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Old 05-20-2014, 04:23 PM   #21
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capilano instructions
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:29 PM   #22
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fault tracing
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:43 PM   #23
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I looked at my autopilot instructions and it was as I remembered. You must pipe the autopilot return into the uniflow return at least 6 feet away from the uniflow valve. I'm not saying this is your problem but it could be.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:14 PM   #24
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OB Thanks for all the great info !!!!! I have some reading to do. I was aware that some info/help provided concerned different systems than ours, nonetheless all help is profoundly & sincerely appreciated. It always amazes me how a seemingly unconnected idea or thought proves to be the key piece to solving the puzzle

Incidentally, my cylinder lines are indeed off the top and my univalve is approx 35ft from the autopilot pump connections.

I think some of these more obscure random symptoms I'm experiencing this afternoon are simply a case of the system now being full of air. I'm in the process of getting it back to square one by bleeding & topping up then I'll try some process of elimination to see if I can isolate the culprit. I suppose the AP pump could also be an issue if it is allowing pressure to escape to the return line???
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:37 PM   #25
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OB, what type of fluid are you using in your system? I've been using tranny fluid. My book called for dextron 2 or 3 but I note on the later helms they say specifically not to use tranny fluid.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:28 AM   #26
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On the top helm try getting access to the fill port and install a hose barb and a length of hose even if you need a tee or whatever due to poor access. It need only be a 1/4" ID line. Put the other end into a jug of clean oil so it is well covered. You may need to add a hose barb at the oil jug end to ensure it stays submerged. It must stay submerged so the hose cannot suck air , instead some of the oil in the jug. Check the level often.

The fact that your system is burping oil all over tells me you have air. That is typical. The air is working its way to the top helm but unfortunately that also means forcing some oil ahead of it and overtaxing the upper helm storage capacity. Yhe jug will stop the mess as long as it is half filled so there is lots of unused space.

A funnel at this point f the process is useless and will continue to defeat your efforts.

Untill you get past that major burping you will continue to have trouble.

As each bubble is cleared then continued wheel operation will suck in more oil to refill the space just as long as that jug end of hose is submerged but only if submerged.

If one wheel does not affect the other I think the check valves are working. That's what they are present for. To stop the other wheel from moving and also ensure the oil from one wheel goes to the steer cylinder and not bypass it at the other wheel.

I asume the system used to work ok. I've not had the trouble but i will emphasize the point about the return line being lead into the BOTTOM of the lower helm and then out the TOP of the lower helm and then carrying on to the BOTTOM of the upper helm. Unless this is correct, air will be caught in the pump.

You must work both wheels one at a time and constantly back and forth from one wheel to the other.

Take a serious look at the lines and if you see any major dips that can trap air you may have to try straighten the dips or some of them out a bit.

These sytems work well. MIne is 35 years old and other than needing to replace the steer cylinder piston seal , an 'O' ring, and fix a few leaks it has been absolutely reliable.

Lots of edit here I will also say that the Univalve bleed ports should be open while all this cranking is going on so all that air goes into the return line and not into the cylinder.

I just reread one of your posts , # 14, and a dish is not good enough. That hose end needs to be buried under several inches of oil. That's why I used the jug. To keep the hose end buried and leave enough air space above so when one of those bubbles burst out, and they do burst, the spray and over flow was contained. That several inches of oil also ensures that NO AIR can be pulled in as long as you check often and top the jug up as needed. Forget once and you will start trouble all over.

Your problems sound a LOT like mine when I went to refill my system. I didn't think of the fuel jug untill I made one heck a a big mess.

I use Dexron in my system. The manual says ~ 5 wgt Hydraulic oil. They used to recommend the Dexron as a second choice. Wagner was not too far from where my B.I.L. and I live and my B.I.L. had the same system and he asked and was told the following since 5 wgt Hyd. oil is not easy to find so an alternate was a 10Wgt mixed 50/50 with kerosene. I wasn't comfortable with that and since my system was originally Dexron I stayed with Dexron. I do have a jug of 10Wgt hyd. as a back up or I have to do it again. The last time was between 15 and 20 yrs ago.

It will purge but it will take some time.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:28 AM   #27
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The bleed process described in the manual is exactly how I did it on my boat. The only difference is the univalve, which is built in to more modern helm pumps. Also, the univalve accomplishes the same function as the bypass valve in my system. Opening the two bleed screws on the univalve allows oil to flow freely from either port to the return.

