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Old 25 February 2005, 17:55   #11
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I have hydraulic steering on my RIB with a 200hp and its a doddle to steer at high and low speed. Our club RIB has a 90hp Fourstroke and has trashed the no feedback helm in less than a year. It is hard to steer at slow speeds, high speeds and when the boat is full of divers. The only time I have had the steering nice to drive has been when I have the boat planning at 20knots and trimmed the engine to the point where the slightest movement of the wheel makes the boat move.

Personally Hydraulic steering is the way to go. Plus as David said ease of maintanence and longevity are greater than Cable systems. It won't seize up over the winter and the Stainless steel worm won't wear out the Aluminium gear in the helm and cause slippage.
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Old 25 February 2005, 18:36   #12
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Originally Posted by richie
hydraulic... you have to change the oil too!!!!!
Why?
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Old 26 February 2005, 17:34   #13
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like anything with hydraulics it is best to ensure you keep the pump flowing and the well topped up.Of course when topping up there is the odd chance of a bit of grit or dust getting in to the system not only that but every thing in your hydraulic unit is wearing from the first time you turn that wheel so you can have from time to time metal fillings in the system.I am not saying it is really vital but anywhere you have moving parts should be well looked after.
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Old 27 February 2005, 05:49   #14
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Why?
Technically you are supposed (recommended) to replace the hydraulic fluid annually as it is hygroscopic - that is, it absorbs moisture. This degrades the fluid as well as potentially damaging internal components and seals.
This is the same advice as with changing brake fluid on car brakes every two years that most of us ignore.
I have not changed the fluid on my hydraulic steering in five years - but sods law will probably prove me wrong later this season ?!!
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Old 27 February 2005, 09:01   #15
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I'm with Richie on this one. I have No Feed Back on a 200 Vmax Yamaha and it is a dream to steer one handed in the rough. The number of turns lock to lock is less than hydraulic systems so less input is needed to correct the boat over waves.


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Old 27 February 2005, 09:57   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richie
when using hydraulic you seem to have a lot more right to left hand movement when correcting the boat off a wave and over long distance cruising it can get sickening.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vortex
The number of turns lock to lock is less than hydraulic systems so less input is needed to correct the boat over waves.
You can't really say that hydraulic steering in all cases requires more turns lock to lock as itís governed by the volume of the cylinder and pump. The difference between say a 1.7cu.in and a 2.4cu.in helm pump is going to be around 1.5 to 2 turns. Of course the fewer turns lock to lock the more force you have to apply and the less precise the steering becomes.
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Old 27 February 2005, 12:33   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
Technically you are supposed (recommended) to replace the hydraulic fluid annually...
Recommended by whom? Not the manufacturer... I've read the Sea Star user manual and they don't recommend any such annual replacement. Have a look here: http://www.seastarsteering.com/PDFs/296221-E.pdf
I don't think that a comparrison to car braking systems is appropriate either - I've driven a car with faulty brakes (leaking master cylinder) and it was a frightening experience. I've driven our RIB with faulty steering (hydraulic fluid leaking from the ram seals) in a rough sea and it was inconvenient but manageable. I do change the brake fluid regularly on my car as it's important for the safety of me and other road users, but I have no intention of regularly changing the RIBs hydraulic steering fluid.

How often do you change you car's power steering fluid?
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Old 27 February 2005, 13:25   #18
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DOT 3 and DOT 4 glycol-based fluids, used in car brake systems, do indeed absorb water. However, mineral oils, which don't absorb water, are used in boat steering systems. I personally don't think there is any need to change the fluid annually. Mineral based oils should last a fair few years and wear leading to a build up of metal particulates should be very low.


I'd be very careful driving a high speed boat with dodgy steering. Sudden failure can be extremely nasty.
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Old 27 February 2005, 13:45   #19
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Interesting to hear about the mineral oils, Daniel.

Your comment about the high speed boats and dodgy steering is also sensible. With our hydraulic steering problem, it happened progressively and allowed us to return from Lymington to Southampton safely and under control. I have suffered cable steering failure in another boat, and it happened suddenly without any warning, necessitating an immediate return to the pontoon which I had just left.
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Old 28 February 2005, 05:32   #20
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Fluid

I have just inherited a hydraulic sstem on my new/old Humber and have removed it whilst having new tubes fitted . When refitting what sort of fluid should I use normal hyrdaulic fluid i.e. JCB type or is there a special marine grade fluid ?
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