The hydraulic steering system definitely kills any effort you would require in maneuvering your boat. Changing your system with a hydraulic system might be thought as a tricky thing to do. However, you can do the conversion to a hydraulic steering system by following these processes.
Step 1 – Take out the Old Steering System
To begin, disconnect all your steering cables linked to your old system. You can use a hacksaw to cut the cables if you intend to replace them with new ones. Normally, your new hydraulic steering system would function best with new wirings. Consider getting an engine hoist. Else, you can use ropes and come-along woods to hoist the necessary equipment. Get a rag to wrap cables that have grease so they won’t get dirt on your interiors.
Step 2 – Put Hydraulic Helm
Inspect the manual of your new unit to see if you would have to drill holes to your dash. A hydraulic helm often requires a 4 inch hole. Use the template made in your manual or draw a 4 inch hole on the plywood. Use a clamp to get your plywood circle. The moment you got the perfect circle, use this as a template on your dash.
Use a hole saw to bore the required hole in your dash. Mount the helm unit as instructed by the manual. Bear in mind that the helm would be heavier once it has been full of hydraulic fluid. Re-install your steering wheel right after you position the helm.
Step 3 – Set Up Hydraulic Lines
Inspect the best places for your hydraulic lines. The places you would choose should not support other wires or control systems. Insert the lines into PVC pipes that you would cut based on the set-up of your wire routes.
Step 4 – Mount Hydraulic Ram
Make sure that fuel lines, battery cables, shift cables, and other similar wiring do not block the space needed for your hydraulic ram. Depending on the make of your hydraulic kit, you may have to hoist your engine again. The kit should offer you with a support rod you can get through the center section bracket. Use adapter kits in attaching the ram to the motor bracket. The engine and the ram should tilt together by this time.
Step 5 – Bleed Air Out
The hydraulic system will not work until you get all the air out of it. Inspect if you require any final adjustments in your line routes. Connect the end of the routes to the hem and ram assembly. Be careful in setting this up so you don’t get the wrong direction (i.e. boat steers left if you steer right, vice-versa).
Get to the helm and remove the fill plug. Invert its fluid supply to make sure that air can’t enter your system. Loosen the nut for bleeding on one side of your ram. Pump fluid on one side so you can get the air out on the other end of the ram. Use the extension tube in getting fluids that come out in the ram bleed hole. Repeat these until no air comes out.