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Old 11-09-2013, 12:38 AM   #1
Plaka OP
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Who took the Teflon?

So I keep hearing about these "teflon" lined cables the airheads have. I keep saying not freakin' likely simply because I know how unsuitable teflon would be for the application. I've been thinking it's polyethylene.

So I ended up with a leftover piece of choke cable from a 1--->2 system, about 1983. I cut one end off and pulled out the piece of plastic tube iside. Didn't look like telon, didn't feel like teflon either (I have some teflon slab around). I gave it the old lighter test and it melted instantly, burned with a halfway clean blue flame and started dripping flaming globs on the floor. Ah for some orange sunshine blotter and ziltches.... Anyway, it ain't Teflon. But it wasn't looking like polyethylene either. Poly burns in a particular way, it goes clear where it melts just ahead of the flame front. And it didn't smell like poly---although that one is subtle. it definitely isn't nylon. Nylon has very distinctive smell. Try lighting up the end of a zip tie or some nylon robe. It isn't polyurethane. That stuff makes a black char as it burns and the smoke is ultra nasty--my nose is still stinging (and no buzz either ).

So does anyone know what it is or have any ideas? (I still have to test some UHM-PE, I have to get the glue off it. The PE I tried was tube, not sheet, and likely HD or LLD.)
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:03 AM   #2
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Maybe PBT polybutylene terephthalate....

Or PET polyethylene terephthalate.

I'm not a plastics guy but IIRC both were used in bowden cable liners.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:18 AM   #3
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Polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE !!

there featherlight cables available from Motobins in the UK. I changed over my clutch cable and there was a marked improvement.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:23 AM   #4
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but PTFE = teflon.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squish View Post
Maybe PBT polybutylene terephthalate....

Or PET polyethylene terephthalate.

I'm not a plastics guy but IIRC both were used in bowden cable liners.
Scratch PET. Very distinctive sweetish odor when burned. Just tried some.

Dunno how to get some confirmed PBT. But given the date of the cable, I may be able to get something off the patent date.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:12 AM   #6
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FEATHERLIGHT CLUTCH CABLES

Featherlight clutch cables provide the ultimate smooth delivery and clutch action. The high technology teflon lines and super smooth marine grade stainless steel inner combine to provide the lightest of actions. PTFE is "self lubricating" and requires no oiling.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:52 AM   #7
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Wrong or right, I've concluded that the speedometer, tach, clutch and choke cables benefit from oiling. Brake cable too, prolly, though I've never oiled a brake cable. It's the throttle cables that are lined with something that does not benefit from oiling...and some say oiling can harm throttle cable linings. Just put this in the interweb urban myth category if you wish, but I thought I'd share my conclusions...which flow from reading lots of airhead forum posts over the past 10 years.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:40 AM   #8
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IIRC, the teflon is coated on the cable and not the composition of the sheath. PTFE tubing is possible to manufacture in short lengths. It is used in medical devices, but is crazy expensive because the pure material cannot be extruded. Tthe extrudable types are not pure PTFE but only called "Teflon" by the expanded use of the trade name by DuPont.

I'm guessing teflon-coated wire inside a nylon sheath is what gets called a "teflon cable".
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:26 AM   #9
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On the burning poly question, is there a different appearance when burning LDPE vs. UHMW?
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:41 AM   #10
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Teflon tubing (i.e. tubing made of PTFE) : http://www.mcmaster.com/#5239k23/=payxjz
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
IIRC, the teflon is coated on the cable and not the composition of the sheath. PTFE tubing is possible to manufacture in short lengths. It is used in medical devices, but is crazy expensive because the pure material cannot be extruded. Tthe extrudable types are not pure PTFE but only called "Teflon" by the expanded use of the trade name by DuPont.

I'm guessing teflon-coated wire inside a nylon sheath is what gets called a "teflon cable".
Nope. The cable That came out of this sheath isn't coated with anything. Heated the end to red hot and only the tiniest whisp of smoke and a burning oil smell.

The sheath inside the housing isn't nylon. see opening post.

Coating a cable with teflon or anything else is a major pain, costly and gives no benefit. The Cf of steel on plastic and plastic on plastic is the same. Look it up, many engineering sites have the data tables for various materials. When you make cable, the wire is lubricated to reduce friction running through the spinning dies. To coat*** it, you need to get that lubrication off. bunch of work.

Virgin teflon is extruded. There is no "extrudable type". It is simply mixed with a carrier as an aid in the process and the carrier is removed later. Check out DuPonts (and others) technical literature on processing it. It is not melt extruded like other thermoplastics. 1/8" tubing in 50' lengths is commonly available (try shopping for some) and I suspect that is cut from much longer spools. This material is used for medical purposes, research gear and everything else. I have a short piece around here somewhere. it is indeed expensive. Crappy material to line a cable sheath with---it's soft and doesn't resist abrasion. It also cold flows. I notice the stuff I took out of the cable sheath is very springy.



*** as in really coat it, not just overmold it like the vinyl on a bicycle cable lock.
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:17 AM   #12
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Wouldn't nylon also be lousy? It swells with moisture.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SculptD View Post
On the burning poly question, is there a different appearance when burning LDPE vs. UHMW?
I would expect not but I haven't tested it. I've welded UHMW and it gets transparent at melt. I have to try some LD, it can be more transparent in the first place (like a 6 pack 6 ring package)
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:03 AM   #14
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Wouldn't nylon also be lousy? It swells with moisture.
Yes, but it isn't nylon anyway.
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulom View Post
Sorry to burst your bubble, but PTFE = teflon.
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