Helm steering systems in Chris Craft sport boats

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Helm steering systems in Chris Craft sport boats

Postby Wood Commander » Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:42 pm

My experiences with my “old” 1968 19’ Chris Craft Lancer with a CC 283 FLV and Volvo 280 outdrive has shown me that these boats can wander around quite a bit at slow speed. I know that this is fairly common for inboard/outboard boats and can be especially true for Volvo units if the water tube/pivot pin and/or the steering arm bushings are worn and sloppy. But the drive on this boat seemed fairly tight. In an effort to solve the problem I installed a Teleflex No- Feedback cable helm system. And while there was some improvement, I was dissapointed in the results.

Now I want to work on my “new” 1970 23’ Lancer with a CC 307 Q and Volvo 250 drive. I am wondering if anybody has had any experience with hydraulic steering systems in this type of boat? By hydraulic I don’t mean the type of power steering such as a Mercruiser unit where there is an engine mounted power steering pump and servos and hydraulic cylinders mounted on the inner transom and outdrive.
The type of hydraulic steering I’m talking about has a tilted disc mounted on the steering wheel shaft down under the dashboard and a circular ring of small vertical cylinders (it may be the cylinders that are mounted on a tilted ring) aranged so that as you turn the wheel from side to side, the disc pushes down on some of the cylinders and lets up on others in series to provide the pumping action that builds pressure and travels through hoses to the back of the boat and to a hydraulic cylinder mounted to the outdrive steering tiller arm to steer the boat. I think that the manufacturer calls these systems “Baystar” for smaller boats and “Seastar” for bigger boats. And I’m sure that other companies make them too. Has anyone used these type of setups before? Have you had good or bad experiences with them? Do you like them and feel that they are worth their pretty spendy prices?
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project
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Postby ed laning » Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:56 am

Bret,

I know nothing about the steering mechanisms you write of but the slow speed wandering around is likely attributable to the hull design. It is commonly called deep-vee wander. I've experienced it on old boats and brand new boats. In each case the hull was a deep vee of about 20 degrees or greater. My 18' Donzi and my 26' Nova had it, as well as a 38' Cigarette that I once drove. So I guess I'm thinking worn pins and bushings are something to go after but I doubt the problem can completely go away. Ed
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Postby Wood Commander » Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:07 pm

Ed, that's something interesting to think about. What kind of drives did those boats have? Do you think that if they would have been single screw straight inboards that they would also exibit this characteristic?
The thing is, I had a 1985 23' Chris Craft Scorpion with a 260 hp Mercruiser package that was a deep vee also and was nowhere close to like new condition and it didn't wander. It handled really well and I attribute some of it's steadiness to the power/hydraulic steering. But man there is a "boatload" of hardware on those Mercs.
I've even toyed with the idea of perhaps transplanting a Mercruiser powertain into my Lancer. But I like the Volvos just fine. They are sturdy and less complicated compared to the Mercruiser systems.
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project
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Postby Bill Basler » Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:44 pm

I concur somewhat with Ed. Our "other" boat is a 24' Powerquest Stryker, 454 magnum with a Bravo drive. This is a very deep boat with a 24-degree deadrise at the transom. It is one of the nicest riding 24-footers I have ever been in, but it does exhibit some wander at slower speeds. Not terrible, but it is there. On an IO there is a thing called "stern walk" which you may be familiar with. Also called asymmetrical thrust, a stern drive with right hand rotating prop will tend to walk the stern to port. Often this leads to over correcting and the start of wandering.

In fact, this is one of the reasons Volvo introduced the Duo-Prop, and Mercruiser, the Bravo III (also a twin prop drive). The twin props are "hyped" as having more bite, giving you better holeshot. The fact is, they use more power and are not as hydrodyamically efficient. However, the twin, counterrotating propellers effectively eliminate stern walk. With one prop turning to starboard, and the other turning to port, they cancel each other out.

