View Full Version : hydraulic steering

10-10-2009, 08:06 PM
I tried getting answers on Wakeworld, but thus far haven't gotten the information I wanted, so...

Can anyone provide their experiences with MC hydraulic steering? Apparently all the SS boats have it so those people should be able to help out.

My problem is that I have been somewhat disappointed in how Mastercrafts feel to steer when compared to some brands as I have done many test drives in anticipation of getting my first boat. I frequently feel like I need to use 2 hands to make aggressive turns and/or come out of those turns when I really want to be able to keep my right hand for the throttle and just do the wax on/wax off method (as one person described it).

Maybe the steering will loosen up with time? But the other boats I have driven are similarly brand new.

So, when I found out about the hydraulic steering option, I was quite intrigued. But since I am in Michigan, I think I'm gonna be hard-pressed to find many SS boats to test myself, so I'm hoping some of you guys can provide your first-hand experience with hydraulic steering--and hopefully be able to compare and contrast to the standard cable steering. If it will enhance the steering and make the boat handle better, I have no problem paying for the option (and supposedly I can even switch it out on a boat which has already been completed).

Alright, help me out please... I may be joining the Mastercraft family very soon.


10-10-2009, 08:17 PM
I think the hydraulic steering is mostly a means of eliminating the steering cable - a source of steering problems especially with corrosion (reason it's standard on SS boats). Steering effort is mostly a factor related to rudder size and shape. I don't think hydraulic steering has substantially different effort compared to a steering cable in good shape.

With the exception of model years 2001-2005 when MC went to a relatively small rudder, I've never noticed any significant difference in steering effort of other brands compared to MasterCrafts, as long as you're comparing DD's to DD's. Steering will always be more ponderous in V-drives, so be sure you're not trying to equate the two.

If you need two hands to steer any given inboard, then it has a bad steering cable.

Eagle Lake Rebel
10-11-2009, 10:22 PM
I ordered my X30 with hydraulic steering to negate the torque steer that is present in the standard cable setup. With hydraulic steering the boat and the wheel stay where you put it. Best way I can describe the feel is go drive a dual prop I/O with hyd assit. The cable/rack set-up is quicker and allows you to feel the pull on the rudder. Most folks either like or don't like the hyd set up, it just depends what your are looking for. I'd say the majority of folks prefer the cable/rack set up over the hyd system.

10-13-2009, 12:49 PM
Bigmac: nope, I'm comparing X2 and X15 to similarly sized v-drives from competitors. Many feel similar but at least one competitor I drove has significantly less effort required. It's like they have "power steering" when MC doesn't, but in reality they are both cable driven.

Eagle Lake Rebel: haven't driven an I/O lately to benefit from your comparison. What do you mean cable is "quicker"? Does it require less turn of the wheel to get a comparable turn in the rudder? Or something else? If I understand what you are saying correctly, I think you are right that a lot of what I feel is "feedback" from the rudder opposing what I am trying to do. I didn't notice it ever pulling the wheel further into a turn, but it is SIGNIFICANT effort to straighten back out after an aggressive turn (and this is on many different boats, 2009 and 2010). I at least have to grip the wheel hard, possibly underhand, to get it back where I want it. By contrast, I can pretty much drive that competitor boat with the palm of my hand, ala "wax on/wax off." I just prefer the feel of the latter because it seems more responsive and effortless and I'm not having to adjust my hand on the wheel. Would hydraulic steering give me that on a MC?

Does anyone else have input? Thanks

10-13-2009, 01:05 PM
Bigmac: nope, I'm comparing X2 and X15 to similarly sized v-drives from competitors. Many feel similar but at least one competitor I drove has significantly less effort required. It's like they have "power steering" when MC doesn't, but in reality they are both cable driven.

I put a 2006 rudder on my 2004 230VRS. I can tell you there is no way I'd want any easier steering. One-handed turning is the norm and I know this from pulling tubers a lot. Under no circumstances is that big V-drive a nimble boat, but steering effort is negligible and I've never driven a competitor V-drive that was better in the steering effort department.

Your observations are certainly at odds with my experience.

10-13-2009, 02:32 PM
I responded to your WW question.
Hydrolic steering on my X-15 with 3000 lbs of ballast is effortless.
No problems wakerskiing.

I don't know what the cable steering is like.

10-13-2009, 03:27 PM
I responded to you on wakeworld also, but you seem to not believe anyone when they tell you the hydraulic steering is not a dealbreaker.

I am not sure what might have been wrong with the boat you test drove, but if you don't buy an MC because of the steering, then 1 of 2 things has happened:

1. The test boat is not quite in proper working order (air in the line?)

2. You are a pansy. :purplaugh:purplaugh

Just kidding. I notice the steering when tubing on my X45 is stiffer than a friend's Malibu, but since I don't do power turns while wakeboarding it rarely crosses my mind. I never have told the kids 'My arms are too tired to tube you guys any more'...if that is what you are wondering, and we sometimes do it for hours non-stop.

Eagle Lake Rebel
10-13-2009, 11:52 PM
smsbrett, the hyd steering takes more turns "lock to lock" than the standard rack that's why I'm calling the cable quicker. With the hyd unit you will not have to "force" the wheel to get out of a tight turn like you describe ( big reason I went hyd because I was afraid this might scare my wife or son when the wheel wouldn't just roll back on center from a hard turn). Hyd steering requires more effort than the cable under normal steering turns/corrections but it locks into where you put the rudder. In my boat you can set a direction and let go of the wheel and the boat stays on that track for as long as you want it to, that's not the case with the cable set-up. The ease of streering in a cable setup seems to vary depending on the boat model. My friends '08 Xstar with the standard cable setup steers just fine without the force back effort in very tight turns and he has the 8.1L beast for thrust. In contrast my 06 X30 with an MCX required a lot of effort to get out a turn in locked position. The wheel would also shutter from time to time under a hard pull-up. Hyd steering in my '07 30 fixed all that. I would recommend finding the model you want and drive both set-ups to see which one fits best for you even if that requires some road time to do it.

10-15-2009, 12:24 AM
I have hydraulic steering on my xstar with L18 motor and it is awesome and effortless. Goes straight down the lake without touching it and works awesome. Would definetly recommend.