Lubrication of steering cables

johna

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Centre cockpit, wheel steering morse type cables to quadrant. Do these cables need lubrication and if so what do people use?
 

johna

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Thanks for info if it does what is says on the tin then its the dogs whatsits. Could not see any reference to importer on the web site can you give me a lead as to where it is stocked or who the importer is.
 

cliff

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[ QUOTE ]
Centre cockpit, wheel steering morse type cables to quadrant. Do these cables need lubrication and if so what do people use?

[/ QUOTE ]The question is not so much what to use but how to apply the lubricant.

From past experience I have found it much easier to remove the cables from the boat and lubricate them at home although I suppose it could be done onboard...... My method envolves obtaining a smallish plastic bottle that the cabkle will just pass through the neck and a bit of plasticiene to seal the neck of teh bottle to the outer sheath of the cable (having first cut the bottom off the bottle. I then fill the bottle with WD 40 and suspend the cable from the rafters in the workshop (could haul it up the mast a bit but be carefull not to spill the WD 40) then I work the other end of the cable in and out until the wd 40 comes out the bottom end. Note: it helps to slide the rubber sleeves back on the cables to allow the WD 40 to run in easier.
Working the inner cable back and forth helps break up and corrosion produce (flushed out by the WD 40) Once the WD 40 coming out the bottom end is clean I then refill teh bottle with light oil such as sewing machine oil which does not dry out and has good corrosin inhibiting properties (and is cheap in larger quantities).

I then allow teh oil to run through the cable until it emerges from the bottom end. Cable freed, cleaned and lubed in a few minutes with little effort.
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boatmike

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John,
Be careful. You say Morse type. I believe they could well be Whitlock cables. In a Whitlock system the cables dont push/pull. There are 2 cables, probably attached to a chain that goes over a sprocket at the wheel end and go to either side of the steering quadrant at the rudder end. These dont push /pull they only pull. Look carefully and you should find a grease nipple mounted in the middle of the cable somewhere on what looks like a hexagonal brass insert. Whitlock recommend their own silicon grease for these but its bloody expensive. Graphited High Pressure grease will do. Keep pumping till it comes out of the ends!
 

rwoofer

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I've been wondering how to lubricate my whitlock cables. Only problem is that I haven't found this grease nipple. Is it near to one end or the middle?
 

boatmike

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Cliff, If you used the right grade of grease in the first place you would not get corrosion. Light oil might be OK for a pushbike cable but it's not much use for steering cables on a boat. If you have no grease nipples in the cable it's another example of the boatbuilder saving pennies bless em. Not uncommon. You can however still buy (or perhaps hire?) a cable greaser which is a reservoir which clamps around the outer cable and allows grease to be pumped in. A bit like a man sized version of your bottle. I made mine as an apprentice in 1959 and guard it with my life! One good application of graphite grease should last quite a time...... Oil will just run out of the end in a while and leave the cable dry in a season. Better than now't but not a "proper job"
 

boatmike

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When you make up the cables you fit them yourself. I have two in each cable, but then I would wouldn't I cos I built the boat myself! If you don't have any you have to either grease from the ends or fit some. This means taking the inner out of the outer, hacksawing the outer in half and screwing the ends into the greaser then putting it all back together. If you decide to do this, PM me. I am only just down the road..
 

johna

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Boatmike
You are of course correct they are pull only not push /pull and thus my use of morse type. They are not Whitlock and do not have grease points but no doubt work on a similar principle. It would not be easy to remove the whole cable for treatment as suggested above but it has to be possile to remove the inners so may be the time has come to bite the bullet and do a trial removal and re-fit, who knows it may be necessary in anger at some time. A forseen problem is that the ends are turned round eyes and clipped with U bolts so I would expect it to have a memory. I am sure they would come out but getting them back in might be a problem. If they were being replaced the new cable would be straight. I like WD40 for freeing and cleaning but not as a long term lubricant. Perhaps the AF50 will do the trick.

