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Old 29 July 2007, 05:40   #1
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Steering Problems

Well given the small window of opportunity yesterday we got out on the water and had a bit of fun, but it reminded me of the problem I'm having with steering.

In short Night Shift has a tendency to pull to the right. Its very easy to turn to starboard but to turn to port again is a lot harder work. This also means that to keep a safe helming position with left hand on throttle and right hand on wheel means that you end up with a tired right shoulder/arm. This also makes it harder for my wife to helm and I'm trying to convince her to have the confidence to take the helm

One marine engineer suggested that this was common on smaller ribs (5.35m) with largeish engines (90hp) and that the only solution was to go from teleflex to hydraulic steering. However I'd really like to canvas opinion of everyone on here. Any thoughts guys 'n' galls? What's the likely cause and what are my options for solutions?

Thanks in advance
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Old 29 July 2007, 05:47   #2
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First check the position of the trim tab on the engine. If the boat pulls it probably needs adjusting. The boat should track stright if the tab is set correctly.

I have hydraulic steering on a similar boat to yours and it is light and responsive. The only thing to get used to is some 'slip' which is only noticable in that the wheel migrates around.
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Old 29 July 2007, 06:05   #3
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Thanks JABS, but have tried adjusting trim tab but to no effect. In fact as a matter of desperation tried setting hard to one side then later on hard to the other. Neither position had any effect on it pulling to one side
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Old 29 July 2007, 06:08   #4
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Andrew, just to clarify, can I assume you don't currently have hydraulic steerng?

If that's the case, then fit a hydraulic system as per the advice you've had... it's superior to cable steering in every way.
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Old 29 July 2007, 06:19   #5
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I agree with Richard. I'd be inclined to fit hydraulic as it's so much smoother and easier. I had exactly the problem you have with my Osprey Eagle 5.6 which had a 115 on the back. It was so bad that the steering wheel would try and pull it's self way way round if you turned in a very tight circle. I then put the same engine on the back of a Ribtec 585 which had hydraulic - problems eliminated.
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Old 29 July 2007, 07:48   #6
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Just be aware with hydraulic steering there is a loss of feel and make sure you get the correct ratio pump for the helm - otherwise you need to spin the wheel like a destroyer.
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Old 29 July 2007, 08:42   #7
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The torque of a single engine often makes it easier to turn in one direction and harder in the other. When the engine is trimmed correctly the helm will be more balanced, even a slight trim too high or too low can make a big difference.

Cod is absolutely right about getting the correct ratio helm pump if you do install hydraulic steering (which I'm sure will make a huge difference to the way your RIB helms). I had a sporting 3.5 turns lock to lock on my last Tornado, which was great when maneuvring at slow speed, but it was really heavy to helm at higher speeds, especially when trimmed in for head seas.
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Old 29 July 2007, 09:36   #8
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You won't believe what a diference hydraulic makes until you try it. I changed mine from teleflex to hyd last year, and I still find myself thinking how fantastic it is in comparison when I go out for a spin.
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Old 29 July 2007, 09:37   #9
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Richard B:

Yes you are quite correct - only have teleflex cable steering at the moment

Tim:

Yes I've noticed a tendency for mine to do that a little, although not as much as you've found. Good to know that the hydraulics fixed it

JIY, Codders:

How do you determine the correct size of helm pump? Is there a suggested pump size/capacity for a given engine weight?

Thanks all for you advice thus far - please keep it coming
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Old 29 July 2007, 14:31   #10
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How do you determine the correct size of helm pump? Is there a suggested pump size/capacity for a given engine weight?

