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  1. #1

    Default old guy with a problem

    1999 suntracker 24 with 3.0 mercruiser steern drive bought new in barn for 12 years would like to add hydraulic steering serious problem from start . dealer did not know this unit should not be sold with out power steering . so question has any one added hydraulic steering ? seems that space is the problem . tried to reach out to sun tracker . no help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    662

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    Hey Tracker 1:
    Welcome to the PDB Forum. I have a few questions for you about your Mercruiser 3.0.
    First of all how experienced are you with ourdrives ? Merc or other brands or even outboards.
    Sorry to ask such a question but many new to the boating world may not know that these generally steer well without Power.

    Do you know about the adjustable trim tab that is located on the anti-cavitation plate just above the prop ?

    Generally speaking the trim tab compensates for torque steer, (hard or difficult in one direction or pulling to the untrimmed side) and can be used to balance things out.
    Having said that there may not be a perfect solution at all speeds and at all lower unit levels.

    First, drive the boat at a "Normal Cruising" speed that you would prefer: I.E. with your usual load of people, gear, fuel, coolers, seating locations etc.
    On your boat with that 3.0 you will probably find that 18 to 22 indicated MPH, (you do have a speedo right) will be comfortable without full throttle running and should keep you moving well.
    While running at 18 to 22 MPH be sure your lower unit, outdrive, is not trimmed way down, (in) but runs with the anti-cavitation plate about level with the water surface.

    This would be the usual trim position. Only trim way in when starting out from a static position, then as the boat moves forward begin trimming out, up, 'till A/C plate is level.
    Now we can assess the torque steer effect. If it is difficult to turn the steering wheel to the left or right, OR if the boat tries to pull to the left or right; then you need to adjust the trim tab.

    If at your best cruising speed and boat load/RPM, the boat tries to turn to the right, adjust the tab a little to the right of center. Obviously if it tries to go left, adjust to the left.
    How much you say ? Experiment !! A little adjustment goes a long way. REMEMBER that this only seems perfect at your preferred speed & load.

    If you bring the outdrive down the steering will react as it will if you bring it up too much. Generally speaking, this 3.0 setup does not require power steering.
    And I'm not sure Mercury even offered it with P/S when built. I'm attaching 2 links to help you understand this issue and adjust your trim tab.

    https://forums.iboats.com/forum/engi...-powersteering
    https://www.boatus.com/magazine/2014...ng-in-trim.asp

    Take the plastic plug out above the trim tab, with a socket and extension on a ratchet loosen the bolt while holding the tab with your hand.
    Make the proper adjustment in the correct direction for your issue and tighten the bolt. Drive the boat and notice the difference.
    You may have to make more than one adjustment to get the desired result, in fact I'll bet on it.
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    6,221

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    Also, on a 20 year old boat, you may have a binding or sticking steering cable. Sometimes a new steering cable can make a lot of difference. To test, you would have to disconnect the cable at the rudder and see if there's any sticking, binding or odd noises when you turn the steering wheel back and forth. Just a thought in addition to the good advice from Tony..
    Rick

    St. Louis/Lake of the Ozarks

  4. #4

    Default

    thank Rick and captain Tony appreciate your answers from what i am able to find this was one of the first built with io my two provisos boats both v hull had io power like inboard out board Steering under power fair to good docking very difficult seems that t he stern i o bend restricts the cable . have checked as best i can how ever it appears free Have not been able to have an answer from suntracker . they have no tech support told to go to dealer who is out of business local bass pro not helpful i am looking into a hydro drivr haudralic unit . how ever space in motor compartment limited . octopus stern drive another company . How ever no one even the old telefex ( now dometric sea star has local Norfolk virginia beach reps ) again thank you appreciate all info have over 20 hours looking for answer henry

  5. #5

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    Rick i will also do AS YOU SUGGESTED DIS CONNECT AND CKECK HENRY

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boat at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri
    Posts
    662

    Default

    As usual, I overlooked the obvious - "20 year old boat"

    Rick may be right on, check the cable first; but eybal the trim tab on the IO outdrive to get a relative picture of it is way more that parallel with the unit.
    If it seems angle to the right or left, after the cable, start adjusting.

    As to SeaStar Hydraulic steering, NOT power, if there is room to install the slave cylinder and related hoses, it may help with the effort
    and eliminate a cable BUT if the trim is out of whack it will still need to be dialed in.

    Hydraulic Steering is not the same as Power Steering with an engine driven pump & hoses etc..
    Captain Tony
    2005 Summit by Triton - 220T Platinum 3Log
    2005 115HP Mercury Optimax - 228 Marine Master Trailer
    St. Louis & Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tracker 1 View Post
    1999 suntracker 24 with 3.0 mercruiser steern drive bought new in barn for 12 years would like to add hydraulic steering serious problem from start . dealer did not know this unit should not be sold with out power steering . so question has any one added hydraulic steering ? seems that space is the problem . tried to reach out to sun tracker . no help
    I have done this task. Not on a pontoon... on a hull with a Volvo sterndrive (AQ125). I hated the push/pull cable and bought the individual items to install a TeleFlex “SeaStar” hydraulic steering system. It consisted of the helm-unit (basically a steering-wheel-powered hyd pump), 40’ of 3/8” plastic hyd lines, fittings, and a hydraulic cylinder. It used Mil-Spec 5606 fluid (which is a common aircraft fluid similar to auto transmission fluids). The most difficult task during the modification was mounting the hyd cylinder. I took the boat to a welding shop and asked them to weld a 6” X 6” steel plate with a hold punched thru it to the transom. The hole accommodated the swivel-mount-bolt for the cylinder. This held the cylinder in a stationary position on the transom, while the actuating-rod of the cylinder attached to the tiller where the removed push-pull cable was previously attached.
    Following the instructions from the kit I filled and bled the system with fluid and put the boat in the water. I have enjoyed that completely trouble-free system ever since I installed it in 1986. Sold that boat this last week and the new owner is happy with it also.
    I was also told that steering system could “never be installed and made to work” in that little 18’ family boat. Obviously the nay-sayers don’t know sheite. Good luck with your customized hyd steering.

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