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Inspecting and Adjusting the Mirage Drive
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Author:  Roadrunner [ Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Inspecting and Adjusting the Mirage Drive

This is the third (and final) in a series on maintenance and care of your Drive. The first two address lubrication and are:
http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewt ... d946df1ffc

The Mirage drive is a pretty rugged piece of gear and doesn't require much. Still, like any piece of equipment, if you only use it and abuse it, sooner or later you're going to lose the use of it -- and it will undoubtedly happen at the worst possible moment.

Whether new of used, you should inspect your unit on a regular basis. Here's what I check on mine. Starting at the bottom,....

1. Rear sprocket guard/outhaul rotates freely (right highlight below). If you have Turbo or ST fins, check the position -- make sure the adjustment screw is not backing out (just look at the fin position; make sure it hasn't moved.


2. If you have the new or recent drive (with plastic sprockets), check your (fin) mast retaining screw (an Allen head screw located just above left highlight, above). It should be snug. If the mast needs no adjustment (see next sentence), you should probably just leave it alone. There should be no twist or wobble in your mast. Look closely at the mast interface with its mounting surface (highlight below). If you see any signs of wear or gap developing, replace your sprocket assembly now, before the mast falls out later.


If you have an older drive with stainless steel sprockets, inspect your cotter pins -- make sure they are intact. If your mast wobbles in its housing, don't worry -- that's normal (this does not apply to plastic sprockets!!). While you're at it, inspect your cotter pin holding your sprocket shaft.

3. Cables: Starting with your idler cable, squeeze it about mid length (see below). If it doesn't move, it's probably too tight. it should give slightly (about 1/8 inch). We'll discuss adjustment momentarily.


Next, squeeze your chain cables in the same manner. The front should have a little give (again, about 1/8 inch), and the rear, slightly more (3/16 inch). These measurements are more critical if you have the stainless sprocket -- too loose and you can skip a cog on the sprocket; less critical with plastic sprockets.


In order to adjust your cables, you'll need a 7/16 open end wrench (or equivalent) and needle nose vice grips (preferred). Find the ends of the cable you want to adjust and note the swedge (crimped area at end of the cable) and nut (examples below). Simply tighten or loosen the nut while keeping the cable swedge from twisting (that's the only hard part). Do this in the following order: 1) idler pulley; 2) front cable; 3) rear cable. You should work both left and right sides a little at a time so your fin mast doesn't start to get off center. Squeeze the cable as you go. Recheck everything when done. Not nearly as difficult as it sounds, this is pretty fast and easy once you get the hang of it.


4. Inspect all six swedges. Make sure there is no fraying or any signs of looseness between the cable and swedge. If appropriate, check the cotter pin (green circle below) on your idler pulley to made sure it has no broken ends.


5. Now look at your pedal arm adjustment holes, especially if you have Turbofins. Make sure there is no heaving or strain marks on your holes. This can be an early sign of pending drum hole failure. This is not critical (because you can always find a good hole in an emergency) but I recommend ordering a replacement at the earliest sign of excessive strain. In the picture below, this hole has already failed.


6. Moving up to the top, check your pedals. the shaft should not wobble and the pedals should be within 1/16 inch of the post. If there is shaft wobble, you'll need to order a new crank arm (comes with pedal shaft) immediately. If you have excessive pedal gap, pop the end cap and tighten accordingly.


If you have the older screw in pedals, Hobie no longer stocks pedals, but you can still get the crank arms if you need them. Standard bicycle pedals (left and right thread) will work if you need any maintenance. Look for stainless or anodized if possible.

Almost done. Take an overall look at the Drive and make sure nothing is loose or falling off. Operate it; it should move freely with minimal effort, not binding and not sounding gritty (if so, trouble shoot the problem and correct). Note if your drive is new, it may feel a little stiff. That's normal. BUT, if it seems overly stiff, you might want to make an adjustment (see # 3 above).

