Cable/pulley steering vs rotary ?

Ironhorse2022

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Hi everyone. Currently my 56 Aerocraft has original cable and pulley steering. It’s misadjusted currently after having a recent cable replacement so doesn’t work worth a darn but shouldn’t be difficult to repair. Could use new pulleys at the 4 corners. What are your thoughts on converting to a rotary system like teleflex? I want to keep the original steering wheel. Thanks
 

gogittum

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There is no comparison between the old cable systems and push/pull systems. No brainer - go with the push/pull. Depending on steering shaft / steering wheel configurations, you may hafta do some adapting to use your old wheel, but anything is do-able with imagination and determination.
 

Ironhorse2022

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Thanks G, appreciate the feedback. I see rotary and rack systems out there. Any advantages one over the other ? I may not have room for the starboard rack side to bend the cable to run along the gunnel since my steering wheel is biased right and the beam is only 60”. If so rotated would be the only upgrade option I guess.
 

DaleH

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I’d go with UFlex over Teleflex, which aren’t as good as they used to be.

It is also worth it to go with a ‘No Feed Back’ or anti-torque model to prevent the prop torque from turning the steering wheel at speed, plus the steering effort is reduced.

You will thank me …
 

Ironhorse2022

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Thanks Dale. “No feedback” option even though I have just a 30 hp?
 

DaleH

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Thanks Dale. “No feedback” option even though I have just a 30 hp?
Check the co$t difference. I have it on my 18hp as the price diffence wasn’t much - back then.

With NFB helms (and higher HP motors), one can let go of the steering wheel at full throttle and the boat will still track in whatever direction you were headed. Without it, the hull will take a SHARP and fast right turn (assuming a RH prop).
 

airshot

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If yoyr tryin to keep your boat looking original, keep the cable and pulley system. If setup properly they work well. I replaced a cable system for a friend a few years back, after some fine tuning of the springs and cables it worked awesome. When the pulleys get sticky, and the cable breaks down it can be hard to steer, but if setup properly they steer quit nicely....
 

thill

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I worked for a marina many years ago, and they wouldn't touch a roller and cable system. If a cable bound, a roller cracked or snapped off at the swivel, or a number of other things happened, they didn't want to bear any responsibility for someone's injury or death. We either swapped them out or refused the business. Since then, I have stuck to that reasoning. I won't touch them either.

A NFB rotary steering system is what I put in almost every boat, all of mine, to be sure. Truthfully, if you get your motor the right depth, and set the trim tab above the prop just right, the boat may track straight, but it's SO much better with NFB.

Just do it. Absolutely worth it, if for no other reason than safety.

And for what it's worth, I've removed numerous pulley systems from boats, and sometimes they are in great shape, and sometimes they were very close to or already in failure condition. Things like that never break at a good time. I will probably happen during times of maximum stress, like when running at full speed and you go to avoid another boat, and <snap> now you can't steer, or worse yet, the boat suddenly lurches off to one side or another. It happens really fast, and people can die that way. So IF you decide to keep the roller system, remove and check every roller and cable clamp regularly.
 

richg99

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I had one occasion where the steering system let go.

As Thill stated, it happened when I was crossing a wide canal, with a full-on speeding barge/towboat rig heading for me. If a guy hadn't pulled me off to the side of the canal... (my trolling motor wasn't going to make it)...I wouldn't be typing this note now. Go SAFE, not inexpensive.
 

Pappy

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Your marina would not touch it because they probably have no clue about it.
I currently run both styles in my boats. My older boats (like yours) run cable. I run it up to and including my 1960 Glaspar G3 with a 1960 Evinrude 75hp V4. Plenty reliable enough for twin set-ups as well.
These cable systems when set up properly and the pulleys are nice and free are super nice steering systems with zero slack and very easy to turn.
As far as reliability? these systems are still current systems in a lot of single engine APBA racing. Pretty much bulletproof with occasional maintenance. About the time the clear covering over the cables makes it time for replacement cables is when I go in and check the pulleys, etc.
The shrouded pulleys eliminate the possibility of jumping by the way. Anyone who has done these systems should know that.
It's Your money!!
 
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Ironhorse2022

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Thanks Pappy. I appreciate to input. As far as money goes, 6 new pulleys (good ones) and new cable seems about the same price as a good push/pull system. My stock unshrouded pulleys ar intact but are aged and probably brittle. The PO used Home Depot cable which I suspect isn’t as flexible as the proper marine cable would be. Plus my corner pulleys are riveted in place. Do you have a recommended source for new pulleys, pulley attachment fittings and cable ? I’d like to evaluate all options before making a final decision. Thanks.
 

Pappy

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Thanks Pappy. I appreciate to input. As far as money goes, 6 new pulleys (good ones) and new cable seems about the same price as a good push/pull system. My stock unshrouded pulleys ar intact but are aged and probably brittle. The PO used Home Depot cable which I suspect isn’t as flexible as the proper marine cable would be. Plus my corner pulleys are riveted in place. Do you have a recommended source for new pulleys, pulley attachment fittings and cable ? I’d like to evaluate all options before making a final decision. Thanks.
OEM pulleys are still available. I see them on Ebay quite often. I just bought some for the G3 project recently. You are correct on the number of pulleys you need. Rivets can be drilled out and replaced or thru-bolted.
 

airshot

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No matter which system you use, proper care and maintenence is a must !! I can honestly say that in over 60 years of being a boat owner, my only steering problems have been from the enclosed system and wasn't cheap to repair!! Had cable and pulley for more than 35 of those 60 years with no issues. But...I did the maintenence which most folks don't do until a problem arrises... so what ever you choose, take good care of it !!
 

VinTin

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On most of the Feather Craft boats with the tumblehome design there is not much room for the UFlex over Teleflex type systems. I've seen a few cases of hackery performed to make them fit.

You can't inspect for wear in the closed systems, as far as I know.

Make sure all eye pads are attached through the hull and not just anchored with wood screws in transom wood. That's been the reason for a couple of steering failures that I've seen.

I've seen Dyneema rope used in pulley steering systems and from reports that I've heard it makes for a really smooth steering system.
 

Ironhorse2022

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Interesting point on the tumblehome. Mines no feathercraft but has a significant amont of tumblehome nevertheless. I’m all about preventative maintenance and have enjoyed the benefits for many years. I looked at dynemma rope and they have a variety of types. One was for rigging and boasts about very little stretch and good wear resistance - I presume this would be the best option for a rope system. I’ll keep that option in mind, thanks
 

airshot

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I know that stuff works great on my UTV winch, never thought about it on a steering system.....always used the plastic covered metal cable, when the plastic cover became cracked or developed a curl or twist then it was replaced. That Dynema type rope is nice stuff at least it works great on my winch.
 

Ironhorse2022

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I’ve been looking for shrouded pulleys like Pappy mentioned earlier and in many cases, the pulleys are called “tiller rope pulleys”. Makes me wonder if they used rope before cable became the norm.
 

mervechikorr

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It is worth it to go with a ‘No Feed Back’ or Nox Vidmate VLC anti-torque model to prevent the prop torque from turning the steering wheel at speed, plus the steering effort is reduced.
 
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