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Old 04-16-2020, 10:40 PM   #1
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Stiff throttle levers? Why?

Our new to us Californian was doing fine during the surveys and for a short trip after. But one item from the mechanical survey indicated that one engine (3208) achieved its spec max RPMs of 2800, the other engine only reached 2400. He recommended adjusting the throttle cables. Sounds simple enough.

The CAT dealer was the only outfit still working during the current state and I had them do full oil changeS on everything. But also check the throttle cables and adjust. All went well and the tech came to the helm a couple of times to check things out. Normally I would be with him in the ER but with distancing and such I kept my distance.

A few days later.. we started the engines to make our way home. The starboard helm lever was pretty stiff and only advanced to 1400rpm. We needed to go so we got going.. 2 days of cruising later we got home and now both levers are stiff and donít move beyond 60% throttle travel. I was able to go up to 13kts which was plenty fast for this trip.

Once home, I lubricated the port lever and itís smoother but still wonít go beyond 60%.

The starboard lever is stiff still and again wonít go beyond 60%. The starboard lever goes through the synchronizer..

I should have level all well alone but here we are.. any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Streff
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:33 AM   #2
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Call and ask the person or outfit that did the work? See if they can refer you to someone that can do warranty work for them where you are now. That may not be feasible, but I recommend you report dissatisfaction with their work.

Good luck!
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:09 AM   #3
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Sounds like the tech did a poor job. Get him back.

There is a tensioner under the chrome cover of the throttle handles. It simply may have been set too tight. But it sounds like more than that.

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Old 04-17-2020, 09:11 AM   #4
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Sometimes the cables get to the point of either needing replacement or lubrication. I have read people that say they have lubed the cables and all went well and they moved much better. And some have said it didnít help. I think that I would try lubricating them before replacing them. This is assuming that the tech didnít do something to stop them from moving at the injector pump. One way to lube them is on the Trojan owners website. It involved pouring a certain amount of Marvel Mystery Oil in for the length of cable, I donít recall the number of ounces. Then putting a Schrader valve on a short piece of hose and putting air pressure to blow the oil down the cable. Do a search on the Trojan web site for a full description. Good luck.
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:39 AM   #5
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I found an article on how to lube the cables. I have not tried it but it seems reasonable to give it a shot.



Houseboat Control Cables - How to Lubricate, or Save a Throttle Shift Cable

by Old Houseboater
(Gulf Shores, Al.)

A simple houseboat throttle and shift cable oiler.

Save
A simple houseboat throttle and shift cable oiler.

When it comes to houseboat control cables, tips on how to lubricate and save a throttle or shift cable can save you big money, and possibly all the work involved in replacing or rerouting a long length cable.





Considering the size of some houseboats, the time and effort required to change or replace a gas throttle or a shift transmission cable can be a nightmare situation.

Once in a while a request comes up for information on how to lubricate control cables. Here is a simple control cable oiler that you can easily make from common items:

Directions for a Throttle and Shift Cable Oiler


You need a foot and a half of 3/8 ID reinforced plastic hose from Lowes, a tire valve, three hose clamps, a tire pump or small 12 volt air compressor with a gauge, and some MMO (Marvel Mystery Oil).

Shave the tire valve down and clamp it in one end of the hose.

1. Remove the fittings from one end of the cable.

2. Put 3 inches of Marvel Mystery Oil in the hose for every 20 feet of cable length.

3. Double clamp oil filled hose over cable.

4. Apply and maintain 50 PSI of air to the tire chuck. DO NOT EXCEED 50 PSI.

5. It will take 10 to 30 minutes for oil to appear at the other end, then your done. Have rags to catch the oil if your in a sensitive area.

I suggest safety glasses just in case somethings blows apart, but I have never had a problem. My save rate on cables is about 75%. I did all my cables every


2 years as PM (preventative maintenance) but I
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:40 AM   #6
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Sounds like the cables have internal corrosion. Pretty common in the
PNW. Lubricating them usually just buys you a very short time before they lock up. It is also possible that there is a throttle spring failure on your 3208. Your throttle cable is connected to a spring that is then connected to the throttle lever. When this spring fails you loose about 30% of your throttle movement. Replacing the spring is an all day job.

Because things got stiff first my money is on worn out cables.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:46 AM   #7
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I've used a version of this procedure to lube Morse style, or wire rope cables. When running a "road truck" performing remote service, I've lubed cables on road graders and asphalt milling machines (cold planners) by mixing trans fluid with a small amount of diesel fuel. I kept a set-up that I rigged up on the truck that consisted of a plastic quart-size oil bottle with the bottom cut out and a length of hose fitted to the cap end. I'd fill the bottle half way and clamp the hose to the Morse cable. Hang it up and let gravity do it's job. It doesn't take long for the mixture to work it way through the length of cable. By the time I was finished servicing work, the mixture would make it's way through cables 40+ feet long. Before I rigged up that oil bottle, I would poke a hole in a plastic bag and stick the cable end in and tape it up. Fill the bag with the miture and let it go. You should never use any grease on the cables as it traps moilture.
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Old 04-17-2020, 11:38 AM   #8
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Disconnect the cables at the helm and see if the levers are hard to move without the cables connected. That should help you determine if it's the lever or the cable causing the issue.

Replacement cables are inexpensive. Replacing it may be labor intensive.

If cables need replacing use a premium cable like the Teleflex Extreme. When installed properly, they are very smooth and takes little effort to engage.

