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Author Topic:   Hydraulic or Cable Steering
fester posted 08-21-2001 12:51 AM ET (US)   Profile for fester   Send Email to fester  
I have a 1978 20 foot outrage with a 1979 175 horsepower Evinrude and I am going to replace the steering. The boat boat is hard to steer. I think the main problem with my steering is that there is some resistance in the housing of my motor. Local mechanic told me it would cost about $1,000 to fix. I plan to repower in a few years and do not want to put this money into the motor. The current steering is an old teleflex cable system which allows the wheel to turn 3 times lock to lock. My thought is to replace the steering with a new cable unit that will provide me with more mechanical advantage. I have seen a couple of units that will allow the wheel to turn about 4.5 times lock to lock. I am not sure how much this will help but the cost of this new cable system is only about $200.00. My other thought is to bite the bullet and buy a new hydraulic system. Local marine shop has told me that the hydraulic system will cure the hard steering and will work with any new motor I purchase in the future. In adapting the hydraulic system to a new motor, the dealer indicated that I may need to buy a diferent cylinder. Cost of the hydraulic system is about $1,000. What do you guys think I should do. Are the hydraulic systems as great as I have heard and will it cure the hard steering? Will a cable system with greater mechanical advantage help?

Thanks, Jeff

LarrySherman posted 08-21-2001 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     

I just installed a teleflex hydraulic steering system. It came out great. I replaced my 1981 Sy-Ten system.

the price of the parts was about $975.00 and I did the work my self. Its a reletivly easy job, but you need two people to bleed the system, and some patience.

I also bought an Edson "Power Wheel," almag steering wheel. It look REALLY sharp on my boat.

Good luck, Larry

bdb posted 08-21-2001 07:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     

Like Larry S., I too have installed hydraulic steering on a high-horsepower's wonderful. JimH and LHG have prepared an excellent reference article, and you should check it out.

However, no steering system can correct or overcome problems with the engine's ability to "turn." You need to be sure your engine can move freely. Simply disconnect the tiller arm connector from the steering cable. With the engine in an upright (running) position, you should be able to easily swing the engine from side to side, without resistance, binding or other "catches." If you cannot, that problem has to be addressed first. If you can, then installation of a new system can proceed. I'm concerned about what your dealer is telling you could be a $1k repair. It's difficult to imagine what that could be.

Folks tend to think that because steering cables are made of corrosion resistant materials they'll last forever; they don't. And most should be replaced much more frequently than they are. Over time the degradation in performance is gradual, but one day you notice it's taking a pair of "come-alongs" and superman to turn your wheel.

Both hydraulic and cable systems are built to standards that allow them to be installed on any motor you should select in the future. Too, standard, straightforward installations should not require expensive adaptors, modifications, parts etc.; so beware of the salesman/installer who tells you so.

If you choose cable, do get the 4.2, nfb system. If hydraulic is feasible for you, get will never regret it. Generally speaking (I don't know your skill/tool levels) you should be able to install either of these. Mind Larry's advice above and read instructions several times before begining, and cut-and-paste his caveat on "patience." Stick this caveat on your forehead.

Most importantly, we have to remember that these systems are not maintenance free. They require regular inspection and preventative maintenance.

Harpoon Harry from the hydraulic keyboard

Kim posted 08-21-2001 08:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kim  Send Email to Kim     
same here hyd. is the way to go. easy to do your self!
and a much better system for auto pilot.

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