Installing New Hydraulic Steering in Stormbird


When I installed the new engine, the existing steering system that consisted of, among other things, rusted galvanized plumbing pipes that  needed to move out of the way. The old Crown allowed the old steering pipes to pass underneath it. The new engine sits much lower in the bilge, so the pipes had to be either removed or re-routed. I tried re-routing the old rusty galvanized piping, but soon realized it was not going to work well. The old steering system was a bronze worm gear driving crank arms and rusty pipes to push and pull the rudder arm. It was not a happy system with a lot of play resulting in lost motion and sloppy steering underway.

I decided to install a new Teleflex unassisted hydraulic steering system – with this system, I can route the hydraulic hose along the side of the engine and take all of the play out of the steering system that existed with the old worm-drive system that included worn attach bolts, etc. First thing was to build a mount for the new steering cylinder and properly locate the cylinder.

The instructions says it’s important to properly locate the cylinder so that the actuating rod is aligned parallel with a line drawn through the rudder crank bolt hole in the most port and most starboard positions. While hard to imagine, the instructions show it clearly. This actuator had plenty of throw – more than that needed to push the Monk’s rudder hard over both ways.

Once properly located, the actuator is bolted down to the new mounting board and actuating rod is bolted to the rudder crank. The supplied bolt fit the Monk’s rudder crank hole perfectly – an amazing thing!!

Above – the existing worm screw steering actuator is removed from the helm.

The new Teleflex helm pump is mounted.

New 20″ diameter steering wheel is procured from Fisheries Supply – the old wheel was a 1″ taper, the new helm is a 3/4″ taper – so I needed a new wheel anyhow and this one is 2″ larger on the diameter.

Above and below – I connect the hydraulic lines, Renee helps me bleed the system and the new steering is complete. About a four hour job all total. The new steering is excellent – much less force needed to turn the wheel, so I can spin it quickly for maneuvering in close quarters. There is zero play in the system now, so the boat does not hunt back and forth like it used to when underway. A huge improvement and well worth the thousand bucks invested.

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