Why can’t I steer?
I have just bought a 25ft GRP riverboat with an hydraulic outdrive. When I take it out on the canal the steering is all over the place. Do you have any ideas what could be wrong?
QI’m not sure whether you mean an hydraulic power lift to take the leg out of the water, hydraulic steering, or hydraulic transmission – but here are some things to consider…
Unless the leg has a rudder added, the boat will not steer when in neutral and will be difficult to keep straight at low speeds. You can buy or make an add-on rudder.
Some small boats had bolt-on wooden keels: check that it’s still there.
If something were partially seized up it would make the steering stiff, giving these symptoms.
Hydraulic steering systems need to be kept topped up (the filler is often behind the board the steering wheel assembly is fixed to) and if oil has been lost, the system may need bleeding. That would cause steering problems.
The boat might be incorrectly trimmed – for example after the engine is changed for a different one.
Finally, if you are used to a well set-up tiller-steered boat, switching to a wheel and leg drive will take some getting used to.