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Author Topic:   Pulling Wires Through the Hull
BrianO posted 04-28-2003 09:56 AM ET (US)   Profile for BrianO   Send Email to BrianO  
I'm about the pull a transducer wire and bilge pump wires on my 20ft outrage. My batteries are located in the center console. I want to know the best way to pull the wires through without losing them. I have thought about buying a fexible piece of wire and trying to snake it though first.


kingfish posted 04-28-2003 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I picked up a tip from the guys at Lakeshore Marine who installed the arch on my Outrage 22, that has worked real well for me. Go to Auto Zone or Pep Boys or some local car parts place and buy a generic piece of speedometer cable; I think 15' is about the maximum in generic length, and I think it cost about 6 or 8 dollars. The nice thing about it is that if it starts to hang up when you are initially feeding it in, you can twist it (with that type of cable, when you twist at one end, the *whole* thing will twist just as much as your end), and that will normally help it find the path of least resistance and go on through.

While 15' is long enough (barely) to make it from the deck cutouts under the console, clear to the tunnel ends near your splashwell, I have found it a ton easier to to remove the floor plate and side panel on the inside gunwale near the console on the side of the tunnel you're trying to access, and feed the wire back from there, then use the wire to pull a long length of nylon mason's string (or something similar) up to the access area. Then fish the wire back to the access area from the deck cutout under the console, and grab the end of the string with the wire (tape it well), and pull it up through the cutout under the console.

You now have a string all the way from the splashwell to the cutout; use *that* to pull your wires, and whichever tunnel you're using, leave a piece of string in the tunnel when you're through, with some extra rolled up at each end, for future projects like this. Simply take a seperate piece of strong that you know is long enough, and pull it along with your cables.

Lastly, if you can lay your hands on some electrician's wire lubricant (liquid soap works too, but not as well), slather the wire(s) you're pulling with it and your job will be a snap.

kingfish posted 04-28-2003 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I just wrote that whole post thinking you said you had a 22; I see that I misread it and what you have is a 20. I don't know if they are layed out the same or not. Concept is the same though...
JBCornwell posted 04-28-2003 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Electricians figured this out many years ago.

Their tool is usually called a "fish tape". It is a piece of 1/4" wide flexible steel tape with a latch on the end. It can be as long as you desire, stored on a reel.

No substitute or Rube Goldberg rig I have tried comes close. Modestly priced at hardware stores.

I still keep a pull line stored in my Montauk tunnel as Kingfish describes, but when it gets crowded in there, out comes the fish tape.

Red sky at night. . .

bluewater posted 04-28-2003 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewater  Send Email to bluewater     
One more thing to add. After using a steel fish tape, be sure to wipe it off and clean it with a rag while recoiling. If not, the next time you use the tape you could end up with a big rusty mess.

A manufacturer by the name of "Greenlee" makes a really nice nylon fish tape.


kingfish posted 04-28-2003 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
The occasional advantage the speedometer cable has over traditional fishtapes (haven't yet encountered a nylon fishtape - sounds interesting) is in tight radii or offsets; when the fishtape might simply refuse to go forward because it has encountered too tight a bend or a "wall", the speedo cable can be twisted and flopped around and will keep going. The downside to the cable is that is not as "stiff" as the fishtape but that has not as yet been a problem for me. The other thing about the cable is that when it's not in use I roll it up into a coil about the circumference of my fist and a little over an inch thick and store it right inside my electrical tool and terminal box that follows very close to the boat wherever it is. It won't quite go inside of one of 3M's electrical tape containers (that would be too good to be true).
where2 posted 04-28-2003 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Poor Man's nylon fish tape is a new spool of weed-eater line. If your fishing tackle box is well equipped, you can crimp a loop splice into the end of the line after you feed it through the hole.

Rich Man's fish tape has an LED light on the end of it so you can find it in the dark tight places you fish through. The LED screws off, and the pull end screws on so you can pull your wires back through...

bluewater posted 04-28-2003 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewater  Send Email to bluewater     
If anyone is interested, here is a link to a nylon fish tape.

kingfish posted 04-28-2003 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
What we need here is a little robot that will clamber into these spaces. He'd need a little light and a video feed so we could watch the monitor and tell him whether we wanted him to go up, down or around the various obstacles he encountered for the best route. And of course he'd be pulling the cable(s) as he went...

Thank God it's almost boating season - I think I'm losing it...

HAPPYJIM posted 04-28-2003 06:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
Harbor Freight has 50 foot fish tapes for $5.00
Dick posted 04-28-2003 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
In the shops I have worked at we used the inner ss core of a throttle/shift cable.
Check around any dealers in your area for a takeoff they just go into the dumpster.


Taylor posted 04-28-2003 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I already had a fishtape, I've spent way to much time pulling new wires through old walls. Its an art. One thing I found is that it was easiest to remove the cooler and work from in front of the console feeding down through the tunnel going aft. At least on my montauk, the aft end of the tunnel was too close to the splash well to allow the fishtape to get started going forward.
ratherwhalering posted 04-28-2003 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
Don't forget to run another length of nylon weed wacker line, so when you need another lead later on, it'll be there!
larimore posted 05-08-2003 12:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for larimore  Send Email to larimore     
Electrician's fish tape AND wire lubricant(not soap).

Or find an existing wire to replace and pull two wires thru with it AND lubricant .

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