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Old 09-01-2022, 21:33   #1
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Tensioning my steering cables.

I have a bit of play in my rudder. I've checked the quadrant and the cables are a bit loose.
The adjustment is already taken most of the way up.
The next option I can see is to loosen the cables and take a link out of the chain at the helm.
Before I do this I just wanted to check with the brains trust that I'm not missing anything and that would be the correct thing to do.
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Old 09-01-2022, 21:37   #2
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

First thing to do is figure out WHY you need to take up so much slack.

Sounds like the wire cables are stretching, which probably means they are close to failing.
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Old 09-01-2022, 22:00   #3
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

Check any / all sheeve blocks that the cables run on below the pedastal to ensure that its axles or its support is not rotten and moving.
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Old 10-01-2022, 01:15   #4
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
First thing to do is figure out WHY you need to take up so much slack.

Sounds like the wire cables are stretching, which probably means they are close to failing.
Yes. It did cross my mind and I can't find anything amiss. There are no pulleys to ware or corrode.
The cables where new just on 10 years ago, replaced during the rerigging.
They have been greased and appear in good condition.
This has come about after spending the night on a particularly bouncy mooring were we noticed an annoying squeek.
I've been in the water to see if something is loose. It's just the radial movement from the slack in the cables.
I've also been unable to find any movement in the sleeve or conduit that it's running through, as that could cause some slack.
I suspect that this might also be contributing to my auto pilot over steering a little.
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Old 10-01-2022, 01:46   #5
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

If there are no turning blocks or sheaves, it sounds like the cables are running inside a push pull type cable sleeve ,the inside surfaces of these units do wear , as the cable cuts int the sleeve,this will result in steering slack ,which may not be able to adjust out, maybe time to rebuild .⛵️⚓️
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:00   #6
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

After sailing 2000-3000 miles in rough sea/ocean conditions my steering cables were stretched. Initially I put more tension on them but recently replaced them because they stretched too far. So it is nothing unusual, but check if the cables are still in good condition particularly were they fit into the connectors.
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:36   #7
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Searles View Post
If there are no turning blocks or sheaves, it sounds like the cables are running inside a push pull type cable sleeve ,the inside surfaces of these units do wear , as the cable cuts int the sleeve,this will result in steering slack ,which may not be able to adjust out, maybe time to rebuild .
Yes.Thats exactly what they are running through. Now I know what they are called.
Thanks.
I'll have to do some research on them.
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:38   #8
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanjohuizing View Post
After sailing 2000-3000 miles in rough sea/ocean conditions my steering cables were stretched. Initially I put more tension on them but recently replaced them because they stretched too far. So it is nothing unusual, but check if the cables are still in good condition particularly were they fit into the connectors.
They look good. I'll inspect them properly when I loosen the cables.
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Old 10-01-2022, 03:03   #9
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

The weak link in a chain drive system is the chain. It will break before the cables do. The chain will look fine and then break without warning. That has happened to me twice. Ten years is actually a long time for that type of chain-cable arrangement. Edson recommends replacement every five years. I'm not sure that is an Edson but wear is wear.

There must be two pulleys under the pedestal. Those should be inspected. When I totally rebuilt my Edson I found that the axles on the pulleys under the pedestal were bronze and extremely worn. By that time I had put over 100,000 miles in the boat. Edson was surprised and said they always used stainless. I replaced them with stainless clevis pins.

I see that the ends of your cables are Nico pressed loops. Bending them back and U bolting them together would allow for adjustment. The next time you might consider that.
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Old 10-01-2022, 03:11   #10
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
Yes.Thats exactly what they are running through. Now I know what they are called.
Thanks.
I'll have to do some research on them.
That does not look like a push-pull system from the pictures. It looks like pull-pull. You referred to cables (plural) If there are two cables it is pull-pull. Which means there must be turning blocks under the pedestal.
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Old 10-01-2022, 04:25   #11
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

If the cables are only 10 years old it is very possible they were made a bit too long to start with. It happens.

An easy fix - as long as you don't find anything else - is to simply add a few washers under the nut of the tension rod.

Either that, or pull them and replace them. If I wasn't prepared to do that, I'd just add the washers until the time came.

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Old 10-01-2022, 06:32   #12
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

It's called a push-pull by Edson who makes the system
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Old 10-01-2022, 06:41   #13
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

I would recommend replacing the cable and chain give the critical nature of the system and consider the bearings and sheave pins.



You could also replace the eye bolts with shorter bolts or add more thread to the existing bolts as it looks like you have about three inches you could pickup in this way.
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Old 10-01-2022, 06:41   #14
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

So from what you said in your original post was the installation is 10 years old.
Steel cables stretch over time, they also stretch and shrink with heat/cold. If you haven't played with the system in 10 years, I would think to see if any slack could be taken up to bring them to original configuration. If the pedestal is an Edson (looks like one) then go to their website https://edsonmarine.com/ and look under product support.
I had also noticed some corrosion on the bellcrank of your steering system (that white stuff) you could check to see if the steel cable has worn that down. Every few thousands of an inch could bring about looseness in the whole system.
The final check is to get into the water and see if the rudder is culprit by checking the rudder post bearings.
Lastly it is probably better not to over tension the cables - too tight they will wear out parts in the system prematurely - too loose well, that is what your query is about.
I think that the answers that @stormalong were great.
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Old 10-01-2022, 07:06   #15
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Re: Tensioning my steering cables.

I have a Edson push pull on my boat (Catalina 30). I am not fond of the system as in my opinion the pulley system is more robust, easier to maintain and can be tensioned tighter than a push-pull system. I assume they use this push-pull system as it can be installed in tight spaces where you cannot get line-of-sight runs of the steering cables from pulley to quadrant..

For those not familiar with it, the push-pull system consists of the standard cable/chain which drives the rudder quadrant, nestled inside a fixed armored casing with a Teflon (Nylon?) liner which the steering cable passes through. It is similar in "design" to the hand brakes on a bicycle.

My boat was not well maintained when I bought it and there was so much slop in the steering I could not install the wheel-mounted autopilot as it would constantly "hunt".

There was slack in the chain itself between the links, play between the chain and the sprocket teeth, the pedestal shaft had excessive play and was missing pieces, and the plastic (yes PLASTIC ) ferrule fittings on ends of the the push pull outer cable were broken.

In the end, I completely rebuilt the pedestal with new parts from Edson including new brake, bearings, shaft, socket as well as making a new keyway.

Edson sells everything. Just take a Valium before you see the parts costs.

I also installed new cable/chain, and new push-pull armored cable & fittings which I purchased from Catalina direct.

An option may be to install a pulley system in place of the push-pull system, if you have the room. You can tension the cables more on a pulley system. If you overtighten the cable on the push-pull system the steering cables will act like a saw and cut into the inner teflon/nylon sleeve of the armored cable.

The armored cable is stainless and a b*tch to saw through. I used a hacksaw and it was 10 minutes minimum of sawing for each cut. It is impossible to re-use of armor cable as it becomes stiff as a pipe after use due to corrosion.

Also a note, the grease for the cables on the push-pull system per Edson must be silicone NOT oil-based as the oil based grease will break down the plastic inner sleeve.

The chain itself is normal lube. Recommended by Edson / Catalina is Boeshield T9.

You can call Edson direct. They are great guys. Just expensive. Tel: (508) 995-9711.



Edson pedestal parts: https://edsonmarine.com/products/sai...ntenance-kits/

More pedestal parts: https://edsonmarine.com/products/sai...are-and-parts/

Push-pull cable at Catalina Direct: https://www.catalinadirect.com/shop-...-26-c-27-c-30/

cheers
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