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Old 05-13-2014, 12:11 AM   #1
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Most Frustrating "Repair" Job Upper Helm Pump

This post will most likely result in more of me venting but I do have a question or two.

I bought my boat in November last year and on day two of bringing her home the upper helm pump developed a slow leak. She got me home and I sought a repair facility to fix her up. Here we are 7 months later and I am still dealing with this guy and my upper helm is back in pieces for the 3rd time.

I finally had enough of all the lack of communication from them and getting the run around so I had a friend of mine who happens to be an attorney ;-) give him a call because I just could not speak anymore without sounding like a true sailor (which I was). He mentioned to her that he has approx. $1000.00 in labor against me as well as parts.....

So here is my question. The helm pump is a Capilano 275. The only parts I am aware that he has purchased are 2 maybe 3 seal kits to re-build it. How difficult of a task can that be? Ive looked at it and just cannot see how $1000.00 in labor for them to keep trying over and over to actually do it right seems appropriate? He did mention that this particular pump is obsolete and that parts are coming from Canada but it surely does not take 7 months for them to arrive. Guess I am looking for information as to what this should reasonably cost me, because I feel as though the bill that is to come is going to be way over inflated. Have not gotten a final bill yet, cant wait for that.

I am seriously frustrated. This is my first "big boat" and the entire 7 months I have owned it I have been limited as to how far I can take it because I have been patiently waiting for this guy to do the right thing.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:03 AM   #2
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When we bought our boat three years ago we had to have both helms rebuilt because the seals were leaking from no use (owner dead 7 years). It took the very good and very highly reguarded hydraulics guy four maybe five trips to get the job done. The seals kept leaking. She is good now but only if I use her.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:43 AM   #3
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A full replacement pump seems to cost about $1,000 assuming the 1275 is the appropriate replacement:
https://www.google.com/search?q=Capi...e=off&tbm=shop

I'd pay what you owe and take the boat to a high quality, reputable yard that has real experience with refitting things like this - read reviews on them. Replace the old pump. It should probably cost another $1,000 in labor and shouldn't take more than a couple of days.

Too many yards attempt to do things that they shouldn't be doing. For engines, steering, windlass, thruster, and other things you rely on, you've got to use a high quality yard. Let the other yards replace water pumps if needed.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:47 AM   #4
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our 40' boat had mechanical steering when we bought her. it took one day to tear out the mechanical gear, one day to install the hydraulic system and another 1/2 day to install hydraulic autopilot.

We bought a Hydrive system complete but you can buy just the helm pump from them, several other manufacturers or even e-bay. New units will come with fairly simple installation instructions.

Buy a new helm pump and install it yourself, it's really not difficult as all the hard work (hydraulic lines & ram mounting) is already done.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:51 AM   #5
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Don't you love the mechanical repair business? You pay people to show you that they don't know what they are doing. It's bad for cars, and it's really bad for boats.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:30 AM   #6
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Try $600 to replace a impeller. Reason given was excess labor because mechanic dropped the key into intake hose and had to disassemble to recover. Oh I forgot....he also needed more time because he was not familiar with the boat! Well Cummins is a pretty rare bird.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
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I can't imagine paying someone to do something as simple as changing an impeller.
You must have money to burn
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:05 AM   #8
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I feel your pain. I've had similar experiences with "simple" repairs. But the guy is definitely doing something wrong -- Last Friday we replaced the old Wagner AX model upper helm pump on my Willard 40 with a salvaged unit. It took 3 hours to drain the fluid, remove the wheel and pump, replace the "O" rings in the replacement unit, then reinstall everything, plus refill and bleed the system. Honestly, I can't imagine this job taking more than 1/2 a day?!