My experience is that this wandering is a subtle thing. If you're dealing with a much more pronounced wander, it could be steering related, I would think.
Last edited by Bill Basler on Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ed laning » Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:12 am

Bret,
The 18 Donzi had a Volvo drive. Was there such a thing as a model 200 used in 1966? That number comes to mind. It may have been a 250. I remember it had power tilt but not power trim. The 26 Nova had twin Merc-losers, 260hp w/ the wimpy Alpha drives. The 38 Cig had twin big block Chevs with some ungodly amount of horsepower. Drives were huge Mercs and had a number designation like 3 or 4 or something, TRS I guess. It wasn't mine so I don't have good recollection of the details. I forgot to mention the 21 Nova, same thing. I can't say that I've read about or experienced a deep-vee with a straight drive. To answer your question about this I guess we need to ask an owner of a 23 Lancer with straight inboard drive. Seems like that approach might get to the bottom whether it is the hull design or the drive. Ed
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Postby rustnrot » Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:45 pm

IMHO hydraulics are for when you simply cannot snake a cable....friends in FL are rigging a 29' Gentlemans Racer they are building with Uflex system components that I supplied, should be finished before xmas, should know then how it drives.
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wandering

Postby Peter XK19 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:02 pm

Im am totaly with Ed on the wandering problem. It is caused by the hull design. I am used to it and not really bothered by it.

I use a non feedback hydraulic steering systems on my xk19s thus eliminating the trim tab on the drive. (You know the little fin just behind the prop on most out drives) This tab ,when used properly, will slow your boat down.
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Postby Wood Commander » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:44 pm

Pete, what brand and model of no- feedback hydraulic steering did you use?
I know what you mean about the fin. I wanted to see if straightening it up a little on my 19'er would give me a knot or two of speed. BIG mistake. It's amazing what that little fin in the prop blast will do. I might have been able to go faster if I could have held the boat straight! And when you jammed the throttle on or backed it off quickly it would jerk the wheel right out of you hand! But after puting it back in the sweet spot, all was well again. At least as good as it got.
I believe all of you guys because I know that you are all very experienced with boats. But I can't get away from my experiences with my 1985 23' Chris Craft Scorpion that did not wander like my 1968 Chris Craft Lancer did. And the Scorpion was at least as much of a deep vee as the Lancer if not more. Also, I rented Bayliner at Lake Chelan this summer and it didn't wander like that. I don't know how much deadrise it had at the transom, but it was probably a fairly deep vee I/O powered boat. But both of these boats were Mercruiser powered with hydraulic power steering rather than the manual cable steering on the Lancer's Volvo. Does anybody have any ideas about why one deep vee hull would wander and another wouldn't? Just the hull design differences?
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project
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Postby Paul P » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:23 pm

Teleflex has a rack and pinion (cable drive) steering system, and they also have the NFB system that is also a pinion drive that attaches to the same basic rack they sell. The NFB system has an internal clutch that takes an effort to turn the steering wheel, once you exert enough effort to start the wheel turning then it feels normal. I bought one of both for my 20' fiberglass Sea Skiff restoration project, thought the NFB would be best because it cost more. After seeing the NFB system, I didn't think I would like the loss of "feel" at the helm so I purchased the lower cost standard "RACK" and installed that. It was very close to the original system. My boat isn't a transdrive, it's a straignt inboard with a rudder.

I will say, the 1984 Pachanga I sold a few years back had a horrible outdrive walk, and it was considered a normal feature with an outdrive at slow speed. At higher speeds the boat drove great.

This may add a little info to the discussion. If anyone wants the NFB system, never used, let me know and I'll make you a deal on it :-) It is a direct replacement for the standard Teleflex pinion drive.

Pau1 P1etcher
1956 17' CC Sportsman, 300-hp
1957 17' CC Sportsman, 95-hp
1966 20' CC fiberglass Sea Skiff, 210-hp+
1973 23' CC Lancer inboard project, 427/375-hp.
1966 38' CC Commander Express, 427/300-hp(2)

So many boats.........so little time.....but what a way to go!!
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