Use Cables to Keep Trim Tabs Intact

Installing safety/limiting cables can reduce trim tab damage

July 5, 2016
trim tab safety limiting cables
Keep your trim tabs intact by installing safety/limiting cables. Capt. Randy Baker

I just had to replace the trim tabs on Nomad after completely losing one when it broke off at the hinge. To help keep this from happening again, I decided to install safety/limiting cables on our tabs. The addition of cables will stop the rams from going all the way down and breaking off if you forget to raise the tabs up while fishing or backing down. This will also help if the bottom pin on the ram breaks. The cables will stop the tab from flopping forward while backing down. I’ve used this system on other boats in the past with good success. To install cables on a new boat for the first time, you will need to add a strong attachment point to the hull at the top and a place to attach the cables to the tabs. On Nomad, we used 1/4-inch diameter stainless-steel eye bolts for the hull attachments, through-bolted through the hull and sealed with 3M 4200. On the tabs themselves, I drilled 1/4-inch holes and inserted stainless thimbles. To mount, run the trim tab ram all the way down until it is fully extended, then raise it up about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch.

installing cables on trim tabs
A close-up look at the hull attachment points for the safety cables. Capt. Randy Baker

Now, using 900-pound stainless cable and heavy-walled, double-barrel copper sleeves, crimp the cable to the top eye bolt, keeping the loop as small as possible. This job is best done with two people: one person holding the crimping tool and the other holding/adjusting the cable and sleeve.

For the trim tab end, slide two sleeves onto the cable and run the bitter end of the cable through the hole and thimble and then through the bottom sleeve only, leaving at least 12 inches of tag end. Position the tool onto the sleeve and pull up as hard as you can on the tag end to pull the cable tight. Now slide the tool and sleeve down tight to the thimble and crimp.

Installing cables on trim tabs
The lower ends of the safety cables attach to the trailing edge of the trim tab. Capt. Randy Baker

Next, cut the tag end of the cable off, leaving it long enough to pass through the second sleeve. Crimp the second sleeve over the cable, keeping the cable end inside the sleeve so it is clean and smooth. Repeat for the other cable on the tab, making sure the cables are of equal tightness. Test run the ram up and down to make sure everything clears. Even with the ram covers in place, the cable will just slack off and slide around the ram when in the up position.


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