Thanks for the input.
John
 

cliff

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[ QUOTE ]
Cliff, If you used the right grade of grease in the first place you would not get corrosion. Light oil might be OK for a pushbike cable but it's not much use for steering cables on a boat. If you have no grease nipples in the cable it's another example of the boatbuilder saving pennies bless em. Not uncommon. You can however still buy (or perhaps hire?) a cable greaser which is a reservoir which clamps around the outer cable and allows grease to be pumped in. A bit like a man sized version of your bottle. I made mine as an apprentice in 1959 and guard it with my life! One good application of graphite grease should last quite a time...... Oil will just run out of the end in a while and leave the cable dry in a season. Better than now't but not a "proper job"

[/ QUOTE ]I know the device you are talking about - I too made one years ago for just that purpose - pressure greasing cables. Personally I find the cables stiff to operate especially in winter if they are greased hence my choice of oiling once a year with the likes of sewing machine oil. - never had a problem yet and once done can be easily done again by removing the cables from the cockpit control and letting the oil run down to the engine end.

Pressure greasing is fine but I have seen the outer sheath ruptured using that method - not a "proper job"

Sadly the "old school" is dying out and nowdays, "fit for purpose" and cost play a big factor in most things. Personally I find it hard to give up the "proper way" but times change. Apart from that how many people have cable greasing adapters in their tool kit and of those how many would lend them out? - I have "lost" too many tools that way or get them back broken or bits missing /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
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Just a thought but most motorcycle shops stock pressure cable greasers for bike brake/clutch cables. Maybe these would be an answer?
 

cliff

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[ QUOTE ]
Just a thought but most motorcycle shops stock pressure cable greasers for bike brake/clutch cables. Maybe these would be an answer?

[/ QUOTE ]Never thought of them - I have a feeling they will be too small though when compared to Morse cables etc but worth a look though. Also one needs a long chember to accomodate the push/pull rods whic are missing on cycle cables. mmmmm will have a look next time I am in town.
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TigaWave

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There's a corrosion block grease as well from the same people as the ACF50, the trouble is with all traditional greases/lubricants is that they can trap moisture at the surface, so if you start with some corrosion (which has moisture within the corrosion by products) it will continue to corrode under the now sealed layer of grease/oil. These new products like ACF 50 actually change the chemical properties at the surface and remove the corrosion casuing moisture. I've used them on a variety of salty corrosive damp applications and they really work over extended periods.
 

boatmike

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Frankly if I removed an inner cable and saw corrosion I would replace it. Don't like sailing around in circles!
 

boatmike

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You make a good point Cliff. Everything I said assumes the cable is free to move and there are no blockages. There should be plenty of clearance for the grease and you should not need to apply high pressure to force the grease through. If the cable is blocked by corrosion it's reached it's sell by date. Replace it. If the grease comes out anywhere but the ends, replace it. Greasing is not a way of freeing buggered cables, it's routine maintenance of good ones. Not worth taking chances on something as essential as steering.
 

boatmike

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Yes this bending of the ends can be a problem but new inner cables will not break the bank in extremis. It's the outers that are expensive. I have usually managed to straighten the cable end sufficiently when removed to get them back. Alternatively if there is sufficient thread on the adjuster you might cut the end off with an angle grinder and make a new loop... Sometimes however it is difficult to replace inners with the outer in place due to the curvature though. You may need to take the cable out and straighten the outer before the inner goes back. Just a warning..... Either way rotate the inner when putting it back to stop it hanging up.
Slap lots of graphite grease on the inner before putting it back will help some but its not a substitute for a grease gun when assembled. I still insist grease is the right stuff to use, not light oil.
 

Roberto

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Manufacturers of some cables sometimes mention: do not use grease or oil (it is the case with my cycle cables); apparently the inner tube is permanently lubricated by a teflon coat or similar

Is there any way of guessing which cables need lubrication and which do not ?
 
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