Rudder cables - need some help

Dec 29, 2017
109
Catalina 310 Middle River
So in the midst of a race in the waters off Lewes, Delaware I needed to do a hard over in 20 knot winds and I believe that and the 6 ft waves knocked my rudder cables off of the pulleys. I got them back on the pulleys but noticed 2 things - the cables seemed to have some of slack and a single thread of wire in the cable was broken.

A couple questions for the community - if I need to tighten cables do I do it at rudder wheel? And if so has anyone seen a good online tutorial? Secondly, should I look at replacing the entire cable over a single strand?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
 
Aug 21, 2019
109
Catalina 315 18 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
The loose strand is a warning, but even more concerning is your cable becoming longer. That could easily be due to to the cable becoming damaged. The extra slack from the damaged cable might explain why it came off the pulleys in the first place. At the very least a careful inspection is in order. Having broken a rudder cable on my previous boat, I would replace it. It is not that expensive a part and losing steerage is a not a good thing.
 
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Jun 14, 2010
1,725
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
So in the midst of a race in the waters off Lewes, Delaware I needed to do a hard over in 20 knot winds and I believe that and the 6 ft waves knocked my rudder cables off of the pulleys. I got them back on the pulleys but noticed 2 things - the cables seemed to have some of slack and a single thread of wire in the cable was broken.

A couple questions for the community - if I need to tighten cables do I do it at rudder wheel? And if so has anyone seen a good online tutorial? Secondly, should I look at replacing the entire cable over a single strand?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
The first question: You should inspect the entire run of the cables -- the slack didnt't come from losing just one strand. I suspect that somewhere the cable jumped off another sheave and is running alongside the sheave -- probably rubbing on the sheave axle and/or the sheave box. It is chafing and will break completely if you keep using it like that.
Second question - yes, replace the whole cable.
 
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Dec 29, 2017
109
Catalina 310 Middle River
Second question - yes, replace the whole cable.
Thanks Captain Larry - just looked on Catalina Direct and couldn’t find the cable. Any other suggestions? Additionally, have you replaced this cable? If so any thoughts on how to repair - notably do I need to take off the pedestal?
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,725
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
@AwwShucks I’m sorry I can’t help any further, I spoke from general experience/knowledge of cable/chain steering. If you can’t get help from others on the forum, consult a local rigger or call Catalina. Good luck.
 
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Nov 6, 2006
9,225
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
Go to “owner resources “ then click on General Downloads “ scroll down to “MerrimanSteering Parts” click on that and scroll down to the stuff on cables. Your system is probably an Edson, but the instructions and workings are generally the same. Pay attention to the part about the cables being crossed if applicable to your system.
the parts should be on Edson’s website.
 
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Jun 11, 2004
1,220
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
So in the midst of a race in the waters off Lewes, Delaware I needed to do a hard over in 20 knot winds and I believe that and the 6 ft waves knocked my rudder cables off of the pulleys. I got them back on the pulleys but noticed 2 things - the cables seemed to have some of slack and a single thread of wire in the cable was broken.

A couple questions for the community - if I need to tighten cables do I do it at rudder wheel? And if so has anyone seen a good online tutorial? Secondly, should I look at replacing the entire cable over a single strand?
Thanks in advance for any insight.
I don't know what make of steering system you have but if it is Edson they have pretty good support. Here is a link to some information from them.

And a good video:


And if you have even only one strand of the cable broken then yes, you should replace it.

If you need to tighten up the cables you generally do it at the device (radial drive / quadrant) attached to your rudder post.

When I replaced my cables I reused the old chain and had new cables made up at a local chandlery.

You should not need to remove the pedestal to replace the cables.
 
Last edited:

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,996
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
You do have an Edson system. The cables will slacken over time with normal use. They are tightened at the steering quadrant on the rudder post. I have tightened mine several times over the last 16 years. Each season, I lube the cables by running a rag soaked with 30W motor oil over the cables. If you feel a snag on the rag, this will indicate a broken strand in the cable.
Definitely change the cable with the broken strand. Might as well change both of them. They are available from Edson. The steering pedestal end of the system is a chain, and I think the chain/cable comes as a unit from Edson. The chain should also have been lubricated occasionally with 30W oil, if not, it should be replaced.
On the plus side, there is excellent access to the steering system by removing the cover in the overhead of the aft berth. Take care when removing the compass when opening the pedestal.
 
Dec 29, 2017
109
Catalina 310 Middle River
Thanks all - made the decision to replace cables and chain given that they have seen 20 years of service.
For those that have replaced this in the past, were you able to do the cable tensioning setup in the video Richard19068 posted prior to feeding through pedestal? Or is this something that needs to be done after feeding the cables through? Just thinking about the cable manipulation in the cramped space of the berth.
 
Jan 18, 2016
682
Catalina 387 Dana Point
After, and yes, it's a pain to get to the steering quadrant.

Also ensure before tension that you've got the direction correct. The cables 'cross' inside the pedestal. It is indeed possible to reverse them. DAMHIKT.

Good time while you're at it to test your emergency tiller too.
 
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Dec 29, 2017
109
Catalina 310 Middle River
After, and yes, it's a pain to get to the steering quadrant.

Also ensure before tension that you've got the direction correct. The cables 'cross' inside the pedestal. It is indeed possible to reverse them. DAMHIKT.

Good time while you're at it to test your emergency tiller too.
this is one of those repairs where I am going to take a bunch of before pictures to ensure that my after actually works.
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,996
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
this is one of those repairs where I am going to take a bunch of before pictures to ensure that my after actually works.
Good idea. It's a bit scary when you turn the wheel left, and the boat turns right. The first time I built a go kart for my kids, I didn't know about the cross over of the steering cables, and it went the wrong way when I first tried it.
 

rukidn

.
Apr 23, 2012
158
Catalina 310 258 Sandusky, OH
I had mine fail suddenly and built replacements a while back. Since your are intact, they should be easy to copy. Hope this is helpful. /Ed