That's all I can think of. Sorry for the length, but I have tried to make this comprehensive. The Mirage Drive is a very reliable unit, even when not regularly maintained. Yet, as you read on these topics, failures do happen. IMO, at least 90% of these can be prevented by regular inspection and maintenance. Just remember to bring your paddle just in case! 8)

PS None of this is official Hobie procedure. Always consult your owners manual if in doubt. I hate to have to say this, but be sure not to spill any hot coffee in your lap either! :lol:

Author:  drgatsea [ Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Roadrunner -

WOW! Your information and pictures are outstanding. I am sure I speak for many people when I say "Thank you" I am new to kayaking and new to the mirage drive. I have been surprised by how much I have enjoyed both. Your posts have shortened the learning curve for all of us. That increases our time on the water by decreasing our down time.

Thanks again for looking out for the rest of us and for sharing what you have learned.


Author:  Old Bull [ Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Mirage

Got to agree with drgatsea, the pics are great!! My third outing w/the Revo ystrday, the Mirage is one sweet unit! The range you have is incredible, especially for a new kyakker.

Author:  AlohaDan [ Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

Great pics !!

Can you shed some light on initially threading the idle cable and front sprocket chain/cable?

See my tensioning post.

Author:  MycoYakker [ Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

Just want to bump this up and warn new Hobie owners check their tension. My new Revo was pedaling harder than everyone says it should, so I checked it out per the above post. Turns out that all adjustment screws had been tighted all the way. I loosened them up and it makes a big difference when hand operating the pedals. I won't have a chance to get it back on the water for a few days, but I think it will make things easier.

Author:  mcattardo [ Sun Apr 22, 2007 6:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for bumping this! Just bought a new Outback today (after years of dreaming) & was wondering about the stiff drive action.

Also, thanks for writing the thread to begin with! :D


Author:  valfitzandrew [ Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

mcattardo wrote:
Thanks for bumping this! Just bought a new Outback today (after years of dreaming) & was wondering about the stiff drive action.

Also, thanks for writing the thread to begin with! :D


Does your hull "oilcan" where the support pads interface with the hull? If so, do the indentations pop out or do you have to push them out manually?


Author:  mcattardo [ Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:11 am ]
Post subject: 

I haven't noticed any oil canning. The pads hit the hull where it curves up to form the sides, I don't think it will be an issue.

Author:  mettmann [ Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hey Roadrunner,

Just a quick Thanks . . . . again.

This one posting has been bookmarked on my screen all this summer, and the number of times I've referred to it seems countless.

Your photos lead step by step to solve adjustments.

You should publish.

- Mett

Author:  SheYakFishr [ Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Roadrunner.. that was AWESOME of you to take the time to post the maintenance and info on the Mirage Drives. I rinse mine after every use and spray WD40 on those parts. I will look into obtaining some of the other recommended sprays.

I found this post because I was trying to find out the size of the set screw so I could see if I could find it at a local hardware store, Lowes.. or a boat part store etc... without having to order it. Last summer (06) one of the set screws backed out on my mirage drive and I almost freaked.. not knowing what happened and why the boat only went back and forth sideways. I even thought I lost one of the fins.. and was happy that I didn't. Well.. yesterday, it happened again. I even placed some marine goop into the threads and it held for about a year but got loose again somehow. I'm going to try to get several set screws and a couple of allen wrenches (to store on the yak) and replace them and will also try out some lock tite this time to see how it does. Hopefully this will not happen again... or atleast for a long while. Could that part be worn out if the set screw has come undone twice in a year? I think my drive is a 2005 model.

Does anyone know the size of the set screws? # 53170020 so I can see if I can locate them locally. The closest Hobie dealer is about 35+ miles from me and only sell their parts during times where it would be hard for me to make it there unless I got off from work early and I really do not care to loose pay for trying to locate these screws. Thanks!

Author:  Roadrunner [ Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

SheYak, I believe your nut size is #8 x 32. If you want the Hobie brass nut, why not call your dealer and ask him to mail you one? If he won't, there are some other dealers here that will.

