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Source for heater control cables?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Birdman, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,683
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    THE Birdman
    Hi Everyone...
    I'm on to the next project in my 308. I took apart the frozen heater controls today and discovered the reason nothing will move: the control cables that run between the controls in the cabin and the mechanisms under the front hood are really stiff. I am going to replace them. Anyone know where I can get replacement ones either in bulk or already sized for the car?

    Thanks...

    Birdman
     
  2. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    Birdman,

    Glad to hear you are making progress with her. How's the lil Bird doing? Thanks for attending the party a few weeks ago. As for the cable, i believe it was suggested to use Teflon type bicycle brake cable. Buy in (relative) bulk, cut to length as needed.

    When you do this and are under the front hood piece, pay close attention to the top/bottom vent adjustment. It has a ball bearing that is spring-loaded and presses against the indent on the underneath metal piece. Seems the ball bearing may fall out as the 308 here was missing the ball bearing on the passenger side and had to replace it. Just trying to give you a heads up my friend.

    Hope this helps.

    Enjoy the Drive,

    Steven R. Rochlin
     
  3. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    May 29, 2001
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    Check the archives in the old site. Peter Rychel used bicycle cables to redo his. He said they worked great and were very smooth in operation. They may have been teflon lined IIRC.
     
  4. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,683
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    Hi Guys,
    Bicycle cables! Good idea! I checked the archives and didn't find any references to this... maybe I used the wrong search criteria. In any case, I'll wander into a bicycle shop and see what there is. Unfortunately, I don't know how long they need to be. (I don't want to pull any cables out until I have new ones to pull through at the same time)

    The only thing about bicycle cables is that the controls have to be able to push as well as pull, so the inner cable has to be very rigid, which most bicycle cables aren't.

    Steven, you keep throwing parties, I'll keep coming!

    Jonathan

     
  5. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    Steven,
    Oh yeah...I saw that little ball bearing today. I was thinking...hmm, it would really suck finding that if it fell out!

    Jonathan
     
  6. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Owner Consultant

    May 5, 2001
    6,951
    Groton, MA
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    Verell Boaen
    As Jonathan notes, these cables have to both push & pull.
    The bicycle cable suggestion was for a throttle cable, not the heater/vent control cables. You need something more like the
    spiral wrapped solid wire cable used for lawn mower throttle controls.
    (Hmm, wonder if a small gas engine repair shop has it by the roll?)
    Oh, yes, look for a universal choke cable(remember them). They're usually about 6' long or so. One source is:

    http://www.international-auto.com/pdf_files/IAP35.pdf

    ARE THE CABLES REALLY BAD OR JUST NEED LUBEING?
    These cables are inside the body & aren't really exposed to moisture so they usually don't rust. They do need lubricant worked into them from both ends periodicly. I suggest a graphite based liquid lock lubricant.

    Use electrical or other lubricant resistant tape to form a funnel around the end of the spiral jacket & drop/squirt the lubricant into it. Another lubricant option is a light machine oil eg: 3-in-1

    The tape encourages the lubricant to work it's way in & around the slide wire. Put a couple of good squirts of oil into the improvised funnel every hour our so for a couple of evenings or until things feel really loostened.

    Watch out for the lubricant working it's way outside of the spiral jacket where it just makes a mess... Especially if it drips on leather upholstry or carpet...
     
  7. Motob

    Motob Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician

    Nov 11, 2003
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    Berkeley, CA
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    Brian Brown
  8. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
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    May 5, 2001
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    Verell Boaen
    RE:
    Neat! I've never seen/heard of one before in 40+ years of working on trikes,bikes,cycles & cars! Gotta get me one!

    Love this hobby, you learn something new every day!
     
  9. Peter

    Peter F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 21, 2000
    6,339
    B.C., Canada
    I should clarify the bicycle cable use that Dave H. mentioned earlier.

    What I had used was bicycle cable outer housing, not the cable. Like others had mentioned cable works only in tension, since bicycle components are spring-loaded. In compression, cable unravels. That's why Ferrari (and other auto manufacturers for that matter) use steel wire, it works both in tension and compression.

    Continue to use the original steel wire (clean it up if need be) but use bicycle cable housing to operate it through. The housing has teflon lining which makes for butter-smooth operation. That's the trick...

    As for cable lubers Verell, I had them on my bikes for years. Works great! Although they never caught on and disappeared from the market (at least the mountain biking market)... I've got my original pair in a junk box in my garage, I'll take a pic of them if I can find 'em!
     
  10. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    A-HA!!! Thanks, good idea! Today I spent hours driving around to bicycle shops and car parts places looking for cable with a solid wire. I only found one thing that might work, but I didn't really like it. I'm going to buy some bicycle cable and recycle the wire from my existing cables...sweet!!

    Thanks.

    Jonathan


     
  11. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    OK, so I ordered some heavy duty teflon bike cable from a mail order bike shop and I'll let you know how it goes on the installation. Thanks for the ideas, everyone.

