Seastar Hydraulic Steering
SEASTAR and BAYSTAR hydraulic steering systems. iii Our manual hydraulic steering systems are simple and efficient. The basic structure consists of four main components; 1) the helm pump, 2) the cylinder, 3) the tube or hose needed to connect the cylinder to the helm pump, and 4) the actual Seastar steering fluid.
No boat is going to run 100% smoothly. There will always be issues that need to be addressed and fixed before they cause ongoing problems or permanent damage to your boat. That’s why it’s useful to know what mechanical problems to expect and how to solve them yourself. So let’s take a look at some of the more common Seastar hydraulic steering problems and what to do when you encounter them.
Common Seastar Hydraulic Steering Problems
The first sign of trouble is probably steering difficulty. For example, you may feel a spongy pressure when you try to drive. There can be a few different reasons for this, so it’s important to find the root problem so you don’t end up with your boat in the shop down the road.
Some of the most common Seastar hydraulic steering problems include:
- Low fluid level
- Cylinder seal cracked or leaking
- Air is trapped in the system
These are fairly simple and straightforward problems to fix, but remember – not taking care of them once you realize they’re happening can lead to even bigger problems later on, costing you a lot of time and money. Money can be wasted.
Solutions to the most common problems
The first step in fixing steering problems is to find the real cause, not just the symptom.
For example, topping up your reservoir with Seastar hydraulic steering fluid will usually prevent it from running too low, but if the real problem is a leaking seal, you’ll have more problems than just low fluid.
How to Bleed Seastar Outboard Hydraulic Steering
If there is air in the system, you need to expel it so that only liquid remains. If the fluid is contaminated, you need to flush the entire system and fill it with new fluid.
We’ve put together a simple DIY tutorial video to walk you through how to bleed a Seastar outboard hydraulic steering system using our own comprehensive bleeding kit. It’s easy to use and hassle-free, making it great for both beginners and experienced boat owners.
How to Replace a Cylinder Seal and Rebuild a Seastar Hydraulic Steering
Replacing seals is an essential part of dealing with hydraulic steering systems in general, so it’s a handy skill. To replace the seal, you’ll need to disassemble the steering system and reassemble it, but don’t let that scare you! We also have a step-by-step DIY video.
Seastar Hydraulic Steering Parts and Equipment
Along with our training guides, we carry a wide variety of Seastar hydraulic steering parts and tools.
- Need to change your seals? Our Seastar Steering Cylinder Seal Kit comes with everything you need (except the wrench).
- Need to debug your computer? Check out our wide variety of Seastar power steering bleed solutions, including detailed kits and individual parts so you can build your own.
The best solution is prevention
Of course, it’s best to catch steering problems as early as possible – or if possible before they become real problems. Be aware of your boat’s condition so you can notice anything unusual and don’t hesitate to investigate if it happens.
It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about repairing your boat, even if it doesn’t look like it will need repairs in the future. Knowing what to do to fix common problems—before they arise—will help ensure you spend less time and money on repairs and enjoy the water more.
Seastar hydraulic steering system for outdoor installation
Upgrading your boat’s outboard steering with a Seastar hydraulic steering system improves the boat’s handling and handling characteristics.
Additionally, a hydraulic steering upgrade is a straightforward job that requires very little maintenance and most boat owners can take care of it themselves.
There are many different Seastar hydraulic steering system kits that have their own specific installation procedures. However, here is a basic guide to installing an outboard Seastar hydraulic steering system.
Remove the steering wheel
Remove the steering and helm steering unit and remove the steering cable from the helm unit. Usually steering wheels have a woodruff key on the steering column, which can be easily lost when removing the steering wheel, so watch for the key flying out when you loosen the wheel.
Remove the mechanical steering wheel
Disconnect the traction linkage from the steering cable, then remove the traction linkage, pull the steering cable from the tilt tube, and remove the steering cable. Thoroughly clean the inside of the incline pipe, remove old grease, inspect the inside of the pipe for rust, and re-grease. Pulling the steering cable out of the rear end is usually easier than trying to pull it out of the rudder. Once the old steering wheel is removed, rotate the engine from side to side to make sure it spins freely. If it is not, the pivot tube should be cleaned and degreased.
Install hydraulic steering
Attach the Seastar hydraulic steering cylinder to the tilt tube and tiller arm. A new hydraulic kit should include a tiller bolt and nylock nut. Beyond that, the tiller bolt and nut are the only external holding components. If the tiller bolt and nut will loosened at full speed, the propeller torque will pull the engine to full steering lock in a split second.
Install the hydraulic helm
Usually it is necessary to drill new holes for the mounting bolts of the Seastar hydraulic helm, and it may be necessary to cut a wider center hole to fit the helm. Most tools come with a paper template to make the cutting and drilling process easier. Always measure twice and cut/drill once. It works so fast, it only takes a minute to get the template in place rather than guessing things and drilling or cutting multiple holes.
Install Seastar hydraulic lines
- Connect the hydraulic line to the control unit.
- Seastar helmets will marked P on the port side and S on the starboard side.
- Connecting the hydraulic hoses to the helm is easy.
- Leave the end cap on the hydraulic line until you are ready to connect it to the helm or cylinder.
- This prevents dirt from entering the pipes.
- After installing the helm, install the steering wheel.
- any debris from entering the pipes.
- Connect the hydraulic lines to the steering cylinder. Make sure the outboard has enough extra line to go from steering lock to steering lock without snagging or pulling the line.
The hydraulic system bleeds
- Connect the fill hose to the helm unit and the bleed hoses to both sides of the steering cylinder. Add hydraulic fluid to the helm and open the bleed valve on the port or starboard side of the cylinder.
- Turn the wheel in the direction of the open bleed valve and keep turning until there are no more bubbles in the liquid coming out of the cylinder.
- Continue to pump the liquid up into the crust. If air gets into the “fill” end of the system, the entire system must can bled until the air is removed.
- While bleeding the system can done alone, it’s much faster with two people because there’s less chance of air getting into the system if one is on top and the other is on the cylinder.
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Check the hydraulic steering system
Spin the wheel and inspect the surface. Turning the wheel should respond instantly to engine speed. Lag or excessive play, or weak or spongy steering means there is still air in the system. Check the hydraulic connections and steering cylinder seals for leaks by turning the wheel from full lock to full lock and attempting to turn it beyond the locking point. This should cause maximum pressure in the hydraulic system. Check all hydraulic connections and steering cylinder seals for any signs of leakage.
What is hydraulic steering?
Types of steering systems. Hydraulic. A hydraulic pump sends pressurized fluid to the steering box or rack and pinion to turn the wheels. Usually driven by a belt, hydraulic pumps take their power from a running engine.
How does hydraulic boat steering work?
The steering wheel is connected to a hydraulic pump that draws fluid from the reservoir and sends it to a hydraulic cylinder or ram. The cylinder or ram is connected to the boat’s rudder or outboard motor, allowing hydraulic pressure to turn the steering mechanism.
What is the advantage of hydraulic steering?
Despite all these, hydraulic systems have one major advantage. Since hydraulic fluid is under constant pressure, it always applies precise pressure to the steering wheel. You’ll get better feedback as your tires roll on the road because you’ll be able to feel the more subtle movement of your wheels.
What type of steering wheel is best?
The electric power steering is very efficient and works point wise.
Is hydraulic steering better than electric?
Maintenance costs are high as hydraulic power steering uses hydraulic fluid. So there is an additional fluid cost and service cost to replace the fluid. This is not the case with electric steering.