Need some Help Looking for a shop to redo steering, add power assist
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  1. #1
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Default Looking for a shop to redo steering, add power assist

    Hi,

    I live just outside of Cape Charles and have a boat with upper and lower helms and a pair of f250's that each have their own cylinders. I have minor leaks at/behind both helms that to my eye look like they could be the hoses, not the helms, and my steering is nearing useless after multiple bleed/fills. Not something I want to tackle diy as I'm afraid it would A.) Make a huge mess B.) Turn into a series of parts run/parts orders that turns a one day job into a two week ordeal. C.) I want it bled with power bleeder when it's all put back together...and I don't have one.

    So, can anyone recommend a shop that, in descending order of importance:

    -Will do a clean, competent job.
    -Knows how to install power assist
    -Isn't backed up until fall.
    -Ideally on water or willing to come to a marina. Boat is trailerable, but would prefer to leave it overboard and just run across the bay (unless someone knows of a hidden gem up here on the shore). Flipping tower is a dozen bolts and three friends, plus it's overwidth by two feet.
    -Fairly priced.

    Thanks for any help!

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  3. #2
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Default

    Not sure of a shop that will do it but I can tell you i have similar setup, twin f250s with twin seastar cylinders, only have one helm. I added Garmin autopilot myself, had hoses made at a hydraulic hose shop that carried proper seastar fittings. Then had system power purged, best way to go. Worked great till a year later my seastar power assist pump went out. Night and day difference turning those big 4 strokes with power assist. When seastar assist pump started messing up it didn't stop working at first. I thought I had an issue with yamaha ignition because the warning alarm would randomly start going off for no reason. I couldn't figure it out until alarm started going off when boat was not running and power was off to ignitions. Turned out main power to assist pump is wired straight to a box that is wired directly to multiple batteries that selects battery with most power to send power to pump. Pump stays off until it sees a signal voltage from the ignition. Circuitry in pump failed and let power backfeed through signal wire back to accessory side of ignition switch. Out of curiosity I removed pump and took back plate off of it and dug out epoxy that covers circuitry and found burnt spot on board. Of course seastar doesn't sell just the board for the pump. The seastar assist pump PA1200-2 that I have reatails for over $2,000.00. Thought I found a good deal on a slightly used one for $800.00. Bought it and installed it, then paid for another power purge, all was good for about 6 months until that one started doing same thing as the old one I had replaced which had lasted 10yrs. Bit the bullet and found a brand new one for 1600.00. Installed that one and have had no problems for about a year now. Just thought I'd share my power assist steering story...

    Chris

  4. #3
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Default

    Thanks Chris. I have a friend who used to work on "small" Navy boats and they were having a ton of trouble with the pumps. Problem is even at its best my wife still can hardly steer the boat, so I need power assist of some description.

    Do you have both Garmin AP pump and the power assist or did you work out a way to use Garmin AP with the seastar add-on AP pump? I'd prefer that way, but Garmin needs a rudder feedback sensor...

    On my leaks, given the weather instead of boating, I dug in a bit today, one hose has a leak at the upper helm, appears to be from where the end is crimped on...lower helm had film from a leak that I cleaned up and couldn't see any new fluid after cranking and cranking and cranking.

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  6. #4
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    I have both the garmin auto pilot pump and the seastar pump, put the garmin pump between helm and seastar pump per garmin instructions.

  7. #5
    Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Bought power purge, new upper and lower helms, 100ft of Parker steering hose and 1/2 dozen field install fittings. I'm now poorer, but only person I'll have to blame if my steering isn't right is ME. I should probably already start fussing at myself about schedule, too.

    If anyone needs power purge in the future, wouldn't mind seeing it get used by more than just me for a couple of bucks here and there.

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