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Old 05-17-2016, 10:08 AM   #1
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Hydraulic steering

Hello everybody.

I have some questions regarding steering. My 40 year-old cheoy-lee trawler has the original wagner hydraulic steering system (a-w helm pumps). It has been unused for the past 2 years as i rebuilt the engines.

Recently, i finished changing rotted wood in the lazarette that braced the rudders. The actuator is able to move one rudder, but not when they are attached to each other.

Does any one know how i can get a wagner manual? I have tried e0bay and other sites, including wagner engineering, ltd. To no avail.

Could this be air in the system? Although, there are no leaks.
How would you bleed this system?
Is it like cars, where you just turn back and forth until the bubbles leave?
Should i change the system altogether?
Are there any vanes/impellers/seals that need to be checked?

I did notice that the port rudder is the hardest to turn manually. The actuator is connected to the starboard rudder, and then a bar fixes to both.

Appreciate your input.

Mari
san juan, pr
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Old 05-17-2016, 10:24 AM   #2
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I have roughly the same wagner hydraulic steering system with original installation manuals (circa 1984). I will upload those for you if no one beats me to it.
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Old 05-17-2016, 10:25 AM   #3
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Maybe air in the system, air compresses so the extra force needed for the stiff to turn rudder, prevents it from moving. Kind of like air in car brakes, the pedal will go to the floor.

It would be bad, if the system could not turn the rudder, if a force works against it like waves, current or stiffness in the bushing. So then good you discovered this now.

I think you need to free up the rudder so it is not stiff and bleed the system of trapped air.
I would think must be a flll port so turn rudder back and forth while filling should clear out the air?

Is yours similar to this Wagner steering
http://www.sealandpower.com/Controls...teering(5).pdf

Mentions a fill port on the back of the helm pump. Says simply fill it up with oil.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:26 AM   #4
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The eagle has Wagner. The fluid is transmission fluid, not oil. So be fore adding know what the old fluid is or better yet what it should be. You can fill and bleed the lines by turning wheel back and forth, holding wheel.
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:39 PM   #5
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When I got my boat, it too had not been run for a few years. The hydraulic cylinder seized (could be moved with the wheel, but was very jerky and difficult to move) and needed to be replaced in my instance. I pulled it off and it took a mini sledge hammer to take it apart. I found that the plastic piece in the middle of the cylinder expanded, causing the issue.

To refill my dual station system with fluid after changing the cylinder, I filled at the flybridge (highest point) and had a helper turn the salon station wheel all the way to the left and right several times. I then did the same with the flybridge wheel, while making sure to keep sufficient fluid in the system during the process. My manual (Teleflex Seastar) also called for transmission fluid.
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Old 05-17-2016, 04:29 PM   #6
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Greetings,
We have a Wagner system. Somewhere in the dim recesses of my memory I vaguely recall that ATF was NOT the fluid of choice...Telus 35 perhaps? ATF could be used in an emergency but should be changed over ASAP.
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Old 05-17-2016, 04:35 PM   #7
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After five years, my hydraulic steering became distractingly "loose" so added several ounces of steering fluid (at which point the fill hole overflowed). A re-filling a few days later made it copacetic.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for the prompt response and advice folks.
Pukeanddie: Do not see the manual, but sdowney717 seems to be the
one.
Sdowney717: The type "n" seems to be the one.
Phil fill: I will try that tomorrow. It always used transmission
fluid.
Clyn: Will try yor tecnique, which various others have
recommended.
Rt firefly: Thanks for the input. My parents had the boat for 20
years and always used transmission fluid without
problems.
Markpierce: I thought that would be the way, but it is uncopacetic.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:59 PM   #9
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Allright guys straight out of hte manual. I still have my Wagner steering
Transmission fluid is acceptable (Type A)

However the following fluids are preferred due to superior properties...
Gulf Harmoney AW43 or HVI 47
ISO Shell Nuto 32 or Univisn22
ISO Shgell Tellus 32 or Tellus T37
Chevron O.C. Turbine oil #11

I use the readily available Tellus 32 in mine with no problems

1981 Wagner steering in a 1981 Cheoy Lee
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:13 PM   #10
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OK, so I was 3 off on my Tellus #...
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:19 PM   #11
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At least you remembered not to use ATF and its supposed to be Tellus...I had to look up which Tellus!
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:06 PM   #12
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For whatever it's worth Tony Athens from Seaboard Marine recommends 3 parts ATF to 1 part #2 diesel for systems that use oil.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean9c View Post
For whatever it's worth Tony Athens from Seaboard Marine recommends 3 parts ATF to 1 part #2 diesel for systems that use oil.
I find that to be a really strange combination!
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:20 AM   #14
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Years ago I had a problem with my Wagner steering on my last sailboat. I researched it and bought Telus 10 oil to add, due to a leak in the autopilot pump. I found then that Wagner engineering of North Van had gone TU and all of its parts had been purchased by a Seattle outfit. I stumbled upon the old Wagner guys working at another outfit and took my bad pump in to see what they could do. Turned out it was past saving, so I took it back and fixed it myself (nothing to lose) and it was still good when I sold the boat. My next boat also had Wagner steering and autopilot, so when it failed years later I knew who to call. By then, I had met Paul Wagner and he put me onto the right guys to get my S50 purring happily. Still nothing could save the old pump when it started to leak. After a couple of years saved by the same fixes as on the sailboat I finally bit the bullet and bought a nice shiny new Raymarine Autopilot that pushes the rest of the Wagner stuff just fine. I still have a jug of Telus 10 up by the flybridge pump, just in case, but I haven't had to add any since the new Autopilot went in.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:38 AM   #15
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Use AW32, you can buy it at Oreilly Auto by the gallon for $13. Don't use ATF, it will cause the seals to fail.

See attached for how to fill and bleed.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf wa-brochure-filling-N-series-cylinders.pdf (293.4 KB, 65 views)
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:06 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info regarding atf. Turns out the problem is a seized port rudder, i assume is due to no activity for the past 8 years. The pumps and actuator are working fine, but i will change the oil to the ones you folks recommend. This saturday i will use a hydraulic pump to force the rudder down, hopefully freeing it from calcium deposits or really old stuffing, which prevent it from being moved by the actuator. I might have to drill on the rudder shaft and attach a come-along in case it drops too much, so i don't have to dive for the rudder falling. The boat is in water. A lot of work, but i am learning. Thanks again.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:22 AM   #17
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"This saturday i will use a hydraulic pump to force the rudder down, hopefully freeing it from calcium deposits or really old stuffing, which prevent it from being moved by the actuator".

First I would loosen the packing nut and try better living thru chemistry.

Krolls or PB blaster for a couple of days , and if that doesn't work pull out all the packing and try again.

Seldom a need for brute force.
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:42 AM   #18
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Thanks, FF for the advice. I am reluctant to use force, too. I removed all the old mushy remains of the packing, filled the area with PB BLASTER. Probably should try muriatic acid. The rudder is still "frozen". The large nut was loosened a few turns. I might have to drill thru the top of the shaft, attach a wire and drop the rudder. I am at depth of 10' at the mooring.
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