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Old 17-10-2012, 16:45   #1
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Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

Any input would be appreciated. It would make putting an autopilot a lot easier. Dennis
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Old 17-10-2012, 16:48   #2
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Re: thinking about hydrolic stering for my 38 foot Irwin

I think it would be easier and better to keep the existing steering system and just add a hydraulic drive unit for the autopilot.

Less modification to the existing system and also give you an independent backup steering system in case one goes out.
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Old 17-10-2012, 17:13   #3
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Re: thinking about hydrolic stering for my 38 foot Irwin

My Cat had cable steering and a hydraulic AP. It worked fine. I chose to install an Alpha Pilot type disconnectable quadrant so the ram wasnt always being worked....
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Old 18-10-2012, 07:53   #4
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Re: Thinking About Hydrolic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

I have hydraulic steering (and an entirely discrete tiller and windvane), but I agree you want to add a wheel here, not reinvent the old one. If you can attach a hydraulic ram to the existing quadrant, you have redudancy in three directions: cable steering, emergency tiller (presumably!) and hydraulics on AP. If one goes, you have the others.

"Live" steering via the AP with a dead helm is not easy, but it's doable, and it means you aren't flopping around while you go searching for the length of SS wire and the box where the bulldog clips are kept.

I don't know about the Alpha Pilot option. I simply rotate a handle to "bypass" when I want to use tiller or vane. It's a complete disconnect. There is value, I think, in not working that ram all the time, however, so it's worth investigating.
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Old 18-10-2012, 09:41   #5
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Re: Thinking About Hydrolic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

It just seemed to me that that cylinder is being cycled a heck of a lot. Think about how much your rudder works off shore... constant. Much of it in probably the same couple of inches on the cylinder rod... seems like it would wear pretty fast... but what the heck, they must engineer it to withstand contant cycling I guess...
pic of the latching "quadrant" :
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Old 18-10-2012, 14:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
My Cat had cable steering and a hydraulic AP. It worked fine. I chose to install an Alpha Pilot type disconnectable quadrant so the ram wasnt always being worked....
Does the wheel turn when auto pilot is engaged ? And can you tell me more about the Alpha pilot type dis connectable quadrant. Also thanks for your help Denny
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Old 18-10-2012, 16:33   #7
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Re: Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

the " quadrant " is shown in the pic above, I guess it's called the drive link and latch. It's a robust anodized aluminum assmbly. A standard Teleflex/Morse cable with a T handle slides a latch key in and out of the quadrant. You have to have the boat headed straight ahead for it to do that. Frankly... I dont remember the wheel turning... but it must!
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Old 18-10-2012, 16:45   #8
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Re: Thinking About Hydrolic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
It just seemed to me that that cylinder is being cycled a heck of a lot. Think about how much your rudder works off shore... constant. Much of it in probably the same couple of inches on the cylinder rod... seems like it would wear pretty fast... but what the heck, they must engineer it to withstand contant cycling I guess...
pic of the latching "quadrant" :
I don,t think that is a hydraulic drive in the drawing.
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Old 18-10-2012, 16:47   #9
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Re: Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

I have hydraulic steering in my boat plus a tiller. I had a dead hydraulic Benmar unit in the boat with check valves. I yanked that unit out and added a by-pass valve which allows me to neutralize the hydraulics so I can steer with the tiller or hook up the windvane.
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Old 18-10-2012, 16:51   #10
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Re: Thinking About Hydrolic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

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I don,t think that is a hydraulic drive in the drawing.
That is the Alpha linear actuator in teh drawing. That is where my hydraulic ram connected in place of that.....
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Old 18-10-2012, 22:11   #11
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Re: Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

Just wondering: have you steered a boat with hydraulic steering very much? Personally, I hate the feel (or lack thereof) and would not want to do that to any boat of mine.

Others seem to like it well enough, so ymmv.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 19-10-2012, 05:20   #12
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Re: Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

I added a hydraulic ram AP drive to my rack and pinion style steering. No problems. I don't think that the movement of the ram while disengaged would lead to appreciable wear and tear- most hydraulic rams are pretty heavy duty. With the exception of the Alpha, most drives are kept permanently connected to the rudder stock althougth you can use a quick connnect pin. The Alpha disconnect system does look slick.
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Old 19-10-2012, 05:34   #13
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Re: Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

I have used hydraulic steering and hate it. The helm can't talk to you.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't get an autopilot with a hydraulic drive. They are two different things.
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Old 19-10-2012, 08:31   #14
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Re: Thinking About Hydrolic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
It just seemed to me that that cylinder is being cycled a heck of a lot. Think about how much your rudder works off shore... constant. Much of it in probably the same couple of inches on the cylinder rod... seems like it would wear pretty fast... but what the heck, they must engineer it to withstand contant cycling I guess...
pic of the latching "quadrant" :
I'm trying to figure this out from the diagram and not clear to me exactly how the latch works.

I think I see three main parts to the Alpha drive link

1. the arm that attaches to the rudder post, call it the rudder arm
2. the smaller arm that is attached to the rudder arm, call it the drive arm
3. the latch assembly

It looks like main connection between the two arms is a large bolt just next to the rudder post. So when the latch is not engaged the drive arm will remain still while the rudder arm rotates with the rudder post, the large bolt being the point of rotation between the two.

Then the latch is engaged the two arms are linked together and the drive unit can turn the rudder post. Correct so far?

What isn't clear to me is how the latch engages. I can see that the cable comes down next to the rudder post, is fixed to the drive arm and it looks like a pin on the end that would move back and forth when the cable is pulled/pushed. What I can't see is what that pin engages. There must be some connection between the two arms that the pin holds in place to link the arms but all I can see looks like a small post sticking up on top of the drive arm. I would think the pin would have to go up and down into matching holes in the two arms? Otherwise that post I see in the diagram has to pop up from the rudder arm into a hole in the drive arm and is held in place by the pin? Am I totally confused or missing something obvious?

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Old 19-10-2012, 09:59   #15
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Re: Thinking About Hydraulic Steering For My 38 Foot Irwin

Look on the bottom, where it says latch.
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