Installing Teleflex steering in the Squirt

by Bill and Linda Whitney

1. Where to place the dash board? We first made the seat and floorboard and then sat in the boat to locate the dash. Regardless of the steering type, a few inches here make a real difference in your ability to get in behind the wheel, since the boat is so small. (In the pictures our dash extends above the deck line because it will have a cowl.) By the way, if your dash is tipped 20 degrees, increase the top curvature. Use a flexible stick to draw a curve about 1/4 inch higher in the middle than the deck beams. Visualize an exaggerated amount of tip to see why.

2. Which system to buy? We chose the Teleflex SS141 called "The Rack System" for two reasons: rack and pinion steering fits under a smaller height dash board than a rotary push/pull system, also this system does not have the "No Feed Back" feature, which makes it smaller, lighter and cheaper. NFB steering, which prevents the motor from turning the steering wheel, is excellent for a high power outboard with power trim, but it's probably not necessary on a Squirt.

Steering for the Squirt

3. Which cable length? Before we address that, consider that the bend radius of the cable requires the steering wheel to be more than 19 inches from the side of the boat, which puts it closer to the Squirt's center line than we wanted. The wheel looks good at one fourth of the dash board width, but this can only be accomplished by mounting the helm assembly upside down with the cable pointing toward the boat's center and looping around under the deck, as shown in photo 1. On our Squirt (which was stretched to 11 ft 2in) the cable length is 14 feet, thus the system part number is SS14114. But measure yours with a garden hose, using 8 inch bend radius, before ordering.

Squirt deck beam

Squirt dash with hole for steering unit

4. Design changes to the boat to make installation easier? Yes, we made the dash removable for this reason. Compare photo's 2 and 3 to see this. Eventually it will be glued and screwed in place, but while fitting steering and gauges, it's nice to be able to take it out. On this note, before whacking up the mahogany dashboard, we made a mock- up from scrap wood first.

Squirt with Christmas elf.

5. Which steering wheel? We used the Glenwood 12 inch wheel (photo 4 ) a good size for the Squirt, but the Glenwood adapter for Teleflex systems is not thick enough to close the gap between itself and the helm bezel. There are a number of ways to fix this; we chose to stack washers between Teleflex steeringthe helm and its mounting plate, as shown in photo 5. The washer stack allows for fine tuning. It took several tries to get three stacks in there - you get one bolt started and the other stacks fall on the floor. It has to be done on the bench; you could never do it under the dash. If you do this, use aircraft washers (AN960-416). Due to their small outside diameter the dash hole, will not have to be enlarged. You will need longer bolts; use grade 8 hardware store bolts;1/4-20. And use lock-tite. (The Teleflex furnished bolts do not need lock-tite.) Now, if you do this modification, you will not be able to get your helm unit through the dash board hole because the helm and its mounting plate are intended to be assembled in place in the boat and not on the bench. But, not to worry, you can now file four small notches in the dash mounting hole as

Scoop for steering cable Art Spinella's Squirt, using a chrome vent for cable exit.
shown in photo 3 and the helm will go in. Remember, if the cable is to loop around under the deck as described above, then mount the helm upside down. This applies to either left or right side steering. But mock it up before drilling holes in the dash - you want to know that everything is correct, and that the motor turns the right way.

6. At the back of the Squirt, the cable will have to exit through the top

Exit for steering Bob Weems's Squirt, using a flag pole socket for cable exit.
of the rear deck, since the transom is so small. And for this reason the push/pull steering is pretty much limited to motors with thru-tilt-pin steering, unless you get quite innovative. Use a small chrome vent scoop as a fairing where the cable comes through the deck. Our boat has not progressed this far, but you can see this in other customer photo's.

Christmas elf

< The Christmas elf who
brought the Teleflex system.