21SF - Hydraulic Steering Questions...

kaydano

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I have cable steering. We had a 115, then upgraded to a 150. I would say they both have about the same steering difficulty when tubing. The reason for that is the 150 runs about half the RPMs when tubing than the 115 did. The 115 was full throttle the whole time. The 150 is half throttle.

Might be too late to consider this, but it may help other readers... The Merc Verados have the power steering pump built into the motor. The V-rods cost a lot more, but the built in power steering pump offsets that. Just something to consider.
 

Renegade34

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I have cable steering. We had a 115, then upgraded to a 150. I would say they both have about the same steering difficulty when tubing. The reason for that is the 150 runs about half the RPMs when tubing than the 115 did. The 115 was full throttle the whole time. The 150 is half throttle.

Might be too late to consider this, but it may help other readers... The Merc Verados have the power steering pump built into the motor. The V-rods cost a lot more, but the built in power steering pump offsets that. Just something to consider.
Good point about the engine having the power steering built in.
I believe the Etec G2 engines also have it built in if you’re interested in one of them. My local dealer was really talking those engines up but I decided to stick to Merc. The Etec would’ve been nice for the 7 year warranty (think I could’ve even got 10 year at one point), the power steering, and the auto winterization feature.
 

Spoiledrotten

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Do you mean the motor is too hard to turn with one hand at docking speeds with just the hydraulic steering? That seems unusual.
I have the sea star w/out power steering. My 150 is very easy to turn at the dock with one hand and a suicide knob on the wheel. I’ve thought about the PS after reading some of the post in the past, but I’m still not sold on adding it. I’ve pulled a tube, and the knob on the wheel still made it very doable. The old statement is true, though. “It only cost 80% more to go first class.”
 

Michiman

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I think this is one of those situations where having the ability to sea-trial a boat can really help. Good luck with your decision...
 

Shawn

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I heard back from the dealer today, $2825 to have the PS added. I asked him very directly if he has driven a similar size boat with SPS and a 150hp without PS. He said he has driven multiple units in that configuration and has experienced no problems in the handling. He recommends PS if you are at 200hp+, multiple engines, said sometimes personnel with physical ailments add it. He did indicate it is often ordered with higher level trims with high HP motors. They do not order PS with the standard 150HP/SPS configurations they order to sell in the showroom.

Salesman said the Sea Star hydraulic system is an improvement over the cable system that I am used to and thought I'd be happy with the performance.

Since he has driven the boats both with and without PS, I also asked if he was ordering the boat, would he add the PS. He gave an immediate answer..."nope".

So, I haven't fully made up my mind. I have a few more days to make changes. My immediate thought is to see how it performs with the hydraulic steering and if it's not adequate then I can add it after the fact. Yes, it will cost more and won't be under the warranty. However, if it is satisfactory without then I keep the $3K in my pocket. I'd probably feel differently if my wife often drove the boat or I was planning on using it exclusively for water sports.

I appreciate all the input you guys have provided.
 

kaydano

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No circle of death with hydraulic.

Of course, if you fall off a pontoon boat while driving, well, you've been drinking WAY too much. In other words, the circle of death isn't an issue in a pontoon. Almost impossible to fall out.

The no-feedback steering would be nice though. You don't have to be a trim expert.

On the other hand, a large motor with cable steering makes you a trim expert. Not all bad...
 

Kinger

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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.
Considering buying the same boat with same 200 hp outboard. My question,if cost/budget is a consideration would you recommend downgrading to a 150hp to have the power assist steering on a 24' SPS tri-hull of this size? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
 

Mike31406

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We had to make the same decision when we purchased our Bennington. Power steering is a pricey option but I am so glad we did it. It positively effects the entire boating experience. Everything from docking to tubing is so much easier. “Buy your last boat first.”
 

Vikingstaff

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Considering buying the same boat with same 200 hp outboard. My question,if cost/budget is a consideration would you recommend downgrading to a 150hp to have the power assist steering on a 24' SPS tri-hull of this size? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Oh boy...that’s a toughy! Maybe.

Anything you can do with the 200 you can do with the 150. You just can do it with less rpms, or have better hole shot and top end with more people on the 200. I think power steering on the 200 is a bigger deal than the 150, so there is that. At the same time, cheaper to add power steering onto a 200 later on, than adding HP later on, so there is also that.

No great answer, but frankly if it came down to one or the other, I’d do the 150hp in that scenario.

I say half heartedly as we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our 200hp Mercury Verado. It’s a spectacular motor, power steering, digital control system power plant. I’d certainly hate to have to give it up, and glad we didn’t have to. However, due to budget, we could not go up to the SPS+ and the 250hp Verado. And honestly, since we don’t have it, we don’t miss it. So again, if we had went with the 150 instead of the 200, my gut tells me we’d feel the same - that we love our boat, and we can do what we want still with it.
 

Chris A

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Look at the Yamaha 175 VMAX SHO as well. It has the same top speed as the F200. It might be a little closer to your budget.
 
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