Itsabimmerthing

New steering cables? Wire or fiber?

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I need to change my steering wires next lay-up. 45' C/R. I have solimar steering, single wheel, wire+chain.

I like the system now as there is no play whatsoever and the steering is very light. Cables are relatively short, around 2 metres per side and pass through one 90 degree turning sheave only.

What do you guys recommend, Wire or fiber? Any other improvements I should think about?

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I have Vectran covered with a polypro sleeve for chafe protection. Works great. For me it was both renewing in a remote island without crimping and avoiding meat hooks in a locker I need to crawl around in. Steering is lighter and smoother than the wire was. No rust spots where seawater sits.

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8 hours ago, Itsabimmerthing said:

I need to change my steering wires next lay-up. 45' C/R. I have solimar steering, single wheel, wire+chain.

I like the system now as there is no play whatsoever and the steering is very light. Cables are relatively short, around 2 metres per side and pass through one 90 degree turning sheave only.

What do you guys recommend, Wire or fiber? Any other improvements I should think about?

Why do you need to change it? How old is it? If you liked the factory solution and it lasted, the easiest/cheapest/possibly-best thing to do would be to stick with it.

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Last time I did cleaning and re-greasing of the wires, sheaves and quadrant, one of the wires (Stbd) had small "meat hooks", tiny pieces from the rag i used revealed that it is time to change the wires...

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Yup, time to replace. If it lasted a long time, I'd stick with wire. If it didn't, the cost (in time) and trouble of changing to synthetic might be worth it. 

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11 hours ago, daddle said:

I have Vectran covered with a polypro sleeve for chafe protection. Works great. For me it was both renewing in a remote island without crimping and avoiding meat hooks in a locker I need to crawl around in. Steering is lighter and smoother than the wire was. No rust spots where seawater sits.

Did you experience issues with creep? Did you need to re-tension several times before it all settled out?

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Wire isn’t going to be the loser in a chafe battle. 

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Vectran probably won't creep for the loads seen in steering system cables.

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7 hours ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Wire isn’t going to be the loser in a chafe battle. 

+1.  I had a Vectran steering cable break on me during a backdown. I would stay with wire, or a heat treated Dynema.

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11 hours ago, Ajax said:

Did you experience issues with creep? Did you need to re-tension several times before it all settled out?

No. No creep. I put on the polypro jacket chafe jacket just because the Edson quadrant seemed kinda rough and didn’t want the rooe getting fuzzy. Probably not needed.

How could Vectran break from overload when wire would not?  Twice as strong.

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If you don't have a specific reason to switch, might as well stick with wire - it's time tested, you like how it handles, it's cheap to make, and easy to inspect.

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4 hours ago, Itsabimmerthing said:

Vectran sounds interesting, just conserned that I might lose my close to perfect feel with virtually no play.

Yes, you wouldn't know without trying it. I have zero play with the Vectran. It is definitely lighter motion as the vectran bends around the pulleys way easier. The lack of meathooks in a place I often work is the biggest plus, second is ease of replacement in far off places: spare is tiny to store, just two eye splices at the helm, a couple of knots at the quadrant, no swage tool needed. No grease, and no rust spots. Almost a miracle.

I tighten it the same way as the shrouds: so the off side just barely slackens under maximum sailing helm force.

Mine was 1/4” wire, now 6mm Vectran.

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Interesting use of Vectran, never thought of using it as a steering cable. I would give it a try. If you can do the slices yourself, it will cost you almost nothing to try. If you do not like you can always go back to wire.

 

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3 hours ago, daddle said:

Yes, you wouldn't know without trying it. I have zero play with the Vectran. It is definitely lighter motion as the vectran bends around the pulleys way easier. The lack of meathooks in a place I often work is the biggest plus, second is ease of replacement in far off places: spare is tiny to store, just two eye splices at the helm, a couple of knots at the quadrant, no swage tool needed. No grease, and no rust spots. Almost a miracle.

I tighten it the same way as the shrouds: so the off side just barely slackens under maximum sailing helm force.

Mine was 1/4” wire, now 6mm Vectran.

I don't doubt that Vectran would bend around pulleys easier than wire but it may not be the limiting factor in steering feel. Are the rudder bearings Jefa or similar rollers or just bushings? Are the pedestal shaft bearings in good shape or worn? Are they greased up, along with the pulley bearings? I'd look at all that before moving away from the wire solution unless the wire solution failed prematurely.

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If all parts were new, quadrant etc. I would consider changing.  After many years with wire stick to it.

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Wire. 7x9 galvi.

 

Played the game with Dyneema SK99, Vectran, PBO, Kevlar. If weight isn't critical, go with the faithful. Also no need to polish/change sheaves and quadrant.

 

HW

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Would a vectran cable also isolate the rudder post and reduce possibility of corrosion?

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Im pretty sure it would.

Last links in the chain do the job anyway?

I think i will try fiber, as said, it takes only minutes to splice them up. Most likely I will then order wire s and leave the fibers as spare. 

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In an old 45 racer we have used either Vectran or Dyneema; with the loads seen, creep is not an issue at all.

We have 8mm lines but 6mm would be plenty.

One of the advantages over SS is that you can make the cables easily, tune them, whatever, not needing any special tools. And replace them if they do not look ok.

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If it’s a simple matter to replace failed line with wire, have a go.  For my steering install, it’s quite a nuisance to remove the cable in the binnacle.  

As noted above, Wire has disadvantages but won’t chafe through in most cases.  

Steering seems like a fairly handy system to have working properly.   Steering cables are stressed 24/7 to some extent even at dock or anchor

p

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The ss chain will be the weakest part of the system by far. The removable links at each end are quite prone to failure. Inspect carefully & carry a spare.

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