Morse Cable Steering on Bristol 42
I'm wondering if anyone has kept alive an old Morse cable steering like I have on my recently acquired Bristol 42 trawler.**Morse/Teleflex tells me that the system was discontinued in 1990 and I should replace it with hydraulic. *The steering system consists of an upper and lower helm with Morse rack helm units and each having a Morse cable from the helm to the rudder arm. The cable is larger than any Morse cable that I have seen. I think I figured out that they are series 80 cables. The outer plastic covering on the cable is red and the outside diameter of the casing appears to be about 3/4", maybe 5/8".
A smaller third cable runs from the dash at the lower helm to a device in the lazarette that is intended to disconnect the upper helm when the auto pilot (a Robertson AP11 with a reversing motor driving a sprocket and chain hooked to the back end of the lower helm unit) is used. I asked Teleflex about the disconnect device, but they simply told me that I should replace the system with hydraulic. The disconnect device was taken out of the system by a previous owner and may have parts missing, but there's not much to it. It appears to be designed to go through a double arm rudder arm and has two springs on the end of the cable. I can't figure out how it disconnects one cable but keeps it in position to be reconnected when the device is moved to the opposite position.
The previous owner had the cables from both helms fastened to the rudder arm, but that meant that turning one steering wheel meant that the other cable had to move in the opposite direction and turn the other steering wheel as well as the rudder. That's a lot of resistance for push-pull cables. The steering was hard, so I disconnected the cable from the lower helm, meaning that I have no lower helm and no auto pilot. I'm trying to figure out the best way to put everything back in operation. There is quite a bit of play in the steering with just the upper helm connected, so I am concerned that the rack is worn. The boat is in Georgia and I am in Rhode Island so I'm trying to sort things out in my head before I get back to the boat.
Any ideas or experience with this arrangement would be appreciated.