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External Steering Newbie

Discussion in 'I/O's' started by The Nerd, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. The Nerd

    The Nerd New Member

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    I am in a bit of a dilemma. I have a 24 ft. Advantage with a Whipple Charged 502 mpi (620 hp+), and after 20 years with this setup, just had my first steering malfunction. I have been using the standard Bravo I mechanical steering (cable), however, due to safety concerns, I have a Drew Marine Sidewinder steering stabilizer installed. It is only a single ram and serves as a shock absorber. Nothing catastrophic happened, I simply believe my cable is in need of replacement as my outdrive/steering has gotten real loose and the boat won't steer straight under power.

    Here are my questions....
    1) As a single engine v-bottom capable of 85mph, all I have ever heard is that I need external steering and that if my steering ever failed under full power (it never has in 20 years), it could be very bad (even with my Sidewinder steering stabilizer). So my question is.....do I REALLY need the external steering? Or is that blown out of proportion and the Sidewinder will likely keep the drive from flailing wildly in the event of a snapped cable?

    2) If I do go the external steering route, do I need duel ram? Single ram? Full Hydraulic? Only an assist system? My boat is 22 years old, and probably only worth about $18-20k....so I'd rather not spend $5-10k on a steering system. Are there cheaper options? IMCO? I know a dual ram full hydraulic system would be rock solid and I could take my hand off the wheel without movement....but honestly, I lived with the feel of a standard system for years. I'm only interested in the safety side of it in the event of a steering failure.

    Any advice would be welcome and I apologize in advance if this has been discussed ad nauseam!

    Thanks.....The Nerd
     
  2. Cole Brewed

    Cole Brewed Well-Known Member

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    My bote is 23 yo. 22’ 650 hp, with Bravo 1, purchased with dual hydraulic assist. First thing I did was remove cable assist, and control valve, installed IMCO full hydraulic system.

    There are very strong credible arguments here that support gimbal wear and should not be taken lightly. I respect the opinions of those that pushed. In my case the elimination of the cable assist and control valve seem to have solved my issue, may not be the same for you. Below is the thread I put my laundry out on. There is some great information on it.

    https://www.riverdavesplace.com/forums/threads/hydraulic-steering-improvements.191787/

    I feel totally safe at all speeds! Putting 28p back on this week.
    Good luck
     
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  3. 02HoWaRd26

    02HoWaRd26 Well-Known Member

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    I’m single ram full hydraulic, as per Ron at IMCO NV he says that there is absolutely no need for more than single ram, however anything over 50mph should at minimum have hydraulic assist, and anything over 70mph should be full hydraulic.

    I did the adjustable tilt helm with the pretty filter etc and spent under 2k however already had the single ram etc.
    if you pay attention to oso and here you can acquire most all the parts reasonably cheap enough i can’t imagine you’d spend over 3k if you do right. And i will say the bot just always feels better now with the full power.
     
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  4. The Nerd

    The Nerd New Member

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    Wow, great info! Out of curiosity....from a safety perspective, is external assist not safe because it could still cause the drive to whip wildly if the cable broke at 80+ mph? Just curious as I'm trying to save all the money I possibly can. Also, is the IMCO single ram hydraulic superior to other brands such as Eddie Marine or CP Performance? What kind of labor time should a full hydraulic single ram system take? Keep the info coming....I really appreciate it!
     
  5. 02HoWaRd26

    02HoWaRd26 Well-Known Member

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    Again i didn’t add the external parts as my boat had external assist, but the internal, pulling all hoses mounting charlyn drill and mount the helm and putting boat then all back together was an honest 4-5 hours and I’d never done it before. Then hour hour and a half to bleed the system, single ram i could imagine 3 hours external and to do a second I’d add 2 hours. So a shop, I’d say 7-10 hours depending upon your interior lay out etc. if your not comfortable with the install I’d at least do all the pull apart of the drivers side interior. It’ll save them time, you money.
     
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  6. farmo83

    farmo83 Well-Known Member

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    I'm in a similar boat(no pun intended) as you. My boat is 23 years old and runs low 80's with internal steering. On the one had the boat has run just fine for 23 years with the current setup, on the other hand all my equipment is only getting older and weaker. I think I'm going to go full hydraulic dual ram this winter. I'm sure I could get by with less but this way if I plan on any motor upgrades down the road I am set on steering.
     
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  7. The Nerd

    The Nerd New Member

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    Well, just had the Imco full hydraulic (single ram) system put on....and, as much as it was annoyingly expensive, the boat steers like a dream now. Wow, rock solid with no play in the wheel at all....and velvety smooth. Most importantly, I finally feel safe driving at higher speeds. I had to get the "tight" (4 7/8") kit because of the placement of my exhaust pipe. So the ram is installed pretty close to the outdrive, as opposed to some of the wider set-ups that many boats have.
     
  8. Ballyhoo

    Ballyhoo Well-Known Member

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    Best money I spent on my boat was dual ram full hydraulic steering from IMCO. I am not sure why one ram would be better than two rams but either way its a solid upgrade.
     
  9. ToMorrow44

    ToMorrow44 27 Advantage TCM 800efi

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    Thats interesting, most others in the industry recommend dual hydraulic. Reason being is a single ram is weaker in the compression direction than in extension due to the surface area of the piston inside the ram. Not to say that it doesn't work just fine, but from an engineering standpoint, dual rams would be better.

    Now that you have full hydraulic, you'll never go back. Probably a very wise upgrade for your boat.
     

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