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Old 09-02-2010, 06:35 PM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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"Basics of Basics" Control cable repair and restore.

“Basics of Basics” Control cable repair.
By Brian Martin



While working on my 1959 Rambler American the other day I was able to get a couple of rusted cables working and thought some of you may find it useful. I repaired my emergency brake cable that was rusted solid, it wouldn’t budge! The one in the car had been forced and was ruined, luckily I had a parts car with another, but it too was rusted solid. When I found the heater control cable was the same way I figured I would snap some photos and write a “basics”.

Here is the cable as I pulled it from the car. This one in particular had a fan switch as well so finding another was pretty tough.



The first thing I did was to lube it. I put it in the vice and simply dripped some lube down the cable. I added more every time I walked out in the garage over a few days. With the brake cable I had it dripping out the other end, that was my goal. But with this one I didn’t want that much, but hardly any goes in when you do this, most ends up going down the outside. So it takes adding that oil many times before I felt that it was well lubed in there.



If it is anything like my heater cable and emergency brake cable it still won’t budge. You have to be careful not to push hard on the cable if it is hanging out of the housing, it will bend VERY easy. My original e-brake cable had done just that, pushing the handle forward to release the brake simply buckled the cable and rendered it useless.

So I put it in the vice as shown so I could hold the cable (at the loop at the end that goes over the heater control valve). Holding this cable so it doesn’t bend is critical.



After gently pulling on the cable to find that it simply wouldn’t budge, I twisted the housing with a pair of channel locks gently grasping the housing as not to crush it.



This was all it took, being I had lubed it well, as soon as I twisted it breaking it free from the cable it moved in and out pretty well. I then put it back in the vice to lube it more. I pulled the cable up and put some lube and pushed it down to it would push the oil deeper in down the housing and cable. Doing this a number of more times during the day as I was working on something else (you know you always have something else to work on!) it was free as can be and works like new.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:56 AM
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Good info!

There are motorcycle cable lubricators that are used to get lube inside the cable sleeve and not everywhere else.

The idea is to clamp the cable sleeve end w/the ferrule into the rubber sleeve, the inner cable comes out the other end. Tape or whatever can be used to build up the OD of the type cable being worked with.

Then the lube straw tip is inserted into its hole and the lube is injected into the cable sleeve.

Cost <$10. Many bike riders will already have one around the shop.

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Old 09-03-2010, 11:34 AM
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Interesting.

Brian
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:40 PM
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Brian,

To get old hood release and heater control cables loosened, I take the cables a wind them in a circle, tie them with wire (now, using plastic snap ties) and curl them up in a pail of diesel fuel. Ever so often, I pull them out and twist the cable in a figure eight, making sure the spiral wound outer wire distorted enough to allow the diesel fuel to get into the inner cable.

This works also for speedo and emergency brake cables.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alittle1
Brian,

To get old hood release and heater control cables loosened, I take the cables a wind them in a circle, tie them with wire (now, using plastic snap ties) and curl them up in a pail of diesel fuel. Ever so often, I pull them out and twist the cable in a figure eight, making sure the spiral wound outer wire distorted enough to allow the diesel fuel to get into the inner cable.

This works also for speedo and emergency brake cables.
That couldn't be done with the with this one, it had a switch on it.

Brian
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:48 AM
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Actually, I don't think the switch would be harmed by diesel fuel. Acetone/ATF mix works really good, but the acetone and switch might not get along that well. But I'm sure diesel fuel wouldn't be too harsh for it. Just let it "drip dry" for a day or so and wipe off good. The diesel in the switch might even help by lubing it real good!

By the way, you can still find a similar switch. I bought one from an IH truck dealer years ago. The ferrule was a bit bigger in diameter so I had to file the hole in the dash a bit larger to fit, but it worked fine. I'm sure someone else used a similar switch, just don't recall who right now.
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:03 PM
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I've had problems loosening cables, and the wire like hinges on the old coupe hoods, I use oil and where possible, turn them with my drill, it works wonders getting the lube worked through. Wouldn't work with the switch, but where you have a flat and or a ball end, it works well.
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinger
I've had problems loosening cables, and the wire like hinges on the old coupe hoods, I use oil and where possible, turn them with my drill, it works wonders getting the lube worked through. Wouldn't work with the switch, but where you have a flat and or a ball end, it works well.
Hey, that does sound like a super idea! With the emergency cable it would work for sure.

Brian
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:04 AM
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Brian,

So, besides the cables, do you repair the knobs too?
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:22 AM
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Yep, this particular one had a set screw that was stripped. The set screw also had it's top split in half so the screw driver wouldn't even work anymore. We are talking a #4 machine screw, pretty small to work with!

Anyway, I carefully screwed the set screw out using a tiny pick. I then drilled the hole out (remember the threads were all messed up) to for a #6 tap. I tapped out the threads and installed a new allen head set screw.

Brian
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:46 AM
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“Basics of Basics” Control cable repair.

Good methods and advice. I think the most important step is to not get in a hurry. Once you get that rust broke loose, try some Break free. I find it works amazingly well. The gun guys use it. I think it meets several Mil-spec requirements, but I'm not sure. Triflow is another good one. These lubes also loosen up "stiff" cables. Worked on my '66 Chevelle heater/AC cables.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt327
Good info!

There are motorcycle cable lubricators that are used to get lube inside the cable sleeve and not everywhere else.

The idea is to clamp the cable sleeve end w/the ferrule into the rubber sleeve, the inner cable comes out the other end. Tape or whatever can be used to build up the OD of the type cable being worked with.

Then the lube straw tip is inserted into its hole and the lube is injected into the cable sleeve.

Cost <$10. Many bike riders will already have one around the shop.

this is what i use, they work very well

if properly put on the cable, the end is sealed up with the straw on the spray can
allowing the propellants' pressure, from the aerosol can, to force the lube through

they work great with penetrating oil, for freeing a frozen cable
or you can use them with lubricating oil, for maintenance (if they start to get sticky)
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