How to Lube Boat Throttle Cables

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When you push your boat's throttle and feel a grating sensation through the throttle, or if the throttle seems to bind or hesitate as you move it, you may decide to lubricate the throttle cable. While there are "lubricant guns" that provide some short-term relief of the problem, the only resolution -- short of replacing the cables -- is to apply a coating of waterproof marine grease to the part of the cable you can reach.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • White marine grease
  • Assistant
  • Remove the two screws that hold the faceplate of the throttle remote control in place, with a screwdriver. If you are unable to determine which cable is the throttle cable, wiggle the throttle control handle; the cable that moves is the throttle cable.

  • Remove the brass setscrew holding the end of the cable to the throttle handle. Smear white marine grease on the cable.

  • Set the cable end back in place and tighten the setscrew. Replace the throttle control cover and reinstall the two cover mounting screws, tightening them snugly.

  • Turn the latch on the motor cover to release the cover and set it aside. Have an assistant wiggle the throttle and watch for the cable that moves at the motor. Smear the cable end with white marine grease.

  • Replace the motor cover. Ensure the cover is fully locked in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • When cables bind, it's usually because the interior of the cable casing has rusted, not because it needs lubrication. Take a look at the casing and, if it has rusted, replace the cable.

References

  • "Mariner/Mercury Outboards Repair Manual, 2.5-250 HP, 1990-2000"; Seloc Marine; 2007
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