Hydraulic Boat Steering: Uflex SilverSteer Outboard Steering

 Hydraulic Boat Steering: Uflex SilverSteer Outboard Steering System

There is no doubt in my mind that  a quality hydraulic boat steering system is one of the most important components on your boat.  In my opinion, a boat steering system, namely  marine hydraulic steering ranks neck and neck with your electrical system, as both can leave you stranded and in major trouble.   If you've ever been unfortunate enough to lose your hydraulic boat steering, whether close to shore or far from,  then you know exactly what I'm talking about.   Losing your hydraulic boat steering is certainly a frightful event, and as many may not know, this event is not like losing your power steering on your automobile where it just stiffens up but still works.   When your hydraulic boat steering system fails, in most cases you lose all steering functions!   This article pertains to outboard steering systems, precisely hydraulic boat steering.

I've been there a few times, and thankfully I had a good trim tab system that put enough resistance in the water to turn my boat as needed.  In fact, one of those times I was heading home in some decent 2-3 foot rollers and lost all hydraulic boat steering at about 30 knots after launching from a 3 footer.  When I landed, the boat took a quick veer off course and sent me to the deck unaware of what just happened.  After an hour or so of trying to get my boat steering back, I gave up and used my trim tabs to steer us home.  This certainly was not an enjoyable ride, as the rollers were coming in at a nasty angle and we weren't able to work the proper angles.

This is not a situation that you want to find yourself in, and hopefully there is no "3rd time is a charm" for me, as  the loss of your outboard steering system, or hydraulic boat steering in any configuration, can be fatal so don't take it lightly.

Furthermore, the reason some people get into trouble with hydraulic boat steering is because they do not maintain them correctly.  This is certainly not the case for me, as I thoroughly clean the hydraulic ram with mild soap and water and follow up with a seal treatment spray, as well as inspecting the ram for pitting or unwanted debris such as salt buildup, rust, etc. I also flush my steering system several times per year. 

My first run in with a failed hydraulic boat steering system was due to a bad helm that somehow rusted inside, and the second was from a gasket on the back plate of the helm that went bad, apparently causing the fluid to bypass the piston.  The second system also had a bad seal on the the ram and some corrosion behind the seals, which was out of sight and out of mind.  I'm not really sure how this happened, but I was told that the rust was from using the wrong fluid, and I did not clean it well enough.  Well, I use only the SeaStar fluid and clean as much of the system(inside and out) as possible on a regular basis.  None of these systems were purchased new, as I bought the boats used, so I have no clue what they ran for fluid prior to me, or how they maintained them.  

Regardless, they both failed well before they should have so I'm ready to try a new system that I personally maintain from the get go, which brings me to the reason for this article.  I would also like to note that I've owned other boats in the past and have not had a failed hydraulic steering system, but on some did run into some common issues such as leaking seals, notchy helm, and stiff turning.  Over the years I have just come to the conclusion that this may very well be the nature of the beast. The upcoming review will be long term, with updates every year.  

I recently began looking at my options in marine hydraulic boat steering and found a company called UltraFlex, also known as Uflex.  They are a local company for me; located just over the Skyway bridge in Sarasota Florida.    After doing some research, checking out some cut-away diagrams,  and speaking with the guys at Uflex, I became very interested in their SilverSteer hydraulic boat steering system.   This marine hydraulic steering system looks down right beefy,  very modern, and seems to be built with a great deal of engineering behind it., namely in the overall design, mounting position, and in the high-end parts that are used.  Overall, the SilverSteer hydraulic boat steering system seems like a winner at first glance. 

In the coming months I will be installing Uflex's SilverSteer hydraulic steering system on a 223 Aquasport Osprey.  We are doing a full restoration and makeover on this boat, including  a new deck reusing the original factory non skid, full digital switching marine power center, leaning post with shock absorbing system, electromechanical trim tabs (going with UFlex here too), , LED lights, motor, boat trailer,  and many other goodies!  

I will be writing in-depth reviews on all of these products, and the Uflex hydraulic SilverSteer system will be found right here.   In addition, I will include first hand video clips of the install and sea trial.  Below is the hydraulic steering system specs.  Stay tuned.  

SilverSteer™ outboard steering systems packaged in a box

Specifically designed for high performance and high torque applications, the SilverSteer features a 1500 Psi helm and keyed bullhorn on the cylinder for maximum durability and minimal lost motion.
Whether a bass boat, flats boat or tournament style offshore fishing boat, the SilverSteer will deliver smooth, responsive and precise steering. Adjustable boss style fittings allow precise hose routing without the risk of breaking the fittings by overtightening or leaking fittings from loosening during installation, a common problem on competing cylinders.

SILVERSTEER™ WHEEL TURNS: 4,3
SilverSteer™ package kit contains:
UP28 F-SVS Front mount helm pump
UC128-SVS Front mount outboard cylinder.

Silversteer 1 - with UC128/1-SVS cylinder
Silversteer 2 - with UC128/2-SVS cylinder

OIL 15 Hydraulic oil 2 litres (0.5 gallons).
KIT OB-SVS Hose kit with preassembled fittings.

      

Comments 

 
0 #1 Benny
Hey fia is this a new company. I'm looking to replace my worn out system and haven't heard of these guys other than what I found through some web searches like here. Can't wait to see the video install and review. I'm looking to purchase this spring. Take care
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FIA REPLY

FIA Reply
Hi Benny. I have never used the Uflex system either, but after doing some research and talking to them, I think it'll be a good system. Hopefully we'll get some time soon and our build will start up again. Stay tuned. They've been around since 1935, though not making steering systems since then. I'll have a complete company scope up when we start the install as well.
 
