Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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That sounds like a pull-pull sheathed (conduit) cable system, which works roughly the same way that a motorcycle throttle cable works. Because careful alignment of the components are not required it is a popular after market system since the components are easier to install.
The bad news is that it is also one of the highest friction systems and so requires more energy to make the same adjustment as compared to lower friction systems. The sheathed cable systems tend to be a little less reliable than most other systems as corrosion inside the cable covers can go undetected, and crushing or movement of the cable covers can result in sloppy steering. This is really my least favorite system except hydraulic.
These come on a variety of constructions but it sounds like you have a system with grease cups to lubricate the cables. This is better than the alternatives where you have to try to work in grease from the ends. (Very in effective. The grease helps reduce friction a bit, reduces wear and tear on the cable sheath and also reduces corrosion of the cable so it is important to maintain grease in the system.