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Old 06-19-2019, 06:27 PM   #1
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Velvet drive

Hello all,
I drove my 1977 34 over to the boat yard to have the bottom painted 2 weeks ago. On the short trip over I took on some salt water when I had a salt water line break. No Its time to put her back in the water and I find that my shift control is frozen up. I have not investigated my cables yet but I have a couple of questions: What kind of velvet drive do I have? What model # etc. In case I have to replace it. Does the motor need to be pulled out to replace? Can anybody give me advice as to where to start in checking this out? Thanks for any advice help you can offer. It's a Perkins t6.354
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:37 PM   #2
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Is the lever control/cable stuck or the actual lever on the transmission.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:39 PM   #3
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The transmission will have a tag with the model number. They all have the same actuator.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:43 PM   #4
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I can't tell you which unit you have. There should be an ID tag or some numbers on it to tell it's model. You say,"1977 34", that's not enough info to go on. What manufacturer and model boat do you have?

Usually, the control cable connections can be removed and the cables lubed or replaced without removing the transmission. Most boats the transmission can be fished out. However, I don't think your problem is transmission related. It sounds like, from your description, you may have some corrosion on the cables where they enter/exit the sheathing.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meridian View Post
The transmission will have a tag with the model number. They all have the same actuator.
A VD has an actuator? I thought they were cables to a lever on the transmission.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:09 PM   #6
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Thank you very much for the several replies. It is a Mainship. It has an actuator arm where the 2 cables (upper and lower helm) attach. I have not removed these cables yet to see if the actuator arm is free. As suggested, I suspect the cables anyway because they were stiff before I started. I am not on the boat now so I can't look at it to see where the serial numbers are.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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If the corrosion that locked up the controls is only 2 weeks old you should be able to wiggle it free pretty easily with a little WD40 or Liquid Wrench on the cable ends. Just gentle pressure in each direction with the engine OFF. Don't force it!!!
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:03 PM   #8
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I will be back down on Saturday. Yesterday I soaked the lever with WD-40. I will remove the two cables and work the lever and hopefully that will do the trick. I probably need to replace the cables too. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:07 PM   #9
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Velvet drives have a detente ball to locate neutral. If it suffered saltwater intrusion the corrosion maybe keeping the bearing from retracting preventing the gear shift from moving.

Some oil and some hammer tapping should solve the problem.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:14 PM   #10
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gotcha. After I remove the cables I will give it a little tap and wiggle it with a pair of channel locks. Thanks
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:23 PM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. GB. MY opinion only.

I would recommend you also soak the lever and associated cables and connections with a good penetrating oil as well. WD-40 is a Water Dispersant with minimal lubricating qualities. Good for an initial treatment to potentially dispel any remaining water but NOT the best for rust dissolution or lubrication.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:26 PM   #12
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will do. I will get a can of liquid wrench or do you have a recommendation?
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:46 PM   #13
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Greetings,
Mr. GB. Nope. No specific recommendations. After you remove the cable, tilt it upward and fill it with penetrant. Tie or wedge it in the upright position and wait. You might also try to pour some penetrant down the cable from the helm position. Use paper towels so you don't slop it all over.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:24 AM   #14
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Motorcycle shops sell cable lubricators that will fill even boat long cables with lubricant.

Antifreeze , the cheap green stuff, leaves a nice slime and is usually onboard.

If there are no tight bends the more expensive 43 cables will usually fit where the outboard 33 sized cables were installed.

If you have to go to the hassle of installing new cables , install a pair , seal off one set at both ends , should the working cable seize changing over to the new cable should be really quick.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:15 AM   #15
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Update: I followed the advice I got from you guy's and soaked down the cables and actuator lever with Liquid Wrench penetrating oil. Worked all parts gently and they freed up however I did manage to break the very end ring on one of the cables. I made a quick look on the internet but didn't see a replacement. Looks like West Marine has a nylon one that might work for $5 but mine are brass. I'm thinking I can rummage through somebody's junk pile and find one. I have no idea what brand of shift cable I have. Thanks to everybody for the guidance to get me going
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:05 PM   #16
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I'd go ahead and use the olastic one until you find a brass one. All of mine are plastic. They are what Seastar sold me. They seem to work fine with no wear. I think my last boat was in the same situation when I replaced the cables.

Personally, I worry a lot more about the thin little E-clamp retaining ring, which I inspect constantly, than the plastic fittings, which seem to be good plastic.
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:08 PM   #17
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I will be the outlier there. I've always tossed old Morse 33 cables out when they get difficult. the cables are not expensive, although I will admit running them up and down thru conduits filled with wiring is not trivial. On my outboards they want to rust the outer twisted steel and crack the jacket, or the inner strands wear thru the nylon sheath. I do believe the oiling story will help, not sure how long. Agree on using the larger 43 series or better when the radius of the install permits. Also, I find that testing the cable without a load is not a good test. The high forces tend to present themselves only when in place with bends and loaded.
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:55 PM   #18
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When you replace the cable, replace BOTH in the same run. Trust me, the other will fail soon and you will have to repeat the pull hassle.
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Old 06-23-2019, 01:28 PM   #19
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It's very easy to remove the cable connector at the tranny shift lever (on the tranny itself) to verify the smooth operation of the tranny. If it's shifting smoothly, then it's the cable that's bad.

If it's the cable that's the culprit, the cable can be replaced in a couple of hours. I had to replace one of mine last year. It was much easier than I feared.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:03 PM   #20
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Thanks to all. Cable replacement looks like it will be in my future. Do you suppose there is an easier way to find out the length of the cable without pulling them out first? The salon helm looks easier than the upper helm. Could I use the old electrician's trick of taping the end of the new one to the end of the old one and then pulling it thru? I have a 1977 Mainship I.
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