Hydraulic steering leaking

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Well-known member
Mar 19, 2006
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I have a 2002 dvsc, steering just started leaking alittle at the ram, I know it can be rebuilt but i also heard there might be a recall by Seastar on the ram has anybody heard of this?
You can contact SeaStar's site. Very Helpful. They will let you know about recalls. There is usually a 3 year warranty on steering. SeaStar has been very cooperative with me and sent me a seal kit (just out of 3 years) for free. Just replace the ends, o-ring on fill at helm, bleed and go.

The smallest amount of corrosion on cylinder ram will develop into a leak. I have started spraying it with WD-40 after the seal kit, motor turned all the way to starboard.
Sounds like everyone has this problem after a couple years, I guess it is a crappy design.
My steering developed an annoying 'hitch' in it last year, so after discussing it with my dealer, I had mine rebuilt.

Can't complain though... It was factory original and 9 years old, so it was due.
My 2002 seastar has developed a very slight leak on the starboard end of the ram. It seems to come and go, and right now there is no leak. Go figure. I plan to have it fixed when Tri-State Marine winterizes it this Dec/Jan.
I was planning on a cable-to-hydraulic steering conversion project in the Spring and was also planning on using a Sea Star system. :)

Based on what I am seeing in this thread, there may be issues with seals on units as young as two years old. :(

Are there any serious alternatives to Sea Star for my 2520 w/single 225? Should I consider another manufacturer, or are they all pretty much the same?

Is there any Preventative Maintenance (Like FishFactory's WD-40 spray routine) that I should consider?

My incentive for converting to hydraulics is strictly one of convenience and I don't want to create a chronic maintenance issue just to make high-speed handling a little smoother.
Do you currently have NoFeedbackSteering (NFS) ? If not, that will help with torque steer. There is regular cable, NFS and hydraulic.

I'll be blasted for this, but I am no fan if hydraulic. It's a necessary evil normally used to control outboards over 150hp. Even without the maintaince problems, hydraulic is less than ideal, IMO. In tight docking procedures, for example when you need to go hard over, a burst of throttle, and hard over again, hydraulic is very slow. Small course corrections in open water require a big swing on the wheel.

Of course, when hydraulic fails, you have no steering, unless you have 2 motors. A catastropic failure with cable is almost impossible, never heard of one.

The WD-40 (or your favorite protectorant) thing will help maintain the rod. Any small scratch or rough spot (corosion)will wear the seals super fast. Look at the rods on a piece of heavy equipment and notice the mirror like finish. One scratch will ruin the seal...don't ask me how I know. :wink:
Thanks for the excellent analysis FF.

I have no idea if I have NFS, how would I know? :?

I cannot afford to lose any close-quarters maneuverability, I'll never get back into my slip :shock:

I guess I need to do more research before I rip out the cable system. :(
my drip is now a full blown leak now, 2 weeks boat will be hauled so i will fix it on land I noticed a nick on shaft so what is next do i need a whole new ram?
OK... I don't do anything special to my steering equipment.

1996 model year for me and no issues, other than having the system rebuilt last winter, just beacuse it was due.
How does someone get a nick or scratch on their ram? :?
thats what i am trying to figure out,it is more of a deep scratch.
cbigma":7qpnxhm4 said:
I have no idea if I have NFS, how would I know? :?

With NFS, there is almost none of the tendency of an outboard to "fall off" to one side, or to pull the steering out of your hand on hard acceleration.

If you go to the Teleflex site, you might be able to identify your helm.
FishFactory":2kojcwog said:
With NFS, there is almost none of the tendency of an outboard to "fall off" to one side, or to pull the steering out of your hand on hard acceleration.

OK,, easy enough...... I've got both of these conditions, so I guess I don't have NFS. :(

Which is actually great news! I have -three- options now. 1. Do nothing 2. Replace with cable NFS 3. Replace with SeaStar Hydraulic.

Choice is Good! :D
If you've been running that big Parker with basic cable steering, 2 comments...

1-You're gonna love no feedback cable
2-Remind me never to pick a fight with you (you've gotta have some big
arms!) :D