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21SF - Hydraulic Steering Questions...

Discussion in 'Pontoon Forum' started by Shawn, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Shawn

    Shawn Well-Known Member

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    I've read many, many posts on this topic and looking for some final advice.

    My new boat has been ordered but I can still make a change if necessary. We have ordered a 2019 SF21 with SPS and 150hp Yamaha 4 stroke. The SPS package comes with Sea Star hydraulic steering. However, it does not come with power hydraulic assist steering which is a $3100 additional cost - very pricey.

    The boat will primarily be used for cruising and fishing. We will do some tubing and water sports but that will not be the primary focus.

    I'm inclined to keep the build as is and see how it goes with the hydraulic steering. However, I could probably convince myself to add it if I dwell on it long enough. At $3100 it seems like I really need to consider it carefully because it ain't cheap.

    I'm coming form a 24SLi with a 115hp with cable steering.
     
  2. Jack M

    Jack M Moderator

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    Add it now . I wouldn't be without it .Unless you add it yourself ,it will cost you more later .Added at the factory ,it will then be covered under the 10 year Bennington Warranty .
    I have it with a 150 ,I can steer it with 1 finger ( if I had to )
    The $3,116 ,is the list, so dont forget to take into consideration what ever % off you received
     
    Michiman likes this.
  3. CTBoater

    CTBoater Member

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    We have a 2018 23 foot swing back with SPS and a 150 Yamaha and just the Sea Star hydraulic steering you are considering. Although I never drove a pontoon boat with power steering, I really had no problems with hydraulic only. We primarily cruise and occasionally pull a person on a tube. I think you can add the power steering pump later if you decide to upgrade.
     
  4. Bronco

    Bronco Active Member

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    We have a 2018 22 ft wingback (22 SSBXP) with hydronic, but no power assist. We did a lot of tubing and our water require a fair amount of maneuvering due to shallows, rocks, sandbars and strong currents and I had no problems without the power assist. My thinking was that if I felt hindered without it, I'd add it later (not covered by warranty however, as noted above). For me, it was the right choice not to get it. This boat at this size is very easy to maneuver as it is.
     
  5. Shawn

    Shawn Well-Known Member

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    Do you have SPS?
     
  6. cwag911

    cwag911 Moderator

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    I added the power assist after the fact and it's a night and day difference.
     
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  7. myv10

    myv10 Well-Known Member

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    We have a 24sfx, 150 with SPS. Do not have power steering and don't feel the need for it. I am on a rough lake and do just fine for a 67 year old. I have driven a pontoon with power steering , I guess it is an individual decision.
     
  8. Vikingstaff

    Vikingstaff Well-Known Member

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    I really think it is a highly personal choice. If money is tight, and you do not have physical ailments, you’re sure to be okay (particularly with the type of boat use you described above) going with the included Sea Star Hydraulic steering. IF you prefer being as comfy as possible in all situations, envision others driving and want it as easy as possible for them, can afford the cost increase, or see a time or day down the road where physical concerns would make having easier steering an asset, then spring for the power asssist steering.

    We went power assist steering, and its proven to be a good decision for us. Since I am in the driver seat almost all the time, and we bought it primary for water sports and cruising, anything making the Captain comfy on those long boating days was worth the money to me. I also have a few physical issues that come up now and then that are unavoidable, so that also made my decision a little easier in springing for it. I’d recommend it, but I can also see where its an easy +/-3k in savings depending on the person, budget, boat, and intended boat use.
     
  9. basshawk84

    basshawk84 Well-Known Member

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    I would say get it if you can afford it. I've never heard anyone complain about steering being too easy!!
     
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  10. Renegade34

    Renegade34 Well-Known Member

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    I have a 23’ swingback with a 150hp and sps. I thought I’d try it without it and add it later if I felt it necessary. After my 1st summer with it I doubt I’ll add it. Doesn’t seem too difficult to steer without it. Just my 2 cents.
     
  11. Shawn

    Shawn Well-Known Member

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    Does boat length have any impact on how easy or difficult the steering is?
     
  12. Shawn

    Shawn Well-Known Member

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    On an unrelated note, it looks like Bennington put a price increase in effect. The boat I ordered a couple weeks ago is now around $1100 more on the boat builder site. Guess I ordered at the right time...
     
  13. Shawn

    Shawn Well-Known Member

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    This may be a difficult or impossible question to answer...

    Would the steering with the hydraulic steering be similar to the 115hp with cable steering that I am accustomed to?
     
  14. Airlifter

    Airlifter Well-Known Member

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    Seastar Hydraulics vs Power Assist Hydraulics
    The Seastar Hydraulics on my 21 SLXP w/SPS Yam F150 works fine. After 3 years I've considered the POWER ASSIST for $1600 plus labor upgrade.
    My Marina has 2 28' Avalons Merc 300 with a second deck/slide and they maneuver easily in tight spaces with the Power Assist.
    SeaStar Power Assist
    THE ULTIMATE IN STEERING COMFORT…

    INTRODUCTION
    The Marine Industry is continually introducing heavier outboard engines, higher horse power engines, more aggressive propellers, bigger/faster boats. Boat operators are asking for increased comfort and lighter steering loads. These were the driving forces behind the design of SeaStar and SeaStar PRO Power Assist.

    This new and innovative product is highly recommended on any 200HP and above outboard application to give your boat the same, easy steering you are accustomed to in your car. Power Assist is also recommended for the following:
    • Twin and Triple engine applications
    • Bass Boats
    • Power Catamarans
    • Inboard powered cruisers without engine driven power assist.

    Good Luck its on my Wants/Needs list.
     
  15. adkboater

    adkboater Well-Known Member

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    We have a 24SSLX W/SPS 200. I’m more performance and water sports oriented and had it on my last boat so I won’t go without. I’d be no help on comparing it to a cable or non power assist. Good luck!
     
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  16. Renegade34

    Renegade34 Well-Known Member

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    My last boat was a 22’ with a 115hp (2 log) and cable steering. I’d say my new 23’ with a 150hp (sps) with hydraulic steering is a little bit easier to steer than the old one.
     
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  17. Alicedream

    Alicedream Well-Known Member

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    The boat I purchased 2 years ago would be $14k more MSRP. Just amazing.
     
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  18. lakeliving

    lakeliving Well-Known Member

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    So I've had all three, cable, hydraulic, and power assist. The power assist is hands down the best there is. It takes all the work out of it. We've given two sets of friends rides on our boat and they both ended up ordering theirs with power assist too. Do it now and get the warranty.
     
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  19. Shawn

    Shawn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the good advice. Seems like some swear by it and some find it an expensive option that you can live without...

    Still not entirely sure what I'll do, but if I do add it, does that mean I need / should add "Battery - Dual with Switch (Port)" option as well - or will the standard starting battery be adequate? Keeping in mind this is a fish model so I will generally have another battery for the trolling motor onboard as well in the front of the boat in the battery compartment for the trolling motor connection.
     
  20. cwag911

    cwag911 Moderator

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    We only have one battery.
     
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