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Thread: Gear reducer. Steering system. BOAT

  1. #1
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    Gear reducer. Steering system. BOAT

    Hello all! New to the page here and in hopes of getting some help/ ideas of a project of mine!

    Last weekend while out on my small 1974 flat bottom aluminum 14’ boat with the family, my arm became really tired steering my old tiller handle 1969 25hp Johnson. Thing runs like a top and is well greased.. anyways, I have decided to install a steering system on her. As you can imagine on a 14’ boat room is a valued commodity. Instead of a steering wheel/ helm I want to install a “stick steer” system. The first commercial stick steer has been around since the 70’s but for some reason only 1 company offers a system today, with no used systems on the market (new is $500). The easy glide system basically starts with an 18” lever with almost 120 degrees of travel driving a small gear box, with operates a push/ pull cable system going to a hard telescoping tube at the end, under the outboard, which is attached to a steering arm to the center of the outboard. Giving you probably about 120 degrees of turn. Normal wheel/ helm mechanical single cable steering systems are based around this except the wheel operates a small gear box wrapping the cable around a drum. Usually 3 rotations lock to lock.

    Well, I’m a cheap ass and think I can make my own stick steering system with a basic lever driving a 10:1 (maybe higher) gearbox driving either a cable drum or helm system (which ever is cheaper) to a traditional used and cheap push pull cable system to offer me my turn without a hurt back at the end of the day.

    Sounds like my gear reducer will actually be a gear speeder. I’d want the 120 degrees of my basic lever driving the gears/ drum set up to push or pull about 18” of cable I think.....

    Is this possible? Am I stupid?

    Ps I know about the real old school push pull system of pulleys and rope. That also takes up lots of room. Thank you for any info on my dumb quest!!!

  2. #2
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    What you're looking for is also called a Tiller Steering system, there's more than one company offering a solution and I doubt you can even come close to building and installing a system cheaper than an off-the-shelf system.
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  3. #3
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    Thank you kelly! The tiller system of the outboard world is what I already have. Basically, a stick coming off the motor with a throttle control like a motorcycle. It’s the most basic system, but hard on the back and whichever arm is forced to control it.

    The other common systems involve an actual steering wheel that uses one of the following major systems... single push pull cable, double push pull cable, rack and pinion, hydraulic, and electric.. there many more systems when it comes to inboards that involve and actual rudder. Being a captain on 26’ outboard boats to 219’ off shore supply vessels, I’ve came across quite a lot of them.

    The easy glide system I speak of was originated by Jim something in the 70’s and was called the “Jim stick”...

    It’s a 18” lever working a small gearbox which works a single push pull cable. The lever is at the bow of the boat. Most of the time facing forward and aft. When you pull it back (towards the aft) the bait would turn left (port). Pull the lever forward and the boat would go right (starboard). I would mount the system flat to simplify it.. I ran electronic stick steer hydraulic rudder on my 170’-219’ class supply boats..

    If you think I can reproduce this cheaper (doesn’t have to be easy) than easy glides $500 price tag, I would love to take the challenge!

  4. #4
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Ok, so I'll agree to your terminology and call it a "stick steering system". I too am a boat guy, my entire life so what we are talking about for the other readers is instead of a helm wheel - you want a stick.

    As far I'm concerned the stick can motion bow to stern (forward to back) or port to starboard (left to right) to achieve the steering.

    Mechanical is just a matter of finding the right gear ratio stick connected gear off the shelf, marine rated and running a cable back to the engine.

    I personally prefer hydraulic steering for the ease of steering and eliminates engine torque effect. You would size the helm rotary or linear actuator to achieve the linear range of motion need at the engine actuator. to steer.

    Again, you can search the world over and locate unique components to get your stick custom steering, marine rated or close and have them shipped to you.

    I’ve got all the equipment required to design, manufacture and install a custom system but I doubt time + spend $$ on materials would be cheaper then a mass produced OEM system off the shelf.

    Have you been to SeaStar to look at their kits?
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  5. #5
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    Kelly, very glad I’m talking to a like minded boater! Also very happy I some how put what I’m trying to achieve in words, which was difficult.

    I think it would be way more Efficient and a better system if it was hydraulic, fact being is I only have one battery on the 14’ boat for flounder gigging LED lights And NAV lights. I would hate to have to power a hydraulic pump of sorts that would leave me dead on the water when my batter dies (no charging system on board).

    And I’ve searched the 7 heavens And hell looking for another “mechanical stick steering“ system. Everything seastar offers is helm “wheel” set up...

    And if thats the case, that a backwards worm gearbox Home made setup would cost more than “ezy glides” system.. oh well. I have lost my battle and will have to fork out the money.. even tho I was kind of looking forward to the challenge.. I will have to find a new “crap box” challenge as I like to call them. My ultimate spare time fun!

  6. #6
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    FYI, My 25' center console w/ 2 Yamaha 200hp I4's has hydraulic steering - no pump required, works good... Hydraulic assist would make the steering one finger response though.. My brother in-law upgraded his 17' from mechanical cable to the low end seastar (baystar) hydraulic, single Suzuki 140 - likes his boat now.. I think he had about $900 in it though.

    I found that Ezy-glide 870 at boatid website for ~ $300 but I suspect you will need more than advertised to make it work. Search the internet for "Ezy-Stik III 161° Mechanical Steering Kit with 13' Single Steering Cable"
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  7. #7
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    There are lots of old wooden boats scrapped for being rotted. My cheap self would look for something to salvage. However, the tiller has one big advantage in that you can control the throttle and steer with one hand. Will your system require two control cables?

  8. #8
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    Thank you kelly! Hopefully I will find it.

    And Hudson, I love scrapping haha. The system I’d like to do will definitely require at least 3 control cables. 1 minimum for steering, 1 for gear selection, and 1 for throttle control. Even tho I the throttle and gear can be installed a a single multi function lever control.

  9. #9
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    Also kelly, I think buying easy glides control with their gear box will be my cheapest option ($200-300) and match it up with an old system if possible. Thanks for all the input!

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