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Old 05-09-2019, 11:35 AM   #1
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Fixing a leaking 70's era Capilano 250V Helm steering station

Both helm pumps on my Uniflite were weeping hydraulic fluid when I purchased it. After researching, the Teleflex Capilano 250V was discontinued in 1987 and Teleflex was aquired by SeaStar at some point. The new helm station was introduced as the 1250V in that time frame.

I emailed Seastar and asked about parts for the pumps. I was told there is a seal kit for the 1250V that would have the proper seals to reseal the pump, so I ordered it up. The kit includes a number of o-rings, a paper gasket and a plastic faceplate for the front shaft seal. To sum up the product, the kit didn't fit. Details to follow.

The 250V in it's native environment:



The seal kit provided by Sea Star



The 250V does not have a shuttle valve in it. This is a separate unit on the older systems that is in a unit called a 'Uniflow' valve which is located near the steering ram. It does not have a removable back portion as shown in the diagram for the 1250V, and also does not have the same type of check ball valves on the outputs.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:39 AM   #2
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After removing the unit from the boat, the first step in disassembling it is to isolate the shaft/pump and it's internal springs. To do this, I used a 3.5" long piece of black pipe and a stack of 3/4" washers. Put this on in place of the steering wheel and tighten the nut down finger tight. Now remove the four bolts on the front cover and gently pry the cover off. It has a good amount of resistance due to the o-ring that seals it. Once you get it loose, the entire pump shaft lifts free of the housing with the front cover still in place.

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Old 05-09-2019, 11:41 AM   #3
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Next up is the remove the key from the shaft so the front cover can be pulled off. If it gives you trouble, clamp it in your vice really tightly and then you can rock the shaft off the key.

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Old 05-09-2019, 11:44 AM   #4
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A woodworkers vice helps to hold the body while removing the fittings on the outputs. I clamped it up here and used wrenches to pull off the bronze output fittings so that I could clean the output check valve assemblies. At first I also thought there were o-rings in here to replace, but there are not on the older units.

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Old 05-09-2019, 11:46 AM   #5
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Once the keyway is out, it's easy to disassemble the rest of the pump by just removing the parts by hand. I laid them out in the locations they came from to keep track of the assembly.

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Old 05-09-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
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The adjuster on the front cover allows adjustment of the 'boost' of the system and changes the number of turns lock to lock. This adjuster is a common leak point. It has an o-ring installed on the shaft that needs to be replaced. To remove the adjuster, you have to drive out the roll pin on the shaft and then screw the shaft INTO the front cover, and it comes out the back.

I used a roll pin punch to remove it. This type of punch has a centering pin on it that keeps the punch centered on the pin. Setting it up against the vice jaws partially opened and gently driving it out was farily easy with this tool.

After changing the o-ring on the adjuster, screw it back in and drive the roll pin back in place. I used a roll pin starter driver. These are commonly sold as 'gun' tools.

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Old 05-09-2019, 12:30 PM   #7
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There are only three o-rings to change. I found that the o-ring provided by sea star for the front cover was not the correct o-ring. They provided a -152 o-ring which has an outside diameter of 3.443". However, the opening in the body of the pump is exactly 3.500". The provided o-ring didn't seal at all. The one I removed was obviously a different o-ring.

I decided to return the sea star kit since the primary o-ring wasn't the right size. I ordered the three o-rings I needed from McMaster carr.

Front cover o-ring : https://www.mcmaster.com/9452K165 (-236, Buna-N Dur 70, 3.512" O.D.)
Steering Shaft o-ring : https://www.mcmaster.com/9452K29 (-210, Buna-N Dur 70)
Adjuster o-ring: https://www.mcmaster.com/9452K18 (-010, Buna-N Dur 70)

The upside of going this route was that two helm kits from sea star are $100. I'd expect to get the right parts in it, especially for the price. From McMaster, the three o-rings I needed were $22.51 plus shipping. This is enough o-rings to do 50 helm stations, and is the minimum quantity.

I did call sea star and the tech I spoke to had no idea why the o-ring wasn't the correct one. It was definetly the o-ring specified in their parts list, but that doesn't fit my pump. I think that the early pumps had a larger diameter bore than the later pumps, but I have no idea when that change might have occured, and neither did the tech.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:33 PM   #8
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To re-assemble, I cleaned all of the parts in my parts washer and put them back the way I found them, using fresh Dexron III on each of the parts. I put the iron pipe back and washers back on and put on the retaining nut for the steering wheel while holding down the spring pressure from the individual plungers that do the pumping. I clamped it down in my vice and verified the alignment of the plungers and the 'cam' that the plungers ride on. It took a little bit of fiddling with it to get them all lined up properly. Make sure the cam is touching the adjuster on the front cover and that you have a good angle to the cam before you put it back into the housing.

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Old 05-09-2019, 12:37 PM   #9
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I lubed the front cover o-ring with syl-glide.



Insert the entire shaft/front cover assembly into the housing and rotate/slide the o-ring back into place. It's a tight fit, but you want to be careful not to pinch the o-ring. You'll feel it drop down into place after you work with it for a bit and then you can install the four bolts that hold the front cover on. At this point, the helm has all fresh seals and is ready to go back into the boat!

Two helm stations completed:

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Old 05-09-2019, 01:13 PM   #10
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Absolutely fantastic photo write-up of a job many TF members will face. Even those lacking the skills or courage to take this on themselves could use the write-up to brief a local hydraulics shop. Moderators pls consider anointing this as a Sticky.

I'd really liked to hear how you go about re commissioning, bleeding etc.

And thanks very much for all the time taken over and above the job itself to help everyone else.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:19 PM   #11
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This was a very common steering system on many older trawlers and semi displacement boats in the 35+ foot range. I'll cover the procedures for re-commission after I get them installed in the boat.
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