Let me start by saying that if I knew the repair was actually going to work, I'd have taken some photos.
The signs: the inner cable of my Ivalite was visible when the handle was in the neutral (i.e. light is on the horizon) position. So either the cable was too long, or the housing around it was too short.
The symptoms: The vertical movement of the light was jerky. The handle was spongy, like a pinball machine striker.
The anatomy: there's an inner cable surrounded by a spring and then a metal sheath. The sheath resists compression along the long axis of the cable and thus provides counterforce for the movement of the cable back and forth (i.e. light up and down). My outer sheath was broken in two places and it retracted over the spring for about 3 inches.
The fix: I took the whole thing apart. Really. Light out, ballast off, hinge undone, base unscrewed, pin out of goofy grooved metal thing, and cleaned/greased it up. When I did this I still didn't know how I was going to fix it, but it seemed appropriate.
I brought it into the workshop and stretched it between a vise and a wood clamp. I pulled it to the point where the chrome rod (at the handle-side of things) was about half within the copped sleeve. Stretching the spring will afford you a little space between the coils and will allow for some play in the repositioning of the outer sheath. I oiled it up nicely and worked the sheath over the spring by rotating it. Letting go of the sheath at this point will result in it retracting back to it's neutral position, and won't do you any good.
So, once the gap in the sheath was as closed as I could make it, I secured it in place over the spring using a 5/8" hose clamp. Since I had two gaps, I needed four clamps. In the end the spring was entirely re-sheathed.
I tightened the clamps with a socket wrench; making sure the cable still moved freely, put the light back together and re-mounted it on the bow. I reattached the handle in the dash, tightened everything securely, tested the lamp, secured the base and then tested out the movement.
Perfect. Smooth. Precise. Like it should be.
So here's the issue as far as I see: There are little to no resources for Ivalites online. There's Grand Craft and the opportunity to send your light in for evaluation/estimate and repair. I've read VERY good things about that process and company and it's a terrific solution.
However, it's the weekend and I'm into fixing things. And I tried to email that outfit and met an undeliverable mail message. Maybe I should have phoned?
And on top of that, there isn't much by way of Ivalite parts. There's eBay. But not much else. And "parts" are usually poor-quality Ivalites and run upwards of $100. So any repair needs to be done carefully without damaging things (i.e. cutting apparently redundant cable) as they may not be easily replaceable.
If anyone read this and thinks, yeah, my Ivalite's a bit jerky and there sure is a lot of that chrome handle showing....
Well, then I have a weekend project for you.
Bronze, stainless, chrome or steel. If you need information about the hardware on your classic fiberglass Chris-Craft, pose your questions here.
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