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Old 01-06-2015, 16:11   #1
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Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

Got an 18 foot Duffy inboard with a Vetus steering wheel and a U-Flex 12 ft steering system.

Called the Duffy factory to ask how to do preventive maintenance on the steering system.
They said nothing needed to be done unless sticking or other problems.
Perhaps I want to avoid sticking and other problems.

Any advice? Synthetic lube in the cables? How about the steering hub with the little nylon gears? Run until it fails, then buy a new hub? Nylon lube?
Heat up for liquid flowing down cables?

Anything?

Boat has about 600 hrs in 9 years.
Now accumulating 400 hrs per year however, preventive maintenance would be smart.
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Old 01-06-2015, 17:31   #2
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

I used to service some control cables that passed right by a turbo charger. After a long while they would get stiff. We would take off the hardware and seals from one end and put a hose full of Mobil1 over the end and then hook an air hose to it. It sometimes worked. I think it was a last resort.
I bet you should not do anything, just like they said. There is a grease for plastic gears. I got some somewhere for the gears in our radome.
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Old 01-06-2015, 17:50   #3
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

Quote:
. I bet you should not do anything, just like they said.

Yeah, but hard to ignore a lot of use with no maintenance: I know, this little boat is not a helicopter requiring 10 hours of work for every hour of flight.
Even so, anyhing mechanical should have a maintenance schedule, or a program.

Or it is a throwaway system.
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Old 01-06-2015, 17:56   #4
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

A "teleflex" style rotary system usually fails inside the sheath, and there is no way to lubricate the cable inside the sheath. You can spray silicone on the rotary gears. The cable will usually give you warning before it seizes by being hard to turn the wheel.

When you write that you have "cable" steering someone might think you have the old fashioned cable pulley system. Those should be removed as they can cause a sudden loss of control if a pulley comes loose (many are held on by two small screws into wet wood.)
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Old 01-06-2015, 18:05   #5
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

Quote:
. A "teleflex" style rotary system usually fails inside the sheath, and there is no way to lubricate th
Not sure it is a Teleflex system. Had that on my sailboat.
This is called U-Flex according to the boat manufactor.
Have not dug deep into this yet.
Just looking for some body with experience on the Vetus/U-Flex for a quick heads-up on what is needed, if any.

Not the old fashioned cable and pulley system with rusted sheaves and rotten block attachments)
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Old 01-06-2015, 18:12   #6
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

U Flex is a teleflex style steering system. Teleflex is to rotary or rack and pinion steering as Jacuzzi is to hot tubs.

If you are worried about it a new teleflex cable is about $120 and is easy to replace.
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:37   #7
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

Quote:
.

If you are worried about it a new teleflex cable is about $120 and is easy to replace.
Nah, not really worried, it just seems weird not maintaining something that moves everyday.
Oh well, will leave it alone I guess.
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Old 02-06-2015, 15:55   #8
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

These push-pull systems are generally maintenance free, meaning that you replace them rather than try to lube them. Rather than replace the cable for $120 or so, you should buy the entire kit for $170 or so and get all new. I know this doesn't sound like a very craftsman's way to solve what should be done with a grease gun, but the parts to wear and you cannot, ever, have a steering problem; it's just too dangerous. The no-feedback helms are a little stiffer, and I think have more turns lock to lock, but probably a good idea to keep the boat from coming back for you in the water.

I'd put this on a regular replacement interval of perhaps 4-5 years and consider it cheap insurance. Plus, the boat generally steers much better when the slop is reduced.

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Old 17-08-2016, 11:40   #9
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Re: Inboard cable steering, small boat: Maintenance?

Boaters generally pay little attention to their boat’s steering system, as long as it does the job without excess friction or play, but as our vessels age the systems need replacement. When installing new steering, it’s good practice to replace a steering system with one of the same type as was originally installed in your boat.
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