The Working Principles of a Hydraulic Steering System and How to Maintain It

08 April 2022

A hydraulic steering system is a type of steering system normally utilised in modern boats. It maximises lightweight hydraulic hose to effectively manoeuvre and regulate the steering action. Compared to its mechanical counterpart, hydraulic steering systemsare known to be more resistant to corrosion, more powerful, and more reliable.

Optimal maintenance is necessary for the hydraulic steering system so it can continuously offer optimum operations to the boat. After all, it can work alongside mid to high horsepower outboard motors.

Hydraulic Steering System’s Working Principles

To better understand the effectiveness of the hydraulic steering system, you should know how it works first. As mentioned, it utilises a hydraulic hose to regulate steering. The hydraulic hose is responsible for transporting hydraulic fluid from the helm to the cylinder and vice versa.

The helm featuresa hydraulic pump and valves, it alters the rotary motion of the steering wheel into a push-pull movement of the cable by forcing fluid into the hydraulic lines. The cable then directs the rudder to move accordingly. The cylinder, ultimately, moves whenever the wheel is turned. This part does not provide any force on the deck or the hull and only acts between two points on the outboard.

Aside from the hydraulic hose, helm, and cylinder, the hydraulic steering system can also have reservoirs, hydraulic lines, autopilot pumps, valves, tie bars, and liquid tie bars. Modern hydraulic steering systems may even utilise electronic helms, smart hydraulic cylinders, and autopilot systems.

Regular Upkeep of Hydraulic Steering Systems

Hydraulic steering systems can last for a long time if they will be inspected and maintained regularly. Here are some maintenance tips that you can do to your hydraulic steering system.

  • Conduct System Checks: One maintenance tip that you can do to your steering system is to inspect it thoroughly. System checks must be done before putting your boat back in the water as system issues can be difficult to troubleshoot during a trip. Some system checks that must be done include checking the fluid level, turning the wheel from side to side, assessing the condition of hoses, and inspecting the steering tube and support rod.
  • Tighten Fasteners and Fittings: If you have encountered loose fasteners and fittings during the system check, you must tighten them right away. Tightening them can be done very quickly by using a torque wrench or other compatible wrenches.
  • Re-grease Core Components: The support rod, tilt tube, threads, and wheel shaft must all be applied with grease to ensure that they do not get damaged during their operations. Grease, after all, can help in minimising friction between steering system components.
  • Clean the Steering/Tilt Tube: The steering/tilt tube must be separated from the support rod so it can be cleaned effectively. This component may be bombarded with hardened old grease. Without removing it, the newly applied grease will only be contaminated.
  • Eradicate Dirty Hydraulic Fluid:One more maintenance tip that you can do to your hydraulic steering wheel is to eliminate dirty hydraulic fluid. Flushing the system with clean oil is needed to ensure it can work during the boat’s trip.

To know more about hydraulic steering systems, you can call us at Riggtech.

Optimized by: Netwizard SEO