Outboard Motor Boat Hydraulic Steering Maintenance

Outboard Motor Boat Hydraulic Steering Maintenance – Video Transcript

Today we're going to talk about the maintenance for the SeaStar and BayStar hydraulic steering systems. It's important to have maintenance on a regular basis. Especially if you're in the marine environment where you've got corrosion that can take place. What you want is a steering system that is safe and properly operating at all times.

We're going to start by looking at the tilt tube on the back of the midsection of the outboard. We're at the back of the boat and you can see that we've got the steering cylinder mounted. We've got the ninety degree elbows. We've also got the hoses connected to the cylinder. This is an area that has a high susceptibility to corrosion, so it's very important that everything back here is cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis. What you're going to see behind the steering cylinder is the actual tilt tube itself.

This is the area that we want to open up, get inside of it, lubricate it and make sure we keep it in good working order. To perform the maintenance on the tilt tube, you first want to remove the stainless steel nut and the washer on the support rod that goes through the tilt tube. Pull the support rod out clean it, lubricate it. Do the same thing with all of the holes, any of the areas that are exposed to the marine environment.

Next, go into the tilt tube and clean the tilt tube out. Same thing, clean it and lubricate it. The lubricant that you want to use is this white lithium. It's water resistant and it is marine grade. Once you've done that, you've got everything clean everything has been lubricated, the next thing you want to do is take a look at the cylinder. Look at all of the mechanical connections make sure everything is tight. If you find anything loose, tighten it up. If you find something loose, inspect the part to make sure it's not worn. If the parts worn, replace it. Also, if you're going to replace any of the hardware that you use to attach any of the mechanical parts, make sure you use self locking nuts that are marine grade.

The next step in performing maintenance on the hydraulic steering system is to inspect the actual hydraulic helm itself. If the shaft on the helm is horizontal, then you want to check the fluid level inside of the reservoir and make sure that it comes up to the bottom of the threads. If the helm is mounted at a 20 degree or vertical, then you want to make sure that the fluid level inside the reservoir is within a half an inch of the threads.

Next, we want to inspect the hydraulic hoses themselves. You want to check the hoses for chafing, swelling or wear. If you find any of the three conditions, please go back and check and find out why that has occurred. Next, we want to check for leaks. In order to do that, we want to take the helm we want to go hard over to port and we want to hold it there. Don't worry about the pressure you're creating in the system. The system is designed to handle that. When you've got the system hard over to port, go ahead and inspect the back of the helm. Check the fittings. Make sure that they're dry; there's no leaks. Go back to the pivot cylinder. Same thing. Go to the elbows make sure no leaks there and then also check all of the hose connections.

When you're through with doing that, then take the helm and go to hard over starboard and again put maximum pressure on it and check for leaks a second time. If you don't find any leaks, the system is leak free. Next, take a quick look at the back of the pivot cylinder. If the boats been laid up for a while, you want to just take a look at the rod running through the pivot cylinder. Make sure there's no scratches, no corrosion. If there is, this could cause seal damage down the road. So, lubricate it, inspect it I should say and then lubricate it and you should be in good shape.