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mercitom

Autopilot for Mercruiser

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13 hours ago, mercitom said:

 

Looking for input on selecting an autopilot for 2002 Parker with 350 Mercruiser/ Bravo3.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Lake Ontario United mobile app

What type of steering? Mechanical, Power assist, or hydraulic?

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Power assist is what I would call it. Cables back to engine then a hydraulic cylinder to pump...

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I went the Raymarine Sportpilot / Octopus route on my boat for 2-3yrs. It worked “ok”. Ended up switching to hydraulic steering and hydraulic autopilot last year and it’s worlds better

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Was yours a Mercruiser and did you use the Seastar Cylinder and hydraulic helm? I have been considering that on a Alpha 1 gen 2. I already have the Lowrance Hydraulix system .

I went the Raymarine Sportpilot / Octopus route on my boat for 2-3yrs. It worked “ok”. Ended up switching to hydraulic steering and hydraulic autopilot last year and it’s worlds better


Sent from my SM-J737V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Yeah I have a Merc V6 IO with alpha outdrive. Power assisted cable steering from factory. I pulled the helm and cable steering. Installed a sea star helm. And a seastar hydraulic cylinder onto the power assist. Right where the cable used to go. Ran some hydraulic lines and called it a day

 

Hard to see in the pic. I have a whole thread on here about the install. 

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780E370C-1E2D-4B8E-A808-36C8F096A217.jpeg

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Seastar hydraulic steering was best upgrade I've done to my boat, allows you several choices of autopilot and most everyone likes the one they have. I converted a merc alpha 1 gen 1 from factory hydraulic power steering and ez steer linked my kicker to main outdrive

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Good to hear it worked. I was a bit worried about the "unbalanced" system, meaning more fluid in one direction than the other because of the fact that the seastar system cylinder is not a double rod type, therefore less fluid volume on the rod end. Hopefully the Lowrance system can handle that keeping in mind it is meant for an outboard double rod end cylinder.

Sent from my SM-J737V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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check out thegpsstore.com.  Having a good sale on autopilots.

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Obviously a conversion to full hydraulic steering with the addition of an hydraulic AP unit would be ideal. But you're talking close to double the price of just installing an AP unit designed to work with your PA steering. If you got the cash go for the swap, if not and you wanna go with an AP for your current steering setup look into SiTex, they make a unit designed for PA steering. Its a pretty simple unit without much integration capability (it uses NMEA 0183) but sometimes simple is better. 

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It cost me about $1000 to install my hydraulic steering myself. Compared to the price of an Octopus drive and +\- non feedback cable helm the price isn’t that much different. There is no doubt that hydraulic autopilot is better than cable systems. 
 

I just finished installing a Garmin Smart Pump autopilot on my brother in laws boat. Awesome system. Better than my raymarine. 

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I currently run a Raymarine Sport/Wheel Pilot - the newer EV series.  

Boat is 26ft fiberglass with Cable steering with a Power Assist, Mercruiser 5.7L, and Power Assist.

 

Right now I run a Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust kicker with a ez steer bar.

 

Since I dont leave the main engine running while using the kicker, I lose the power assist. 

Its probably a little rough on the Sport Pilot but its held up 4 years so far cranking back and forth on the actual steering wheel.

I know one day its going to eventually wear out and I dont think they service the Sport Pilots.  

 

So Im thinking about starting to gather the parts needed to convert to hydraulic steering.  

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction to get started with parts lists/info?

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Vetting 

 

search my thread history. I have a big thread on here from I switched from power assisted cable steering Raymarine EV Sportpilot to hydraulic steering and hydraulic autopilot. 
 

you’ll need a SeaStar hydraulic helm. A Raymarine Autopilot hydraulic pump. A SeaStar hydraulic steering cylinder. Two hydraulic steering hoses. And one vent hose. 2qts of SeaStar Hydraulic steering fluid. And potentially some misc hydraulic T, 45*, 90* fittings 

 

here is a link to my install thread  I think I post the part numbers that you would need

 

 

 

Edited by jigstick

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23 hours ago, jigstick said:

It cost me about $1000 to install my hydraulic steering myself. Compared to the price of an Octopus drive and +\- non feedback cable helm the price isn’t that much different. There is no doubt that hydraulic autopilot is better than cable systems. 
 

I just finished installing a Garmin Smart Pump autopilot on my brother in laws boat. Awesome system. Better than my raymarine. 

Please share the part number for the steering cylinder and helm.  thank you

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click the link in the above response. All of the part numbers are listed in my list on the first page. 

  • Thanks 1

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