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So I just purchased a 9.9 Mercury to use as a kicker for my 4.3L Islander.  The four stroke outboard is carbureted, electric start and set up for the 8 pin throttle control which I plan on mounting to a 10" lift bracket. The question I am working though is whether to connect the outboard to the Alpha drive with EZ Steer linkage and set up steering control for the Mercruiser or just go with something like: http://panthermarineproducts.com/electro-steer-and-steering/ .  If money grew on trees, I'm sure I would be looking at a full blown Garmin autopilot, linked to my...  But this is a budget build and I'm looking for an economical approach to keep the boat going fairly straight without fighting with the wife... 

 

Greatly appreciate experienced answers with helpful suggestions... 

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Badad1,

Having never had a remote steering setup, I can't answer definitively. 

However, I ran a 26' Islander w/9.9 Merc kicker for 15 years and wished I had remote steering every one of them!

If battery capacity is an issue, maybe just having the remote control the kicker makes sense. 

If your kicker has an alternator, that won't be an issue, right? 

The main's I/O acts as a rudder to some degree. Not having the kicker linked to the main would eliminate the rudder effect it adds to help control the boat. 

Real question to ask yourself; "Wouldn't I enjoy being able to remotely steer the main when not using the kicker?" 

There are times when conditions overwhelm the kicker's ability to control the boat adequately, 'least there were on my Islander. 

If you can swing it, control the main's steering and link w/EZ Steer. 

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Well I do have a great first mate that needs to be in charge of something... So I really don't need an autopilot for the I/O while we're not fishing, least I haven't so far with my previous sport boats. But your comments do raise a couple questions about overwhelming conditions and the ability to maintain control. Islanders as probably most aluminum boat that style are light and have a large sail area especially if you have any canvas up. Having said that, I really like the idea of independently controlling just the kicker, and after reviewing the Tailfin vs the Panther, I see the value in the Tailfin with a future upgrade of throttle control if it works out. I'm thinking that will be my first direction, worst case it might show up on the classifieds... 

 

Appreciate the input! 

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Baddad1,

The trade-off w/aluminum boats is light weight. 

The 26' Islander had a hard top, so there was always a lot of sail area.

The 9.9 Merc had remote throttle, start, etc. However, sometimes a finer control over the throttle would have been nice. 

The tall gunwales allowed me to solo fish the 26'er a lot, which is why I always wanted an auto pilot. 

If you've always got a mate, you'll be fine!

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Appreciate the vote of confidence...

About the only thing this kicker didn’t come with was power tilt so I am fortunate in that regard. There is one question I was debating on; the best location for the throttle controls. Have seen a few set-ups with them located aft. Any thoughts on that?


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I bought my 9.9 used. Because it came with controls, I didn't have to make this decision.

On the 26' Islander the cables that came with the kicker wound up reaching to the helm just right (kicker mounted on starboard side of stern). The control box was mounted to the carpet covered side pocket, which was 1/2" ply (I think) down low, just above the storage locker the helm pedestal stuck up through.

That position worked pretty well.

When I had crew, the helmsman had all the controls where he needed them. 

When I didn't have crew and was fighting a fish, it was easy enough to reach. 

On slow days when you're trolling around sitting at the helm and need to change speed, no need to get up. 

If you're generally going to have crew and they take direction well (throttle instructions) it's probably easier telling them what to do than having having to do it while fighting a fish. 

Last thought; if your GPS speed, paddle wheel boat speed and down speed instruments are all at the helm, that's where the throttle control should be? 

FWIW, I had an ancient Johnson 10HP tiller kicker for a long time with just an EZ-steer. Changing the throttle on the tiller was a hassle in comparison to the forward controls at the helm with the 9.9 Merc. 

You're going to love having a kicker. The 26' would troll 9+ hours on 6 gals of fuel unless it was really windy and you were heading into it all day (what you have to do in aluminum boats with lots of sail area in windy conditions). That you can take the tanks off the boat and fill them at the corner station is a savings over running on the main (probably with bags, making it even more inefficient). Best part is you have two sources of propulsion. That is a major safety factor and gave me confidence to go out whenever (especially during the  Coasties and Sherriffs "off season"). 

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hey baddad1 ive been watching the thread and wanted to add my 2 cents i struggled with the decision of autopilot remote controls etc and resolved my issue.with the following we usually fish 2 guys in the boat so someone at the wheel is sometimes not possible setting lines netting fish etc so i went with the raymarine ev1 autopilot and im very happy as far as the kicker i have a 15 hp honda that i installed the trollmaster remote throttle control i have a cable throttle control but just couldn't ever find the sweet spot  and found myself constantly adjusting  pia the finite adjustment to the throttle really works well with the trollmaster from anywhere in the boat good luck ! 

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KIR: Appreciate you speaking up about your set-up and experiences. I initially was looking at the ez steer set-up and using assisted directional control off the Alpha outdrive. However I recently met an Erie fisherman with an Islander and he was using the Garmin Reactor. In his opinion an autopilot on the kicker was the way to go.  I am curious to see how the Islander performs with just the kicker in light to moderate seas. It's a light boat and as Pierless stated may be subject to points of wind a bit more that i would prefer.

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KIR: Appreciate you speaking up about your set-up and experiences. I initially was looking at the ez steer set-up and using assisted directional control off the Alpha outdrive. However I recently met an Erie fisherman with an Islander and he was using the Garmin Reactor. In his opinion an autopilot on the kicker was the way to go.  I am curious to see how the Islander performs with just the kicker in light to moderate seas. It's a light boat and as Pierless stated may be subject to points of wind a bit more that i would prefer.

Something to think about... if you were to run your AP on your main, and tie in with an Ezsteer, now you will also have the lower unit on the main giving you more rudder to control your boat. I run a 25hp kicker on my 29’ Aquasport with my kicker tied Into the hydraulic system so I have the rudders and the kicker turning at the same time. Much better control, and you won’t have the kicker fighting against the main lower unit when trying to turn, esp in a windy situation. I had the ezsteer unit on my last boat, 24’ Thompson with an 8hp yammy. Much better control with both turning at the same time. IMHO

Capt Rich.


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Sounds like there is growing support for the EZ Steer... Thanks Captain for weighing in on this. Collective decisions are usually the best decision.

Rather than starting a new thread, any words of wisdom on the best approach to setting up the steering on an old cable-assist Alpha?


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Sounds like there is growing support for the EZ Steer... Thanks Captain for weighing in on this. Collective decisions are usually the best decision.

Rather than starting a new thread, any words of wisdom on the best approach to setting up the steering on an old cable-assist Alpha?


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app



First question is... how much $$ do you have to play with?? My way of thinking has always been do it right the first time... so the perfect setup would be to upgrade your steering to hydraulic, and then get an AP for hydraulic steering. But if $$ is an issue, I believe there is an AP that you can use with cable steering. I am sure you will get some I do here about that particular setup.

Capt Rich.


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so before stepping up to a Grady white with hydraulics my last setup was 19.5 foot great lakes special sea nymph which also had a cable steering system so i put the intellisteer which replaces the steering helm under the dash and you connect your steering cable directly into it and attach your steering wheel was easy half hour job no gps but definitely was somewhere between the expense of the gps and manual it was like $700 

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