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misterwizard

Boat question: Starcraft Islander

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I don't know if I'm posting on the right forum here, but heres my question. My Islander will not track straight while at trolling speed. It weaves side to side, requiring constant correcting with the steering wheel. There is a small amount of play in the steering, but I don't know if this is the problem. This occurs even when there is no wind. Any ideas on this?

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Add some bags to the mix. Trolling socks are great for keeping the boat straight. You will have to bump up the rpms a little on the motor and may burn slightly more gas, but your boat will go straight, handle better in waves, etc etc.

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I don't know if I'm posting on the right forum here, but heres my question. My Islander will not track straight while at trolling speed. It weaves side to side, requiring constant correcting with the steering wheel. There is a small amount of play in the steering, but I don't know if this is the problem. This occurs even when there is no wind. Any ideas on this?

Used to have the same issues with my islander. I cut down on my drinking and the problem went away:D

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Have you tried to add one of those flip down trolling plates ?

I added one to my old sportcraft, after that I could let go of the wheel, and it was like I had an auto pilot. At trolling speeds.

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You want to tie the bags forward on the boat so that the bags will run somewhere in the "midship" part of the boat

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it just seems natural for a boat to go off course alittle. i,ve never owned one that didnt do it alittle. then with alittle play in the steering you have a tendency to over steer. i really dont know how much play you have in your steering but you might look into getting that fixed. alot of the time its just how much driving youve done at slow speeds. and learning not to over steer.

the bags might be the answer for you. i,ve used them and they will slow your boat down. and i,ve heard they will help stabalize your boat. but we only used them to slow us down. then i went to a easy troller trolling plate. good luck

sherman

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it just seems natural for a boat to go off course alittle. i,ve never owned one that didnt do it alittle. then with alittle play in the steering you have a tendency to over steer. i really dont know how much play you have in your steering but you might look into getting that fixed. alot of the time its just how much driving youve done at slow speeds. and learning not to over steer.

sherman

I disagree sherman. I have been on boats that you can walk away from the wheel and on boats that you are constantly turning the wheel. My dads old boat would go a straight line without touching the steering wheel. My boat is the same way and using bags helps alot. I just hate burning the gas and dont use them that often.

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I do have a trolling plate that I put on for walleye fishing, its a heavy steel spring loaded plate with a hole in the center, but then it steers even worse. I guess its the small amount of play in the steering cable and my over correcting. Thanks to all that responded.

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Check to make sure the big 1 1/16th nut at the end of your steering cable is tight. That can sometime be loose and cause loose steering. You can tell its loose without taking a wrench to it by having someone turn the steering wheel in either direction and watching the cable near the nut and the cable should not move, not even a little. It if moves the nut is loose and if it doesn't your tight and it's most likely in the helm.

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Strangly enough only 2 issues cause a boat to track badly both are easy to fix. First you have to get rid of any excessive play in the steering by excessive I mean like a quarter turn of the wheel before the drive moves. Now you need a flat calm day lock the drive centered straight forward and put the boat in gear bring your trim tabs if you have them all the way up and make sure you and anyone else in the boat is centered. If the boat does not go straight adjust the trim fin on the lower unit above and behind the prop till it will go straight. The trim fin is counter rudder to the natural side push of the prop once set correctly the drive will track right and then you can use the trim tabs or move weight around to correct any lean and still drive straight. Lots of guys would be amazed to realize they are not holding the wheel straight ahead when running at speed. So they end up using the trim tabs to level the boat while they kepp turning to keep it straight all the while loosing speed and wasting gas. The guys who put their tabs all the way down to take off are the worst. It is normal for the bow to come up under power once it gets to planing speed it will come down if your drive is set right. Trim tabs are to correct a badly loaded boat not to make it plane. If your boat won't plane without them it is underpowered or poorly setup. With 4 or 5 fat guys and a ton of fishing gear my boat will plane nicely and I seldom touch the tabs.

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I think Jim hit it, I have a islander also, the boat gos as straight as a arrow if every one is near the same weight and sitting down, if we are setting lines and moveing around is sways back and for the same is te for fighting fish when we are moveing back and forth across the back of the boat.

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I am wondering if your Skeg is chipped or missing part of it. My 19 Foot Smokercraft I just bought has about 2 inches missing and it seems to affect steering a bit and at slow no wake speeds the boat bow goes back and forth...

