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Pulling wires thru tower piping.

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Old 03-12-2018, 12:49 PM
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Default Pulling wires thru tower piping.

Ok... tried, and couldnít do it. Boat is a 2000 Albemarle 320.

There are a few old wires I was going to use to pull a string thru with. But the wire wont budge not one inch. I broke one right at the entry into the pipe in the tower. I broke a cable TV cable!! Not used so I donít care but dam, thatís some big cable and so you can imagine the amount of force I put on it to break it. It just did not want to budge. Tried from both ends. Did pull as hard on other end to not break it. Tried the other side with less wires and same thing, nothing budges. I tried using a fishing tape but could not get very far ether, not even close to the exit. Seems like the wires are zip tied or stuck together inside the piping.

Any secrets or tips? Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:56 PM
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I had a similiar problem trying to make a 90 deg turn in the pipe at a T. I gave up and zip tied the wire to the underside of the tube, between the canvas and the tube.
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:00 PM
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Try to squirt some soap into the hole. If you can, do it from the higher side so that it will run down inside the tube.

I had a similar issue where the wires were just stuck, soap did the trick.

Last edited by Edselectric1; 03-12-2018 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Edselectric1 View Post
Try to squirt some dishsoap into the hole. If you can, do it from the higher side so that it will run down inside the tube.

I had a similar issue where the wires were just stuck, dishsoap did the trick.
Don't use dish soap, over time it will degrade the wire. Put some wire lube in there. Have you tried an electrical snake with the end bent and taped?
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:39 PM
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Like you mentioned might be zipped tied together as one
Does all of the wires move if pull them at the same time?
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:48 PM
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Once you've resolved the stuck wires (really hope that you do) and begin to pull new wire, always pull through an additional cord to leave in the chase for future use. Good luck with your project.
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:57 PM
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I learned from THT to use a small nail tied onto a string. Put it into the top of the tube, and use a supermagnet to guide through the tube. Once you get it out the other end, tie the wire you want to use to the end of the string and pull it through. I used this method to run wire through the T Top tubing, and it worked perfectly.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SSN651 View Post
I learned from THT to use a small nail tied onto a string. Put it into the top of the tube, and use a supermagnet to guide through the tube. Once you get it out the other end, tie the wire you want to use to the end of the string and pull it through. I used this method to run wire through the T Top tubing, and it worked perfectly.
This would work on new builds or pipes with no wires already in it.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Seacraft25 View Post
Like you mentioned might be zipped tied together as one
Does all of the wires move if pull them at the same time?
No, nothing moves. Like if itís melted/stuck to the piping.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:02 PM
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Wire lube and 400# mono to pull with.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by gregb5220 View Post
Don't use dish soap, over time it will degrade the wire. Put some wire lube in there. Have you tried an electrical snake with the end bent and taped?
Yup, tried the metal snake used to pull electrical wires. Didnít bend the tip though. Iíll try that next time.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by lmannyr View Post
Yup, tried the metal snake used to pull electrical wires. Didnít bend the tip though. Iíll try that next time.
Bend the tip 180 degrees, you want the loop to be about one inch. Tape the back part so it dosent get caught on any wires, now you have a round tip at that the end of the snake that will bounce off obstructions. If it stops, keep shaking it and flip it one way, that should get past everything.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:23 PM
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The best tool I have used to pull new wire through tower legs is the cable inside a standard shift cable from Teleflex. I understand that's not what you are dealing with.

Sometimes it helps to have a guy on one end pushing while another guy on the other end pulls.

I had an issue on my last boat where someone put two bolts through the tower to hold a tall antenna mount. In order to pull wires through this section I had to remove both bolts. They prevented the wires from moving.

Old wire that has stiffened in the tube will be though to move.

Ancor makes a gel that can be squirted into the pipe to help lubricate the wires. It's hard to get the stuff to flow in a horizontal pipe but does work with vertical pipes. Good luck. I hope this helps.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:32 PM
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I use polywater (it won't have any long term affects on wiring) and fish tape with the 180 degree bend as described. Wrap some electrical tape where the bend meets the tape to make that a smooth transition. That way if you are pulling it back it out, that little lip won't get snagged.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:38 PM
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Have you tried going up/down the other side of the tower?
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:56 PM
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Wrestled many times doing this. Prolly goes without saying but while trying to pull out old wires it helps to have someone trying to push it through on the other end at the same time. Also found that pulling a string back through for future, parachute cord from Home Depot works well.
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Old 03-12-2018, 04:32 PM
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the thinnest wire you can use would be leader wire used for wahoo rigs.100lb or a little bigger. bend the tip and do a barrel twist on it and run it through (flatten the barrel loop at he end to a pointed end,. When you get the other end out, pull something back through using the same rigging wire.
the other way I have done it is with 20lb mono tied to a small piece of plastic baggy. Shop vac on the receiving end and any other open pipe sealed with anything to keep air from getting in. I ran my wires in my hard top piping this way. It may not take the straightest path through the piping, but the end will get in the shop vac . Just work the feed side until it starts taking line, give it more than you think it needs then check the vac.. then pull a piece of 300lb mono or a thin cable and a separate pull for the next wire later.

Last edited by 1NO REGRETS; 03-12-2018 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 03-12-2018, 04:37 PM
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All good tips, one more to try before you lube it up. Nice dry string in and the best shop vac you can find on the other side. Check there are no leaks and take a wack at it.

I use the plastic wire liner from a welder every day, shift cables for the oh crap days.

Use your brain to look for any other gotghas, any new equipment screwed to the run?
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Old 03-12-2018, 04:58 PM
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The piping has three different paths so the vacume method won’t work ether.

I appreciate all the tips. I thought this was going to be an easy task since I had a few old wires I could pull out. Nothing is easy on s 20 year old boat. Ol.

I’ll try bending the fish tape next as suggested.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by lmannyr View Post
The piping has three different paths so the vacume method won’t work ether.

I appreciate all the tips. I thought this was going to be an easy task since I had a few old wires I could pull out. Nothing is easy on s 20 year old boat. Ol.

I’ll try bending the fish tape next as suggested.
So you did manage to pull a few wires out?? You should have attached a string to those wires when you pulled them out. I always have someone pushing at one end while im pulling at the other end. Sometime its an inch at a time. You have to coordinate with the other person. You also need to tie the string correctly and use electrical tape to form a rifle bullet shape on the end of the wire. Use wire pulling foam from home depot as a lubricant.
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