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How to Increase the Pressure in a Marine Steering System

11/5/2013 3:48:39 PM | by Anonymous

Marine Steering Systems

The purpose of increasing the pressure in the boat’s steering system is to steer with less effort needed. A larger diameter wheel can trade the larger diameter of the wheel for less effort required to turn the steering wheel. By switching to a hydraulic ram and lines that are five percent smaller than the ram on the boat, you can increase the pressure within the system without having to change the helm, the hydraulic pump on the end of the steering wheel shaft opposite the steering wheel.

Some of the items before you can install and increase the pressure of the marine steering system are namely, open-end wrench, pipe dope, reinforced hydraulic hoses with SAE fittings, adjustable wrenches, empty containers, calipers, small hammer, needle nose pliers, hydraulic fluid and ram.


  1. Remove the steering wheel nut. It can be found beneath the center cover of the steering wheel using an adjustable wrench and pull the wheel from the steering shaft.

  2. Install a larger diameter steering wheel onto the steering shaft and thread the steering wheel nut back onto the shaft and lastly tighten it with a wrench.

  3. Drain the hydraulic fluid from the steering system into an appropriate sized empty container and measure the diameter of the plastic hydraulic with a caliper. After which, multiply the diameter of the plastic hydraulic lines as well as the diameter lines by 0.95 to calculate the diameter of the replacement hoses.

  4. Slide a small container beneath the fittings on the hydraulic lines however one fitting at a time. Take an open-end wrench to loosen the fitting and remove the lines from the steering system. Remember to drain any hydraulic fluid remaining in the line into the container.

  5. Replace the plastic hydraulic lines with a reinforced hydraulic hoses of the reduced diameter, new and SAE fittings. Next step is to use the pipe dope to coat the threads of the fittings on the reinforced hoses with a pip dope.

  6. Pull the cotter pin by securing the clevis pin to the end of the hydraulic ram’s piston by using a pair of needle nose pliers. Using the tap method, tap the clevis pin out of the end of the piston by using a small hammer.

    Next step, remove the bolt that is holding the cylinder of the hydraulic ram in place by using two adjustable wrenches. Replace the ram with a new hydraulic ram that is five percent smaller.

  7. Open the filler cap on top of the hydraulic helm and fill the hydraulic steering system with the new hydraulic fluid until the fluid fills the helm. The last step is to turn the ignition switch on and drive the steering wheel. Remember to check the fluid level in the steering system and refill if necessary. Move the wheel and continue to check the fluid until the fluid level remains correct and constant.

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