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Hoohaa 09-01-2022 21:33

Tensioning my steering cables.
 
3 Attachment(s)
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.
Attachment 250990Attachment 250991Attachment 250992

GILow 09-01-2022 21:37

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.

OldGreyB 09-01-2022 22:00

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.

Hoohaa 10-01-2022 01:15

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GILow (Post 3552169)
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.

Searles 10-01-2022 01:46

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 .⛵️⚓️

hanjohuizing 10-01-2022 02:00

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.

Hoohaa 10-01-2022 02:36

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Searles (Post 3552198)
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 .[emoji569]️[emoji572]️

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.

Hoohaa 10-01-2022 02:38

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hanjohuizing (Post 3552199)
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.

stormalong 10-01-2022 03:03

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.

stormalong 10-01-2022 03:11

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoohaa (Post 3552207)
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.

OldManMirage 10-01-2022 04:25

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.

:thumb:

sinnerman 10-01-2022 06:32

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
It's called a push-pull by Edson who makes the system

Jenna1 10-01-2022 06:41

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.

Mike Crothers 10-01-2022 06:41

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.

sinnerman 10-01-2022 07:06

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

sinnerman 10-01-2022 07:08

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Also, a question: I assume the second chain is for .....the Autopilot??

GordMay 10-01-2022 08:10

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Edsonís Product Tech Support has some excellent guides
https://edsonmarine.com/product-tech...enance-sheets/

" Tension the cables evenly with the take-up eyes attached to the radial drive wheel. "


https://c320.org/images/library/imag...figuration.jpg

Hoohaa 10-01-2022 08:19

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stormalong (Post 3552222)
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.

It is a Pull Pull system. There are no pulleys.
Both cable tubes are securely fixed at the cockpit sole directly under the pedastil.
The aft ends of each of the tubes are fixed at the rear bulkhead Infront of the quadrant on each side.

Hoohaa 10-01-2022 08:19

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sinnerman (Post 3552307)
Also, a question: I assume the second chain is for .....the Autopilot??

Yes. Auto pilot

Hoohaa 10-01-2022 08:23

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OldManMirage (Post 3552245)
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.



:thumb:

Great idea.
Why didn't I think of that.

MicHughV 10-01-2022 08:30

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
I see your steering cable is fitted with a nicropress type fitting at the quadrant turnbuckle..

an option would be to cut this off....release the turnbuckle so as to gain some cable length and re-attach with wire rope clips..this is how mine is done...I have three wire cable clips on mine...they must be attached in certain way...you can google this..

you can also use nicropress fittings if you have the " tool" to compress them, most hardware stores have these....as before...cut the old fitting off, extend the turnbuckle, fit one of more new nicropress fittings....voila ....down..

I also had the pull-pull cables..never had any issue with them. They have (or should have) a grease fitting somewhere along it's length...keep that topped up....

Cadence 10-01-2022 12:07

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Before I would take a link of chain out, i would resplice or crimp the cable after running the adjuster out.
You may want to check any pillow blocks in your cable run for wear which seems likely to be the reason for your lack of being able to adjust. That could be catastrophic if one goes completely bad.

Hoodsail 10-01-2022 16:28

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
If you are planning on any off shore sailing, I would opt to replace all, chain & wire. I almost did this last season, but ran out of time...Will be doing replacement this May tho (keep old as replacement backup)...the chain/wire run is straightforward and considering the consequence of losing steerage, think its worth the $$+time. Also would check the pulleys beneath the pedestal once wire is free to determine that they are not woobley. If you dont replace all, I would agree with MicHughV and replace nicopress with wire rope clips. See Gord's graphic and consult Edson site...Lastly, I read that inspecting the base of the pedestal is an area that rarely gets examined and could be compromised...Admittedly I have read that but havent done it...Will see how warm the Spring gets before deciding. thnks

MicHughV 10-01-2022 18:05

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Yep, the problem with a pull-pull system is that most of the cable is inside a tube where you can't see it.
It's not that difficult to remove the chain and the cable for a looksee...and while you're at it, check all the pulleys, blocks, turnbuckles, etc....

Also forgotten is the rudder shaft. Typically some type of flax sealant (similar to prop shaft stuffing box material is residing (hiding) under the quadrant or some other type of protection....but who checks under the quadrant ????

My experience is that these items get little attention. once they go on, they are pretty much hidden from sight and folks only notice them when something goes wrong or breaks, etc..the steering chain needs regular attention and lubrication, but typically, once the binnacle goes on, it's out of sight, out of mind. Same goes for the pulleys under the pedestal.

