When a boater brings a marine dealer a problem with a hydraulic steering system, typically a leaky cylinder or helm, a technician can take one of two routes - replace the seals and see whether that fixes the problem or recommend replacement with a new unit.
Boat Steering Rebuilders LLC in Adkins, Texas, offers a third option - rebuilding the unit. Butch Castleberry, who owns the business, says there can be internal problems that a seal repair job does not address.
"In many cases, a leak can be a symptom of a more serious problem," Castleberry said in a statement. "A rebuild, professionally done, can not only return a system to original spec, but also extend the life of the existing system, oftentimes providing an extra five to seven years of use."
His business will offer its rebuild service directly to dealers. A dealer's technician will remove steering ram assemblies and helm pumps and send them to Boat Steering Rebuilders. When the work is done, the rebuilt system is sent back to the dealer, which can reinstall the parts and deliver the boat to the customer.
Boat Steering Rebuilders says the cost of a rebuilt ram or helm is usually about half that of a new unit. Turnaround time is typically five to seven days.