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Hydraulic Steering


Wavemaker

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My dealer says the Malibu/Axis boats handle so well that hydraulic steering really isn't a needed option. However, I've read and can definitely see that actually the surf gate boats could greatly benefit from hydraulic steering because of the increased drag on one side.   What are y'alls opinion on this? Thanks!

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Not needed.

Tow boats all need to have the steering wheel torqued to one side. This all started to help hold the boats in a straight line when running the course. The newer rudders have a tab to increase or decrease the amount of pressure to hold it straight. The Surf Gate boats may take a little more effort but honestly, after many hours pulling surfers and even wakeboarders, I don't even notice it unless the surfer is switching sides. Then the torque of the wheel switches sides.

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55 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

Not needed.

Tow boats all need to have the steering wheel torqued to one side. This all started to help hold the boats in a straight line when running the course. The newer rudders have a tab to increase or decrease the amount of pressure to hold it straight. The Surf Gate boats may take a little more effort but honestly, after many hours pulling surfers and even wakeboarders, I don't even notice it unless the surfer is switching sides. Then the torque of the wheel switches sides.

You def have to have trained driver for surf transfers

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1 hour ago, The Hulk said:

You def have to have trained driver for surf transfers

It ain’t that bad.  Once a driver feels it once it is pretty easy to learn to compensate for it going forward.  

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Thanks Ronnie - I'm primarily thinking of my wife driving and how much easier it would or would not be for her.  Also I'll be surfing on an extremely narrow (150') canal and thought that hydraulic steering would aide in that also.  Here's a quote from another thread that got me thinking:

"Hydraulic Steering option- Didn't even know this option existed until today and it was nice.  The steering is definitely more firm and when surf gate is deployed on port side, it does not pull hard to the left like on the standard cable steering.  It just stays nice and straight."  

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32 minutes ago, Wavemaker said:

Thanks Ronnie - I'm primarily thinking of my wife driving and how much easier it would or would not be for her.  Also I'll be surfing on an extremely narrow (150') canal and thought that hydraulic steering would aide in that also.  Here's a quote from another thread that got me thinking:

"Hydraulic Steering option- Didn't even know this option existed until today and it was nice.  The steering is definitely more firm and when surf gate is deployed on port side, it does not pull hard to the left like on the standard cable steering.  It just stays nice and straight."  

My wife drives our boat surfing quite often.  I personally would put that upgrade money to something else.  

Edited by hethj7
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Surfgate is the easiest system for transfers,  you get flashing lights,  beeping,  etc.  That said the gate does make it a bit harder to steer, you get used to it,  but it does require some effort.   

As alluded to, when transferring the driver has to be ready,  as the boat changes direction rather dramatically with the transfer.    Also other boats that use similar styles will respond similar,  the only ones I know of that do not have this problem are the boats that list via tabs.  Those boats have slower transfers though.   So you get nothing for free.  

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10 minutes ago, Yourmom said:

Surfgate is the easiest system for transfers,  you get flashing lights,  beeping,  etc.  That said the gate does make it a bit harder to steer, you get used to it,  but it does require some effort.   

As alluded to, when transferring the driver has to be ready,  as the boat changes direction rather dramatically with the transfer.    Also other boats that use similar styles will respond similar,  the only ones I know of that do not have this problem are the boats that list via tabs.  Those boats have slower transfers though.   So you get nothing for free.  

If driver doesn't counter it the transfer is difficult or impossible for rider. It's just something that takes driver a few times to get to where they can counter it by turning a little before it actually happens to lesson the affect.  Similar to an IO idling through channelback and forth etc..

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1 hour ago, IXFE said:

Where does one sign up for this training?  Do they issue some sort of certification?  How many hours does it take?

It's part of the ninja ballast surf certification cariculum.  

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1 hour ago, Yourmom said:

 

As alluded to, when transferring the driver has to be ready,  as the boat changes direction rather dramatically with the transfer.    Also other boats that use similar styles will respond similar,  the only ones I know of that do not have this problem are the boats that list via tabs.  Those boats have slower transfers though.   So you get nothing for free.  

I’ve got a tige with taps 3 which is basically just a fancy tab, which reflects the water and lists the boat. It still creates the same effect of surfgate or suc gate. If anything the transfers is worse on the steering, my r20 being a very narrow beem it goes from leaning to one side to literally dropping to the other and yeah... You better have an experienced driving to crank the wheel so your surfer has a straight, consistent wave. 

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2 hours ago, The Hulk said:

 Im Told it takes .01hrs to train driver and 500hrs to train the surfer...

Currently behind the boat slots are over booked but we do have driver openings

Well played, Hulkster.  Well played!

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So malibu offers hydraulic steering?  How much of an option is it?  

 

I had it on my x-30 and while it wasn't necessary, it sure was nice.  Super smooth driving and zero pull during surf transfers.  I would absolutely consider it on a new boat just for sheer comfort of driving.  

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36 minutes ago, bamaboy said:

So malibu offers hydraulic steering?  How much of an option is it?  

 

I had it on my x-30 and while it wasn't necessary, it sure was nice.  Super smooth driving and zero pull during surf transfers.  I would absolutely consider it on a new boat just for sheer comfort of driving.  

It's an $1100 option on Axis not sure on bu.  I've read several people who have used it liked it more than they thought they would.  Haven't heard of anyone who has disliked it that has driven with it.  Anyone just plain not like it if even if it was a $0 option?

