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Old     (smsbrett)      Join Date: Mar 2008       10-09-2009, 3:41 PM Reply   
Okay, so here's the deal: I've spent the last 12 months or so seriously investigating boats. Factory tours and countless test drives have failed to identify one boat which is perfect for me. Each one has a few things I wish I could change and/or steal from another one to make it better. So I'm trying to prioritize (or solve) these shortcomings because I want to be making a decision very soon for a boat for next spring.

Specifically for Mastercraft, I am hung up on the steering. My experience (mainly in the X2 and X15) which others seem to have complained about, is that it can take a lot of effort to steer. I have experienced it in other, but not all, brands too, but I feel at times like I have to use 2 hands to make an aggressive turn and especially to recover out of an aggressive turn. Obviously this is less than ideal if I want to be able to adjust throttle at the same time... and I'd just like the driving experience to be a bit smoother and effortless.

So, why does this happen? I don't know much about the mechanics, but supposedly most boats use similar if not exactly the same steering cables. I've heard people say the steering loosens up with time. Is that true? Because some of it seems to be struggling against water pressure against the rudder to initiate or end a turn.

And what about hydraulic steering? Anyone with a SS boat able to comment on ease of turning versus a traditional steering cable? MC offers hydraulic steering as an option and I would probably pay for it if it gives more a sports car feel, but I'd like some more information first.

Thanks for your input.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-09-2009, 3:59 PM Reply   
I have a buddy with an 07 X45 and use to sell mastercrafts and have never thought this about his X45. His does have hydraulic steering. If you are concerned bring that up to the dealer and order one with Hydraulic Steering. I never drive with 2 hands and when turning almost exclusively use the wax on/wax off method.

(Message edited by polarbill on October 09, 2009)
Old     (cfps)      Join Date: Sep 2009       10-10-2009, 3:46 AM Reply   
Don't miss another summer.... pull the trigger on the one you like best and have fun. Life is too short.
Old     (smsbrett)      Join Date: Mar 2008       10-10-2009, 4:54 PM Reply   
Yes, that is exactly what I am trying to do... but other people's experiences with hydraulic steering may play into my decision of boat and/or options on that boat.

Come one... someone else must have input.
Old     (jaysus)      Join Date: Nov 2006       10-10-2009, 5:18 PM Reply   
*Disclaimer- I'm a MC dealer*

With any salt boat (hydraulic steering-standard) I have not had to use 2 hands at any point for the steering.
Old     (michaelspsp)      Join Date: Sep 2007       10-10-2009, 6:34 PM Reply   
i have a 2004 x-star with the flyhigh ballast. My gf, who has never driven a boat before last year, has no problem docking, well i wouldnt even let her try.
Old     (kko13)      Join Date: Jul 2006       10-10-2009, 8:54 PM Reply   
Thats the way the M/C drives. It will not get better/loosen up with time thats straight Bullshizit right there for sure. In my time in X-2 the hydraulic steering requires less effort yes. But is very vauge/sluggish feeling. Make sure you test drive one with the hydraulic steering before you buy a boat with it. IMPO I dont care for it at all. Maybe you can deal with it or like it but its not for me. Good luck in your search. What other boats have you driven to compare the steering? To me the best in steering are Tige,Malibu and Supra. All 3 of these boats steer in both directions with low effort and great response.
Old     (talltigeguy)      Join Date: Sep 2003       10-11-2009, 4:04 PM Reply   
I have a lot of experience with my 2006 X-45 with hydraulic steering, a 2007 Malibu 247, and a 2005 Tige 24V.

The hydraulic steering is a little stiff, but not enough that I ever felt fatigued at the end of the day from it. Wouldn't even be a problem for women and children, but it is not effortless. It stays in place even if you let go of the wheel. If you did that with the Tige and Malibu, get ready to swerve to the left. The Malibu is just about effortless as can be, and the Tige was just a little bit behind that.
Old     (mc_x15)      Join Date: Jul 2008       10-11-2009, 4:51 PM Reply   
I have a 08 X-15 SS. Steering is no problem at all, my girlfriend does it. Go for it!!!! The boat is great!!.
Old     (tre)      Join Date: Jul 2002 Location: WI       10-11-2009, 4:59 PM Reply   
You are fighting the water rushing past the rudder. The faster you go the faster the water wooshes past the rudder making you fight the physics of a rudder trying to turn against the rush of the water. Steering is controlled by a mechanical cable as opposed to power steering like a car. This is an issue in any boat (not just MC). Only way around this is hydraulic steering as posted above. This is an option on very few inboard boats. I had a guy pass up buying my old boat because of this (a Supra). He does not realize this will be an issue in every boat.
Old     (fman)      Join Date: Nov 2008       10-11-2009, 10:34 PM Reply   
You will never find the perfect boat, one will have something that the other does not. I agree with Rob, my brother in law has the X-15 and it is a great boat. Wow, 12 months of shopping, I did it for three months and thought I was crazy!

Of course, coming from a Supra owner --- it also has been an awesome boat (Ok, I do like it a little better than the X-15). Regardless, all the top brands are making great boats. Life is short, go out and ride my friend!

(Message edited by fman on October 11, 2009)
Old     (chaser)      Join Date: Sep 2006       10-12-2009, 10:03 AM Reply   
Really, stiff steering has you hung up on a making a final decision after 12 months of shopping? Wow.
Old     (davomaddo)      Join Date: Feb 2003       10-12-2009, 10:07 AM Reply   
I have the SS with Hydrolic steering, it works great. Effortless.
I put 3000 lbs in my X-15 and I have never thought about the steering.
I also drive waterskiers, no problem there.