Sounds like an opportunity has presented itself for a full check up.

marcjsmith 10-01-2022 19:23

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OldManMirage (Post 3552245)

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.

If the op puts both nuts the proper side of the quadrant As indicated in the pics from Edson, wouldnít that remove slop from the cables?

Baring that, buy new take up eyes that have more thread closer the hook or run the existing eyes through a die to add some thread if the op want to keep the nuts in their current configuration

gamayun 10-01-2022 22:13

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoodsail (Post 3552677)
Lastly, I read that inspecting the base of the pedestal is an area that rarely gets examined and could be compromised...

How so? I bought replacement chain years and new pulleys ago and my cables have some "stretch" that I can't seem to tighten enough so this thread has been really helpful in getting this moved up the list. What else might need to be looked at?

GILow 11-01-2022 02:03

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gamayun (Post 3552856)
How so? I bought replacement chain years and new pulleys ago and my cables have some "stretch" that I can't seem to tighten enough so this thread has been really helpful in getting this moved up the list. What else might need to be looked at?



I think Hoodsail may be referring to incidents of the pedestal mounting itself failing. I remember a thread a while back showing that the brackets under the cockpit sole had rusted away to almost nothing and the pedestal either detached and fell over or was perilously close to doing so.

Easily overlooked, I know it made me scramble to check mine. All ok but Iíd been focusing on cables and pulleys and hadnít considered how the pedestal was attached to the boat.

OldManMirage 11-01-2022 04:44

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcjsmith (Post 3552764)
If the op puts both nuts the proper side of the quadrant As indicated in the pics from Edson, wouldnít that remove slop from the cables?

Unfortunately no. The problem is there are no more threads to tighten up. Putting a few washers under the nut on the tensioning side will pull the rod through a bit more, thus tensioning the cable.

OldManMirage 11-01-2022 04:48

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GILow (Post 3552896)
I think Hoodsail may be referring to incidents of the pedestal mounting itself failing. I remember a thread a while back showing that the brackets under the cockpit sole had rusted away to almost nothing and the pedestal either detached and fell over or was perilously close to doing so.

Easily overlooked, I know it made me scramble to check mine. All ok but Iíd been focusing on cables and pulleys and hadnít considered how the pedestal was attached to the boat.

This can definitely be an issue. It's easy to get a bit of water under the pedestal in the cockpit, and this can drip or even just migrate in and around the bolts going through the cockpit to the plate under the pedestal, causing some corrosion.

I have looked at mine - since I just bought the boat - and I can see some minor corrosion and paint peeling. It's certainly something that I plan to address over the coming months.

marcjsmith 11-01-2022 05:32

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OldManMirage (Post 3552928)
Unfortunately no. The problem is there are no more threads to tighten up. Putting a few washers under the nut on the tensioning side will pull the rod through a bit more, thus tensioning the cable.




op has a nut on either side of the quadrant attachment point which is contrary to what edson diagram shows with two nuts jammed against each other taking up tension and locking against each other



which means there is thread all the way to the inside nut nearest the hook. move the inside nut to the outside, so it can act like a jam nut against the other outside nut, as indicated in the drawing. Voila you've got at least an inch more thread to play with to tighten the cable.




the way the OP has it now, with the inner nut at the end of the thread, trying to add a washer between the outer nut and quadrant would not net you any extra tension. since the inner nut cant be loosened any more.(no more thread)


if there is too much slack, then you'd need a hook with more thread closer to the hook end or a shorter cable.



Personally, i'd look for a new hook with more thread, new nuts and washers before I started playing with new cables


cheaper easier, faster

capt.rob 11-01-2022 06:41

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
in photos it looks like a cable has jumped out of the top groove in quadrant and riding with the bottom cable. 1 cable is ran higher than the other and run acrost back of quadrent to the adjusters 1 cable in each groove upper and lower. If 1 jumps steering can bind and cables get loose I just fixed a 1986 Grand Banks trawler a couple days ago with same problem but his were so loose 1 cable would come off when he backed into a mudbank. after reruning cables into there proper groove I had plenty of adjustment to tighten them up.

OldManMirage 12-01-2022 04:52

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcjsmith (Post 3552943)
op has a nut on either side of the quadrant attachment point which is contrary to what edson diagram shows with two nuts jammed against each other taking up tension and locking against each other



which means there is thread all the way to the inside nut nearest the hook. move the inside nut to the outside, so it can act like a jam nut against the other outside nut, as indicated in the drawing. Voila you've got at least an inch more thread to play with to tighten the cable.




the way the OP has it now, with the inner nut at the end of the thread, trying to add a washer between the outer nut and quadrant would not net you any extra tension. since the inner nut cant be loosened any more.(no more thread)


if there is too much slack, then you'd need a hook with more thread closer to the hook end or a shorter cable.