The nut shouldn't be backing out; if it is, the usual culprit is your clew outhaul is too tight and binding on the shaft. If so, loosen the screw slightly. It should pivot freely. In the following picture it is seen pivoting to the right:

If you look at your fins, the clew should be tucked in to the outhaul about 1/8" like this:

If your brass nut is unthreading, the fin will start to drop down to where it is exposed, like this:
It should be tightened at this time. You might tey Lock Tite Blue to keep it in place.

OR, here are a couple of other solutions:

You can use a wing nut (top) or a Nyloc nut (bottom). The wing nut cannot spin, so will not come out. The disadvantage is that you have to unhook your fin and twist the screw if you want to change the adjustment setting. Similarly, the Nyloc nut should not come out, but is almost impossible to adjust. Between the two, the Nyloc is less expensive and more hydrodynamic, but the wing nut is a little easier to install. Get stainless -- they should both be available at Home Depot.

So here are your three options, with the wing-nut package showing the size.

Good luck! 8)

Author:  AlohaDan [ Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:40 pm ]
Post subject: 



But I got the impression she's got the set screw backing out of the spocket problem. At least she gave the sprocket set screw part #.

So she wants spare set screws.

The size given in the catalog is :

1/4-20 x 1/2 SKTST.

I would take one to your nearest ACE store to make sure.


I use locktite to make sure the set screw doesn't move.

Before you do that, make sure the hole for your fin mast in the spocket hasn't enlarged by wobbling. You could tighten this up using plumber's tape as a quick fix, BUT>>>

If it has enlarged I highly recommend a sprocket replacement. They are cheap enough.

Then when you insert the set screw with locktite added make sure it has engaged the mast. If you can manually pull the mast out you haven't engaged it.

Give the locktite ample time to dry before using fins.

Some have posted here that loctite may damage the plastic sprocket.

I haven't found that to be the case-yet.

There's some posts here on lining up the mast with the set screw. CRS where they are, but I'll bet Roadrunner knows where.



Author:  SheYakFishr [ Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:15 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Roadrunner and Dan!! I appreciate your inputs. I'll check into it all!!! I'm not having a problem of the brass nut or screw coming out... they are staying in there pretty good. About midsummer, I purchased a set of the ST fins (which I love) and I'm wondering if the guys at the shop just didn't tighten up the set screw enough. I will admit, I've rinsed and lubricated the unit after each use, but have not checked for anything coming loose. I will have to start doing that so I won't be interupted while I'm fishing with something coming apart or loose. I've got the drive in my suv and will take it in to our local hardware that has every nut, screw, bolt that anyone could ever want. I walk in there and they smile and go... there is that kayak fishing woman. laffs. I test their minds all the time. :lol: I also need to get some extra allen wrenches to take care of any problem I might have on the water. What I'm wondering is... maybe since I've had to tighten the set screw once last year and it was loosened to change out the fin, if the sprocket hole is becoming larger. I will need to check into this further and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to order a spare sprocket just in case also. I will get a tube of locktite and try it. The way I look at it is... I have nothing to loose. The goop has held it in pretty good, if it's loose. This is a 2005 unit and as soon as I can afford it... I'm going to order a new drive for a spare. I LIVE to fish out of my Outback and should I have some of the problems I've read about, I would be devistated should mine head south. Thanks guys! and thanks roadrunner for taking time to take the pics and insert them! I knew you guys would come up with answers!! YOU ROCK!!! :D

Author:  fishaddict [ Thu May 10, 2012 7:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspecting and Adjusting the Mirage Drive

Hello Roadrunner and all. I have just put new turbo fins on my mirage drive and after 6 years of use I found that the tensioning cables seemed to be too loose. I readjusted according to your instructions and found them to now work just like new. I fish solely in salt water and while the paint has come off some of the parts, they still work smoothly. I will say that my local dealer asks me to bring it in once a year for their inspection and tweaking if needed. They are excellent dealers and I highly recommend letting them or any HOBIE dealer inspect not only the drive but the entire kayak. Thanks for your explicit instructions and hard work putting it online for us users.

Author:  VegasEric [ Thu May 10, 2012 8:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspecting and Adjusting the Mirage Drive



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