Ok so it’s a long intro to the problem so bear with me please...
We have a 1975 Cavalier 39. When we got her 4 years ago she had wheel steering
with a chain setup that drove a hydraulic pump
that worked a steering
ram. Everything worked and felt good and we had a back up Airies that could be hooked to the wheel
Around 2 years ago we decided to fit an auto pilot ahead of a 4 day passage
and, during the install we followed the advice of the installer and converted 5he hydraulics to a pump
at the wheel direct to the ram... and so began our problems
Auto pilot worked well but...
1. They installed a hydraulic pump that was too small and resulted in 7 and a half turns lock to lock.... (4 one way,3.5 the other) we’ve persevered with this but its time to admit it’s not ideal and we’ll install a bigger one.
2. With the original set-up we didn’t really notice that the unbalanced ram created more turns one way than the other ( maybe it did but with fewer wheel turns of 4 lock to lock we didn’t notice... and it always came back to centre at the same point)
3. The airies is now useless because the wheel doesn’t centre and the increased turns to port would mean it would slowly unwind and adjust too far one way.
4. The hydraulic steering
results in no feel at the wheel... with the old set-up even while it was hydraulic, we had good feel.
So... what to do? How much of my troubles will be fixed simply by installing a bigger pump at the wheel?
I know a balanced ram will fix things too but we’re suffering from reduced $$$ at present so want to consider other options if they exist.