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Steering System Refits

A well designed steering system can last longer than the vessel it is on but over its life it will require maintenance and/or upgrades. This is especially true of control systems where modern technology and electronics offer improvements in reliability and performance. Often parts for

Older systems are either no longer available, long delivery or too expensive. Autonav has over 70 years design, manufacturing and service experience with a wide range of steering systems and consequently can provide solutions at very cost effective prices. Many competitors lack the staff or interest in the necessary custom engineering to provide such upgrades and will only offer the sale of a completely new steering system at much greater cost.

Autonav will perform a survey and determine what can be repaired and what needs to be replaced in order to provide the least expensive and most reliable solution. Some examples include:

USNS Redstone

This is a Missile Tracking ship built in the 1940s with a ram type steering. Control was unreliable and difficult to maintain. Autonav determined that the ram actuator could be restored to service with replacement of some bearings and a new control system would eliminate the operational problems. Our solution was 60% less cost than a new system as offered by others and the vessel continued in service until de commissioned many years later.

NOAA Fairweather

This US Government Research vessel had a steering failure which prevented it from continuing in scheduled duties. Autonav was requested to attend the vessel and determine the problem. A temporary repair was conducted and later the vessel went into refit during which our upgraded bridge control and hydraulic power units were installed. In addition, the mechanical tie bar was eliminated and electronic synchronization of the rudder provided for a simpler and more reliable installation with improved maneuverability. The newly installed Autopilot integrated into our control system improved the course holding accuracy from +- 10 degrees (due to the old insensitive control system) to +- 0.5 degrees with significant improvement in fuel consumption.

In cases where the steering actuator is beyond repair, Autonav can replace it with our Rotary Vane steering which has a proven bearing and seal life in excess of 60,000 hours due to all bearings being internal and self-lubricated by the working oil. Specially designed internal seals show zero wear after more than 60,000 hours of service and the overall size is 1/3 that of a conventional ram system while including the self-lubricated radial and carrier bearing.

For more information, call: 1-604-526-0113 or email:


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