Hydraulic Steering

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Steve Gaylord

Jul 30, 2000
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Hi guys, this is a good one. I have a 99 911cdc w/225 Optimax with hydraulic steering. However the steering is not as smooth as everyone's describing on their boats. When at idle it turns smoothly in both directions. However on plane when I turn left it takes two hands to turn the thing(I know waaa waaa). Its like a 57 chevy without power steering. I can turn right with little effort though. I would think it would take the same amount of effort to turn in both directions. I checked the fluid and it looks fine in the sight tube. Any ideas?
Steve,...with hydraulic steering it shouldn't take any effort to steer that boat at all in either direction!! Look at the cavitation plate on your lower unit and see if you have a trim tab (it's gray and looks like an airplanes tail)...if you have one on your boat take it OFF!!!...You might have it angled to the right, but you don't need it at all!! That's what hydraulic steering is for,....it eliminates the need for trim tabs.....my 200 Opti doesn't have one,...none of my buddy's 225's have one either,.....no need for them...the hydraulic system does all the work!! Torque is very evident with cable steering and trim tabs are a "must have",.....but you shouldn't have any torque issues with hydraulic. Hope this helps!!
Careful removing that tab. It's also a sacrificial anode designed to protect the metals in your boat from electrolysis. Just a word of caution.
That's true Gene, but the Anode's in the Opti's are redesigned and in a different location...they're seperate pieces all together,......the older motors used the trim tabs for that purpose, but the new anode's are just above the cavitation plate and are completely seperate from any other function. 200 and 225 Opti's don't even have trim tabs on them, however some dealers install them anyway, not knowing that they are not required with hydraulic steering.
Just checked your bio and noticed you live in J'ville. If you are fishing the upper St. John's you will be in some brackish and even salty water. If you remove the tab be SURE to replace it with an anode. Florida waters are a different animal. Depending on how close you are to the coast the metal will corrode sitting on a trailer. If nothing else just remove the skeg from the tab and leave the rest. Just the opinion of someone that's lived in the Sunshine State all my life.
Thanks guys. I took a look at the lower unit and it did not have anything that resembled what you were describing. The only thing bolted to the lower unit was the anodes and of course the prop. Is there anything else that could be causing this? Could the hydraulic pump be going bad?
HHHMMMM.....got me wondering now!! I'm not sure if it's the pump.....if it was you would think it would steer hard in both directions,.....let me do some asking this weekend at my tournament, and i will shout back sat. nite or sunday,......i thought for sure you had a trim tab on there that was causing it!! I'll holler back!! Have a GREAT weekend!!