From what I learned on this DIY project, either it has bad seals or the hydraulic pipe/hose connection(s) need reseating. At this stage, I'd simply replace the old Capilano with a new pump for around $1000. Just make certain the bolt pattern and steering shaft are same dimensions as the one you're replacing. To simply swap out and bleed the lines, labor should not exceed 2 hours. Good luck, and report back on the outcome.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:37 AM   #9
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I rebuilt my lower helm pump with a parts kit from Jamestown Distributors. The parts were so cheap I bought two sets for when the upper helm pump starts leaking. It took me a whole half hour to break down the pump and replace the seals. The real time killer is purging the system on the boat.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:52 AM   #10
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The money I pay people to fix my crap or my stuff I screw up I consider a tax on my laziness or stupidity...

Thats the only way I can justify it...

And I DO pay people to do stuff for me on occasion. I try and get them to do it while I can watch and observe. I will even pay them more to do that since they are going slower to teach me...
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:25 PM   #11
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My F/B helm started leaking on our 1st cruise also, I bought a seal kit off eBay and a half days labor it was fixed. After 4 years the lower helm started to seep and I did it in less time and it's harder to get to. I have Hynautic helm pumps the seal kits are about $35.00. I could not afford to own a boat if I had to pay for all the repairs, I don't do gelcoat or any similar type work I pay someone who has the skill to make that repair. I would not of got a lawyer involved if I couldn't do the work, I would of asked around the other boaters for their recommendation for a quality mechanic and pay the 1st guy off and went to someone other boaters had confidence in.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:46 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Give the state of NC a call and ask what recourse you have as a consumer.
File a Complaint
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:21 AM   #13
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Firefly! Best show EVER !!!
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:47 AM   #14
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Greetings,
Mr. s. Haven't had but 5 cups of coffee yet and I don't understand your comment.
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Old 05-15-2014, 04:41 PM   #15
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Firefly was a show that ran on FX for two season. It has a cult following.

Let's see. Best way to describe it....??

Futuristic Sci fi western with Chinese influences??

Litterally my favorite show of all time.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:10 PM   #16
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Litton,
Sorry to hear that.
Seals should be available from a good seal house even if he had to pull and send the old pieces as samples. It is possible to damage a seal upon installation and if the shaft is worn then speedi sleeves and appropriate seals should take care of the problem. I would not expect significant wear on the shaft from low speed operation like this. Just hardening and shrinking of the various rubber parts allowing weeps.

I've not yet had to do mine so can't comment on how difficult it is to get it right. I have done a fair bit of hydraulics over the years, not expert, and had similar stuff apart. It shouldn't be that difficult. And 7 months is plain ridiculous. The guy is taking advantage of you.

Have you kept notes? I don't know your laws at all but I expect you could tell him to take a hike. Find someone else and get a new pump if need be. Talk to Teleflex, phone or e-mail them about what would be suitable if not already done.

Good luck
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:57 AM   #17
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capilano

I also have a Capilano unit that leaks. However it is such slow leak and knowing that it is old design I just have a oil absorbent pad under the drip. At this point it is not worth the expense of replacing the unit. I just check the level and move on.
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:03 AM   #18
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Both my pumps are leaking. Seems like the full seal kit is the way to go to fix the problem permanently


The Marine Installer's Rant: The leaking Capilano caper
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:07 AM   #19
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My Wagner, model AW upper helm pump is leaking

My upper helm pump has sprung a leak. I take it the seals have to be replaced. In Richmond, B.C., Canada there is a guy who used to work at Summer Equipment in Vancouver. Summer Equipment supplied parts for Wagner pumps.
I hope the firm he works at now has seal kits. He works at an industrial pump place. Wish me luck and if you have any advice on replacing the seals feel free to give it.

I have a Wagner parts list and diagrams in pdf format but it is too big for attatching to this forum. If the moderators are following this and can tell me how to down load a 11mb pdf file on Wagner pumps please tell me how
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:29 PM   #20
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In 90% case of leaking pump is the front shaft o-ring, and that is easy job. Pull out the steering wheel, few philips screw on front cover. Dig out the old one and replace with new. The most consuming time is to bleed the system. Need another person to turn the wheel as you loosen ( and tide) the bleeding screw. Time is 2 -3 hr and cost around $50
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