Help with Valley skeg

A friend has a Valley boat that the rudder will not fully retract on. Everthing acts like a kink in the cable.

I loosened the set screw that locks the cable into the plastic slider at the cockpit but cannot get the cable out of the plastic knob.

My questions are;

How violent should I get? Do I need to use a hammer and punch to drive the plastic off the end of the cable?

I have not removed the steel guide rod under the cable that the plastic slider moves on, should I?

I popped the skeg off of it’s pivot and pulled on the blade but still could not free the cable. Any other suggestions?



a few Qs
It sounds as if you are talking about skeg control arrangement where cable goes into the plastic knob, you can see it, while the plastic knob slides on a separate guide. If that is the case, you should have no difficulties pulling the cable out

Did you back the set screw out, or just give it a few turns?

When I had to adjust cable length on my skeg - the cable was too long, the skeg would go completely in - I backed out the set screw, skirted in some WD40, waited, jiggled the cable, it all worked out.

When I had to swap the cable, loosened the set screws at both ends, removed the skeg, and pulled it whole cable out. You might have to be a bit careful here since the kink in the cable could rip things apart.

I loosened the set screw
Thanks Suiram.

Your description is accurate, the boat is a Valley Aquanuat LV. It was cold yesterday so I did not want to hit the plastic knob with anything for fear of breaking it. I’m thinking next I’ll remove the metal rod so I can twist the knob off the cable.



Sounds like same repair

– Last Updated: Mar-03-13 6:30 PM EST –

Hey, I think I just did the same repair. I did not have trouble getting the cable out of the slider knob once I completely loosened the set screw. To get it to go back into the slider knob I cut it to a point on that end with the dremel, which I think helped. I had to struggle to get it to go back into the skeg. I held the cable in a bench vise and then rotated the skeg several dozen times in the direction that tightened the diameter of the cable and it finally creeped in.

Thanks Dave.
If you make the pool session next Sunday you can take a look at it. I’ll be filling in for Bob. If I can fit my fat butt in that boat I may borrow it for a trip to NC.



There’s no need to hit anything
In order to do the job right, it’s important to understand how the slider is constructed. I have seen a couple of different types:

In the most common design, the plastic knob is mounted on a stainless tube(not a rod). The easy way to tell if this is the design that you have is that the only thing visible in the slider box is the knob and the tube; you can’t see the cable.

There is a hole in the tube for the set screw in the knob to pass through. The cable is threaded through the tube and the set screw is tightened, pinching the cable. It also deforms it somewhat, which is why it can be difficult to pull it out. In use, the knob does not slide on the tube, the knob and tube move as one unit.

With the other type, the know rides on a stainless rod low in the slider box and the cable is inserted into a hole above it, where it is held by a set screw. The cable and rod are clearly visible. There are two disadvantages to this design:

1- The cable is unsupported in the slider box, which makes it prone to kinking.

2- When the set screw is tightened, it presses the cable into the plastic of the knob, which molds to the shape of the cable. While this holds the cable securely, it can make it quite difficult to pull the cable out.

With either design, rinsing with fresh water to dissolve any salt deposit, then spraying with a water-displacing lube (WD-40, LPS, etc.) will help to make it easier to remove the cable from the slider. Installing the new cable is the reverse of the removal process.

One caveat, there are also different cable attachment methods at the skeg, which can be equally confusing and require very different repair methods. If you’re lucky, yours will have a set screw, but the cables can still be tough to remove.

This one is the second option
When I get back over there I’ll try removing the rod and twisting the knob off the cable. Hopefully it will be warmer than it was Saturday.



I’ve seen about 2 dozen of these knob where the set screw is so ceased up that the only way to replace the cable is to destroy the slider knob and replace it with a new one. There was a time when many Valley boats came with defective set screws. They would bond to the metal in the slider knob making removal impossible. In the redesigned knobs, the only metal is the set screw into the nylon of the slider knob.

If this is your issue, what should be a simple cable replacement has turned into a nightmare because you will have to remove the stainless steel rod below the cable, which is glassed into the boat. This means cutting/grinding away at the fiberglass until it’s free and re-fiberglassing it back in when you are done. PITA!

You can salvage the knob…
…and save yourself a lot of unnecessary work.

  • Drill out the set screw.
  • Remove the cable.
  • Drill the set screw hole oversize.
  • Tap the hole for a larger set screw.
  • Install a STAINLESS steel set screw.
  • Install a new cable.


Thanks yet again
The set screw backed out easily this is a pretty new plastic boat that’s never been in salt water. I’m going to work on it again this weekend.