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Author Topic:   Teleflex Seastar Helm Explained
tlynch posted 09-05-2002 01:00 PM ET (US)   Profile for tlynch   Send Email to tlynch  
Could someone explain the different parts to a Teleflex Seastar helm. When I look for parts on ebay I find 'Hyd. Helms', and I find 'Seastar Hydraulic Inboard Steering Cylinder' and I find 'Front Mount Pivoting Cylinders'.

I keep hearing the terms side mount and front mount - what's the difference?

What parts are required for a complete package? A helm, hoses, and a steering cylinder?

How does the steering cylinder attach the transom?

How does the helm attach to the console?

Can hoses be cut to length?

How long do these things last?

What is involved in rebuilding one and are they as good as new once rebuilt? Can you buy a used one safely and plan to rebuild it?

What ongoing maintenance is required?

Any special tools required to install one?

Are there any parts which are engine specific?

Any other thoughts on thge subject would also be appreciated.

I think that it is fair to make the assumption that the switch is being made from a teleflex cable unit while answering these questions.

Thanks in advance,

jimh posted 09-05-2002 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Visit the teleflex website. They have hundred-page manuals in PDF format that explain in detail the installation of the various components.

The short version:

1. Helm pump
2. Hoses
3. Acutator cylinder

jimh posted 09-05-2002 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is a good place to start:


hauptjm posted 09-05-2002 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Interestingly enough the company doesn't seem to promote the side mount system as hardily as the front mount. Is the cost that much more? If so, maybe I understand their motives.

Nonetheless, my experiences are with the front mount system only, and I can't recommend it enough. Once you've experienced it, I can't imagine using any other system.

If any one has used the side mount system, I'd like to hear their comments regarding: cost, installation, effectiveness and durability.

hauptjm posted 09-05-2002 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
p.s. to the above:

jimh, didn't you recently install hydraulic steering to your big boat? What did you go with?

lhg posted 09-05-2002 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have the side mount cylinder on both of my boats. They mount in the tilt tube like mechanical steering does. Because they stick out of the side of the tilt tube, they don't look good on a single engine installation, and would not be recommended for such. They are mostly used on twin engine installations, where they look very sharp. See photos of my Outrage 25.

The single side mount cylinder is used when there is a tilt clearance problem with the front mount cylinder, or more likely, with twin engine installations where it can nicely fit between the engines. It makes a much cleaner installation. Jim's bracket reference section shows such an installation on my 18 Outrage. The side mount cylinder is simple in design and parts, and costs $100 less. The twin engine tie bar assembly is also a neater installation. For twin engine installations, the tilt tube in the port engine, at least with Mercury, has to be reversed.

All Whaler Drive models came with twin side mount cylinders for twin engine installations.

clanton posted 09-05-2002 06:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for clanton    
Try or look for him on for quote on complete kit. He may save you money.
tlynch posted 09-05-2002 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for tlynch  Send Email to tlynch     
From the reading that I have done so far on the teleflex site, the side mount unit seems more universal than the front mount unit.

For someone who may be repowering in a year or two would this be recommended, even if using a single engine?

I specifically have an Outrage 18 with a 1985 Johnson 150 and have no idea what I will eventually repower with, I am toying with the idea of going hydraulic this winter.

Also, which would you recommend, the back mount helm or the standard helm?


jimh posted 09-05-2002 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Some things to consider in favor of the side mount cylinder:

--better clearance for tilting engine into shallow splash wells or if mounted on setback brackets;

--less cost;

--hydraulic hoses don't move around as engine moves. They stay put and can be held in place with ty-wraps, etc.

--re-use of existing steering linkage; less hardware to install compared with center-mount cylinder;

The downside is asymmetrical forces. Because the volume of the cylinder cavities are not the same, there is a slight difference in the number of turns needed in each directions (typically 4 vs 5 turns, roughly). The force the cylinder can develop is also asymmetrical.

I recently converted my twin engine installation from a center mount cylinder to a side mount cylinder. I will be posting some pictures and more details in a REFERENCE article in a few weeks or so.

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