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Thread: Control cables

  1. #1
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    Default Control cables

    Here are some question for you airplane owners and mechanics. Do you have a time in service limit for your primary control cables? Would you ever recommend replacing them even if there was no fraying or corrosion? And on Cessnas (or any common airplane you have or work on) are there known trouble spots on any of the cables that could get easily missed on inspection? And do you agree that galvanized is generally better than stainless except in corrosive environments? I hope these aren't ignorant questions. I'm trying to cheat the system and learn without having a close call or worse.

  2. #2
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    I have to recommend that you go ahead and change your primary flight control cables if they have never been changed. McFarland has them in stock. I have a 74 185, plane had a good background. On landing last year I had a rudder cable break, pedal went to the floor and as you can imagine you can't depress the brake. Got lucky as she didn't ground loop. ****ed cable broke in the center section under the floor near the pax seat. No splice, no pulley no feed through, it just broke in half. There didn't seem to be any fraying and can't imagine what stressed the cable. I changed all the cables with stainless then had the shop rig her. Flies straight and gives me piece of mind. Just my opinion, I sure would replace them.





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  3. #3
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    Would you ever recommend replacing them even if there was no fraying or corrosion?
    New unproven parts worry me more than original parts that are in good condition. If the airframe was in for major work that may be different but on a healthy plane, no.

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    I second Mr. Pid. You can create lots of problems if the rigging isn't done right.

  5. #5
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    Ok, that had been my thinking but then I heard a couple stories of pilots loosing their rudder from the cable breaking with no signs of wear or fraying just like cplne's. One pilot\mechanic said he set a personal 700 hour TIS limit. Hadn't heard anything like that before so I was checking around. I guess it's really the individual owner's call. Appreciate the responses.

  6. #6
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    There are areas to watch for bad cables...generally where the pulleys freeze up from gunk ( under the floor/wing root area )... A good mechanic will find them and replace them on condition. Years ago there were some issues with softer than normal SS cables...I haven't heard of that problem happening lately. Where did your cable break exactly?

  7. #7
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    The only cable I've had to replace in my 21 years of Cessna ownership has been an aileron balance cable.

  8. #8
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    I haven't actually seen one that snapped for no apparent reason. I just heard a story or two of the pilot's swearing there was no external cause for it, but who knows. Generally I check pulleys and fairleads and make sure there is no fraying or shiny, rubbed areas on the cables and that the tension is normal. Never had worried about anything else.

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