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  Lubing throttle and shift cables?

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Author Topic:   Lubing throttle and shift cables?
triblet posted 12-10-2002 06:03 PM ET (US)   Profile for triblet   Send Email to triblet  
Do the shift and throttle cables get lubed, and
if so, how? While I've got everything apart
fixing the binnacle and have at least some access to the ends of the cables, this would
be a good time. But it doesn't look like the
cables can be pulled through their sheaths.
So how would I get grease on them?

Chuck

lhg posted 12-10-2002 07:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
The control box should be kept greased, and where the cable ends are attached. But you can't get grease into the sealed cables at this end. They should also be greased where they slide in and out at the engine end. This is the most important place to keep lubed. Throttle and shift cables can eventually bind up and get hard to work internally, then they just have to be replaced.
Tom W Clark posted 12-10-2002 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
The cables are designed to be permanently lubricated. Modern cables use plastic and Teflon. In years gone by I have greased really old OMC cables, but those had ends that were removable. On a '96 boat, leave the cables alone.
whalerron posted 12-11-2002 08:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
The paperwork that came with my new cables explicitly stated that the cables must not be lubricated.
hauptjm posted 12-11-2002 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
In line with this thread, what is the average cost of throttle and shift cables on an 18OR? Larry, have you had to replace yours recently? The reason I ask, is that mine were all replaced with a repower in 1995 when my bracket replaced the old SeaDrive unit. It seems I should get more than 7 years worth of use, and I'm getting a lot of binding. I've greased at the binacle end as well as the engine end to no avail.

Lastly, I aked regarding an 18OR, but actually I'll have to go with more like a 20ft. because of the extension from the bracket.

triblet posted 12-11-2002 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I checked the West catalog when I thought I
might have a broken cable. I was guessing
18' cable, they ran any where from $30 to $150,
all from Morse. The price only varies a little
with length.


Chuck

lhg posted 12-11-2002 03:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Jim - I think you would need 20' cables for your rig. Looking at the Shoreway Marine catalog, cables made by Teleflex (which I would recommend) for OMC equipment are about $22 each.
Mercury cables are about $26 each in that length.

Other than getting kinked, there is not much explanation for cable binding. But when it happens they simply need to be replaced. The cables on my 18 Outrage are all original from 1986 and work fine. I have needed to replace only one on my 25. I have found the Teleflex cables to be excellent. I think they actually are the ones that make Mercury's own brand cables.

hauptjm posted 12-11-2002 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Thanks guys! I'm amazed that the life on the current cables I have has been so short. I'm going to check the brand when I get home, because, frankly I don't remember. My steering is Teleflex Sea Star, so it might be that my dealer used teleflex on the cables. It was all done at the same time back in '95. I have a Shorway catalog at home as well, and have had good experiences with them in the past, so I'll probably go with them if their prices are good. Again, thanks.
jimh posted 12-11-2002 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It must be that salt water environment. My Mercury cables are c.1976 and still working, but I have had to disassemble and lubricate the remote control box. The aluminum cams were getting rather torn; a file, some sandpaper and some good grease cured them.
Tom W Clark posted 12-11-2002 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
hauptjm,

If you are suffering binding after only seven years, I would suspect a bend in the cable(s). Those control cables are quite flexible and have a tremendous amount of flexibility, but if they do bend to the point where the core does straighten all the way out again, then you will get binding.

It will most likely happen where the cables go into the motor. On my Outrage 18, I had a dual binnacle mount control so I could control the kicker from the helm. The cables going into the kicker suffered when the kicker was tilted up (which was most of the time) and the cables were forced down into the splash well. This results in them getting slightly bent right at the motor. After a few years the cables got more and more difficult because the core in the cables had a set. The only remedy is replacement.

Jiles posted 12-11-2002 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jiles    
When I bought my 13 Whaler, it had set out in the weather for 2 or 3 years. Needless to say all the control cables were froze up. I un-froze these cables with WD40 and then lubricated them with 30 weight motor oil with graphite mixed with it. In the past, I would lubricate all my motorcycle cables using this suggested methoid: Cut the corner off a sandwich baggie, slide this over the disconnected cable end, and seal off with a rubberband or tape, around the outer jacket of the cable. This forms a make-shift funnel by which you can apply the lubricant of your choice. It may take several hours or over-night to empty. I am not saying that this is a permanent repair but it will get you by in a pinch. My cables didn't appear to be "frayed" and after the re-lube, I could push or pull them with two fingers. Just my humble opinion.
whalerron posted 12-12-2002 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I am consistently getting about 7 years out of my cables. Somehow, the brackish water finds its way into the casing and that starts rusting the metal winding that is under the plastic casing. At about the 7 year mark, the winding rusts enough that it starts binding the stainless cable. The really interesting thing is that this always happens about midway in the tunnel.
hauptjm posted 12-12-2002 11:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Jimh and Tom,

You're probably right that the salt and brackish environment that they live in has a lot to do with the lifespan. It's not an expensive replacement so I'll do just that, replace. It can be however, be frustrating.

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