mount is positioned correctly before permanently fastening.
Step 4: Install New Steering Gear
Place the new steering gear mechanism into the new pedestal. Attach the connecting rods, torque tube, and any other linkages according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure all gear alignments are correct.
Step 5: Attach Steering Wheel and Cables
Slide the new table assembly down over the mount studs. Reconnect the steering cables to the corresponding connections on the gear. Make small adjustments as needed to align the wheel properly on the splines.
Step 6: Confirm Proper Operation
With the new table installed, double-check that the steering operates smoothly through the full range of motion. Turn the wheel hard over in both directions and inspect all gear and cable connections. Adjust as needed to eliminate binding.
Step 7: Re-install any Accessories
If your old steering table had electronic accessories like a joystick, compass, or GPS, carefully reinstall these on the new table according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make all electrical connections. Test accessories for proper operation.
Replacing your boat’s steering table takes some time and effort, but following these steps carefully will ensure safe and reliable steering performance. Take your time and don’t force any parts. Be sure to seal any exposed wood with varnish or paint when finished. Your new steering table should give you many more years of smooth sailing!