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Old 16-03-2009, 09:55   #1
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Question Hydraulic vs Pulley Steering

Im not sure if Im posting this in the right forum, I couldnt really find another that would relate. I need some feedback on a Hydraulic VS a cable and pully steering system on 40+ steel sailing cruiser. Ive heard hydraulic - not so good.... and hydraulic - not a bad choice. Well...which is it????

-Cheers

Dave
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Old 16-03-2009, 13:06   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offrd2001 View Post
I need some feedback on a Hydraulic VS a cable and pully steering system
If you want feedback hydraulic may not be for you...get it....feedback?

OK one of the biggest complaints I've heard about hydraulics is the lack of feel...or feedback.

I have hydraulics and like itits easy to install and maintain.
My rudder is huge and un balanced and I would suffer greatly with out it during hard fast maneuvering.

I have limited experience with cable steering but believe it does give a much better feel of forces on the rudder.
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Old 16-03-2009, 14:13   #3
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If you are deciding on which system to install, you should look at the Lewmar Mamba system or others like it.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 16-03-2009, 22:39   #4
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thanks guys for the responses. Ill have to check that system out Nick.
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Old 17-03-2009, 03:00   #5
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Both systems require routine maintenance. The one draw back to hydraulics is the limited choices for windvane steering.
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Old 17-03-2009, 03:11   #6
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pulley sys is easier to maintain and cheaper. 'hydraulic' sounds cool and that's all
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Old 17-03-2009, 10:31   #7
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Dave,

One important factor that hasn't come up: is it an aft or center cockpit?? If a center cockpit is involved, cable runs become long, often convoluted and full of friction and potential failure modes, and many c/c boats go to hydralulics to avoid all these hassles.

IMO, cable, or better yet drag link steering like the Whitlock/Lewmar types give much better feel and control, and are easier to maintain in the long run. We have logged aver 125K miles in two different boats with cable steering now and have had no problems with cables, sheaves or quadrants. Maintenance for cables consists of inspection and an occasional squirt with spray grease, and for the draglink systems I should think only inspection would be required.

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Old 17-03-2009, 10:51   #8
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Ah, these are called "draglink" systems ;-) What I like about them is that they have a very nice option for auto-pilot. Check that out. (just a motor attached to a gear in the system, i.e. it's prepared for it)

cheers,
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Old 17-03-2009, 10:54   #9
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If you have multiple steering stations like in a PH cruiser, hydraulics will be simpler to install and maintain. Also intergrates nicer with an autopilot. Not so nice with a wind vane. Like so many other adaptions it kind of depends on the boat. If you have an aft cockpit, easy to handle, balanced rudder,and want to use a wind vane for selfsteering you would not consider Hydraulics.
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Old 17-03-2009, 11:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James S View Post
If you want feedback hydraulic may not be for you...get it....feedback?
OK one of the biggest complaints I've heard about hydraulics is the lack of feel...or feedback.
I have hydraulics and like itits easy to install and maintain.
My rudder is huge and un balanced and I would suffer greatly with out it during hard fast maneuvering.
I have limited experience with cable steering but believe it does give a much better feel of forces on the rudder.
How about using a separate lock valve:

Kobelt Manufacturing Ltd -- 7018 Description

They advertise that you can choose whether you want to feel the rudder pressure, or not. So, then all helmsmen are happy! Wife, you, kids, leisure cruiser and racer souls. And we need not argue here in the forum about this issue either any more.

I don't have experience of that though. Could anyone using it make a comment?

I've a hydraulic steering in my new-to-me 38ft cruiser. I have found that a rudder angle indicator is more important than the 'feel'. I would use it with a wheel helm regardless of I had a hydraulic steering or not.

For example, from the rudder angle indicator, I can readily see, and actually 'feel' in my mind, if I have weather/lee helm or pressure, without actually fighting the helm all the time. And I can balance sails to have slight weather helm (ie. to have just a small bit rudder angle) so my boat sails nicely. No problem.

But what I'm after, is an ability to have a positive rudder lock for a long period of time.. hydraulic pump creeps gradually in the long run: what kind of lock valve would prevent that? Iow, to be able to use a windvane without tweaking the helm slightly each hour or so.
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Old 17-03-2009, 11:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post

One important factor that hasn't come up: is it an aft or center cockpit?? If a center cockpit is involved, cable runs become long, often convoluted and full of friction and potential failure modes, and many c/c boats go to hydralulics to avoid all these hassles.

Cheers,
JIM,

To answer your question, its a Center Cockpit. What you say does make a lot of sense, more cable+pulleys=more problems. I was impressed with the draglink setup. Seems pretty straight forward and easy to maintain. I guess one downfall would be...if the gearbox starts giving problems, repairing or even replacing would cost more than parts in a pulley system.

Dave
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Old 17-03-2009, 12:16   #12
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Hi Everyone
CC with hydraulic steering installed. Use by-pass valve between the 2 hydraulic lines hook up wind vain to emergency tiller at back of boat no lines to cockpit to mess with and all runs like normal with out the friction of shelves and wire from main steering.
If you use aux rudder self steering like Monitor then you need to deal with creep every hour or so depending on your system
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Old 17-03-2009, 12:21   #13
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Dave,

I did hear of someone having an issue with the gearbox. But, you don't need to worry because this is the story:

He smacked onto something in the water big time (at night of course), boat stopped everything flying around. Turned out he caught a floating island in the rudder and prop, spent hours getting free. After that, he felt the steering was feeling a bit different.
Much later, with wild following seas, he heard something when a big wave hit the stern; steering felt a bit different again. Much later (talking a year or so), during a squall at anchor, he found his rudder was jammed. After opening the box, he found a tooth was broken off a gear and blocking it. He removed the tooth and continued cruising to New Zealand. Once there, he removed the gear with missing tooth, brought it to a workshop and had a new gear made for very little money, installed it and it felt like new again. Lesson learned: inspect your steering after hitting stuff regardless of your system. Also, problems with the gearbox are easy and cheap to solve and it is probably more forgiving than hydraulic.

With your center-cockpit, your choice is between hydraulic or draglink. I would choose whatever I was more familiar with: mechanic or hydraulic, because it's you who's gonna maintain it! Both systems are very reliable so price becomes a factor too.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 17-03-2009, 13:15   #14
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I have steered sailboats and powerboats with both hydraulic and cable steering. Overall, I think the feel you get from cable systems for a sailboat is very important. That is almost a necessary input for knowing how the boat is sailing. For a sailboat I prefer a tiller over a wheel with cable for that type of sensation...even on an Express 37 that had a tiller. For a powerboat, hydraulics is much better. Its not necessary to feel the propellers wash hitting the rudder.
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Old 17-03-2009, 16:00   #15
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Like Sergy said above, you can install a bypass valve if you want to use a windvane with a hydraulic system. Seems like a CC would be a lot simpler using hyd. We actually have both hydraulic and cable, two steering stations (PH). Inside is hyd. and the wheel in the cockpit is cable. There is a 90 degree valve to turn if you want to use the hydraulic, and that also ties into the hyd. autopilot if we aren't using the windvane. Our hydraulic pump is a Capilano and it has a valve you turn to increase/decrease the number of turns lock to lock, which is pretty handy at times.
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