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Engine control cable length

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  • Engine control cable length

    I’m using the Vans FWF kit for installation on an IO540, similar to many others.

    Can someone tell me if the standard Vans engine control cables fit ok ? At first glance it looks like the prop cable should be plenty long enough, the mixture cable looks adequate, and the throttle cable looks too short. I haven’t made the firewall penetrations yet to get the exact fit.

    Here are the standard Vans cable lengths:

    Throttle - 47.5”

    Mixture - 51.5”

    Prop - 72.5”
    Nev Bailey
    Christchurch, NZ

  • #2
    Hey Nev,

    My control cables from Vans were all too short. So I ordered a new set of ACS cables (black, blue & red knobs). I intentionally ordered them all too long because ACS Products will shorten these cables to suit. Just install them at the panel, then determine your routing and length. Remove and send back to:

    ACS Products Co.
    1585 Copper Drive

    Lake Havasu City, AZ. 86403

    Might be an inconvenience for you to do this from NZ...
    Rob Caldwell
    Davidson, North Carolina
    EAA Chapter 309
    BH Model B Quick Build Kit Serial # 11B-24B / 25B
    Build Log:
    YouTube Channel:


    • AKKen07
      AKKen07 commented
      Editing a comment
      Rob, do you recall your final cable lengths?

    • Nev
      Nev commented
      Editing a comment
      Actually Rob if I remember correctly yours is a horizontal fuel servo so the cable lengths might be longer again.

    • robcaldwell
      robcaldwell commented
      Editing a comment
      AKKen07. Unfortunately I do not. I just remember sending them back and forth to ACS with a note to "take 1/2" off this one... Take 7/8" off that one..." Nev yes and probably why the cables from Vans were all too short.

  • #3
    FYI, my Patrol throttle and and mixture and prop cables were all around 48”. So, they may have value to a Patrol builder and someone could lessen your pain a little.
    Brooks Cone
    Southeast Michigan
    Patrol #303, Kit build


    • #4

      I might add that You are ahead just having those cables in hand. For those who are going down this road with not product in hand.....I used a simple inexpensive $20 Bowden Cable helped me to calculate cable lengths and design and understand some of the installation issues.

      The seemingly simple elementary issues of the three big engine control cables can absorb a lot of time for those of us new to this. In the end I ended up ordering stuff I did not know how I would install just to get it in my hands. I could not solve a problem I could not define and could not define it without the cable in hand.
      Last edited by Bcone1381; 04-18-2021, 11:43 AM.
      Brooks Cone
      Southeast Michigan
      Patrol #303, Kit build


      • #5
        Route it with stiff wire first and measure? You can do it in separate pieces forward and rearward of the FW while you decide where to punch it through.


        • #6
          I would say that a thin piece of steel wire might do a decent simulation of what you can do with the control cable. I would probably also want to run the control cables before I mounted secondary stuff on the firewall. Some things are easier to move than others.


          • svyolo
            svyolo commented
            Editing a comment
            I took a few pieces of TIG filler and my prop cable. .035" steel TIG filler can be bent about the same as the cable, and the cable still can move smoothly.