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Old 12-18-2015, 10:16 PM   #1
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Centering the wheel issue

So- Out for a cruise the other day and for no particular decided that I would locate the center line spoke on the wheel with the intent to wrap it. I placed a rubber band on the apparent spoke. A few minutes later with maneuvering the wheel port to stb on a normal steering motion, I noted the spoke was at a 45 degree to where it was marked. Continuing on, again the spoke with the rubber band was now 90 degrees to where it was starting. It seemingly continued.


With a serious effort, the stop to stop is near 8 turns, yet there are times where it seems that the wheel will continue turning without stopping. It is smooth and I am able to maneuver the boat. Our last boat was cable/chain steering very positive.

The steering station on the bridge is the same lock to lock, but the wheel is larger and the time to rotate the wheel seems less. I don't have experience with the wheel on the bridge turning free behind either lock position.

Any chance there is a symptom in play here that should be checked, or is this normal in hydraulic steering?

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Old 12-18-2015, 10:34 PM   #2
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Air in hydraulics ? low fluid level ? wrong hydraulic oil ?
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:37 PM   #3
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When I select autopilot on, the wheel can be spun around without it moving the rudder, so even with a king spoke it's not always in the middle when I disconnect the a.p, unless I make the effort to have everything centred when I disconnect.
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:41 PM   #4
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Had a similar problem with my steering. Bleeding the system seems to have resolved the problem.

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Old 12-18-2015, 11:10 PM   #5
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Hydraulic steering dosn't maintain the helm position as the helm is moved back and forth. I used to put a pice of black tape at the top of the helm rim and w the push-pull cable steering I could return the helm to "dead ahead". With hydraulic steering the helm "returns" to dead ahead in a different rotational position every time.

So Al you may as well remove the rubber band or tape to mark the dead ahead position. How I find dead ahead is to observe my 3 turn L to L. I turn my helm to full RR and then back 1.5 turns and observe my progress and make adjustments as necessary. With your extremely slow steering that probably won't work so well so you'll probably just have to put her in gear and adjust the helm till she assumes a straight course. If I had your boat I'd probably rig the system for much faster steering or/and install a rudder position indicator.

Some of what you describe may be air in the lines and only bleeding will fix that.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:34 PM   #6
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my hydraulic system moves the tiller ram with one of the wheels or the autopilot pump. When one of those is moving fuid through the system, the unused positions may twitch a little, but generally stay close to their original positions. Thus there is no way to have a king spoke with this system. A rudder position indicator is present at both helms, to save the day.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:23 AM   #7
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Thanks Fellows, I think Manyboats has described the issue more to what I have,

I do know that even in the 'Wheel never stops' mode, the steering is still there in that when I reverse the rotation of the never ending rotating, the boat responds soon enough. The oil plug when loosen and not actually taken out, shows oil to the top so I believe the air issue may not be. However, never say never. Will feel better for the feed back.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:39 AM   #8
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Hi Al.

I've had a couple of boats with hydraulic steering. Both of them had a check valve (one in the steering pump, one a separate assembly half way to the stern). As others have indicated, the wheel will continue to slowly creep around if you hold the wheel hard over. If it keeps on going easily, it could be air, a fouled check valve, or just plain wear over time. It's worthwhile to get this checked out. Hope to see you next summer. Jay
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:53 AM   #9
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That hyd does not have a repeatable center is the reason the far less expensive wheel turning AP can not be installed .

If centering the wheel means a lot , you might install chain & cable mechanical steering .
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:50 AM   #10
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It is usually due to "oil slip" internal leakage in the Hydraulic system, inside components like the steering wheel pump relief valves even in the ram.
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:55 AM   #11
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Do you not have an AP ?
My AP has a rudder position indicator on the screen.
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Old 12-19-2015, 09:25 AM   #12
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If you have dual helms and hydraulic steering, attempting to mark the center is futile.


Center the upper wheel, then go below and move the rudder with the other wheel. The upper wheel does not move but the rudder is no longer centered.


Think about it.
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Old 12-19-2015, 09:52 AM   #13
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Many hydraulic steering have 3 lines. The third smaller line is a by pass used to bleed the lined, by holding hard over, back and forth. The Eagle when sitting developes so slop in the steering. To correct fix I have to turn the wheel hard over a dozen times which takes the play slop out, and makes it solid again.

If you have to bleed or make solid, added fluid from the highest point and turn helm hard over until you feel there isn't no pressure back and forth. I had the hoses replaced and that is how we bled the lines.
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
If I had your boat I'd probably rig the system for much faster steering or/and install a rudder position indicator.

Some of what you describe may be air in the lines and only bleeding will fix that.
Ditto....had the same problem years ago and bleeding solved everything. When I say bleeding, It must be done by a knowledgeable technician (or owner) that knows how to bleed a system. A container and piece of quarter inch clear tubing must be placed at the hydraulic ram to catch the bled hydrauic fluid.Two guys are needed. One to turn the wheel stop to stop (5 to 10 times) while the other is opening and closing the bleed screw at the ram. A halfhearted attempt at bleeding accomplishes nothing!



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Old 12-19-2015, 02:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay N View Post
Hi Al.

I've had a couple of boats with hydraulic steering. Both of them had a check valve (one in the steering pump, one a separate assembly half way to the stern). As others have indicated, the wheel will continue to slowly creep around if you hold the wheel hard over. If it keeps on going easily, it could be air, a fouled check valve, or just plain wear over time. It's worthwhile to get this checked out. Hope to see you next summer. Jay
Thanks Jay- That answers one mystery- There is no indication of external weeping or leaks. Further on is another response I will note-
Looking forward to your North bound voyage should it develop. Fuel prices should reflect an incentive by Summer.
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Fill View Post
Many hydraulic steering have 3 lines. The third smaller line is a by pass used to bleed the lined, by holding hard over, back and forth. The Eagle when sitting developes so slop in the steering. To correct fix I have to turn the wheel hard over a dozen times which takes the play slop out, and makes it solid again.

If you have to bleed or make solid, added fluid from the highest point and turn helm hard over until you feel there isn't no pressure back and forth. I had the hoses replaced and that is how we bled the lines.
Thanks Phil- Your process sounds like that which inadvertently I have been applying. You are correct, the system seems to react if I do the stop to stop a couple o
f times. After doing this for what ever period I am actively motoring along, steering functions fine abet the wheel creep that combined with the free wheeling, brought this original inquiry.
Now I am going to watch the videos posted and see if they provide additional clues or solutions.
Here again, the forum provides a source of information from all sectors with varied solution offerings. Thank you all.
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Old 12-19-2015, 05:38 PM   #17
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Just like bleeding brakes.... another lost art.
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Now I am going to watch the videos posted and see if they provide additional clues or solutions.
Al-Ketchikan
If you have more than one pump in the system ..... upper helm, lower helm and or an autopilot pump, there is no solution.
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:56 PM   #19
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Since my AP doesn't move the wheel, marking the straight-forward position is a wasteful hope. So, thank goodness for the rudder indicator.

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Old 12-19-2015, 07:29 PM   #20
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You can install a stand alone rudder indicator, which I find very helpful when manuvering and with a hydraulic steering is the way to knew the position of the rudder.
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