I think my teleflex was 5.2 turns lock to lock, so I went for a combo as close as possible. i think I ended up with 4.5 turns on the hydraulic which I find fine. The manufacturers literature will give you some guidance. Not all makes have different options of pump capacity, and some have more turns to port than starboard (or vice versa). It depends upon the helm pumb and the ram type/size on the outboard.
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Old 29 July 2007, 15:35   #11
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Have you checked the bushes on the steering shaft? If these are worn, it can make the steering a bit lively. Check for play, by grabbing the skeg and try to move it from side to side. Also worth checking all the linkages on the steering drag link bar
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Old 29 July 2007, 15:49   #12
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I seem to remember when setting my last 2 boats up mention of offseting or not offseting the ouboard, this may be worth considering and checking with the manufacturers of the hull.also that the outboard has been fitted at 90 degrees to the transom perhaps a bit technical but if the basics are corect you can then work on from that.Regards Peter
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Old 29 July 2007, 16:26   #13
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Andrew H,

Fitting Hydraulic Steering to my boat was the best mod I did, I looked around for the best deal and eventually settled on the Baystar system which most people seem to rate as being very good.

I went for the central cylinder (HC4645) system that comes with everything you need to set it up the standard helm unit is fine and I get about 4.5 turns from loack to lock whic is perfect. You can see it online here:
http://www.chmarine.com/acatalog/Tel..._Steering.html

I bought mine from Marinautic in Poole 01202 678085

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Old 30 July 2007, 07:20   #14
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Andrew H,Fitting Hydraulic Steering to my boat was the best mod I didChris
Boy this thread has me thinking! My wheel spokes are rotting out of the rim so I need to replace the helm anyway. How much better does your boat track with no hand on the helm...at very low speed. I fish quite a bit by my lonesome and trying to keep the boat moving in a predictable direction while I'm landing a fish is always a problem.

I found the kits on ebay for less than 500 (USD) plus shipping from a reputable vendor.
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Old 30 July 2007, 13:37   #15
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Silly Me

I answered my own question about low speed directional stability. I was out on the bounding maine this morning and observed the motor at low speed. The steering does not move, its the wave action coupled with windage that forces her off course. Wishful thinking on my part that hydraulics could solve that one.

Now what, hydraulic steering and an autopilot? Jeez, we could get carried away here!

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Old 30 July 2007, 17:55   #16
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Andrew

The steering problem you have is probably a combinationof the following:-
Trim tab out of adjustment

Engine mounted with no or insufficient offset

The normal paddle-wheel effect of the direction of rotation of your propeller

The best and easiest fix is to install hydraulic steering, as has been suggested by most of the respondents. It can usually be expected to eradicate the above problems, but make sure you carefully bleed the system once installed as residual air can cause steering difficulties.
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Old 30 July 2007, 18:09   #17
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Just like to say a big thank you to all respondents. Have just measured up O/board and its bang on the centre line - so no offset there

Looks like hydraulics are the way to go.

OK next question. I've seen various systems around, including the Baystar and SeaStart from Teleflex as well as the BCS systems. What are you're thoughts on above or have you any others that you'd recommend?

Cheers again
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Old 31 July 2007, 03:38   #18
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Andrew I looked into this and found that Aquafax did a system called HYCO I almost bought this but was warned off by a couple of the more knowledgeable guys on here. I was adivsed to go down the baystar route and found it very straight forward to fit although one thing I would have done if I were doing it again is to take it back to Marinautic in Poole to have it bled as they have a power bleeding system that makes light work out of a rather laborious job. I notice you live in Poole so this would be easy for you to do.

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Old 31 July 2007, 04:35   #19
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I'm sure that the 'feel' of hydraulic steering is superior to cable - bit like the difference in cars with and without power steering. But, what about the 'No Feedback system'?

I've found mine no problem (5.3, 90hp.). There's no pull on the helm, it's as easy to turn one way as the other, I can let go of the wheel and she just carries on course. It is a bit 'dead' though and you have to overcome the slight 'stiction' as the clutches disengage when you move the wheel.

Just thought it might be cheaper and less complicated than hydraulic. Any comments?
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Old 31 July 2007, 04:44   #20
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Just thought it might be cheaper and less complicated than hydraulic. Any comments?
I would not say that hydraulic is actually that complicated there is a simple piston arrangement at the back that moves the engine dependant on which way the fluid is being pumped and then the helm is just a hydraulic pump. Once bled they really are a fit and forget item.

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