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Getting rid of Mercruiser power assist


Chas0218

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So I'm adding a sea star system to the boat to replace the power assist steering with a cable. The cable is shot, power steering lines all need to be replaced so im just getting rid of it all. I'm using the 2.4 helm and sea star ram and putting my auto pilot back in (took it out of my old boat before selling it.)

 

Anyone do this swap? Did it meet expectations?

 

Sent from my SM-N950U using Lake Ontario United mobile app

 

 

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Chas:  I have been considering doing exactly the same on my Islander, wondering if you would consider detailing the process and comment on your experience with the results. 

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Don't need to get rid of the power assist. There is a cylinder available that goes in where the steering cable attaches. Assist pump and original cylinder stay in place. New cylinder piggy backs the existing one. Sea star has these listed. Only consideration is do you have the room for the cylinder to stick out. A couple of options available if it is tight. Best option is a "balanced system". That is a cylinder with double rods so the volume of hydraulic fluid moving is the same in both directions of turn. Volume on each side of the piston is the same. If you don't have room for piston rod to stick out the opposite side about 8 or 9 inches when extended, then use a single rod cylinder with the appropriate parts to be comparable with an "unbalanced" system.

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

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That was my boat. I did this conversion and spliced in hydraulic autopilot. Easy job. 
 

my post should list most of the components. I actually used a cylinder designed for outboard engines because of a clearance issue. I called Seastar and talked to them about it. The cylinder they told me to use was the same volume and power rated but slightly shorter in length. 

Edited by jigstick
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Power Assist steering = 
Power steering pump that is operated by the engine power pump which moves the Mercruiser power cylinder (not the Teleflex cylinder) . Cylinder required HC5328 to work with a SeaStar Helm pump and lines. You will have a hydraulic power assist steering, meaning, a hydraulic helm pump (HH5271), two steering lines, that run down to a power assist cylinder (HC5328) which in turn screws into the Mercruiser power assist cylinder (Mercruiser part) that is run from the power pump and this Mercruiser cylinder is connected directly to the drive.

Non power assist steering = 
No power pump and/or power steering cylinder (no Mercruiser cylinder on board, no power pump) requires manual Hydraulic cylinder # HC5332. This means that all that you will have is a helm pump (at the steering wheel), two steering lines, going to a steering cylinder attached directly to the outdrive (HC5332).
 

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22 minutes ago, wallyandre said:

Non power assist steering = 
No power pump and/or power steering cylinder (no Mercruiser cylinder on board, no power pump) requires manual Hydraulic cylinder # HC5332. This means that all that you will have is a helm pump (at the steering wheel), two steering lines, going to a steering cylinder attached directly to the outdrive (HC5332).

 

This system will work out better if you plan to install a hydraulic auto pilot system to steer both the kicker and outdrive with the engine not running. Pilot will be much more responsive not having to drive the power assist cylinder with the engine off.

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Couple initial questions if I may...

 

1.)  Is the recommendation to go with SeaStar helm pump and cylinder tee'd into an Autpilot pump and use the OEM hydraulics as a power assisted slave cylinder with main power on?

 

2.) What negative effect is there in AP mode with the main power off and trolling with kicker? 

 

3.) Is there any safety concerns operating in AP with the Main and needing to manually take control? 

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I’d be happy to discuss this type of install on the phone if you’d like. Atleast tell you my experiences with mine thus far. Let me know. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Guys, I've been reading through your post as I'm planning on moving from the stock cable steer to hydraulic steering on my Grew Profisher with a Merc sterndrive to accommodate an autopilot .  I've determined the Seastar cylinder HC5328 will fit on my power steering actuator but I have to remove it to install due to limited space.  I've discovered my actuator is leaking so now I have to replace it prior to installing the Seastar cylinder.  Question for you, is it possible to remove the entire Merc power steering assembly; the actuator, cooler and pump and just have a hydraulic cylinder back there to control the outdrive?  I'm wonder how the steering would feel, with the current system there is no effort to steer the boat.  I currently use an Ezsteer bar to link my kicker to the sterndrive so if I stay with the power steering system I would not benefit from the power steering when trolling but the hydraulic system will still have to move the steering actuator without help from the power steering pump.  Any input would be greatly appreciated 

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Yes it would work. But you will need to fabricate some type of mount for the new seastar cylinder. You’ll also need a new drive belt because when you remove the power steering pump the original will end up being too long. For these reasons I chose just to leave the factory power assist in place.  If you come up with a good solution please let me know. I’d be interested in seeing what you came up with. 

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Ok, so back to working on the boat.  I've had a good look at mounting a bracket back there and I'd have to remove the motor to do it, to much work for me right now.  So if I install the Seastar HC5328-3 on the power assist ram will the autopilot be able to move the sterndrive without the engine running, I have a kicker motor linked to the sterndrive with an EZ steer bar.

 

 

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Ok so I spoke with my local Raymarine dealer and Raymarine tech support, non of the auto pilot systems will operate a stern drive unit with power assist unless the motor is running (power assist is operating). The ultimate autopilot system for a stern drive with power assist and a kicker motor would by hydraulic steering with an isolation valve to switch the helm from the stern drive to the kicker(with a hydraulic cylinder) This setup would allow the autopilot to control either motor.  A multi year project for my budget.....

 

Tight lines fellas

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that's interesting.. i just finished this project today. My ap is working but it is super slow turning the outdrive. it does it in a bumpy motion, it isn't smooth. This is without the main running, but that's how I will be fishing as well. Using a kicker. My steering feel is light years better than it was with the old cable setup and the smart pilot, but if you are correct, I'll have to live without an ap when I'm fishing.. which is the only time I use it. I'll test the ap again tomorrow with the main running, see what it does.

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15 hours ago, dt5150 said:

that's interesting.. i just finished this project today. My ap is working but it is super slow turning the outdrive. it does it in a bumpy motion, it isn't smooth. This is without the main running, but that's how I will be fishing as well. Using a kicker. My steering feel is light years better than it was with the old cable setup and the smart pilot, but if you are correct, I'll have to live without an ap when I'm fishing.. which is the only time I use it. I'll test the ap again tomorrow with the main running, see what it does.

Looks to me that tou need more bleeding, I think you are still having air in the system 

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