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Author Topic:   cable maintanence
simonmeridew posted 03-31-2001 05:38 AM ET (US)   Profile for simonmeridew   Send Email to simonmeridew  
Back in the '60s I had an MGA roadster. The parking brake cable had a 'zerk' grease fitting part way down the outer housing. Every time you changed the oil and greased the vehicle you put a grease gun on the cable fitting and gave it a couple of squeezes. You never had to worry about the cable seizing up or rusting because you were always forcing grease outwards.

Does anyone think a steering cable or other control cable could be fitted with such a grease fitting? Would it work?

lhg posted 03-31-2001 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
These things are readily available and recommended if you have mechanical steering or a side mount Hydraulic cylinder.

There are two types. One fits on the starboard side of the tilt tube so oil can be added at that point to lubricate the inner cable itself. The other style fits on the port side, replacing the engine manufacturer's nut & o-ring, and allows injection of grease for the steering ram. The main thing this does it to use a grease "plug", behind the o-ring, to prevent contamination of the inner tilt tube, a major cause of steering bind-up. This item began life being called a "Widget" but is now marketed as a "Steersman". I swear by these with my side mount Hydraulic steering systems.

triblet posted 04-01-2001 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I have the Steersman on my Montauk. Besides
giving it a couple of pumps of grease every
25 hours, is there other cable maintenance
I should do?

It's a salt water boat, used about 100 hours
running time a year, probably in the water
500 hours a year.


lhg posted 04-01-2001 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Chuck: I think the only thing you have to do is (maybe once a year) actually remove the Steersman, clean out all the old grease, put in a new O-ring and re-install and grease. As long as the sheath on your mechanical steering cable is not cracked, there is no way for any contaminants to get in. From my experience with cable steering, the dirt and salt work their way in from the ram end as the o-ring wears. This is where the grease "plug" inside the nut really helps. It's a secondary defense against tilt tube contamination. If your steering ram is covered with dirty grease, and not wiped shiny clean by the o-ring each time, it's time for a new o-ring!

If your cable can easily be withdrawn from the tilt tube on the starboard side (many can't without removing the engine), I would do that occasionally, and clean out and re-grease the inside of the tilt-tube. A shotgun cleaning wire brush works well here.

Once rust, corrosion and crud get in this tilt-tube, your steering will work increasingly difficult until it just binds up!

Some manufacturers are now making the tilt tube out of stainless, a big improvment. These are usually part of the "Saltwater" designation on the engines. It's a worthy upgrade (about $80 for one in SS) if you're planning on keeping an engine for a while.

Don't also forget to grease the swivel pin on the engine shaft. That can also bind up! Pump it up with new grease until all of the old, dirty grease oozes out the bottom.

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