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Old 08-04-2019, 06:06 PM   #1
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Disappearing steering fluid

Hydrive system. Upper and lower helms. Auto pilot. Loss of fluid noticeable at upper helm. Refilling with a couple of syringe squirts daily. Some minor dribble from upper helm seals but not enough to explain the loss. No sign of leaks anywhere when tracing all the hydraulic lines. But there must be a leak somewhere to account for the loss. Stumped.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwhatty View Post
Hydrive system. Upper and lower helms. Auto pilot. Loss of fluid noticeable at upper helm. Refilling with a couple of syringe squirts daily. Some minor dribble from upper helm seals but not enough to explain the loss. No sign of leaks anywhere when tracing all the hydraulic lines. But there must be a leak somewhere to account for the loss. Stumped.
Minor dribble can result of quite some loss with time, a drop every minute will result in liters after hours.
I had a leak like this and it was on the rudder cylinder, seals were toasted.

L
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:40 PM   #3
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It's leaking somewhere the oil can collect and you can't easily see. Eventually it will reach the bilge. Could be a wear spot in the lines and leaking into the core (if you have one) or inside a bulkhead, wall or behind cabinets.


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Old 08-04-2019, 07:16 PM   #4
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Clean and dry every connection on the system, Wrap each connection with paper towel held in place with masking tape ...... monitor.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:32 PM   #5
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Check pistons as well at the rudder if not trace every inch of hydrolic hoses. One could of chafed if you are adding each day.
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Old 08-04-2019, 08:12 PM   #6
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I have this same issue.

It looses oil no matter if manual or Auto pilot.

I wrapped the copper lines with white paper towels, and first found some loose fittings.

Now I have either a bad fitting on the autopilot pump or a pin hole where the lines bundle together.

Leak is behind bridge helm.
Oil will pool there, and is miraculously held there in it's pool instead of leaking into the headliner.

I first thought breather was stopped up.

Most steering fluid does not smell, so I switched to ATF, I can smell it and see it.

May have to splice the lines, 3, to fix it.
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:37 PM   #7
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Fix it and do it right, loosing your steering is a bad experience you do not want to go through. Especially at sea!
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwhatty View Post
Hydrive system. Upper and lower helms. Auto pilot. Loss of fluid noticeable at upper helm. Refilling with a couple of syringe squirts daily. Some minor dribble from upper helm seals but not enough to explain the loss. No sign of leaks anywhere when tracing all the hydraulic lines. But there must be a leak somewhere to account for the loss. Stumped.
Mine leaked out of the shaft on the upper helm even after a new seal kit was installed. Then I read on this forum that replacing the plug on the UPPER pump with one that has a tiny vent hole would relieve the internal pressure caused by the expansion of heated fluid. Did so and the leak stopped never to appear again in over 6,000 miles of cruising.
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:54 AM   #9
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Not hydrive but large hydraulic rams.
Water had dripped over the years through lazaret hatch onto ram and rusted,/scored the surface of the in out bit.
Hydraulic guys said they could fix for near $1000 or, I could keep 4 litres of atf @ $30 on hand and keep it topped up.
Container underneath to catch the drips and 3 years later we still have 2 litres of atf left.
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