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Hydraulic Steerig Install

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So, this is the first post for my hydro steering project. 

Factory Cable System:

  • 3.5 turns lock to lock
  • 8" cable travel at tiller arm
  • 2.5" tiller arm swing turning left
  • 5.5" tiller arm swing turning right

Factory Hydraulic System (per @csleaver)

  • SeaStar HC5313 Hydraulic Steering Cylinder (7" travel)
  • SeaStar HH6445 2.0 Sport Plus Tilt Helm (2.0 cu.in.)
  • Combo results in 4.1 turns lock to lock

My setup:

  • SeaStar HC5313-3 Hydraulic Steering Cylinder (7" travel centered)
  • SeaStar HH6491-3 1.7 Sport Plus Tilt Helm (1.7 cu.in.)
  • 2x SeaStar nylon hose (25ft)
  • Isotta Fanete Steering Wheel
  • Combo results in 4.8 turns lock to lock

I do have reservations about the helm pump.  When i bought the pump, i could have sworn that the factory setup was 5 turns.  I was wrong obviously.  But, after all the posts I've read about hydraulic steering being (slightly) harder to steer at lower/idle speeds, I'm still going to run 1.7 pump.  IF i run it and realize that 5 turns is too much, i can always replace the pump with the 2.0.  Changing the pump isn't nearly as difficult as the rest of the install.




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Posted (edited)

Here is a shot inside the hull.  The original cable system has been removed.  After test fitting the cylinder, the original bracket was in a position that will work, but it needs to be longer.  Because of where the cylinder is mounted, you might notice that the 4 mount holes for the cylinder are crooked.  The mount on the cylinder has a heim built in so it can pivot several degrees.  Im mounting it this way so that the cylinder is rotated to the left with the rudder centered.  Then, as the steering is turned, the cylinder has plenty of swing adjustment.


You can see the aluminum bracket on the right side.  This is where the cable system mounts. 

Empty Bay.JPG

Old bracket removed from hull.

Old Bracket.JPG

New bracket.  Used 1/4" aluminum 4x4 angle iron.  Trimmed to size.

New Bracket 1.JPG

Here you can really see the angle of the cylinder mount. 

New Bracket 2.JPG

Original bracket vs new bracket.

Both Brackets.JPG


Assuming this all fits the way i want it to I will make a paper template of the bracket with mount hole dimension/location.

Edited by Texan32
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3 hours ago, roeboat said:

Just curious why are you converting to hydraulic steering?

Smoother and easier steering while boarding and surfing.

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Posted (edited)

Got the cylinder and mount assembled.  Ready to test in the boat.  I might have to clearance the bracket at the corner if its in danger of poking hoses.

Assy 1.JPG

Assy 2.JPG

I clearanced the two inside bolts so they wouldn't contact the cylinder body at full sweep angle.

Shaved bolt.JPG

The heim joint on the cylinder uses a 1/2" bolt.  The bolt connecting the steering to the tiller is 3/8".  Im not ready to drill out the tiller arm yet, so i made a sleeve from brass that reduces the hole down to 3/8".

Bushing 1.JPG

Bushing 2.JPG



Edited by Texan32
  • Like 2
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Posted (edited)

Got the cylinder installed.  REALLY happy with the the outcome.  If i had to do it again though, i could have lessened the angle on the mount bracket.  I was worried about the swing of the tiller.  But now that ive mounted everything up, there's plenty of free swing in the cylinder mount. 

Here is the cylinder mounted in its permanent location.  I used a 3/8" SS bolt to connect the cylinder to the tiller.  I also put a SS washer between the two just to add a bit of buffer. 

Cylinder 1.JPG

Cylinder 2.JPG

Cylinder 3.JPG

Cylinder 4.JPG

Removed the steering cable.  Attached a pull cable so i could get the nylon tubing run as well.  This would have been easier with 2 people.  One to pull the cable, one to guide it thru.  Same goes with pulling the SeaStar nylon tube.  Its pretty rigid.  Doing it solo meant i could only pull it a foot or two at a time before i had to unwind it back at the transom.  But, i got it done. 


Edited by Texan32
  • Like 2
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Posted (edited)

Once the tubing was run, it was time to concentrate on the helm.  An important note!  2018 Axis uses a splined steering wheel.  If you are thinking about doing this conversion, you will have to order a tapered hub steering wheel.

Axis uses SeaStar's Sport Plus Tilt steering mechanism.  This plays in our favor.  We dont have to redrill the helm mount!  Removing the old helm is pretty strait forward.  A handful of bolts and its bare.  Then, the new SeaStar helm base mounts up in the exact same location. 

Bare helm.JPG

Helm Base.JPG

I was really worried that the new pump was going to interfere with the aluminum structure under the dash.  But, i was VERY happy to find that the pump clears perfectly!!!

Pump 1.JPG

Pump 2.JPG


Edited by Texan32
  • Like 2
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Since this is the Sort Plus helm, you HAVE to use a "remote" fill port.  SeaStar instructs you to drill a 7/8" hole in order to mount the fill port.  My wife would have KILLED me if i would have drilled a giant hole in the dash.  So, i decided to just remove the port side soft buttons temporarily.  I used the supplied hose as well as a funnel i had. 

Bleeding 2.JPG

Bleeding 1.JPG

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All parts are installed.  System is bled.  Only thing left is to put the boat on the water and see what happens.  I am fully expecting to have to bleed the steering a little in one direction to get the wheel strait in the position i want it.  Worst case, i have to redrill a few holes on the mounting bracket to adjust the swing. 

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Great job and nice pics. I’ll be curious to hear how you like the feel while driving vs a cable. I had sea star on an offshore boat and it performed great but I never liked the feel vs a cable. The hydraulic system had no feedback  while the cable allowed me to sense what was going on. 

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For information purposes....here is what the factory cable system looks like.  The helm has a single gear.  There is a "slide bar" that has matching gear connected to the cable.  The cable connects to the tiller.  The best part is...god forbid something NOT go as planned, EVERYTHING is reversible!  It would be an a**-pain, but everything Ive done can be un-done.


OEM steering 3.JPG

OEM steering 2.JPG

OEM steering 1.JPG

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