Posts Tagged ‘NFB’

Tricks to installing a marine steering system and what you should definitely avoid

Monday, April 14th, 2014

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.

Spring Boat Maintenance Tips

Monday, April 14th, 2014

As spring slowly approaches, it’s time to start planning for boating season.  In order to make sure your boat is safe and running efficiently, you must thoroughly inspect and address a number of items on your boat.

FUEL TANK

  • Completely empty your tank of any gas that might have remained through the winter. When filling up with a fresh tank of gasoline, use a fuel treatment, such as Sierra’s eGuard, to ensure better fuel economy.
  • Visually inspect the gas tank for any corrosion.
  • Check the primer bulb and make sure it is firm and strong. Replace the bulb if you notice cracks or if it collapses.

BATTERY

  • Since the cold weather can greatly deplete your battery, it’s important to allow it to fully recharge. You should also regularly change your battery every two years.
  • Battery cells should be filled with distilled water.
  • Visually inspect the terminals for corrosion. Clean them if needed.

OIL & LUBRICATION

  • Replace the oil filter if it wasn’t done in the fall.
  • Inspect the oil injection unit and clean or replace it if necessary.
  • Inspect the prop shaft and lubricate it if needed.
  • Re-lubricate all necessary parts.
  • Check the condition of the lower-case oil. If the oil appears milky or cloudy, it is likely there is a leak in one or more of the lower unit seals. This should be addressed quickly, as water in the gear case can lead to expensive repairs.

ELECTRICAL

  • Check spark plugs and wires for damage. If one needs replaced, your chances are relatively high that another one will go bad soon after, so save time and replace them all.
  • Check all electrical components.
  • Inspect fuses and replace those that may have damage
  • TIP: When you disconnect the ignition wires, be sure to remember the cylinders to which they correspond.  With larger motors this can be especially important because the timing is set to fire the cylinders in a certain order.

PROPELLER

  • Pull off the propeller and inspect for any damage or fishing line.
  • TIP: Make sure you keep track of the order you remove the washers, nuts, sleeves and adapters. This will ensure an easy reinstallation once you’re done.

ANODE

  • Inspect the anode on your engine and replace it if there appears to be heavy corrosion. An anode that is in good condition will keep the parts of your engine that sit in the water from corroding.

HYDRAULIC STEERING

  • If your boat has a hydraulic steering system like BayStar, SeaStar or SeaStar Pro, check the tilt and trim fluid for the proper fluid levels.
  • Address any leaks prior to launching the boat.

STEERING CABLE

  • Inspect your boat’s steering, shift and throttle cable.  If you notice any cracks or bulges in the outer jacket of the cable, this could indicate corrosion and warrants replacement of the cable prior to taking your boat out onto the water.

A spring tune-up of your boat can go a long way toward ensuring a trouble-free summer boating season and it is an essential part of spring maintenance for your boat!