Tempest 170 skeg question

I just bought a used 170, and the skeg jams. Specifically, it works through about half of its range, but jams in the last inch before going all the way up. That means 1) that I have a hard time getting it all the way up (no jokes, please), and 2) if it’s in the up position already, I cannot get it to lower, which is obviously a major problem.

In all my years, I have never had to deal with skegs. On all my boats, they’ve always worked fine. I guess I’ve been lucky. But the long and the short of it is, I don’t know what to do.

What should I do in my situation? Try to clean it in situ? Take it off, and try to clean it while off? Replace it? I see a replacement kit on line. How hard is it to do? Seems like it would be easy enough. Any advice appreciated.

likely need to repalce the cable
You likely need to replace the cable. If the skeg was used when it was jammed, the braided cable has a way of expanding out (like one of the Chinese finger torture games). Once this happens, that part where it expands out won’t fit into the skeg guide tubes, limiting your range. The solution is to replace the cable.

You should be able to confirm this by extending the skeg all the way down and then looking at the cable in the skeg box. You should see the problem.

Cheapskate alternate that may work - you may be able to trim the skeg cable between the unbundled spot and where it attaches to the skeg. You will lose some range (skeg won’t be able to fully deploy), but you may be able to get the skeg to fully retract.

come on down and let’s go paddling!
Side benefit for me: You can look at my skeg.

Now that you have a Tempest
go to Yahoo and join the TempestOwners group (put together by Steve Sherrer). He’s got several articles there on how the skeg assembly works, pics, etc. Makes it simple to get that skeg operating with the cable and control knob set in the right position. The"worst" thing is that after the time spent on getting everything ship-shape, you probably won’t need to use the skeg much :slight_smile:

Did you get a white one?


3 parts to it

– Last Updated: Jun-27-12 4:27 PM EST –

Slider, cable, blade. Figure out which part sticks and act accordingly.

First, obviously, is to do a visual for any kinks on the cable. If none, you have to troubleshoot...

You can disconnect each part fairly easy to figure what causes the sticking:
- You can disconnect the blade from the cable in the skeg box area. I forgot how it is on the Tempest, but I think there is a screw or might even just be a slot where the cable fits in the blade. With the blade out of the way, you can see if the cable now moves smoothly. If it does, then there is a problem with the blade sticking-up somewhere. If not, proceed...

- Disconnect the slider from the cable. Does the slider slide all the way back and forth smoothly? If not, then your slider needs to be fixed (either bent or too tight somehow). If the slider moves smoothly when not connected to the cable, then your cable is getting stuck somewhere.

- If your cable is sticking without the cable housing being kinked, then you need to clean and probably lubricate the cable and cable housing. Take the cable out, and if it is damaged, replace. If it looks good, clean, lubricate, re-insert, make sure it moves smoothly now. This is a semi-rigid cable that should be easy to slide in and out if everything is clean and clear (unlike a rope kind where you have to guide it somehow through the cable housing).

- Re-attach everything and make sure it still works: you may need to adjust the slider and cable position so that you get full or almost full skeg retraction with the slider in the forward position.

Sorry, don't remember what specific lubricant to use on the cable - google it as I've seen that discussed a lot...

EDIT: and while at it, make sure the point where the cable housing attaches to the skeg box is well sealed and does not leak. And that the holes in the 2 rear bulkheads for the skeg cable housing are sealed too.

Had a bent slider at cockpit
My t170 had a bent slider. It was not a problem since it just made the entire movement a bit stiff (yes, no jokes) but it still worked properly.

It also had a completely trashed cable. I took it all apart and replaced the cable with typical stainless steel cable from McMaster-Carr (easy to get that way) and straightened the slider while I was at it, Now is so free that the skeg drops down an inch while riding on the top of the car due to vibration. It’s that lose.

I recall there being a tiny screw in the skeg to hold the cable in a hole. I think, but I can’t remember exactly, that the screw is accessible when the skeg is dropped all the way down. I may have had the slider at the cockpit apart at that time and that might allow the skeg to drop further to make it all more accessible.

It’s all easy to fix if you are mechanically inclined.


my friend with the white one
wouldn’t sell me his

I got a red plastic one instead (I was always on the fence over fiberglass vs. plastic, and still am!)

can you imagine, …
the previous owner broke not one, but both end toggles! How do you even do that?!

make sure you…
drill and tie a pull cord in the trailing corner of your skeg so the next time it’s sticky/jammed with pebbles a buddy can reach under for you and pull it free instead of ruining another cable trying to free it.

I heard that…
…your friend is about to take his on a trip to the BC Coast. Maybe you can ambush him and steal it. Then you would have one of each.


you’d like my boat
I’ve alluded to it here and there: It’s in absolutely abominable condition. What the previous owner did to it – how he got it that way – I have no idea. It’s like it went over a cliff as the stunt double kayak in a Hollywood film. But that’s okay with me. You know me. Now I don’t have to worry so much. It frees me up to discover it’s true essence. (And I can be as rough on it as I like.)

Thanks, all!
What started out as intimidating seems to be fairly straitforward and easy. As if Steve Scherrer anticipated that I would be buying a 170 with kinked skeg cable, he uploaded a step-by-step repair video one month ago!


I appreciate the assistance. Thanks!