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Old 05-07-2018, 05:19   #1
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Sillette sonic drive leg

I have one these Sillette sonic drive legs (British agricultural engineering at its best)

Mine is a mark II model without the internal gearbox. While others seems to find them almost as good as having twin engines, I've always found manoeuvrability to be abysmal.

Mine is turned/tilted by a lever (not unlike a throttle lever) on the left side of the helm station. This is connected to large teleflex cable (with complicated routing) and to some kind of steering rod.

I believe that the leg is supposed to swivel up to 30-45 degrees. I've found that mine does when pulling down on the lever (turning the leg to port), but in the over direct the leg only turns about 10 degrees.

No amount of adjusting the level position will turn the leg further to starboard. It seems that the cable and steering rod themselves max out on the push side.

Any suggestions on correcting this? I'm not sure a longer cable/rod is the answer unless it can still retract/pull as far as the current one does.

Full lock to port


Cable when titled to port


Full lock to starboard


Cable when tilted to starboard
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:06   #2
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

i recently fitted mine from scratch,so there should be some photos on the thread FYI.

first thing i would do is remove the pin on the cable where it connects to the drive leg steering arm.
then move by hand the lever to make sure that the lever/leg has full room to travel from hard over port to hard over starbord .
it could be the slot through the transom has debris in it or was never big enough to get full travel.

the cable i think has 15-17cm of travel and should have a stroke of aprox 7.5 cm either side from center.
check this with cable disconnected.

at the cable sheath termination there is a threaded barrel that attaches the cable to the mounting bracket fixed to the transom.
there are 2 bolts that can be adjusted on the barrel to change the central position of the steering rod in the cable sheath.

at the other end of the cable is just a simple morse steering rack ,to change the lever alignment.
at the base of the lever is a small hole with 1/8' grub screw in it,remove it and then the lever arm can be pulled off the splined steering shaft.

you can then centralise the cable to the drive leg so it has 7-8 cm each way of travel.
then with every thing centralised push the lever back onto the in the vertical position and re tighten the grubscrew.

other things that can effect travel are the bushings in the external lever arm and ball fitting in the top of the gear box,check for play,there should be almost none.

if there is excessive play then it is probably a case of removing the exteriour bellows on the steering lever arm where it exits the mounting bracket on the transom.

to do this remove hose clamp and pull back the bellows and tap out the pin holding the lever as a pintle,undo the 3 allen keys on the ball fitting,then the whole steering arm can be removed and serviced.

parts and nylon bushings are available from sillette.
https://www.sillette.co.uk/

new cables are also easy to get made up if a non standard length

pm me if you need more info cheers alex

edit from the photos it looks like the cable sheath needs adjusting so the cable is centralised more to port.
undo the 2 barrel bolts and move the cable more to port to get the correct center point of travel
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:35   #3
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

Oh wow! What a great thing! Thanks for your share
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:52   #4
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

here is the lever arm and cable set up in dead center position,so as to get about 30 deg of travel each way on the drive leg.

note the bracket on the transom where the cable passes through,this is where the cable can be adjusted by undoing the 2 bolts on the barrel and moving the outer sheath so as to get aprox 7.5 cm of travel each way on the steering rod part of the cable.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:39   #5
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

Thanks for the images. Nice clean setup there.

With a shackle and a bit of line the leg moves easily full lock to full lock.

This images shows the gap between steering rod at maximum length, and the where is needs to be in order to reach full lock.



I don't have on the rod itself. At the cable termination the barrels are of course rusted to buggery. It looks like there only about 10mm max I possibly get out of that.

I do need to go back and measure the travel as I missed that step.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:31   #6
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
Thanks for the images. Nice clean setup there.

With a shackle and a bit of line the leg moves easily full lock to full lock.

This images shows the gap between steering rod at maximum length, and the where is needs to be in order to reach full lock.



I don't have on the rod itself. At the cable termination the barrels are of course rusted to buggery. It looks like there only about 10mm max I possibly get out of that.

I do need to go back and measure the travel as I missed that step.
the cable set up must be the problem if it was never centered properly.

i have the old morse ud617 cable that came with my boat,it was never used and is only slightly rusty on the sheath barrel,but is fully serviceable,it was too long for my set up that runs through the stb cockpit locker.

you can have this if it is any use to you for free,i think it is 5m long,just pay the freight.

otherwise i used asap supplies for my non standard lenth cable,was about £180
https://www.asap-supplies.com/asapse...ables+Controls

before doing anything with the bracket, first i would undo the grub screw on the control lever,remove the handle and adjust it so the cable can move out more to get full travel to port,then re- align the lever in its new vertical position centering the cable.
which might work without having to adjust at the bracket if there is sufficient length on the internal cable steering rod extension.
if i remember correctly it was 17cm total, fully in to fully out on the steering rod
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:08   #7
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

i forgot to add,you can also get a bit of adjustment on the fork at the end of the steering rod
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:10   #8
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Re: Sillette sonic drive leg

I never came back to this thread. It was diagnosed as a rusted cable. It's a Teleflex UD617 cable, and unfortunately they cannot be bought in sainless steel so rust badly over time, especially the bulkhead fitting.

I had a difficult time getting a new one. As I needed near 4.5m I couldn't but from Sillette. It seems they are having issues too with getting new parts/cables

Quote:
The only nearest lengths of UD617 cables we have are 4.75. The other possible problem is that we had the cables made to an older specification and ours have a 3/8" thread on the outboard end. The newer Teleflex cables have a 5/16" thread. We have them made like this to suit a 3/8" clevis fitting that we use on our own sterndrive units.
I have recently tried to buy standard UD617 cables and the UK importer no longer holds any stock.
Our price for 4.75m cables is G B Pounds 240.00 plus carriage and VAT. The clevis end fittings are G B Pounds 25 plus vat.
Regards
In the end I bought a basic one from T Norris Marine in the UK. For around £175 including postage to Spain (at the time).

This installed and worked a dream. The steering was so light and effortless I would do it with a single finger.

The cable will not last though. Just over a year later and the bulkhead barrel is already badly corroded, but it works for now.

Next steps for this drive leg are to repaint it, and try to find a hydraulic lift for it since I keep running over lifting lines when backing up on anchor.
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