Having access to a boat allows you to take full advantage of outdoor recreation activities. Maintaining a boat can be challenging, especially if your boat relies on a power steering system to make navigation a little easier. Paying close attention to the steering gears of your boat will allow you to ensure that your boat runs properly.
Here are three common steering gear problems that you should be watching for as you inspect your boat in the future.
1. Oil Leakage
Oil circulates throughout the steering gears in order to help them stay lubricated. While this oil should be contained within a closed system, leaks can form in the steering gear box over time. Most areas have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to water pollution.
If you don't identify and address an oil leak in your steering gears, you could be facing serious fines the next time you take your boat out on the water. Be sure to carefully inspect the cylinder-ram seal and the rotary vane pump for signs of an oil leak, since there are common areas within the steering gear box where leaks can occur.
2. Excessive Noise
If you notice that your boat suddenly runs louder than usual and that there is vibration coming from the engine area when you attempt to turn, these could be signs of damage within your boat's steering gear box.
When air finds its way into the oil circulating throughout the steering gear system, the pipes and tubes within the gear box are subjected to air hammering. This creates a loud noise accompanied by excessive vibration. You will need to replace the oil in your boat's engine with a fresh, air-free supply in order to correct the problem.
3. Poor Steering Response
Your boat should respond to the slightest movement of the steering wheel. If you find that you are having to turn the wheel more aggressively in order to change your boat's direction, then this could indicate an issue in the steering gear box of your boat.
The most likely culprit is a failure of the hydraulic seal within the gear box, causing the steering system to lose pressure. Replacing the seal with a new one will restore your boat's steering response to normal.
Being able to troubleshoot some common problems that plague the steering gear box in your boat will allow you to better maintain your watercraft in the future.