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HighFly_27 11-07-2012 03:46 PM

Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
I do not have a book and not likely to find one for -- 1970 Islander 37, MS, Hull # 3096

I was looking at the rudder assembly to see what I need to do to drop the rudder down. The rudder has about 2 feet busted off it and needs replaced or rebuilt. I have a habit of inspecting and recording values prior to the dissassembly of anything I repair.

I ran the wheel thru. and it's two turns .. lock to lock. I did not notice any change in hard spots (drag) during the check.

This is the Question.

What is the normal tension of the steering control cable as a norm. I think my cables are loose. I moved them back & forth between 16 inches of distance between two pulleys. I could deflect the cable a 1/2 inch or so. I did not take exact measurments. I knew I needed some (cable tension) information before I made an adjustment.


Siamese 11-07-2012 04:06 PM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
Don't worry about the "tension". Just get the play out of the wheel. In other words, as you adjust the cables after your rudder repair, turn the wheel and watch for the rudder post to move. Then turn the wheel the other way, and watch for the rudder to move. If the wheel moves a few degrees before the rudder moves, you have play. Just tighten the cables until when you turn the wheel, there's no play. There's no reason to tension the cables beyond the point of having removed play from the system.

HighFly_27 11-07-2012 04:15 PM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
That makes Sense to Me.

I've use to work on aircraft and they have a set procedure & use -- tension meter & temp. chart. I can adjust them -- No free movement.



msmith10 11-07-2012 04:19 PM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
While you're at it, replace the cables. A broken cable guarantees a bad day.
On the same subject, do you have an emergency tiller and have you tried using it?

HighFly_27 11-07-2012 06:04 PM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
I did a Bow to Stern search today and found a -- tiller under the bow berth compartment.

I did not take it out and try it. The tiller arm was about 3 ft. long and had a steel shaft (about 1 ft.) attached to it, the end of it was 6 or 8 sided. Tomorrow, I will see if drops in and and it's the right one. I can't imagine why it would be carried on this boat and fit's another boat but I've been fooled before. Last thought, I don't see how I'd be able to use the tiller below deck. The top of the mast housing is about 9 inches below the top deck. Maybe I missed a opening above it and it fits right in the top of the mast tube. I did see a 6 in. screw or pop up clear plastic cover but it was about 2 feet forward of the mast tube (centered in the the tub (if I'm saying it right).

I've seen this before and wondering about the -- Real Value/ Importance of having a spare rudder on board ! ? !

I'm about to make a new rudder and could do (2) of them at the same time. The cost of materials will be about $ 400.00 each (rough est.). Now's the time to make a 2nd rudder and the extra $ 400 or $ 500 bucks does not worry me.

The I37 has a 5.9 ft. keel, the former owner said that it was always a concern of his. So, (green horn ques.) with a rudder that sticks down there, nearly 6 ft., I'm more likely to get it banged up. I'm at risk... more then some of the other sailboat designs.

Would it be a Good Idea to Do Two of them and carry it on board. I do plan on taking the boat on longer trips in 2014.

2nd Question: I did not put my Xray Eye Balls on the cables. I see that the steering cables are recommended to be replaced as well.

My 1st (today) Impression of the cables.. they looked real good, like new. I did not see any sign of wear nor broken strands, etc. . They looked like stainless steel (??) cables. The cable pulleys looked good, the grooves did not look worn. Tomorrow, I need to really check everything out with a good light and xray eyes turned on. I will call the former owner and ask about these cables, he spent $ 20K on this boat. Back to 2nd question -- if they (cables) look good and check good, they are good to go and leave them alone

3rd Question: The owner told me that he did not think the cabin wheel was rigged right. He said, that it needed checked out for wear, adjustment or ??

Today's check out -- the aft. wheel seems Ok (lock to lock) and is driven by chain & cable arrangement. The cabin wheel is driven by a rotary cable and looks fairly new. I did not feel anything that different (cabin whl.). I need to have someone put hand pressure against the rudder and check it again. I will turn it through from lock to lock from the cabin wheel & recheck it again with my sons help.

Back to 3rd question > If the cabin wheel does have play (with rudder loaded) or it's a lot more noticeable, then... do these rotary cable's get >> Sprung or Twisted (weakened) inside the cable tube ? Is the only way to fix this problem >> Replacement ?


Stu Jackson 11-07-2012 06:07 PM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
You might consider looking at "The Book" --- Edson Marine if that's what you have.

msmith10 11-07-2012 06:36 PM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
1. You don't need a spare rudder. All boats with cable steering, though, need an emergency tiller in case a steering cable breaks. There should be an opening or fitting of some type in your cockpit sole to allow you to insert an emergency tiller into the top of the rudder shaft.
2. If the steering cables look good, take a wad of kleenex (to protect your hand) and run it over the entire length of the cables. If it catches on a frayed cable, even a single strand, replace the cable. If you can do this and there are no frays (also called meat hooks- that's the reason for using the kleenex) anywhere, then you can skip replacing the cables.
3. Are you aware that there is an Islander 37 association online?

They have a forum and you may be able to get some more specific info there.

HighFly_27 11-08-2012 10:35 AM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate [ See (8 Nov.) New Pic's. ]
5 Attachment(s)
I checked the rudder housing & controls and my picture's may be worth a 1000 words.

I got the Emer. Tiller out and it looks like the real McCoy. I tried to remove the sole cover plate to insert it but the cover was tight; I did not have the right tool to remove it.

I noticed that the Tiller has seperated where it's laminated together and needs repaired.

I will send a 2nd series of (5) pic's in the 2nd post after this one (5 more pic's.) .

HighFly_27 11-08-2012 10:42 AM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
5 Attachment(s)
Ref: Rudder Steering

2nd Post with follow-on (5) Pictures.

msmith10 11-08-2012 11:49 AM

Re: Steering Cable Tension Estimate (no book)
That's your emergency tiller. The tiller delam is minor. Just epoxy and clamps. That access port is the right one. You can open that with a large pair of pliers-stick the ends of the handles in and turn, use a large screwdriver between the handles if you need leverage. The cables look OK. As I said above, just check them for frayed strands. If there aren't any, don't need to change them.

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