 
+1 #2 Chuck
Same for me. I have had to many issues with my current system, mainly leaks and I'm sick of spending 20 bucks a week on fluid and $$$ on multiple repairs to only see it break again. I cant wait to see the review and video. Hopefully you have it up by spring. Great job on the boat build to! I've been following your progress. Maybe one day I'll break down and do a rebuild. Looks fun
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FIA REPLY:

Hi Chuck,

Thank you on the boat rebuild comment. We slowed down over the holidays, and with winter and the rain even more so. We've also had a few delays on some custom work, so hopefully we'll be back in the swing of things so. Stay tuned for the install! Thanks for dropping by.
 
 
0 #3 Riley
I haven't seen the uflex systems yet but I'm starting to see some information on the web about them. Looks like they are gaining some followers. The price seems good from what a few have said.
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FIA REPLY:

Yes Riley, the price looks fantastic, and with the quality of the product it looks even better. I'll know more when we do the install and testing. Stay tuned and happy boating.
 
 
0 #4 Dale
I am planning to buy a boat 17 foot boat in the near future and many of them don't come with hydraulic steering, any thoughts on what to go with? How's the Uflex hold up?
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FIA REPLY:

Dale, some do not come with hydraulic because they don't generally need them with small motors. Cable steering is often fine for smaller boats, but if you want to install a hydraulic system I'd recommend calling Uflex and telling them what application you have. They also sell cable systems, so either way they have covered. As far as how it holds up, I'd have to base my judgment solely on speculation, as I've yet to install or test the system. I will say that it appears to be made extremely well with attention to detail and quality, which is why I am going with them. I've had the rest, now I'm looking for the best! Happy boating
 
 
0 #5 Wayne
What size system do i need for a 150 Yamaha?
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FIA REPLY:

Wayne, I'd need more detail such as the mount, size of boat, year of motor, but looking at their site a UC94 may work. Call them and let the pros help you out, as I'm just guessing. I'm by far no expert in this area, but my article with be of expert quality when I finish the install, trial and review. Good luck
 
 
+1 #6 Paul
From what I've been told by a few, the Uflex is better then SeaStar Pro because of the way it mounts to the motor, meaning that the bushings don't get in the way on Uflex, thus allowing all the play to be removed..a good thing! I'm still doing research before I pull the trigger. Hoping to see a good review here soon with a cut away diagram..hint hint. Great start to the article...looking forward
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FIA REPLY

I can not say at this point which system is best, and I doubt you can go wrong either way. Yes, I read that same info, which got my attention as well. Check out the review when it comes out. Thanks
 
 
0 #7 Howie
I've got one of each brands on my boats, both about the same age and I can tell you that Uflex is a much tighter system, looks way better, and I think will far outlast the Seastar system. Time will tell.
 
 
+1 #8 Bryan
Seastar here..always have been and always will be unless someone shows me something to make me change. I've had many problems with my Seastar units over the years, but I am sure this is a common thing among steering systems being that they take a lot of abuse. What's your take fia?

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FIA REPLY:

I agree Bryan. The abuse on these parts are certainly immense. Proper maintenance is key to any marine product. I don't know how many is many, as you put it, but it sounds like you may want to change your maintenance program, as it appears you are having too many issues. Best of luck
 
 
0 #9 Steve
Just purchased a system a few months ago and getting ready to have it installed. I'll let you know how it works after some time on it. Unboxing the unit you'll quickly notice the quality looks far superior to others on the market.
 
 
0 #10 bucsfan1
what's the hold up on the review? We need some insight from someone that lays it out like this site. thanks

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FIA REPLY

It took some time to find the right motor, as well as fixing other issues on the boat. Shouldn't be long now. Hang in there!
 
 
0 #11 Raymond T
You won't find a better steering system anywhere. Smooth, great looking, durable and priced right. You made a good choice fia.
 
 
0 #12 Jay
I have a Skeeter SX 190 that has a 150 hp on it. Just wondering on the UFlex systems myself. I have heard nothing but good things. Question is: Is the Protech 2 system good enough for my application or should I go with the Silversteer. I have heard the ProTech 2 is as good or better than the SeaStar Pro.

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FIA REPLY:

Hi Jay. I too have heard nothing but good things about Uflex, and after touring the plant and talking with Bill, I can certainly see why they are making great steering systems. To answer your first question, I'd say yes the ProTech series is a good fit for a 150. The numbers, if I'm not mistaken, are the versions for specific motors and are the same quality. I went with a SilverSteer on my offshore b/c I have a 250 Merc with a lot of torque, and that is what they were designed for. I haven't had a chance to install the SilverSteer yet, but it sure is sweet looking. As for SeaStar, I would say you can't go wrong with either. I'll have more insight shortly, but in the meantime, i would recommend calling Bill at UFlex and talking to him, as he'll be much more help then I can be at the moment. Best of luck.
 
 
-1 #13 Lake
My boat currently has a seastar system on it,a nd i bought the boat used. First thing I did was asked 1000 peopple how to keep it working correctly. I learned, have had the boat for 10 years and no issues yet! Like you said maintenance is everything.
 
 
0 #14 T.W.
just purchased a Uflex system for my boat. was running a seastar system prior to this. Should be installing this coming week. The guys at the technical support aspect of Uflex were much more pleasant to deal with than the guys at seastar. I went with the Uc-128-svs cylinder paired with a up-25-svs helm rated at 1500 psi. going on a 22 foot flats boat with a mercury 250 xs. I will post back up once she gets rigged and I drop her in the water and let her fly. looking forward to running close to 80 in the cooler water!!!
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FIA REPLY:

Nice setup TW. I'll be installing mine very shortly as well, but have to wrap up some other things ahead of them. Would like to hear your thoughts after installing and running on them. I haven't had to deal with Seastar support, nor Uflex, so keep us updated there as well. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.