Life Line Replacement

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Tom Green
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Life Line Replacement

Postby Tom Green » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:13 pm

Has anyone replaced their lifelines with Dynema or similar material instead of stainless wire? Would be interested in any experience. The xinyl coating on mine is cracked and dis colored.

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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby thinwater » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:42 pm

I would suggest searching some of the sailing forums. This is a common topic. Yes, I have done this on several boats.

The main things is to make certain the stanchion holes are VERY smooth on the inside. There are also many variations on chafe protection. Splicing Dynema is dead simple.
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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby AMCarter3 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:55 pm

We replaced our old (cracked, rusted) vinyl coated lifelines with stainless last year through West Marine. I believe their rigging unit is located somewhere on the East coast. We worked through our local West Marine store -- they shipped all of the old cables and fittings to the riggers. (We kept a few of the fittings). A couple of weeks later, we received a box with our new stainless cables and fittings. The installation process took time, but was easy. The new lifelines look fabulous. The total cost was about 25% LESS than it would have cost thru a local rigger company. We are very glad we did it. 8)
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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby Ortolan » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:27 pm

Good timing as we just went thru this. First we tried to save what we had by stripping off the white vinyl & soaking the SS in an acid bath. They looked better, but after a few months started rusting again.

Next I researched Dyneema, but was put off by the initial high cost, as you need to buy so many new fittings. So I comprised by modifying & splicing directly to the turnbuckles, but still had to purchase 10 threaded fittings for the 10 gates - still cut the cost by 1/3.

In the end, I learned how to splice Dyneema, the cost was reasonable & they look great! If you want any particulars, let me know.
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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby sailkane » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:50 am

We replaced the lifelines with new stainless steel. Sent to a rigging company and installed ourselves. I labeled all the lines before taking them off and also measured there length and made a cheat sheet which was needed for the installation of the new ones.
They look great!

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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby Tom Green » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:50 pm

Thanks for the input. It is helpful. I think I'll price new stainless lines from WM or Fisheries and put them on myself.

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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby AlanH » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:14 pm

At the January PDQ Rendezvous in Stuart, Dick Tuschick covered a renewal process for lifelines. Strip the old white plastic covering off and soak the lines in Ospho overnight. They come out looking like brand new stainless lines. I just did Catbo and they came out great.

A few things I learned if anyone plans to do it.

Stripping the plastic off the stainless lines is not a simple task. After some very slow progress, I heated them up with a soldering torch and it was 90% easier.

Ospho contains Phosphoric Acid. I could not find it locally so I looked online. I wound up using Totalboat Rust Primer which also contains Phosphoric Acid but was considerably cheaper with free shipping on it from Jamestown Distributers. https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/u ... ?pid=98139

I dumped a gallon in a five gallon bucket and was able to do half the lines at a time. Leave it overnight and use a rag and soap to wash off when done. They look like new.

One minor problem, I soaked the hardware also and did not notice the turnbuckles are chrome over bronze. The acid took the chrome off so I had to get three new turnbuckles. At the rest of the hardware was stainless and came out perfect.

Not a big job but it really improves the appearance of the boat.
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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby Ortolan » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:36 pm

As my previous post mentioned - I tried this, but mine started rusting again in a few months, so I ended up replacing them with Dyneema.

But ... the big caution I didn't mention is to watch out for broken strands of SS after you strip off the vinyl! I had broken strands sticking out which will draw blood & hurt like hell if you slide your hand along & get snagged! Especially check near the fittings of the gates, as the cable there gets flexed.
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Re: Life Line Replacement

Postby AlanH » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:55 am

Thanks Russ. We did not have any broken strands at all. I will wait about 6 months and update on any rust problems that might occur.
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