Address those steering problems early

Published online: Jul 27, 2012 News
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Despite the widespread use of hydraulic steering, its maintenance is often overlooked until a problem develops. Boat owners may not always take the time to visually inspect their system or to periodically flush the system and fill it with fresh hydraulic fluid.

And when a problem is noticed, often in the form of a leak, replacing the outer seals may be all that gets done. Other problems may lurk within, and if not addressed, may result in expensive replacement with new systems, or more importantly, the loss of steering control when underway.

"In many cases, a leak can be a symptom of a more serious problem," said Butch Castleberry, owner of Boat Steering Rebuilders LLC. "A rebuild, professionally done, can not only return a system to original spec, but also extend the life of the system, oftentimes providing an extra five to seven years of use." With more than 30 years of experience in the design, operation, repair and remanufacture of hydraulic systems, including recent training at Teleflex Marine's Hydraulic Steering facility in Richmond, BC, Castleberry knows what he's talking about.

Boat Steering Rebuilders will offer their rebuild service through marine dealers. Steering ram assemblies and helm pumps will be removed by a dealer's technician and sent to

Boat Steering Rebuilders shop located in Adkins, Texas. Original parts are disassembled and each component is cleaned, analyzed and tested. Worn, bent or damaged components are replaced with new, factory-fresh parts, all internal fluid reservoirs are thoroughly cleaned and new seals and seats are inserted. Rebuilt systems are charged with fresh oil, and bench tested to rated pressure levels to assure satisfactory performance and sent back to the dealer who can then reinstall the parts and deliver the boat

The cost of a rebuilt ram or helm is usually about half the cost of buying a new unit and turnaround time for Boat Steering Rebuilders is typically five to seven days. Rebuilt steering rams and helms carry a one-year limited warranty.

More and more boaters are on the water these days with bigger boats and even bigger horsepower. Whether it's a 28-foot deck boat or one of the new triple pontoon boats, all vessels powered by high-performance inboard, stern-drive or outboard engines rely upon hydraulic steering for control and safe operation. Even boaters with smaller crafts and more modest power prefer the ease and control of hydraulic steering.

"You never know how important your steering system is until it blows out when you're traveling at 50 miles an hour," adds Castleberry. With Boat Steering Rebuilders, the performance of a problem system can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacement.

For more information on Boat Steering Rebuilders, contact them at 210-317-7035 or visit their website at www.boatsteeringrebuilders.com.

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