Predator 13 - Rudder Install E-mail
Written by Kenny Perkins   
Monday, 03 February 2014 00:00

1 To date, I've paddled my Old Town Predator 13 without a rudder. I've been happy with the ride, however on a few occasions wished I had a rudder when in the current.  And I'm a rudder guy, so it was destined to happen eventually. 

The OT Predator 13 rudder kit comes with everything you need and the instructions are very detailed.  Cast aside your "men don't read instructions" mentality and have a little faith (for first-timers...me) and you will be just fine.  The only part I had difficulty with was that mentality.  When something did not seem quite right, I would read again - sure enough - I missed that part.  I also had a little difficulty visualizing the barrel knot instructions, which was remedied with a quick internet search. What I am sharing here is not always Step 1, 2, 3; nor, always synchronized with the instructions.  Again, give a man a screwdriver and some parts and he thinks he can do it on his own...

The brackets were installed a couple weeks ago when I got the kit -- couldn't wait, had to dig in the box.  So the first thing I did when I officially began this install was to drill the holes in the stern. Next, I installed the pad eyes.  I took a picture of this one specifically as the preset screw inserts did not line up with the pad eye.  If you have this problem, I would recommend you heat the pad eye and reshape slightly as the inserts will strip easily if you try to force it. The instructions tell you to find the inset guide for where to drill the holes in the cockpit.  Just know, the "inset guide indentation" is actually a very small bump.  Mark it with a Sharpy then use a screw driver to indent and prevent your drill bit from sliding.  When drilling, I always start with a smaller bit and work my way up until I reach the actual hole size recommended.

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Next, put the kayak on its side and thread the tubing through. Start at the stern, feed it through, reach in the hatch and pull through the bow holes within the cockpit.

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This was probably the most intimidating part of the install for me.  I have not worked with this tubing before, so I was fearful the tubing would pull through to the interior of the boat.  Just know, the tubing when heated will flare on the end and harden.  After heating and flaring the ends in the cockpit, you go to the stern end and repeat the same procedure.  In the picture above, you see one tube is threaded through and the other I have already cut and clamped.  You want to clamp on to the tube and give it a gentle tug to pull the slack through.  I even released and clamped again, getting about another inch of slack out before cutting the tubing.  Again, do not be concerned with pulling the tubing through from the other end, the flare will keep it secure.

Gently heat the end of the tubing, tap it out, and repeat until you get a good flare on the end.  While heating, periodically insert something small in the hole (I used an allen wrench) to ensure you are not clogging things up.   Then use a hammer to gently tap the flare end into the hole for a good seal.

Next, you will install the new pedals that come with the kit (unfortunately, no pictures of this part).  The pedals are the same as the ones you have now, but have the cables on the end to control the rudder.  The instructions will tell you to take out the stern in screw and the center bolt and screw to pivot the pedal track upward.  I actually removed the stern screw and the bow screw and pivoted the pedal track just fine (a little less hassle this way).  After installing the pedals, thread the cabling through.  You want to ensure the pedal adjustment straps are even with the end of the pedal track on both sides to ensure the cables are equal length.

Now install the rudder, thread two crimps on each cable and loop around the bolt on each side of the rudder.  After crimping, remove the bolt, cut the excess cable, put heat shrink tubing over the ends and heat gently.  Then reinstall the cables on the bolts.

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Next up, thread the rope though the pad eyes and through the rudder.  The instructions do a good job of walking you through the right way to thread the rope.  You then affix the bungee to the rope with barrel knots to make everything nice and snug.  There will be no slack in the rudder rope when you are done.  Cut off the excess and heat the frayed ends of the rope and bungee.  You may have to adjust these knots a few times to get it right.  If the top knot is to close to the pad eye, your rudder will not go all the way down. 

And, you are done...easy-weasy.  Can't wait until the next time I hit those currents to see how much improvement this will make.

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