HOME > FAQ'S

Q: What is the recommended fluid for Latham Hydraulic Steering Systems?

A: We recommend Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF): DEXRON®-II / DEXRON®-III / MERCON® or equivalent.

Q: When should I change the oil filter in my full power steering system?

A: Depending on the use of the boat, we suggest at about 100 hours of operation or each year. We recommend that this be done in conjunction with an inspection of all fluids which may also need to be replaced annually.

Q: How do I adjust the throttle lever tension on my Latham Marine competition control throttles?

A: Use a 1/8" Allen wrench from directly below the throttles. Turn clockwise to increase tension. Please contact us toll free at 888-442-7267 or email us: info@lathammarine.com for further instructions and table #143, a drawing of the Installation: Control Cables.

Q: What are the advantages of using Latham Marine Trim Tabs?

A: Aluminum billet construction provides added strength to the precisely engineered and manufactured Latham Marine Trim Tabs system. The CNC-machined aluminum is hard-coat anodized and powder coated for corrosion resistance and the high quality Latham stainless steel cylinders and stabilizer skeg offer more control on turns. Latham uses larger cylinder pins for greater strength and all pins are fitted with corrosion resistant composite bearings for precise hinge action. All external hydraulics are pre-plumbed (through-hulls included) and our trim tabs include a high-performance trim pump with aluminum reservoir, mounting plate and pre-wired solenoids for installation ease.

Q. Does Latham Marine make custom trim tabs?

A: Yes! Please call us toll free at 888-442-7267 with information on your specific marine application and our engineers will review and make a recommendation and provide a quote.

Q: When do I need to repair or rebuild my Latham steering rams?

A: If you notice any signs of leakage or other trouble. This can be from years of normal use, a corrosion problem, or you have a catastrophic drive failure that damages the cylinders. We recommend you send both rams together to ensure that both are in good repair and on the same maintenance schedule. Considering the durability of Latham Marine steering systems, with the exception of any type of accident or trauma to the system, regular maintenance can be done at up to 10 years or possibly more. (Click here for ram maintenance.)

Q: What is the weight capacity of the Latham Marine hydraulic tender linkage lift system?

A: For the weight capacity of the new Latham hydraulic lift, please call us toll free at 888-442-7267 for review of your specific applications and for an accurate quote.

Q: When should I service my Latham Marine sea pump?

A: If your Latham Marine competition sea pump has been run dry for any reason or if it has been unused for a long period of time-the blades could be impacted by lack of use --It is time for service. You may also want to check your bearings and seals at this time.

Q: I have a Bravo Drive - do I need a Latham Marine sea strainer?

A: Any boat can benefit from a sea strainer as it prevents debris from entering the sea pump, heat exchangers or engine.

Q: Why should I upgrade to a Latham Marine sea strainer?

A: Latham has the best quality sea strainers available. They are available in a standard 4.5" depth cast version as well as 9" and 15" depth custom fabricated versions made up to fit your specific application. The strainers are corrosion resistant and the fabricated models have a built in pressure air bleed. The various sizes are available to fit any application.

Q: How does the Latham Marine quick-change steering column differ from others?

A: The Latham design is of the highest quality and does not allow binding or "play" in the steering column. It has a specially-designed release that is easy to operate and the custom cap leaves no shaft protruding from the dash when not in use.

Q: What is the difference between full power hydraulic steering and stock Mercury™ MerCruiser cable assisted steering?

A: Stock MerCruiser cable with power assist steering comes as standard hardware on most Alpha and Bravo drive applications. This system consists of a cable helm, a cable, and a power- assisted slave cylinder that is mounted to the inside drive transom plate. The slave cylinder gets power assist from an engine-mounted power steering pump and cooler. In this steering system the slave cylinder and cable steer the drive from the inside of the hull by the tiller arm. Even when new, there is play in the steering of the system.

Q: What are the benefits of hydraulic steering?

A: Mercury™ MerCruiser now requires that all new sport boats that run in excess of 65-70 mph use external hydraulic steering rams instead of stock cable steering. Hydraulic steering offers precise drive movement, eliminates "play" and does not force torque at the wheel.

The external hydraulic steering cylinders can be driven by an "Add-on" system consisting of cable over hydraulics: A "Full Power Hydraulic System'" consists of a complete hydraulic system with an engine-driven or electric power assist pump

Q: What are the differences between "Add-ons," "Self Contained Hydraulic" and "Full Power Hydraulic" steering?

A: The Add-on system is an economical alternative to the Full Power System on Mercury MerCruiser stern drives with factory power steering. External steering cylinders are hydraulically connected to the controller valve on the inner transom plate and the stock steering cable and helm are retained. Steering effort is low, but with play in the steering of the drive, the system is not as responsive as the Full Power System.

In the Self-contained Hydraulic system the helm functions as a pump -- turning the steering wheel causes the fluid (which is stored in the helm) to be pumped to the cylinders. Control is positive and smooth and plumbing is simpler than power assisted systems but the steering effort is greater.

The Full Power Hydraulic system is 100% hydraulic with power assist. The pump provides system pressure to the helm, which diverts oil under pressure to the cylinders when the wheel is turned. Steering effort is low and the steering wheel is isolated from propeller torque. This system will provide very positive control.

Q: Can I use Latham Marine steering components with another manufacturer's steering system?

A: NO. Latham Marine steering components should NOT be used with any other manufacturer's system. Latham steering components are specifically designed and sized to be used in a complete Latham Marine steering system. MIXING VARIOUS MANUFACTURERS' COMPONENTS CAN LEAD TO SYSTEM FAILURE!

Q: How can I detect if there is air in my hydraulic steering system?

A: The easiest way to determine if there is air in a hydraulic steering system is to manually shake the stern drive(s) or outboard motor(s). Be certain the power steering pump is off and rock the steering wheel back and forth a few times before shaking the drive(s) or motor(s) at center position, trimmed level. If there is play in the drives or motors in excess of 1/16", this indicates that there is air in the system. The amount of play reflects the quantity of air in the system. (See instructions on bleeding air from a hydraulic steering system here)

IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE BLEEDING PROCEDURE OUTLINED ABOVE, PLEASE CALL US AT 800.422.RAMS (7267).

 

 
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