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Found this too... Not sure if all Outboards and such have one I'll have to go look at my boat...

It is great that you can let go of your steering and it creeps.

That means that nothing is bound up in the system.

This is perfectly normal for any single link steering system.

Motors have trim tabs on them. The trim tabs are effective to neutralize steering torque at one engine rpm and one motor trim angle.

So, if you take your boat to your favorite speed that you use most of the time and set your engine trim angle at the angle that you use most of the time - you can adjust your steering trim tab on the bottom of the motor to neutralize the motors steering torque.

I.e. find the steering tab on the bottom of your motor. Then, find the bolt that holds the steering tab in place. This bolt is commonly a 3/8th bolt that is easily accessed with a 3/8th socket and ratchet. When in the driveway, use the socket and loosen the bolt and be sure that you can run the trim tab from one side to the other.

Then, set the tab in the middle setting and take the boat to the lake.

Now, go to your desired cruising speed and trim setting, and loosen your grip on the steering wheel and see if the boat stays on course with no movement of the wheel.

If the boat wants to move one way or the other, adjust the trim tab to neutralize this pull.

If you don't know which way the tab setting will affect your boats direction, you can first move the tab all of the way in one direction - retest.

Then, move the tab all of the way in the other direction and retest.

With this knowledge, tweak the trim tab setting until you have 0 change in boat direction at your normal boats cruising speed, and normal motor trim position.

-----------------

Realize that the trim tab setting will be effective for only ONE boat speed and ONE motor trim setting.

If you increase or decrease boat speed, your boat will likely veer slightly right or left with no hands on the wheel.

If you increase or decrease your motor trim setting, your boat will likely veer slightly right or left with no hands on the steering wheel.

------------

If you want no torque at your steering wheel, you can remove the steering system on your boat and replace it with either a double cable anti torque manual system, or install a hydraulic steering system. Neither of these systems will let the steering wheel creep with the hands off the wheel no matter the boats speed or motors trim settings.

Also this:

If there is some time on the motor, you should also check your motor for a bent or twisted skeg.

The skeg - the part of the motor that is below the propeller acts as a rudder. If the skeg is twisted, it will cause the motor to want to torque one way or the other. It will be worse, the faster you go.

Also, sometimes you might find that when running wide open, and especially if you have a high motor mounting position, you may find that the trim tab does not help much to counter act steering torque.

The reason for this is that under these specific conditions, you may find that the trim tab is out of the water.

So, if you do have this situation, but want the motor to have neutral steering, you may have to either straighten or put some twist into the skeg.

If you do decide to put in, or take out skeg twist, do it carefully and proceed with great caution. Done incorrectly, will result in a broken skeg.

To do it correctly, you need a couple of heavy sledge hammers. Use one sledge on one side of the skeg as an anvil and use the other hammer to straighten or twist the skeg.

If you try to use a wrench on the skeg, you will just chunk out pieces of aluminum. But, if you use resounding heavy hammer blows to do things to the skeg, you can be quite successful in your endeavors.

But again, if you do this, you are working at your own risk and may break off the skeg which will require a re weld of a new skeg onto the motor.

Good luck

and this too...

Check behind your console at the back of the steering assembly where the steering post comes through. Should/could be depending on your steering system, a lock nut that has a spring behind it that adjusts the steering wheel tension. Adjust to your liking. My buddy has this style on his boat and has it set a little tighter for slow trolling. Boat will stay in the same track when ever he has to do other things. Steering effort is increased though.

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After a few years you give up and buy a Auto Pilot what a world of difference on my boat no yelling at the driver no tangled lines. All 4 of us at the back of the boat fighting and netting fish and no issues. I would have to say as far as a boat improvement goes it might be better than beer. And I have never seen a boat that beer would not improve LOL.

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I believe that particular boat has cable steering/or/rack and pinion, makes all the difference over hydraulic. So, if you can pinpoint that, at least we know where to start. Cable steering needs tightening adjustments/replacement to the cables, if old, hydraulic needs fluid to the system. Good luck, you can do it Karl.

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Thanks to all for the input. I will check for all possible problems suggested. Hopefully I can provide some useful info for some of you in the future.

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My Starcraft Fishmaster has a no feedback steering. The wheel stays where I put it. I don't know if that is available for your Islander?

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