Installing a steering system into your boat can be a relatively easy and straight forward job, as long as you know and understand the do’s and don’ts. Our technicians here at SeaStar Solutions have put together some tips to help ensure your installation goes as smooth as the ride.
- If you have an outboard or stern drive without power-assisted steering, we recommend you use either a No FeedBack (NFB) mechanical or hydraulic (SeaStar/BayStar/Hynautic) system. For boats with power-assisted steering, use HPS (mechanical) or SeaStar.
- If you have or plan to install an autopilot, use SeaStar. Be sure you have the correct cable for the helm on the boat (or vice versa). There are several kinds of cables and helms that are not interchangeable; this is true whether the system is rotary or rack & pinion. See the steering identification guides in the front of the Mechanical Steering section of the catalog and the Steering Options based on Engine Type charts on pages 6-7.
- Be sure you have measured properly and ordered the correct length of cable. The #1 reason for cable returns is “wrong length ordered”. See How to Measure on page 26 in the catalog.
- Follow the installation instructions for steering products completely. This will ensure the maximum performance and reliability of the product. If the instructions are missing, contact us directly.
- Handle the products with care and do not expose them to impact or external stress.
- Allow for generous (large) cable bends, notably where the cable exits from the helm (or rack housing) and where the cable makes the bend to connect to the engine/drive/rudder. The tighter the bends, the stiffer the cable will tend to be in during operation. Tight bends also reduce cable life. NOTE: 8” is the minimum bend radius generally recommended for SeaStar Solutions steering cables.
- When using tie wraps to affix the cable along the gunwale area, allow some slack (do not cinch tight). Slack in the tie wraps allows for cable flex as it is actuated and leads to smoother operation with a longer life span.
- Replace all worn steering connection/mounting components with correct replacement parts that are designed for the application. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE PARTS.
- If you think parts are missing from a kit, contact your distributor OR the kit manufacturer for replacements.
- When installing the cable at the engine end, be sure to lubricate the telescopic ram (output end that slides in and out) with liberal amounts of a good, waterproof Lithium-based grease. This is ESPECIALLY critical if the steering cable is connected through the engine tilt tube as this area tends to get very dirty and corroded.
- Do not use add-on grease fitting products designed to lubricate cables. These units can in fact force old grease, dirt and rust onto the moving internal parts of a steering cable, shortening its life.
Lastly, there is no substitute for proper cable maintenance procedures. The information we’ve provided here is a general guide, so if you do have any additional questions about our Mechanical Steering, please contact our technical support at 610-495-7011.