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Old 10-09-2017, 09:18 PM   #1
City: Port Angeles
Country: US
Vessel Name: Wagmore
Vessel Model: 1988 Nordic Tug 26
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 17
Wagner actuator - replace?

This is one of those projects I'm trying to keep from getting away from me. Perhaps a picture tells the whole story...

Hydraulic steering on a Nordic Tug 26 - Wagner 700 series helm pump and actuator pictured above. All is working fine now as-is - turns easily, no slop, no major leaks. Tiny drips in a couple places at the fittings, nothing coming out of the helm pump or actuator that I can see. However...that corrosion on the actuator seems significant to me, leaks or no.

I'm in the middle of an autopilot installation, a Simrad RPU-80 is about to go into the mix. I'm considering replacing all the lines. Not only because of the small leaks, but there are two compression unions splicing the lines that are there for unknown reasons.

Seems like a repair was made at one point, as the hydraulic lines aft of the unions are older than the ones up front. Maybe somebody didn't want to mess with the corroded connections at the actuator. Anyway, since I need to splice the line yet again to put in tees for the Simrad pump, resulting in four more compression fittings - this is starting to feel like a major hack, and last thing I want to deal with is failed steering. I need to do this right.

Is the actuator shown a concern if it's otherwise working fine? I'm a little gun shy about pulling those fittings, but if the actuator should be replaced anyway - I'll follow up with questions on how best to do that.

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Old 10-09-2017, 11:08 PM   #2
Xsbank's Avatar
City: Pender Harbour, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Gwaii Haanas
Vessel Model: Vancouver Shipyards Custom Aluminum 52
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,991
To me, it looks like someone used bronze/brass fittings screwed into a painted aluminum part. The corrosion can be cleaned up, remove all of the paint on the corroded part and replace the bronze/brass fittings with satinless, using a thread dope or teflon tape for fuel (not white) to insulate the threads enough that they won’t gall. Also, that heim joint has failed or the lever arm needs to be bushed (looks like both to me). Try just tightening the leaking fittings, that may solve the leak.

I also do not see any bonding on that rudder stock, you might investigate that more too?

Don't believe everything that you think.
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:59 AM   #3
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City: Kilmarnock VA
Country: united states
Vessel Name: YellowBird MMSI 367769170
Vessel Model: 1978 Mainship m1 #149
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 454
Your bilge area/hardware actually look good to me! No seawater leaks at the shaft log & NO green corrosion... that's a rarity. Perhaps there was an autopilot pump installed close to the ram in the past & the unions are where it used to be plumbed into the steering? Or maybe the PO extended the steering lines rather than replace all of them due to the modification done back there?
If you wanted to mount your RPU80 in that area, just remove the unions & replace with tees to keep the fitting count down.
I'd think about adding the pump closer to the helm so you don't have to run a return line all of the way from the pump in the rudder area to the reservoir.
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