Power-Assist Hydraulic Steering

rodsfields

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Cocoa Beach. Florida
Tomc, Thanks for the info, My biggest concern was , like you I have a 115HP on 21ft pontoon. Most feedback I’ve seen has been anything with 150Hp and up it would help. But on the 115 HP was kinda iffy. My thoughts now are leaning not to add it seeing we only have a 115HP. I believe most of the time we will be “cruising” on the lake anyway.
I have a 150 with hydraulic (not power assisted) steering and the only time I wish I had the power assistance is when I’m up at speed and want to make really hard turns. Otherwise for the normal turns I make at speed, I don’t have any issues. I don’t have any issues with steering when I’m at slow/idle speed for docking. I think for docking or maneuvering in tight quarters you get better response with fewer wheel turns with cable vs hydraulic. I feel like I’m spinning the wheel a thousand times when I am trying to spin the boat in tight quarters.
 

kaydano

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Good point. I had not thought of that being an advantage of cable steering.
 

Tomc

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Burt Lake, MI
Tomc, Thanks for the info, My biggest concern was , like you I have a 115HP on 21ft pontoon. Most feedback I’ve seen has been anything with 150Hp and up it would help. But on the 115 HP was kinda iffy. My thoughts now are leaning not to add it seeing we only have a 115HP. I believe most of the time we will be “cruising” on the lake anyway.
Mark- that’s us as well. Cruising on the lake with wife and “older” friends, with an occasional time with my sons out “really” cruising. But with a 115, even at full throttle, it is easy to handle. I was also schooled that at 150 and above you should have power assist, but again, it all depends on how you use the boat. I “went up” to a 115 to get across the lake in case bad weather struck and needed to get back (we’re on a decent sized inland lake in Michigan). A neighbor has a 200 for the exact same reason (he cruises but wants the power to get back quickly just in case). He has power assist because he has a 200, not because he needs (or wanted) it. But the 21’ with the 115 handles well as is and you won’t miss the power assist.
 

Bamaman

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Florence, AL--Tennessee River
We have the 24 SSLX with a Yamaha F150 and just SeaStar hydraulic steering. Most of our cruising is 25 mph or less. When you kick it up into the 30's, yes the steering gets a little hard to steer. But power steering assist is just so expensive since most of our faster speeds are in a straight line--getting to the other side of a wide lake.
 

MarkG

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Mark- that’s us as well. Cruising on the lake with wife and “older” friends, with an occasional time with my sons out “really” cruising. But with a 115, even at full throttle, it is easy to handle. I was also schooled that at 150 and above you should have power assist, but again, it all depends on how you use the boat. I “went up” to a 115 to get across the lake in case bad weather struck and needed to get back (we’re on a decent sized inland lake in Michigan). A neighbor has a 200 for the exact same reason (he cruises but wants the power to get back quickly just in case). He has power assist because he has a 200, not because he needs (or wanted) it. But the 21’ with the 115 handles well as is and you won’t miss the power assist.
Thanks for the feedback!
 

M Jay Farr

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Smith Mountain Lake
This was a big question when we purchased or boat. Never having had one before was not sure what to expect. Ended up with a Yamaha 175 and the SeaStar, no power steering. No regrets, but I don't pull tubes or have lots of turns in the course of a ride so others may have thoughts in that regard.
 

Remediation

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Jill had never driven the small boat until this summer and she commented that it was hard to turn. I am used to it not being power steering and it is very manageable.
I started looking this fall. I was able to get a used pump last week and a spring project to install it.
 
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