I don't know about the cable steering.
Old     (xsmini)      Join Date: Dec 2005       10-12-2009, 10:36 AM Reply   
the hull is the boat is the culprit, it just doesn't like to turn
Old     (smsbrett)      Join Date: Mar 2008       10-13-2009, 10:30 AM Reply   
Before anyone else chastises me for my prolonged shopping period, let me explain:
I was not going to be close to the financial situation to buy a boat until this past spring, but it had been in my plans so I had been shopping around (actually much longer than 12 months). I had been saving up and was hoping to buy a boat around spring boat show time this year. However, I also needed to buy a tow vehicle and had nowhere at my place to store a boat (condo) and I was starting to fear all the hassle it was going to be each time I wanted to go out. That, combined with the real estate market being how it is, made me decide to look for lake property instead.

So, instead of buying a boat this year, I bought the lake house! I'll have to post pics later. It was relatively painful to look out my window and see no boat for me to enjoy the beautiful, frequently empty waters, but I think it will be more than worth it next year since it will be infinitely less hassle to go out whenever I want.

So, I put off the boat a year and continued my aggressive search to make the right decision.

Maybe it is unrealistic to expect a boat which is 100% perfect for me, but this is by no means an insignificant expense, so why shouldn't I pour over every detail? I like almost everything about the MC except for this one thing. Any maybe that one thing isn't that big of a deal and I know I would be able to deal with it. But, since I know I'll be driving the boat more than riding in it or riding behind it, the driving experience is important to me, so if there is a way to improve it (ie with hydraulic steering) I would definitely go for it.

That's why I'm wondering what other people's experiences are with the different steering technologies and if anyone can provide a good comparison. If hydraulic steering is just a way to eliminate possible corrosion, but doesn't change the feel for the driver, then I'm not interested. If it eliminates corrosion, but makes the driving experience worse, I'm certainly not interested. But if a boat with hydraulic steering is still responsive and has less or none of what seems to me like "feedback" from the rudder, then I think that would be a better driving experience and would be something I would definitely consider paying for.

If I was buying a new car and liked everything about it except, say, for how it cornered, but there were different tires available which changed that, then it wouldn't be a big problem.

So does hydraulic steering minimize or eliminate my concern about MC steering?
Old     (fman)      Join Date: Nov 2008       10-13-2009, 1:05 PM Reply   
Honestly, I dont think you would be disappointed with the X-15, it is a great boat. I would not let steering affect your decision. The hull design could be a reason it does not drive like other boats. Make sure and test drive one with hydraulic steering.

My Supra I believe has a steering cable and it is almost effortless to steer. Not sure why the X-15 seems different. I have driven my brother in laws X-15 and it seemed the same, maybe you should just take a different X-15 out.

You are correct, it is a major purchase, hats off to you for taking a year to make a decision. Like I said, all the top boat manufacturers are producing great boats. It really comes down to fit, finish, options, wake style, and what you are needing in a boat. My Supra has the exact same motor, trans, and Vdrive as the mastercraft X-15. I will say this, make sure you have a dealer close to your house that is good. The dealer makes a huge difference in your experience owning a boat. Especially if you have any warranty items.

Good luck!

(Message edited by fman on October 13, 2009)
Old     (hawaiianstiln)      Join Date: Oct 2004       10-13-2009, 2:23 PM Reply   
also missing the fact that the X2 DOES not have tracking fins. This is a major issue I have with my X2 I just bought and my previous Malibu. The only thing keeping me with this X2 is that it just has WAY more room than any other 20 foot (possible 21 foot too) tournament boat. I've been in them all. However, when I turn my X2, it feels like i'm turning a tank compared to my old malibu VLX. I don't have to use two hands to turn my boat tho. I did however have to start shaving down the right side of the rudder because my X2 has some nasty neutral steering. If I hit a roller or wake, the a$$ end of the boat will jump around very easily because there is no constant pull to the right. Nothing that an easy shaving down the rudder will fix tho! :-)
Old     (davomaddo)      Join Date: Feb 2003       10-20-2009, 5:22 PM Reply   
You are right, it is a ton of money and you deserve to get what you want if you are spending that much money on a boat.

I didn't have too much trouble picking the model of boat I wanted, but when it came time to custimize the colors - that was a different story. The web tool that allows you to customize every detail of the boat is a blessing and a curse.
Old     (ryan11)      Join Date: Jan 2008       10-26-2009, 7:24 PM Reply   
buy a x star. you will have small issues with any boat you buy, but you will be happy with a xstar.
Old     (dlamont)      Join Date: Apr 2003       10-27-2009, 11:26 AM Reply   
I've used an X2 or X15 for the past 4 years and never had a steering issue. I would try driving the boats again.
Besides, what are you doing making powerturns? Don't you know that is against wakeboard law.
Old     (phatboypimp)      Join Date: Apr 2005       10-27-2009, 12:28 PM Reply   
The only time you will have steering the boat with difficulty is during power turn, which should not be happening EVER (with the occassional downed rider oncoming boat scenario). I am on my 3rd MC, never had an issue.
Old     (woreout)      Join Date: Aug 2006       10-27-2009, 12:47 PM Reply   
Dude, you act like your popping veins in your head trying to steer. Are you talking about a hard spin or power turn where you turn the wheel as far as it will go, and then recover? Cable or Hydraulic I have never had a tough time coming out of a normal turn. I do prefer cable, to me it is much more responsive but neither one is difficult. Take off the dress and buy a boat.


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