Personally, i'd look for a new hook with more thread, new nuts and washers before I started playing with new cables


cheaper easier, faster

Ah, you are correct. :facepalm: Not sure what I was thinking. Yes, move the nut to the tension side (inside), 2 nuts together act as locknuts, makes much more sense and would probably give the small amount of tension needed to tighten things up.

Good call !!

:thumb:

Jubilee39 12-01-2022 05:26

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Just a note on the stainless chain. Mine broke while sailing into anchorage. Caused a little excitement but no damage. I replaced with motorcycle chain which is carbon steel vs stainless. Its well greased so corrosion is not a problem and less suceptible to stress corrosion

stormalong 12-01-2022 09:55

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jubilee39 (Post 3553455)
Just a note on the stainless chain. Mine broke while sailing into anchorage. Caused a little excitement but no damage. I replaced with motorcycle chain which is carbon steel vs stainless. Its well greased so corrosion is not a problem and less suceptible to stress corrosion

Do you have a compass on the pedestal? What affect did tht chain have on the compass?

Jubilee39 12-01-2022 10:14

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
No noticeable effect.the compass is about 8 inches above the sprocket. I don't know what the magnetic field is of the stainless but I have circumnavigated with the steel chain

stormalong 12-01-2022 10:36

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jubilee39 (Post 3553601)
No noticeable effect.the compass is about 8 inches above the sprocket. I don't know what the magnetic field is of the stainless but I have circumnavigated with the steel chain

Most compass mounts are right above the chain so some experimentation would be needed.

FWIW you can buy stainless steel chain from sources other than Edson for far less money.

GILow 12-01-2022 14:25

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcjsmith (Post 3552943)

Personally, i'd look for a new hook with more thread, new nuts and washers before I started playing with new cables


cheaper easier, faster


Personally, Iíd look for the CAUSE of the problem before kludging such a ďcheap easy and fastĒ solution.

Anything else is an invitation to steering failure. If I was looking at a boat with that kind of maintenance Iíd stay well clear.

marcjsmith 12-01-2022 15:33

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GILow (Post 3553732)
Personally, Iíd look for the CAUSE of the problem before kludging such a ďcheap easy and fastĒ

Op said he put new cables on ten years ago.
Possible that there is nothing wrong with the system other than the inability to tune out some slop

Cables stretch over time.

Itís possible that when the new cables were installed they were cut a smidge too long, or the hooks were not returned to their full loose position When the new cables were made or a combination of the two.

Looks like the op has done due diligence at least in looking for possible areas that could create the slop and found none.

Cables look clean, hooks look old and grungy, quadrant could use a scrub,

Meh.... new hooks washers and nuts and a good cleaning. Snug it all back up, cast off the lines and go sailing.

Itís rare on a boat, but sometimes, the easiest and cheapest fix, much to the chagrin of chandlers and boatyards, is the right fix.

wholybee 12-01-2022 16:54

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Imho, 10 years is a long time. The cables need replaced, regardless of grease or appearance. The steel will fatigue and fail without warning or signs of wear. Likely other stuff needs replacement as well. Edson has a guide to inspection and rebuilding, and drawings of factory installs with parts lists.

Do not attempt to remove a link from the chain. You could try removing the crimped loop on the end of the cable and replace with clamps. A new cable from Edson will use clamps.

GILow 12-01-2022 18:39

Re: Tensioning my steering cables.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marcjsmith (Post 3553768)
Op said he put new cables on ten years ago.

Possible that there is nothing wrong with the system other than the inability to tune out some slop



Cables stretch over time.



Itís possible that when the new cables were installed they were cut a smidge too long, or the hooks were not returned to their full loose position When the new cables were made or a combination of the two.



Looks like the op has done due diligence at least in looking for possible areas that could create the slop and found none.



Cables look clean, hooks look old and grungy, quadrant could use a scrub,



Meh.... new hooks washers and nuts and a good cleaning. Snug it all back up, cast off the lines and go sailing.



Itís rare on a boat, but sometimes, the easiest and cheapest fix, much to the chagrin of chandlers and boatyards, is the right fix.



Ten years is old, particularly for some of the rubbish wire on the market.

Whatever, the OP has a number of suggestions here, they can choose.

Myself, I think steering systems are too critical for shortcuts.


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