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I'll preface this by saying I have no experience whatsoever with hydraulic steering.  Heck when I first read the title to this thread, I thought it was some type of power steering (which it isn't).  It's a replacement for the steering cable with a fluid system with the intent of steering that is smoother with less effort because of reduced friction.  It may very well do this, but if the water that is flowing on the rudder is putting a load on the steering, hydraulics will not help. The same load will be felt on the steering wheel.

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8 hours ago, Wavemaker said:

It's an $1100 option on Axis not sure on bu.  I've read several people who have used it liked it more than they thought they would.  Haven't heard of anyone who has disliked it that has driven with it.  Anyone just plain not like it if even if it was a $0 option?

So 1100 bucks MSRP which means the average guy will be paying around 800-900.  

 

I see it as an option that you won't get your money back on flipping but if you plan on keeping a long time might be worth it.  I can't see how anyone would dislike it but who knows.  If I were buying a boat new and planned on keeping for 5 years I would strongly consider it.  

 

I see @MadMan's point above.  I'm not an expert in fluid dynamics or boat steering....All I know is when I drove an X-30 with it and without it a few days apart, everything was better.  Steering loaded, steering loaded, surfing, surf transfers, etc.  Just an overall more enjoyable driving experience.  Perhaps they put unicorn farts in the fluid and it magically works better.  

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55 minutes ago, MadMan said:

I'll preface this by saying I have no experience whatsoever with hydraulic steering.  Heck when I first read the title to this thread, I thought it was some type of power steering (which it isn't).  It's a replacement for the steering cable with a fluid system with the intent of steering that is smoother with less effort because of reduced friction.  It may very well do this, but if the water that is flowing on the rudder is putting a load on the steering, hydraulics will not help. The same load will be felt on the steering wheel.

It is similar to the brakes on a car - you are right in that the force on the rudder itself is the sameftom the water but due to hydraulic pressure the input (force) at the steering wheel can be multiplied by the time it gets to the rudder, so the steering is easier.  Same as a brake master cylinder and take pad at the wheel   

 

Similar to the water pistol example here.  The steering wheel end or master cylinder would be the small end of the water pistol in the linked example.  

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/hydraulics.html

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To the OP, it sounds like a fairly reasonable cost to upgrade to it. Everything I've heard is that it's very nice and I drive bamaboys X30, it was butter. If you feel it will make your wife more confident and comfortable driving then do it! It's worth it to be on the water more. It's not going to make the steering worse. 

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8 minutes ago, hethj7 said:

It is similar to the brakes on a car - you are right in that the force on the rudder itself is the sameftom the water but due to hydraulic pressure the input (force) at the steering wheel can be multiplied by the time it gets to the rudder, so the steering is easier.  Same as a brake master cylinder and take pad at the wheel   

 

Similar to the water pistol example here.  The steering wheel end or master cylinder would be the small end of the water pistol in the linked example.  

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/hydraulics.html

This is true, but it can also be accomplished with a longer control arm on the rudder.  Either way, just more rotation of the steering wheel to move the rudder.  Just like Archimedes, can lift the earth with a long enough lever.

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4 minutes ago, MadMan said:

This is true, but it can also be accomplished with a longer control arm on the rudder.  Either way, just more rotation of the steering wheel to move the rudder.  Just like Archimedes, can lift the earth with a long enough lever.

Of course, but we were talking hydraulic steering and not longer lever steering :)

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@Anderson24 and I had this conversation last summer when he was ordering his new T22. I started paying closer attention to whether or not I had to impart force on the wheel in order to track straight while surfing. What I found was that once I had the 25 LSV (without hydronic steering) at surf speeds the boat would track straight even without my hand on the wheel (see pic below... I actually dig this up from our text exchange).

As others have stated, there are forces placed on the wheel during a transfer, and I have no idea if hydro steering solves that. My guess is that it’s not felt as much by the driver, but adjustments still need to be made. 

Anyway, I’m super intrigued by this option (electric trailer brakes also). But I didn’t want you to think it was needed to track straight while surfing once you’re underway. If I were to check that box (i.e. if I ever order a “forever” boat), it would be for improved driver experience, not because of surf gate  

 

C9E272A4-F710-42F6-A71B-E68D6FA753DD.jpeg

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2 hours ago, MadMan said:

I'll preface this by saying I have no experience whatsoever with hydraulic steering.  Heck when I first read the title to this thread, I thought it was some type of power steering (which it isn't).  It's a replacement for the steering cable with a fluid system with the intent of steering that is smoother with less effort because of reduced friction.  It may very well do this, but if the water that is flowing on the rudder is putting a load on the steering, hydraulics will not help. The same load will be felt on the steering wheel.

It is not just a lever, or if you want to consider it that way, it is a lever that is 200 times longer than the one you currently have on the rudder.  With hydraulics, you can literally let go of the steering wheel and the wheel does not move, even during a turn. My MC had it and it was great to be cruising down the lake and be able to let go with both hands.   Do that with your regular steering and you will quickly lurch to the side.  I think Surfgate pulls more than other systems since it is actually a giant side mounted rudder that you have to counteract somehow, at least that is my experience comparing Nautique's system to Surfgate.  The drag just seems different between the two.  

To directly give an opinion on the OP's question.  It will enhance the experience for sure, but so would that $900 sitting in my pocket.  If it were a $0 option, I would get it every time.  Also don't have to change out the steering cable every few years, which is nice.  I have heard of very few maintenance issues.  

Edited by TallRedRider
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