When replacing cables, I remove cable ties and attachments and screw the new cable to the old with a coupling nut and pull the old cable out as the new goes in.
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Old 04-18-2020, 05:15 AM   #9
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Thank you all for the recommendations and input. I started the troubleshooting today. First, I disconnect the cables at the helm and tested the throttle handles. Both handles move freely as they used to. Second, I traced the cables, as much as possible, from the helm to the engine room and I see nothing interfering. Third, I checked the connections at the lever/spring at the engine. The port cable travels all the way to its maximum limit as set. Essentially it has no more travel. I did lubricate the last 10” or so of the cable and it did help smooth out the nonevent a bit. The starboard cable goes through the synchronizer. It also travels to almost its max range but boy it’s pretty stiff. I did lubricate the last 10” with minimal effect. I am seeing that possibly the stiffness is created by the synchronizer.

I am now thinking the tech may have tried to adjust the synchronizer without much knowledge of it. Having the synchronizer On or Off makes no difference to the stiffness.

Next, I am thinking of adjusting the springs on the engine per the 3208 engine manual and see how it goes. I will try the full cable lubrication as outlined by Commodave and Pap. My last resort is to call a local service outfit.

Thanks again to everyone. You gents are awesome

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Old 04-18-2020, 07:04 AM   #10
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Some folks find green antifreeze to use as cable lubricant.

Most motorcycle shops have devices to lubricate cables.

If you are installing a new cable , install a pair.

If one dies the second is a quick hookup , old biker trick.
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Old 04-18-2020, 07:12 AM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. S. Before you start adjusting other stuff (springs etc.), I would concentrate on the cables even to the point of disconnecting it/them from everything in the ER but not the controls at the helm(s). Do one engine at a time. Take pictures of any disassembly. Make sure they are free and smooth. Best if a 2 person job IMO.
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Old 04-19-2020, 07:06 AM   #12
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If you spring for new cables , look at the old ones and see if there are any tight curves.

Looks like crap , but bigger slower loops create less friction.
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Old 04-19-2020, 09:04 AM   #13
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Is it a hard stop at 60%? It could be that the controls are set to stop there, especially if they both stop in the same place. There are stop screws.

It could be that the stiffness is one issue and the stop another. On my old 42' Californian, the throttle controls were set to only move half way, but this got full throttle control because of the way the controls and also interface to throttle arm were set up.
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:43 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your input and ideas.

I went back to the boat and cut some of the plastic ties that hold the cables to other cables behind the dash. Then tried to create exaggerated swooping curves. That seemed to help the port cables and with the bit of lubrication of the cable at the engine attachment... the post cable is perfectly smooth as it was prior to the CAT tech working on them.

The STBD side cable has by nature a much much less of a swooping curve than the port cable. I still cut a cable tie or two and was able to increase the curve just a bit. It is still pretty stiff.

One thing, when I removed the throttle dash metallic cover, the port side had a good amount of grease around the pivot area.. the STBD side has almost no grease around the pivot. I am not sure what brown grease is used but I may just grease the pivot and see if this helps.

Thank you all
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:01 PM   #15
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You know I was going to tell you to check if you had any zip ties, then thought "no" that probably isn't it. I had a throttle problem. It would stick and create all kinds of problems for me. In fact, a buddy was bending down when I throttled down from WOT and he ended up being thrown against a bulkhead, the change was so abrupt, hurt his shoulder, I won't go into what he said.... lol!

At refit, I've had my cable steering removed and in fact all gauges and all wiring taken out. It turns out some keener PO had zip tied all the wiring that were leading to the gauges, quite vigorously I might add. Don't know why, wasn't necessary, but I guess he was a neat freak.

The problem he created was this, the cable to the throttle was in the middle of the pile of wires but unseen. When he zipped tied the wires - vigorously - it put the throttle cable under tension. This tension created heavy friction which made it a wee bit of a horror show going astern at my local marina without going from zero to sixty in less than a second.

My message to those still reading this thread, don't use zip ties around throttle cables.
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Old 04-22-2020, 03:28 PM   #16
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One of my throttle cables has a little clamp on the cable. It looks like it is designed to put some drag on the cable. Must have been to sloppy in the past. I have never messed with it since the throttle works fine now.
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Old 04-30-2020, 01:51 PM   #17
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This is for Syjos...
I have a similar problem... my upper helm throttle cable needs replacing (plastic casing split and cable frayed at a sharp bend). I noticed that your reply suggested a replacement by attaching old to new and pull through chase. Great idea. But any idea how to determine length of old cable that is buried in a chase? Or do I estimate and use the extra to reduce the sharp bend in the cable behind lower helm?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:00 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. The cable may be marked as to length at some point. I've seen one with the length and model# heat stamped in the plastic sheath.
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Old 04-30-2020, 06:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defibril8me View Post
This is for Syjos...
I have a similar problem... my upper helm throttle cable needs replacing (plastic casing split and cable frayed at a sharp bend). I noticed that your reply suggested a replacement by attaching old to new and pull through chase. Great idea. But any idea how to determine length of old cable that is buried in a chase? Or do I estimate and use the extra to reduce the sharp bend in the cable behind lower helm?
Thanks in advance.
As RTF said, there should be a length marked on one or both ends of the plastic cover.
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Old 04-30-2020, 07:50 PM   #20
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Just agreeing with the two posters above about the length marking. I recently replaced some outboard throttle and shift cables, and indeed, the length was printed on them near the end (on the cable sheath as it would be on an electrical wire). Mine were Morse cables and the number was total inches (so for example 19' would be marked as 228). Maybe that's just Morse.

For replacements I went with the Seastar (Teleflex) Xtreme. They are the type that you can supposedly tie in knots and they still operate smoothly. I don't even have a particularly convoluted run but there was not a huge difference in price so for the effort I decided to go with the better product. If you have some convolutedness they'd seem advantageous.

(U-flex also makes comparable "extreme" cables, but they were less commonly available so I decided to go with the Seastar.)
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