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Old 25-08-2013, 15:18   #1
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Converting to Hyd. Steering

Does anybody have any experience converting a mechanical system to a hydraulic system? I have an older mechanical system that includes 3 universal joints and two steering boxes. Lots of play..little fun. I'm guessing Hyd. Steering is out of the budget.
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Old 25-08-2013, 18:55   #2
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

My hydraulic steering is a simple system. And, having broken it understand more now following my repair of it.

I have a hand-powered (turn of wheel) pump in the pilot house. This feeds back to a piston made by teleflex. The piston attaches to the rudder with a universal joint (the part I broke). There is a cutout valve for steering from the transom-hung tiller.

The autopilot works with a control arm to the tiller as well.

This seems like the type of system you could be quoted a lot for but it is really pump, lines, piston and some fluid.

Advice: slow the boat down when you are switching from hydraulic wheel steering to autopilot as if you set them up to fight, one part will lose.

Can you mention size & weight of your boat? Rudder arrangement?
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Old 26-08-2013, 06:08   #3
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It's a 33ft full keel, wheel steering only at 8ton. No tiller, although it might be something to think about.

The steering works, but the issue is the amount of slop, primarily for the auto-pilot. I have a Raymarine St4000 that works quite well but it just chases its tail due to large movements required on the wheel.

I have rebuilt the steering box and the universal joints and reduced the play, but still not enough for the auto-pilot.

When you say teleflex is that the system by SeaStar?
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Old 26-08-2013, 06:48   #4
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

Hydraulic steerage is a pretty simple affair... I have it on the Morgan... You should be able to piece together a simple system... reservoir, ram, helm pump pretty cheaply from ebay or the like

Teleflex SEA Star Hydraulic Boat Steering Assy Hoses Helm Front Mount Cylinder | eBay

OB system, but gets you started with parts... If you need a larger cylinder (my guess) , any double acting cylinder will work....they can be had for nothing on ebay...

Amazon... Teleflex SEA Star Hydraulic Boat Steering Assy Hoses Helm Front Mount Cylinder | eBay

Why not switch to the tried and true cable/quadrant???
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Old 26-08-2013, 07:34   #5
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

From a salvage yard or the aforementioned ebay and a machine shop it wouldnt be a difficult thing to put together. Mine has been very dependable given standard maintenance. My autopilot is connected with the hydraulic system with a reversing pump. In the area im in there are several boat disassemblers who chop up boats and sell the parts. Someone like that could set you up with a complete used system for not much if you gave them a heads up to watch out for what your looking for.

I think you would like the hydraulic steering in your boat. Mine is also 33'long keel and the steering is much less effort with no feedback.
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Old 26-08-2013, 07:47   #6
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Thanks, lots of good suggestions.

I think a cable system might be less expensive, and use less power.

Any suggestions on how to piece one together?
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Old 26-08-2013, 07:57   #7
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

$25 steering quadrant on ebay.... Just an example of what you can find to start with...

Draw a system out (or google the million diagrams) ... Couple of wire blocks/pulleys, wire, turnbuckle and you're all set...

$100 on the super cheap maybe... And $500 for retail bought parts???
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Old 27-08-2013, 11:22   #8
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
. . .Why not switch to the tried and true cable/quadrant???
I have a hydraulic system but toyed with the idea of switching to a cable (mechanical) system for ease of maintenance when cruising. Can you recommend any resources for sizing and design for a 35ft sailboat? Everything I saw online was for outboard powerboats.
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Old 27-08-2013, 15:06   #9
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkindredpdx View Post
I have a hydraulic system but toyed with the idea of switching to a cable (mechanical) system for ease of maintenance when cruising. Can you recommend any resources for sizing and design for a 35ft sailboat? Everything I saw online was for outboard powerboats.
Haven't looked lately, but Edson used to have lots of design info in their literature.

Since I detest hydraulic steering on a yacht I endorse your efforts!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 27-08-2013, 15:14   #10
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

A hydraulic system is pretty simple really. the smaller the boat , the less I would want one on it though. A big or heavy boat, especially with a lot of rudder pressure like a keel attached rudder might be real nice with hydraulic. OTOH, a fin keel and spade that is a pleasure to steer... go tiller!
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Old 27-08-2013, 15:20   #11
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Re: Converting to Hyd. Steering

Converted from push/pull cable to Hynautic hydraulic steering a couple of years ago.
The entire job took a weekend and the kit was about $2k.
One of the best boat investements I have made.
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