Appropriate mechanical steering system selection
SUGGESTIONS AND WARNINGS WHEN SELECTING A MECHANICAL STEERING SYSTEM
Selection of the appropriate mechanical steering system is an important factor for the safety and functionality of your boat. The combination of engine power, hull type and boat speed influence the correct selection of the steering system.
The load on the steering system increases with the boat speed and engine power; the torque generated by the propeller rotation in high power outboard applications can make it hard to steer.
Big boats with displacement hulls and inboard or non power assisted stern drive engines, can generate high rudder loads: in these cases a mechanical steering system will be inadequate and we suggest the use of an Ultraflex hydraulic steering system.
We always recommend consulting qualified personnel when selecting, installing and maintaining a steering system for your boat.
ADVANTAGES OF A PLANETARY GEAR DESIGN
Ultraflex mechanical steering helms T71FC, T73NRFC as well as dual cable versions and tilt wheel versions use a Planetary Gear Design. A Planetary Gear Design has three satellite gears that rotate on their axis and at the same time rotate around the central helm axis. This allows for equal distribution of engine torque over three points of the central gear, dividing and balancing the system loads. The benefits of this special design are increased system longevity, increased efficiency and less engine feedback compared to single pinion gear helms.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A NON-REVERSIBLE STEERING SYSTEM FOR INCREASED SAFETY
The steering system of a boat is the mechanism that determines the boat direction when the steering wheel is turned.
If, for any circumstance, the driver does not hold the steering wheel, a dangerous situation may occur caused by a sudden change of direction of the boat due to external forces (waves, currents, etc.) or internal forces such as rudder torque originated by the way of rotation of the propeller.
Engine torque usually generates a load on the steering system that must be continually compensated for by the driver even when the boat is going straight. The additional effort by the driver to maintain a true course can often cause fatigue.
With Ultraflex Non-Reversible steering helms T73NRFC, T74NRFC, T83NRFC, T84NRFC the loads applied to the steering system are no longer a problem.
A special patented device allows the helm shaft to lock until turned by the driver, maintaining the boat direction and neutralizing the feedback loads on the steering cable.
This mechanism is engaged when the driver is not turning the wheel and is automatically disengaged as soon as the driver applies pressure on the wheel to change direction of the boat.
The Ultraflex Non-Reversible mechanism makes driving a boat safer and easier.
USE AND MAINTENANCE
The steering cable must be installed avoiding excessive and/or tight bends. This will provide the driver with easy handling at all speed, helping to reduce inefficiency and excess play in the system.
Marine corrosion may cause the materials to deteriorate affecting maneuvering efficiency and in the worst case, system failure. By following the engine manufacturer specifications, the steering cable end fittings and the engine cable support must be cleaned and greased periodically; these simple operations minimize wear and corrosion in the system.
The steering cable must be regularly inspected. If steering becomes hard, inconsistent, cuts on the conduit surface are noticed, or any other component found damaged, the cable must be replaced immediately.
When storing your boat for an extended period of time we recommend removing the steering cable end fitting from its engine side support and cleaning it adequately.