Rudder cable needs replacing

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by cruzin, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. cruzin

    cruzin Paddler

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    Hi all,

    I had my rudder cable give out on me for the very first time the other day. Is this an easy fix or should I bring it into a shop to get it replaced? Also, should I replace the other cable at the same time? I've never had to do any repairs on my kayak before so it's pretty new to me.
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    I'd guess from your description you might be happier if someone familiar with stainless cable and the process of attaching endpieces did the job. You need some tools to do the job right.

    And, yes, replace both cables. Likely the second one is getting close to retirement, also,
     
  3. cruzin

    cruzin Paddler

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    I've never done it before and was never shown how. I figured if it was an easy job I would give it a try...but if it was more indepth I'll let the pros do it. Too bad there aren't any courses on kayak repair and maintenance. I would definitely sign up.
     
  4. cruzin

    cruzin Paddler

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    Ok, I'm finally getting the courage to take the plung and try to do it myself. I checked out the cable that is still attached to the boat and the parts look pretty decent and easy to follow. Is there a particular stainless steel cable size I need to buy? Hopefully I can find these parts at the local hardware store.

    Wish me luck!
     
  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Nope. You need stainless cable and small nicopress sleeves, all of which you can get at the local marine supply store. Setting the sleeves is the critical part, which can be done using a pair of vise grips. But, you need to practice setting them, so get a few extra and some extra cable.

    One other tip: estimate the length of cable needed, add two feet, and tape the replacement to the old one (electricians tape) so when you withdraw the old cable (cut off the end fitting), you draw the new one through. Threading a fresh end can be a bear.

    Cutting SS cable is best done with some heavy duty diagonal cutters, or a Dremel grinding wheel or similar.

    You may need a pair of hemostats to withdraw the cable from its channel.

    Check back and let us guide you through the process. If you are brave enough to try, we will be here to help.
     
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    cruzin,

    More thoughts:

    Most kayak cables are 1/16 inch, but some are a little larger; it is possible to make a cable of diameter smaller than what is in there work; if you can't tell what yours is, go with 1/16.

    Some marine stores will loan out their nicopress tool overnight, at closing time, if you promise to return them at their opening time the next morning. A nicopress tool is just a monster set of pliers (on the dimensions of a small bolt cutter), adjusted to give exactly the correct amount of compression for the cable diameter and size fitting you have. That said, I have done field repairs with vise grips, and they seem to hold up well in use, so don't sweat it if you can't get hold of the special tool.

    A Dremel tool is useful for a host of repairs, as well as engraving, etc., so if you can spare the bucks, get a basic unit. They usually come with a little kit of accessories which includes the abrasive wheel needed to cut the cable. The Dremel tool will usually give a cleaner cut than a pair of diagonal cutters (aks "dikes"), and is more controllable, so I recommend it.
     
  7. cruzin

    cruzin Paddler

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    Good news! I finally installed the cables yesterday.
    Bad news: I think I pulled a back muscle doing it.

    I had a bit of a time finding the parts I needed but ended up finding them at a local kayaking shop. They had this rudder repair kit that had most of the parts I needed to replace the rudder cable (cable, nicopress sleeves, shrink wrap tube). The only thing I couldn't find was the washer that connected to the cable to the rudder. The part was bascially a washer with something that looked like a nicopress sleeve on the end. They guy at the shop suggested that I just make small loop the end of the cable instead and then crimp the cable with nicopress sleeves to keep the loop in place. This did the trick!

    Thanks for all the help Astoriadave and kayak shop guy!
     
  8. kayakingkarebear

    kayakingkarebear Paddler

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    Hi,
    I was wondering which kayaking shop you went to for the cable replacement/repair kit? I live in Oakridge (south Vancouver). I'm replacing the rudder cables on my Seaward Ascente as the exposed portion near the rudder is looking rusty and I can only guess what the unexposed portion looks like. Not worth finding out in rough seas!
    Thanks!
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Seaward aren't far away; you could give them a call to see if this repair kit
    http://store.seawardkayaks.com/item169.htm
    is what you need.
    :big_thumb on replacing something before it fails!
    Sometimes a bit of surface rust on stainless is nothing to worry about, but give it a good 'once over' look.
    A scotchbrite pad can clean up the cable for proper inspection. Look for frayed/broken strands or serious pitting, or corrosion at the cable-fitting junction. (I know nothing about kayak rudders, but sailboats have a lot of stainless rigging, and I do know something about that.)

    Let us all know how it turns out!