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Old 04-15-2013
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I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

...as with a tiller, I always felt I had more control of the boat. As my boats got bigger, the tiller changed to a wheel. The wheel on my present boat rotates five 360 rotations lock to lock with hydraulic steering. It's a 62' modern trimaran, sails fast, but it is difficult to dock because the wheel spends like a top maneuvering the boat, as you might imagine. I would prefer a single 360 degree turn lock to lock. I feel as though I would have more control. Legitimate request? Smart request? Any help would be appreciated...
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

I would think that with hydraulic steering you're ratio would be a lot less. Check out the mechanism and change it to something with a lower ratio.
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

Six turns is almost back to the days of Square riggers and spoked wheels.. very odd that you've got that ratio.

So... legitimate request IMO. Is it a production Tri or a homebuilt?
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

I have never seen hydraulic steering on a sailboat, but my understanding is it is much like the hydraulic steering systems I dealt with way back in my Heavy Duty Mechanic days.

If I am correct, then you essentially have a hydraulic pump attached to the steering wheel which transfers hydraulic oil from one side of a hydraulic ram to the other. If the seals are failing in the pump or there is air in the system it may not be moving as much oil, and therefore it may take more turns lock to lock. 5 turns sounds rather excessive!

Another thought; could it be related to linkage between the hydraulic cylinder and the rudder? Presumably the ram connects to a tiller bar. Can the ram be connected to the tiller closer to the rudder, thus requiring less travel lock to lock?

Of course I could be wrong, and 5 turns could be normal! I'm just throwing ideas out there!

I can't imagine there is much helm feel with hydraulic steering.
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Six turns is almost back to the days of Square riggers and spoked wheels.. very odd that you've got that ratio.

So... legitimate request IMO. Is it a production Tri or a homebuilt?
Custom Tri, carbon fiber, powerful and fast. I'm thinking two 360's lock to lock would be the best.
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

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Originally Posted by p1pel1ne View Post
Custom Tri, carbon fiber, powerful and fast. I'm thinking two 360's lock to lock would be the best.
If the existing system is functioning correctly, then it is likely a factor of pump sizing. A larger capacity pump on the helm will transfer oil faster, and give you faster steering.
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Old 04-16-2013
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

Wonder if the steering feels spongy at all? Does it need bleeding? A lower volume ram might help too...
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

By making such a change, are you worried that you're going to sacrifice some of the sensitivity in the steering? I would think it's kind of like going from my 7,000 lb SUV to a Miata - the gas and brakes will be MUCH more responsive than what I'm used to. I would be concerned that the tighter steering would make it harder to make subtle corrections in your heading. But maybe it's just a function of getting used to the new set-up.
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

Six full turns is really excessive and would be exhausting in a seaway. Can't see any reason why that would be desirable or necessary.
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Re: I'm a tiller guy, not really a wheel guy...

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Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
By making such a change, are you worried that you're going to sacrifice some of the sensitivity in the steering? I would think it's kind of like going from my 7,000 lb SUV to a Miata - the gas and brakes will be MUCH more responsive than what I'm used to. I would be concerned that the tighter steering would make it harder to make subtle corrections in your heading. But maybe it's just a function of getting used to the new set-up.
That is what I was thinking that it would make it too jittery. It does seem to be a bit much. I would be worried that it would make the effort too great when out at sea, especially when the wind pipes up. Of course on my Miata I removed the power steering pump to give me more road feel. But some think it is too much in a parking lot, but most of the time I am in parking lots I am going around cones! I would think reducing the ratio might make it too hard to steer.

Is there any linkage between the wheel and the pump that you might be able to change the gear ratio? that would be an easily reversible change.
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