Boat Steering Systems

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Steering Systems How-To's

boat steering systems pro's and con's

Learn About the Pros and Cons of Each Marine Steering System

In boating, there are typically three styles of boat steering systems: rack and pinion, rotary, and hydraulic. Each steering system is built with different advantages that cater to a variety of boat and ... read more engine applications. Each steering system has unique characteristics and features that set them apart and makes them useful under varying circumstances. They are set apart most notably by the shape of the component behind the helm. It is suggested that when replacing boat steering parts, you should replace it with the system that was originally installed. Rack and pinion systems should be replaced with a rack and pinion only, rotary with rotary, and hydraulic with hydraulic. There are many scenarios to consider with every boat steering system that will help boaters decide which will work the best for their requirements.

Rack and Pinion Boat Steering

Rack and pinion systems take on a long rectangular shape “rack” behind the helm. Many boaters will agree that rack and pinion boat steering is easier to control. Fewer components and pieces are required in a rack and pinion steering system, making it more straightforward and efficient. The construction is very basic, with a pinion gear attached directly into the helm shaft engaging a rack gear in the housing. However, while there are many advantages to rack and pinion boat steering systems, there are some setbacks as well. For instance, rack and pinion systems are more susceptible to damage upon impact, and because of the long housing rack, it will not fit behind many dashboards.

Rotary Boat Steering

Rotary style boat steering has a circular casing behind the helm and works best for smaller engine applications that are below 150 horsepower. Rotary steering systems are more adaptable in construction, allowing component installation to accommodate for tight space constraints behind the dashboard. The angling in rotary boat steering is a lot more precise and responsive than rack and pinion boat steering. On the other hand, rotary steering systems are usually more expensive than rack and pinion systems, as well as heavy.

Hydraulic Boat Steering

Hydraulic steering, the final of the three main steering systems, has a round shape behind the helm and is very accessible and easy to steer. Hydraulic boat steering systems are primarily recommended for larger engines that are over 150 horsepower due to their superior strength and durability. Hydraulic boat steering hoses are color coded in red for the port (left) side of the boat and green for the starboard (right) side of the boat, making identification easier for installation. However, it is important to remember that hydraulic systems are not completely indestructible; systems with liquids prone to leakage if not maintained properly. Also, incorrect installation and overfilling the helm with liquid could potentially cause damage to the boat or engine.

Each of these boat steering types are unique in their respects, fulfilling different purposes under different circumstances and requirements. As previously mentioned, it is crucial in cases of replacing the entire system or its components is to replace it with the same type of system or consult with a boating mechanic or a local technician as changes from the original boat steering system may affect handling of the boat.
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UFLEX 0215 HD Converted

UFLEX 0215 HD Converted

Try the new Uflex Go Tech it's the first to deliver easy steering without high cost. ... read more

Video Transcript

If you want the best performing steering and controls look no further than UFlex for the highest quality and most durable systems in the world. The planetary gear design of the Rotech and Accura mechanical steering system; reduced propeller torque loads for easier steering and increased longevity. The new and affordably priced Gotech is designed for engines of the 115 hp with moderate torque like Pontoons and Bay boats. Uflex is the first to deliver easy steering without high cost.

The top choice of tournament fishing teams is the Uflex ProTech and Silver steer systems which feature heavy-duty seals, adjustable boss fittings, 304 electro-polished and passivated link assemblies designed and built for the high torque from today’s four stroke outboards. For fingertip steering regardless of conditions, number of engines and rudder torque; the Uflex Masterdrive power steering system is the answer. High-performance and low power consumption are standard.

Check out other innovative products from Uflex including the Power-A electronic control which gives you the opportunity to easily add fly by wire to older engines, whether outboard, stern drives, gas, diesel or two or four strokes. Also the joystick controlled trim tabs take the guesswork out of trimming your boat. Because both tabs move simultaneously in opposing directions, the position of the boat adjusts quickly and intuitively with a single push of the joystick. Add style to your customer’s boat with steering wheels from Uflex. We have the widest selection of wheels in the industry for all types of boats.

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