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Skeg Cable Problems


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Hi All,

After dusting offing my kayak for my first paddle of the season on Sunday I found the skeg cable had kinked inside the skeg box making it nearly impossible actuate. I dismantled it and straighted the cable as best I could which for the most part corrected the problem. I also sprayed some silcon on the cable to help it slide in the sheathing but it still binds a little and it seems only a matter of time before it kinks again.

The kayak is a Dagger Meridian, the skeg is aluminum, the cable is stranded stainless steel with some sort of plug at the end that is pressed flush into a key-hole in the aluminum skeg plate. My questions are:

1) are new cables readily available or is this something I will need to order from Dagger? Incidentally they don't make the Meridian anymore.

2) is it easy enough to detach the cable from the skeg plate and press fit in a new cable (if indeed it is press fit and not epoxied or something like that)

3) is there an alternative to the braided cable, something more rigid like a long flexible rod that won't kink?

Thanks for the help or advice,

David

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IIRC, the dagger skeg cable is epoxied into the skeg blade. It will take a bit of work to get it out, but it can be done. Replacing it presents some options:

A) You can epoxy a new cable in place.

B) You can modify the skeg so you don't need to use epoxy.

Many skeg systems have cables held in place with a set screw. If you can drill and tap a hole in the edge of the skeg blade, you can install a set screw that will bind the cable in the existing hole. I would probably be worthwhile to study the skegs on a few other boats before modifying yours.

As for the cable material, most use a 1x19 stainless cable, either 3/32" or 1/8". I've found that using the thinner cable in place of the thicker often improves skeg function by reducing friction. It can actually reduce the likelihood of kinking if you happen to leave it down when landing, as the skeg blade can push the cable easily if it hits the bottom.

It's possible use a solid wire rather than a cable, but it must be smaller in diameter (~1/16") in order to be flexible enough. Walden used that method and IIRC, one or two other companies have as well. Finding stainless wire in the correct size can be difficult, however.

With any cable skeg, it's VERY important not to try to force the skeg blade down if it's jammed. That's the way that most skeg cables get bent.

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Brian,

Thanks for the help. The cable is definitely not JUST epoxied into place, it has a doo-dad bonded to the end like a bicycle brake cable, and like the brake cable where the doo-dad slips into a hole in the brake handle the doo-dad in this case slips into a key hole in the skeg plate where as you suggest, it is epoxied in place - if only I could draw a picture.

So it seems to me if I am to simply swap out the old cable for a new one I would need to find a cable with one of those doo-dads bonded to the end. Where would I find such a cable? The second option I suppose would be to drill a slip-fit hole in the edge of the skeg plate and bond the cable into place or drill and tap for a set screw to hold it. But again, where would I go about getting stainless steel cable, West Marine? I like your suggestion of stainless steel wire, like a heavy duty version of a lawn mower throttle cable. Any suggestions where I might stumble upon that?

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>Brian,

>

>Thanks for the help. The cable is definitely not JUST

>epoxied into place, it has a doo-dad bonded to the end like

>a bicycle brake cable, and like the brake cable where the

>doo-dad slips into a hole in the brake handle the doo-dad in

>this case slips into a key hole in the skeg plate where as

>you suggest, it is epoxied in place - if only I could draw a

>picture.

I understand what you mean. Thanks for the clarification.

>So it seems to me if I am to simply swap out the old cable

>for a new one I would need to find a cable with one of those

>doo-dads bonded to the end. Where would I find such a

>cable?

A dagger dealer should be able to get you one. You might even be able to get them directly from Dagger's customer support.

>The second option I suppose would be to drill a

>slip-fit hole in the edge of the skeg plate and bond the

>cable into place or drill and tap for a set screw to hold

>it.

I'm not a fan of bonding cables to skegs, as it complicates repairs and makes them nearly impossible in the field.

> But again, where would I go about getting stainless

>steel cable, West Marine?

Yes. They have 1x19 cable in several sizes, including 3/32" and 1/8". Make sure that you don't buy 7x19 cable, which is much more flexible and is not suitable for skeg cables.

>I like your suggestion of

>stainless steel wire, like a heavy duty version of a lawn

>mower throttle cable. Any suggestions where I might stumble

>upon that?

The only place I recall seeing it available is through McMaster-Carr. I don't know of any local sources. You might check with former Walden Kayaks dealers (such as New England Small Craft), as they used a wire on the Passage and possibly one or two other models.

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