    Birdman
     
  12. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
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    The teflon coated bike cable housing will work very well. If you find that the cable is too bent or kinked to use, just buy some stainless wire and bend the ends. This should be available at any industrial supply place. Be sure to use lots of grease on the cable when you re-install it. despite the teflon, the grease really helps things. White lithium grease I find works best.
     
  13. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    White lithium grease, gotcha, will do. Thanks! I have a tub of that stuff from 1992 that I still haven't made a serious dent in. I'm anxiously awaiting the new cable. It cost me all of $9.00. This might end up being the cheapest repair on the car so far! (As long as you don't count the very expensive new control levers I had to buy from Ferrari UK!)

    Birdman
     
  14. randall

    randall Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
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    If you don't mind, where did you pick up the cables and how much did you buy?
     
  15. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    I used the Google catalog search function (a very helpful and not well known resource found under the advanced settings) to search for bicycle cables. I found a company called Dan's Comp (www.danscomp.com) that does BMX and competition bicycle stuff. Enter the part number 29-489018 into the part number search and you will come up with DK Slic cable with a 1.8 mm inner cable size (largest I could find). That's what I ordered. It comes in 72" lengths for $3.99. I ordered three pieces to redo all three lines. Total with shipping: $17.72. I'm planning on recycling the inner cable and only using the outer cable. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Birdman
     
  16. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    Well, today I put the control cables in the car. I got lucky. The 72" lengths were almost exactly right. I cut maybe 3 inches off the cables to make them the right length. As well, the 1.8 mm cable size was perfect for snaking the recycled single strand "core" cable inside the new teflon outer cable. The teflon bike cable was perfect. It's plastic on the outside, then an aluminum anti-crush flexible "tube" then a teflon lining through which a stranded "core" slides.

    I discovered the reason why the old cables were so stiff. It seems that whatever lubricant was used in them before had become gooey and glue-like. I cleaned the inner cable until smooth and installed. With no lubrication, the teflon coating made it as smooth as glass, so I decided not to add any lube to possibly goo up in the future. It took about 3 hours to install the new cables and new controls (two heater controls had to be replaced because the old ones had broken trying to move the stuck cable). Now everything works!!

    Glossary for the following: core=inner cable, outer cable is the part of the control cable that contains the core.

    Here is what I did. I took the new cables and cut the stranded core with sheet metal shears to I could remove it from the outer cable (there was a metal thingy bonded to the end to hook into bicycle brakes, so the cable can't come out without cutting one end off). Then, leaving the old outer cable installed in the car, I disconnected the sold core from each control and pulled it free of the old outer cable LEAVING THE OLD OUTER CABLE IN PLACE. I cleaned the core and then slid it into the new outer (bicycle) cable, trimming the length of the new outer cable to the right length. Next, I went inside the car and taped the new cable to the old cable (overlapped about 6" of cable and used electrical tape to tape them together tightly). Then, from the front of the car (in the spare tire area) I pulled the old cable out, snaking the new cable in at the same time. After untaping the old cable, I hooked up the new cable (that's the tricky part...the connections for the flappers on the air ducts are hard to get at). Done! All the controls are SMOOOTH and work great and the whole project was about $17 in cable+shipping.

    Once again, for those of you looking for the parts:

    I got the cable at Dan's Comp (www.danscomp.com)
    Part number 29-489018 (DK Slic cable with a 1.8 mm core, 72" lengths for $3.99 each).

    Birdman
     
  17. Peter

    Peter F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 21, 2000
    6,339
    B.C., Canada
    Excellent work Birdman. I hope you realise you'll lose in a Concours because of this, but damn to them, at least it works better than new! That's the way it should be...
     
  18. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
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    Peter,
    My car would lose in a concours LONG before they ever got to the point of looking at the heater control cables! The only award my car will win is "Definitely not a garage queen!"

    Actually though, the old cables were black. The new cables are black. How would they know the difference? They look pretty much identical once installed except that they are obviously new.

    Incidentally, I don't know if the cables I removed were original but the outer shell of the cable had no metal casing, it was just hard plastic, whereas the ones I replaced them with had three layers (plastic on the outside, aluminum spiral, and then teflon on the inside).

    I also forgot to mention that the price of the repair was actually almost a dollar cheaper than I said before because I found $.95 inside the center console while doing the repair. I guess the previous owner didn't relaize that when you put change in a 308 ashtray, it falls out the bottom!

    Birdman
     
  19. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    Bordman,

    >>>.. I found $.95 inside the center console while doing the repair. I guess the previous owner didn't relaize that when you put change in a 308 ashtray, it falls out the bottom!<<<

    The previous owner was just trying to give you a tip for the work done :)

    CONGRATS and glad it worked out well.

    Enjoy The Drive,

    Steven R. Rochlin
     

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