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Old 03-04-2014, 18:54   #1
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Lubricating the throttle controls

Hi all,

I've been noticing for the past few weeks that the throttle controls on my boat have been getting difficult to move. It seems that the difficulty in moving them is affecting the rate at which they move the speed control on the engine. For example, when I push the throttle in a certain direction, I often need to push it down a significant part of the way before the speed of the boat increases from idle. And sometimes after I push it down a significant portion and get the speed up to say just 1000-1500 RPMs, suddenly the speed will increase rapidly to the RPM level it should be at given that throttle setting. I'm attributing this to a throttle that's difficult to move and is correspondingly not performing correctly in moving the speed control on the engine. I even tried to control the speed directly from the engine by attempting to push on the metal piece that is connected to the speed control and the throttle cable, but I wasn't able to do so.

My plan is to lubricate the throttle controls. I read about a way of doing this in Don Casey's "Complete Guide of Sailboat Maintenance." The instructions were to disconnect the cable from the throttle side, fill a plastic bag with "lubricating oil," put the end of the cable into the bag, and seal the opening by tying it with rubber bands. Then, the bag is supposed to be clipped to something so the oil will slowly over maybe 12-24 hours drip down through the entire cable and lubricate it.

Does anyone have any experience doing this? If so, any suggestions on what I should use as lubricating oil? WD-40? Regular engine oil? Something else?
Many thanks in advance for any advice here.

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Old 03-04-2014, 19:03   #2
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Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
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Re: Lubricating the throttle controls

Try Edson Marine

They have some very good maintenance instructions.

Even if you don't have Edson gear.

Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 03-04-2014, 19:57   #3
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Re: Lubricating the throttle controls

If these are standard Morse cable types, then forget the Casey thing with bags of oil, rubber bands, etc and just buy new cables. They are pretty inexpensive and worth replacing every decade or so. The Casey "trick" is pretty much useless and I doubt he even does that.

Your problem could be caused by a corroded sheath causing the inside cable to bind and straighten a part of the run until it unbinds and releases that run causing the engine to rev up. No amount of lubricant is going to solve this problem longer than a couple of months, and when it does bind or break for good, it could be at a very inopportune and unsafe time.


You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
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Old 03-04-2014, 20:47   #4
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Boat: Cabo Rico 38
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Re: Lubricating the throttle controls

I just replaced mine. There was (is) a tensioner device attached to my throttle cable because the throttle end at the engine has a spring attachment that I assume is designed as a fail safe mechanism so that if the cable were to snap it would snap and cause the engine to immediately go into low RPMs.

The tensioner works (on mine) by applying pressure on the cable using a bolt head so that there is just enough friction to prevent the fail safe spring from pulling the cable back.

Where the cable went through the tensioner, it had hardened.

I replaced them with morse cables after my gearbox cable snapped. The morse instructions specifically state to not use any kind of lubrication on them.
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