Hydraulic Steering

Howdy Team,

I am in the process of gutting and rebuilding my 18 ft Centre Console. Previously (15 years) the cables ran across the deck to the console which, apart from causing pain when you got a cable tie at the wrong angle), caused a bit of a blockage when washing down the deck. There was the whole UV thing.

The steering has always been hard (like two hands to turn the wheel to starboard), and gets to the point that my wife struggles to helm the boat. It isn't* hard regardless of speed, and also when out of the water. When the cable is removed, the motor is hard to turn, and the wheel is easy to turn, so it is the cable. A replaced cable made no difference so I am guessing the tight radius's are causing me issues

This in mind, I was thinking about changing to Hydraulic. I know there is a fair bit more cost involved though can anyone give me feedback on changing over? Any pros and cons?

I plan to run everything under the deck going forward.

Thanks in advance.

scubafish's picture

Posts: 487

Date Joined: 15/08/12

I put one of these on.

Mon, 2018-07-02 10:49


COMKIT-5 - supplied with 501 Helm unit



Swompa's picture

Posts: 2256

Date Joined: 14/10/12

Looks good. How idiot proof

Mon, 2018-07-02 12:07

Looks good. How idiot proof was the install?

scubafish's picture

Posts: 487

Date Joined: 15/08/12

piece of cake.

Mon, 2018-07-02 12:24

Follow instructions,just be mindfull that the olives cannot be re used and you should get spares, once you put them on and tighten up the conection they are on the pipe(line) for good.



Posts: 5

Date Joined: 24/03/10

If you can get over the $s,

Mon, 2018-07-02 20:36

If you can get over the $s, hydraulic steering is the only way to go.

I retro fitted it on my previous boat - easy to do.

Give me a yell when you're ready to fit it and I'll come around and give you a hand.

Posts: 22

Date Joined: 25/11/15

 Have you disconected the

Mon, 2018-07-02 11:54

 Have you disconected the cable from the outboard and checked its not that , may be a bearing ?

Swompa's picture

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Date Joined: 14/10/12

5 or 6 years ago, the cable

Mon, 2018-07-02 12:13

5 or 6 years ago, the cable broke just as we approached the traffic bridges heading out of the Swan. It was tight as a bastard then, and I thought the new cable would correct the issues but it didn't.

I am in a bit of a bind here as ideally, I will move the console forward, want to run my cables under the deck. I don't believe the cabled system will work with so many twists and turns so essentially, I am trying to knock off two birds with one stone here.

Posts: 64

Date Joined: 14/05/13


Mon, 2018-07-02 12:32

When you say "the cable is removed, the motor is hard to turn, and the wheel is easy to turn" is that the cable removed from the outer sheath or shaft disconnected from the outboard?
I would definately disconnect the shaft from the outboard and try turn the outboard by hand (twist the powerhead left and right) and then try the wheel with the cable fitted.
This is because the main swivel tube can bind up especially if the wrong, or too much, grease is used. I had this issue on my 50 Honda and swapped to hydraulic for no gain. Had to flush the swivel tube with transmission fluid (made a custom fitting that screwed into the grease port) for a fair while to get it only to an 'ok' point.
Also on the Honda is a screw that adjusted the swivel tube friction.
If it is a bending radius issue go the hydraulic - very nice and can run it almost anywhere you want.
Good luck

Swompa's picture

Posts: 2256

Date Joined: 14/10/12

Howdy, It seems I made a

Mon, 2018-07-02 14:16

It seems I made a typo. Without the cable in place, the motor turns super smoothly. As does the steering wheel so it is a cable issue or something else involved in there.

I was monthly filling the system with never seize and it seems to make it loose for that trip though the next trip it is stiffer. It still took two hands and you turn hand over hand. It has never been as easy as it should be.

Deckie's picture

Posts: 1174

Date Joined: 03/04/09


Mon, 2018-07-02 20:29

Be wary and do your homework. Some systems need to be bled as they do not seal properly & suck in the air. Some need the seals replaced regularly. Each to their own & great to get as much info as possible. You wont look back after you convert. Had mine done at Hi Tech marine in Wangara as the Mercury motor needed to come off so the unit could be installed, I could not do it myself. Also go the next hose size up if you can, the kits tend to have the small diameter hose. Can run into problems on a hot day when the fluid expands.  Very happy with the workmanship & price.


Cheers & Stay safe

Faulkner Family's picture

Posts: 14169

Date Joined: 11/03/08

 def go with the hydaulic.

Mon, 2018-07-02 15:37

 def go with the hydaulic. one thing to look for with whatever system you get is the flexability of the hoses. we have quite hard hoses on ours and has caused us probs once so will be changing in the near future. found a good kg spot because of it tho lol. you might be better to get it fitted then its covered under waranty and its not that much extra to fork out for piece of mind


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

Auslobster's picture

Posts: 1875

Date Joined: 03/05/08

19 foot centre console...

Mon, 2018-07-02 16:37

 ...originally mechanical steering, and I stripped two helm cogs during that time. Lubed the cable (sewing machine oil), replaced the cable, still never got easy.

Had hydraulic installed about 10 years ago and it's been completely worry free...cost me just over a grand and was certainly money well spent. As you say, CC's require extra bends in the cable...in my case it goes down below the deck and then bends back up under the console...so hydraulic is easily the best option for this type of boat.

Swompa's picture

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Date Joined: 14/10/12

 That’s what I’m thinking

Mon, 2018-07-02 17:11

 That’s what I’m thinking of. 

Just removed the old cable. Jesus F Christ! Needed a shovel for extra levridge. 

Posts: 6454

Date Joined: 08/08/11

 I did mine a coiple of years

Tue, 2018-07-03 09:07

 I did mine a coiple of years ago.  I went with the side mount unit because i have a flat tiller flat  not a well.  Will take a photo and send it to you.  Pretty simple change over.  Just follow the instructions to the letter.  Bought mine from whitworths, about $800.


Fish! HARD!

pelagicyachts's picture

Posts: 809

Date Joined: 23/02/11

slightly off topic - i am no

Tue, 2018-07-03 09:46

slightly off topic - i am no expert but have done 2 CC refurbs and have learnt a few good lessons! as you are running under deck I assume you will glass in a PVC tube to run them in? - if so go for a larger diameter, makes it really easy to run trans cables or other electrics up and down once the deck is in
The other thing I have done on both was to remove the floor section under the console down to the bilge and then put a floor in at the bilge level, on the first boat it just created a truck load more storage inside the console - on the second (which had a large console) it actually created enough space to install an electric toilet

Swompa's picture

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Date Joined: 14/10/12

Plan is for a 50mm or larger

Tue, 2018-07-03 10:33

Plan is for a 50mm or larger pipe though I may need to put a bit more structure in where I will need to cut through ribs.

Looking forward to a bit of sunshine this weekend after emptying 100l of water off my tarps yesterday afternoon.

Not sure what to do with the morse cables for the throttle and gear control though.

pelagicyachts's picture

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Date Joined: 23/02/11

100mm if you can! - you will

Tue, 2018-07-03 10:48

100mm if you can! - you will find that your steering and engine controls will fill up 50mm real quick- I cut the holes in the middle of the frame (so there was "meat" all around it) and then glassed in another piece of ply with a 100mm hole cut in as well from bilge to deck - you probably don't need to as the PVC tube will give it some structure too but it very little time to do

Swompa's picture

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Date Joined: 14/10/12

Cheers for the info. Sounds

Tue, 2018-07-03 11:49

Cheers for the info. Sounds like an intelligent way to do it.