Helm control cables: (Linkage)

Ya, It’s a sub-system too. Also “mission critical” to be sure! I can’t tell you how many times I've herd stories about a boat going wrong due to shifting or throttle linkage issues. Most people think of these cable driven controls as a “dumb system” meaning strictly mechanical. Set it once at the factory then forget it. Right? No, there are many adjustments involved here. Over the course of time, use, age, vibration and metal fatigue can alter the fine tuning involved in the proper shifting or throttle function. Both the throttle and gear shift control cables are the same. At each end they have a sheath lock to hold the cable in place and a  threaded shaft to spin on some kind of pinion or other. You usually have two cables per engine, then add two more if you have a fly-bridge. That means I have eight cables to contend with. First and foremost you should check each control cable for ware and or damage.  Each cable should be lifted free of it's load and tested for ease of function. (You would think someone would put grease fittings on these things???)

Gear shifter

I'll start any adjusting at the important end first. The trany. Yes, on my RQ fifty I have "Paragon Transmition." Each side has a standard single shifting lever. "Forward-Natural-Reverse" configuration. Each position has a nice distinctive "click-stop."  This is what I'll adjust everything else to down the line. Adjustments on the cable in the engine compartment are left in the mid-range position and locked in place. The lower helm is the other end of this first cable. I disconnected the "Fly-bridge" cable first as that might cause problems making adjustments. We'll get everything tuned in below first. Then we'll tie in the Fly-bridge.

Previously I had completely torn down the shifting levers. They were dirty, worn, floppy and corroded. (like everything else on this boat) But I applied myself as well as some degreaser and in no time (week) they looked like almost new. Fresh grease in all the pinions and all the adjustment stops and locks were backed off. Ready for a true up.

Leaving the transmition and shifter in the neutral position, I adjusted the cable length to match. Then locked all the cable adjustments down. Just like that. No fuss, no muss. Carefully moving the shifter forward till the transmition lever "clicked" in gear. I then adjusted shifter stop on the helm. Then did the same for the reverse. I had to do a little miner tweaking of the shifting stops by lifting the shifting linkage at the tranny to see if I was indeed in the "click-zone." Once satisfied that everything was right, I locked all the adjustments down with there respective "lock-nuts."  Done. Move on.

 Now I'll open up all the "lever stop adjustments" on the Fly-bridge control and attach the cable using the same procedure for getting the right length. Then adjust the "control stops" to achieve the proper position of the lower helm control. Again, check the linkage for the proper "click-zone." That should be it for the transmition controls.


Throttle cable adjustment:

Technical writing is a bitch ant it? Not much room for flair or drama. Well just you wait. When I finish this here old tub were gone a have "Flair and drama" up the ying-yang! Well... Ok, maybe not "up the ying-yang," that's a figure of speech. But were going to have a good ol time and this here throttle is going work good. It's going to take us there and get us back again! (sorry)

The throttle cable adjustment should pretty much follow the same procedure as the shifting adjustments. Get the carburetor properly adjusted first with the cable disconnected. Low speed ideal and maximum open stops should already be set on the carb it's self. Disconnect the fly-bridge cable and place the throttle lever in the desired "dead slow" position by adjusting the stops. The carburetor should already be in the spring loaded closed position. Adjust the length of the control cable to fit and lock it down.. "With the engine off" advance the throttle all the way till the carburetor stops. Or says ouch. Then set your throttle stops. I used a walky-talky and another person for final tweaking. Again, once happy with that, lock the stops down with there "lock-nuts." Follow the same procedure as above to sink the fly-bridge control.


Well there ya go... This is how "I" did it and it works. I'm not saying "This is how to do it." I may be wrong as all hell. Ok? So if you think you know better, or see a major flaw in my logic please let me know and I'll adjust. None of this shit is written in stone. I’m sure I’m leaving something out.

Mike Wolfe  Summer 2002