how to convert a tiller outboard motor to steering

Converting a tiller outboard motor to steering involves several steps and requires the installation of additional components to enable remote steering. This conversion can provide greater control and convenience, especially for larger boats. Here’s a general guide on how to perform this conversion:

Materials Needed:

  1. Remote steering kit (including a steering wheel, helm, steering cable, and link arm)
  2. Remote control box with throttle and shift controls
  3. Mounting hardware (screws, bolts, nuts)
  4. Tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, drill, drill bits)
  5. Wire connectors, electrical wires, and marine-grade adhesive (if needed)


  1. Safety First: Ensure that your boat is securely docked or on a trailer on a level surface. Disconnect the boat’s battery if it has one.
  2. Remove the Tiller Handle:
    • Start by removing the tiller handle from the outboard motor. This typically involves unbolting it from the motor’s tiller arm. Keep any removed hardware for potential future use.
  3. Prepare the Transom:
    • Examine the transom of your boat where the outboard motor is mounted. Ensure it is in good condition and capable of supporting the new steering system.
  4. Install the Helm:
    • Mount the helm (steering gearbox) to the transom in a location where you can comfortably reach the steering wheel from the desired seating position. Ensure that it is securely fastened and level.
  5. Install the Steering Cable:
    • Connect one end of the steering cable to the helm and the other end to the steering arm on the outboard motor. Ensure that the cable is properly tensioned but not overly tight.
  6. Install the Link Arm:
    • Connect the link arm to the outboard motor’s tilt tube or steering arm, depending on your motor’s configuration.
  7. Install the Remote Control Box:
    • Mount the remote control box in a convenient location near the helm. This box contains the throttle and shift controls. Ensure that it is securely fastened and level.
  8. Connect Cables and Wiring:
    • Connect the steering cable to the steering wheel and the link arm to the remote control box’s throttle and shift levers.
    • Connect the electrical wires from the remote control box to the appropriate connections on the outboard motor. Consult the motor’s manual for specific wiring instructions.
  9. Test the System:
    • With the battery reconnected, test the steering and throttleshift controls to ensure they operate smoothly and correctly. Make any necessary adjustments to cable tension or linkage.
  10. Secure and Seal:
    • Use marine-grade adhesive or sealant to secure the cable and wiring in place, preventing them from moving or chafing.
  11. Test Drive:
    • Take your boat for a test drive to ensure that the steering and controls work as expected. Pay attention to the response of the outboard motor to throttle and shift commands.
  12. Final Adjustments: Make any final adjustments to the cable tension, steering wheel alignment, and control lever positions to ensure optimal performance and comfort.

Converting a tiller outboard motor to steering is a significant modification that may require some mechanical and electrical expertise. If you’re not comfortable with these tasks, it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a professional marine technician or boat mechanic to ensure the conversion is done safely and correctly. Additionally, consult your boat and outboard motor manuals for specific instructions and guidelines.

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