Posts Tagged ‘SeaStar’

Hurricane Harvey Help-out

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are so proud and inspired by the boating community for coming to the aid of Hurricane Harvey victims and we decided to help out where we can, too!

Last week at Sierra Headquarters in Litchfield, IL, we all began to collect essential items to be shipped to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Non-perishables, water, toiletries, cat food, and dog food were just some of the donated items that our wonderful staff brought in to help those in need. This effort was part of a SeaStar Solutions company wide effort to gather donations for the United Way of Greater Houston who is helping our donations reach those who need it.

Thank you to all of our staff for donating and helping to get the items shipped out and on their way!

If you would like to help out Hurricane Harvey victims, the United Way Relief Fund is asking everyone who is able to give, to visit their website at www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444, or just sharing this message on social media helps to get the message out.

 

How to Maintain Your Boat’s Steering Cables

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

I’ve heard steering cables should be ‘maintained.’ How exactly is this done?

By keeping your boat’s steering system in proper working order you can ensure that you have reliable and proper control of your boat at all times. Lack of maintenance is the major contributor to stiff steering and in some extreme cases, cable seizure. We suggest the following periodic maintenance at least twice a year:
  1. Be certain the helm(s), cable(s), steering wheel and connection hardware are correctly assembled and in proper working order. Check for signs of stiffness, binding, excessive free play and/or wear. These items cannot be repaired; if any components are not in good working order, replace them. Disassembly of these items will void the warranty and can lead to steering failure. Always replace steering cables that are stiff in operation or have damage to the plastic jacket (outer casing).
  2. Clean and lubricate the engine tilt tube or cable support tube and the steering cable telescopic output ram as follows:
    1. Remove the steering cable(s) telescoping ram from the tilt tube.
    2. Clean the tilt tube inside diameter thoroughly.
    3. Remove corrosion in the tilt tube with a wire brush. Wipe until all loose material is removed.
    4. Lubricate the tilt tube with a good water resistant marine grease.
    5. Scour the steering cable telescopic ram with a brass wire brush and wipe until clean.
    6. Lubricate the sliding parts of the telescopic ram with a high-quality, water resistant marine grease.
    7. Reassemble, making sure all (correct) fasteners are tight and there is no binding or excessive free play in moving parts.

Please note where locking fasteners are used. Do not use non-locking fasteners; vibration can loosen them, causing steering failure.

Steering cables cannot be repaired. If the steering cable is deteriorated, does not move or operates in any manner other than correctly, replace it with the correct one for the helm. If the cable for your helm is no longer available, replace the helm, bezel and cable with an appropriate SeaStar Solutions steering kit.

Why does Lloyd’s Type Approval matter when it comes to Shield’s Hose?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Type Approval from Lloyd’s Register (LR) proves that a product conforms to recognized industry quality standards and/or the LR Rules, through a process of independent design review, testing and verification of production controls.

There are two main steps to Type Approval. The first is Type Examination. Design data is submitted and reviewed to ensure it complies with the requirements of the specified standard(s) and/or LR rules. Then, samples of the product are tested to verify they meet the testing requirements of the relevant standards and any performance requirements associated with the product.

The second main step in the Type Approval process is Production Quality Assurance. This is performed to ensure the product (when mass produced) will be of an acceptable quality and will conform to the version that was prototype tested. Production controls are inspected to confirm that the product can be manufactured in accordance with the design data.

Once Type Approval is achieved, a Certificate is issued and is typically valid for 5 years. The product is then entered in the relevant part of the Lloyd’s Register List of Type Approval Products.

Why does this matter to you? It matters because this certification ensures you that our vendors and suppliers are capable of providing the highest quality product possible. You can trust your boat with Sierra.

Marine Starter VS. Automotive Starter… And the Winner Is…

Monday, November 24th, 2014

You pull the starter off of your Mercruiser (GM manufactured 5.7L) I/O and take it to the nearest auto parts supplier for a replacement. The starter for a car looks exactly the same as the one you just removed from your marine engine. You think to yourself, “I wonder how much difference there REALLY is between the marine and the automotive starter.”

Don’t be fooled by the fact that an automotive starter will bolt on to your marine engine. A marine approved starter has better seals and gaskets to keep water out. It also contains more corrosive resistant materials.

However, the primary consideration is safety, as there are deliberate design differences to contain sparks that could ignite fuel vapor in the bilge.  In an enclosed engine compartment, where volatile fumes exist, any stray spark could cause a catastrophic explosion, resulting in severe injury or possible death.  In order to prevent this, a marine starter is constructed with internal shielding to contain any sparks or stray electricity that could travel into the bell housing or bilge where gasoline fumes may be present. Another benefit from this shielding is that it protects the back half of the starter motor from moisture and contaminants which WILL decrease the life of the starter.

If the replacement starter you are buying does not have a tag or sticker on it that states it has been manufactured to SAE J1171 standards, you should ask if the product really is an approved marine grade product. You should always make every attempt to be sure that you are not being sold an automotive starter for your boat. In order to receive this certification, the manufacturer of this starter must submit a sample to pass three separate tests, each of which is performed fifty times. The tests include operation in an enclosed explosive atmosphere, high temperature tests and induced ignition tests.

Please remember the following:

  • Using anything electrical that is not marine rated is BOTH illegal and dangerous
  • The Coast Guard WILL ticket you for noncompliance
  • The risk of injury or death is incrementally higher when you elect to use automotive electrical parts on your marine engine

Stay safe out on the water and if you have any questions as to which start is best for your marine engine, call our Technical Support Line at 1-877-663-8396.

