Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SF - South Bay
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Re: How much rust is too much?
Look most carefully at the end fittings (normally swaged). Rust causes swelling, and can cause the fittings to crack - and therefore be on the verge of failure. A magnifying glass may help; some people use a black dye to highlight cracks (I have not yet tried that).
Meathooks - small broken strands - are another reason for immediate replacement.
After that - if all the end fittings are solid, and the wire has no broken strands - the answer generally depends on your usage of the boat. If you are going offshore, the general recommendation is "if in doubt replace them" whatever the "them" may be. At the other extreme, a fair-weather lake sailor, you may decide to leave it a bit longer.
And photos always help!! :-) Good luck