Houseboat steering wandering

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Houseboat steering wandering

Post by Clemhand » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:22 pm

I have a 1971, 34' Trojan houseboat retrofitted with Armstrong extension mounted with two 90 hp outboards 6' apart and set at proper depth.In the old engine space is 160 fuel (gas) tank. Cruis speed is 8 knots. Have bleed hydraulic steering and towed in the outboards but continue to have a lot of wandering, constantly correcting course. Any suggestions that would enable this boat to go straight would be greatly appreciated. Gregg 207-837-2449

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Re: Houseboat steering wandering

Post by prowlersfish » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:14 pm

Some Boats will do better with toe out .
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Re: Houseboat steering wandering

Post by captainmaniac » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:29 pm

With the motor retrofit you are at least 300HP low from what the boat originally had based on my quick google search (550hp total was normal).

Wandering is often caused by the effects of wave action and wind - not necessarily a steering issue - and being a houseboat with relatively flat bottom that will affect you a lot. All boats wander because of natures influences ... so hard to tell if your experience is 'out of the normal' or not based on what you have said so far. But running only 1/3 of the HP and at 8 knots you will likely be pushed around more than if you were running 15-20 knots with proper power.

So a bunch of questions : How much wander (degrees), how much correction (wheel spin), how often do you need to correct, typically both directions or usually one only, always does this even if no wind or waves or only in certain conditions? Might help folks on the forum understand if it is only a power/speed/hull shape issue, or if there are any possible mechanical issues at play.

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Re: Houseboat steering wandering

Post by rickalan35 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:48 pm


Those houseboats were cool machines. As I mentioned recently, I saw one once while I was vacationing in Florida (Stuart). I think Trojan was only in the houseboat business for a short time. Post a photo for us if it's convenient for you to do so.

One added comment I might have, refers to the "tilt" factor of those two outboards. Are they pushing the bow down slightly in any particular way perhaps?? (hard to believe at 8 knots this would be happening, but just thought I'd mention it.) If the boat is "ploughing" from a straight ahead push or from a slightly downward push caused by the tilt of those outboards, it will dig-in and you'll notice steering issues. But "bow digging" isn't usually described as "wandering"...... it's more likely to elicit a "Yikes" instead.

Trojan 1994 370 Express, 502 Bluewaters

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