Usage, Inspection and Maintenance of Hose Systems

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

INSTALLATION, INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF HOSE SYSTEMS

Don’t Neglect This Critically Important System On Your Boat

Shields Marine manufactures a wide variety of hoses for applications onboard pleasure craft.  Serving as conduits for fluids, air or exhaust, each Shields hose is designed for a specific application and meets strict standards set by the USCG, ABYC and other regulatory agencies. Hoses also serve as vibration absorbers, isolating components such as exhaust manifolds from the hull of the vessel.

Installers should be mindful of using the right hose for the job. Correct hose and coupling methods should be carried out as outlined by EPA, ABYC, USCG, SAE and the NMMA. Any questions regarding application, replacement or installation should be referred to the Shields technical service department at 217-324-9400.

Inspection
Hose applications aboard any vessel are likely to be mission-critical. Therefore, failure to inspect and replace worn or aged hose can result in the loss of property or possibly, the loss of life.  All mission-critical hose – fuel, wet exhaust, bilge pump, bilge vent and hoses connected below the water line – should be inspected prior to each use of the vessel. All fittings and clamps should be secure and properly attached.  All hoses and connections should be inspected annually by a qualified marine mechanic.

Maintenance and Replacement 
If inspection reveals hose damage, those hoses should be replaced consistent with industry standards.
Replace hose that exhibits any of the following signs:
• Cuts, gouges, cracks
• Exposed fabric or wire reinforcement
• Soft spots or bulges
• Loose covers or kinks
• Stiffness or inflexibility

Installation
Hoses shall be secured by corrosion resistant clamps equal to or greater that 300 grade stainless steel. Clamps shall not depend solely on spring tension. Clamps should not be over-tightened, as this may damage the hose or fitting. Fittings must be the proper size for the hose. Forcing a hose over an oversized fitting or clamping down the hose on an undersized fitting may damage the hose and cause failure.

Click here for a complete Shields Hose Product Application Guide.

What is Optimus EPS?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

For centuries, people have been steering boats by brute force. While cable steering, and more recently hydraulics, have made steering easier, the prime mover is still the arms and hands of the skipper at the wheel. All of that is about to change with SeaStar Solutions’ revolutionary Optimus Electronic Power Steering (EPS) for twin, triple and quad outboard engine boats.

This new and innovative product was developed because boating operators continue to ask for increased comfort, lighter steering loads and car-like steering response when on the water. Optimus EPS truly raises the bar when it comes to comfort, control and maneuverability, especially for the new breed of high performance powerboats, saltwater fishing vessels, catamarans, RIBS and high end pontoon boats.

Active Sensitivity

Lock-to-lock turns and wheel effort are programmed to change with engine RPM. At slow speeds, Optimus EPS can be set to reduce the number of turns lock-to-lock, for example, 4 and make it easier to steer. When you’re negotiating through traffic or in a tight spot, those smaller moves of the wheel give you precise control. When you’re running at speed in open water, Optimus EPS can be set to increase lock-to-lock turns, for example, 6 or 7 and increase steering effort giving the driver more stability to comfortably keep on course. And through it all, Optimus EPS does the work, so you can relax and take it easy.

The Technology Behind the System

The incredible feel you get when you’re behind the wheel of a boat equipped with Optimus EPS is the result of an incredible array of technology and engineering. Each component has been designed to complement the other, resulting in a seamless experience of steering control in virtually every situation on the water. The high level of engineering also extends to the reliability of the system, with quality materials, careful manufacturing and redundant systems, all to stand up to the rigors of life on the water.

Ackerman Steering

Intelligent programming allows the Optimus EPS system to individually control the steering angle of the inner and outer outboards. This reduces the effect caused by the outside outboard “pushing” against the curve of the turn. Ackerman steering is especially important in power catamarans where the engines are located further apart.

Autopilot Interface

The Optimus EPS electronic power steering system interfaces directly with the latest generation of autopilots from Garmin, Raymarine and SIMRAD, without the need for an autopilot pump, rudder feedback unit and the lengthy installation and purging procedure.

Optimus EPS by SeaStar is the ultimate choice for your twin, triple or quad outboard engine boat and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced when it comes to steering. If you’d like to receive more information about Optimus EPS, click here  and send us your details. We’d be happy to steer you in the right direction!

What a Jackplate does and why you NEED one, NOW!

Monday, June 30th, 2014
If you’ve ever asked yourself “Why would I need a Jackplate on my boat,” keep reading. 
 

A jackplate is a specially designed mounting bracket for an outboard motor that lets you to raise or lower the motor vertically.  Here are five very good reasons you need a jackplate for your boat.

It will make your boat go FASTER

A Jackplate will lift your engine and position your propeller closer to the water line.  This removes much of the lower unit from the water which reduces drag and increases the speed of your boat.  The additional setback of the Jackplate has the benefit of placing your propeller in cleaner, undisturbed water allowing your engine to work more efficiently.

Get INTO shallow water

With your engine up and your propeller closer to the water line you can safely get into and navigate shallow water.  This is especially good if you’re one to troll through shallow water searching for fish.

Get OUT of shallow water

Accessorizing your boat with a Jackplate will allow you to lift your propeller away from the bottom so you can tuck under and get up on plane in shallow water.

ENHANCE Handling

Having your engine up and set back from the transom enhances handling.  Additionally, putting your engine as low as it can go with a jack plate while navigating rough water gives the propeller more traction in the water.

IMPROVE Fuel Economy

Lifting the engine with a jack plate reduces drag and moves the propeller further away from the transom so as to avoid the boat’s turbulence as it travels through the water. Running with less drag means you will get further on less fuel.

Along with these benefits, there are many other reasons why a Jackplate would be a great accessory for your boat. If you’d like to learn more about Jackplates OR you’d like to speak with someone to learn more about our diversified Jackplate products, please visit us at http://www.seastarsolutions.com/products/jack-plates/detwiler-products/.

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!