The issue with bleeding without an opened univalve or an opened bypass valve is that there is not enough oil movement in a since hard over to hard over turn of the wheel to push entrapped air all the way out of the system. You reach the stop before the air has made it all the way out. So all you end up doing is shuttling the air bubbles back and forth in the system.

Note that the instructions say it can take 15 minutes worth of wheel turning to push out all the air. Just keep turning and turning in the same direction until the oil level is stable and no more bubbles are coming out. Then go in the other direction. Then go to the next helm location, and also do the same with the AP pump, running it continuously in one direction for a while, then the other direction. And pay heed to the suggestions on a fill tube and reserve of fluid so bubbles come out, but fluid gets sucked back in, not air.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:08 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Kangeroo View Post
OB, what type of fluid are you using in your system? I've been using tranny fluid. My book called for dextron 2 or 3 but I note on the later helms they say specifically not to use tranny fluid.

I am using Dextron III transmission fluid.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:26 AM   #29
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We use Sea Star fluid, although we've never had to fill it.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:41 PM   #30
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I can't thank you guys enough for all the help, when I got up this morning my plan was to rip the whole thing out & buy new helms but you all have convinced me to try bleeding one LAST time.

Last night in preparation to bleed the system I opened the bleed screws on the univalve then a few moments later I headed to the bridge where I was greeted by rivers of tranny fluid streaming across the bridge floor to the drains then all down the sides of the cabin and onto the gunwales. I was stunned, how in hell could nearly all the oil in the system run up hill nearly 20ft and pour out the vent by simply opening the bleed screws???. What a %#&*$ mess. While contemplating my misfortune over several scotches I was determined to relegate these helms to spare anchors. Hard to believe such a simple system can cause so much grief.

t.t If this last system bleed goes south, I may soon have the same system as yours.

P.S. Clectric, if your typing skills are like mine & you typed all that out with one finger, you my friend are a saint. Great advice & time well spent that not only greatly helps me but almost certainly countless others over the years to come. Incidentally, I was using the permanently mounted dish & tube off the top of the vent to catch the overflow which would then be sucked back in during operation. It was the only way I have been able to use my steering. For bleeding I have been using a funnel but I like your idea of a jug.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:42 PM   #31
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Oil does not flow uphill. After you opened the vents and uni-valve bleed by's ether one of the helm pumps or you autopilot pump or maybe some force turning the rudders pumped oil out of the system. Also could have been a great deal of compressed air that you released with the bleed screws.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:23 PM   #32
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Just finished bleeding the system again, all went well and the symptoms reported earlier have all disappeared. I left everything set up so I'll see if any air reappears in the morning.

Unfortunately although things look positive, I've been here before. I'll report back tomorrow on how it looks.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:17 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
This univalve is new to me. How does it fit into the picture?
Picture worth.................
Top three line are to and from the helm pump, bottom two lines go to the hydraulic cylinder.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:39 PM   #34
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You may still need to take the boat out for a run. The pitching, rolling and the wheel turning will purge any remaining air.
Keep that line and half filled jug attached while doing so.
You likely won't have the large burps but save the mess for the jug.

Have you tested the wheels hard over in each direction? They should stop hard with no or very little drift and with pressure on the wheel to turn.. If they feel soft at the turn stop or keep slowly drifting over then you still have some air.

It took me a run or two to finally be able to call it good. Ideally your entire piping and supply sytem would have a slight , constant rise back to the pumps just like your home plumbing has a slight , constant drop to the mains outside. That slight slope doesn't happen on most boats thus the need for a run to do it for you.

At least for the last run the air quantity was extremely small and only minor top ups, no more jug, was enough as the final small bubbles worked thier way out.
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:37 PM   #35
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Well, I worked the pilot and helms this morning and got a few small a burps of air but I think I can safely say its properly bleed. I'll take the boat out for a run as Clectric suggests then button everything up.

The only concern I have at this point is that "with the univalve bleed screws slightly crackled the ram & rudders were still moving as I turned the helms, however when they hit the stops I could still continue turning. (I assume this is simply because I did not have the bleeds open far enough). That said, I noted that when operating the autopilot pump, it "was not" moving the ram & rudders. This concerns me and the only logic I can apply is that the pilot pump may have a much lower volume than the helms and simply does not have the voulume necessary to move the ram when the bleeds are open. Seems a logical explanation but it's only a worrisome wild guess.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:29 PM   #36
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All was / is working better than it has in a long while and I buttoned it up only to find it is now leaking in places it has never leaked before. Both ends on the ram cylinder and at the adjustment knob at the lower helm.

Sigh! Back to the drawing board.
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Old 09-17-2014, 02:29 PM   #37
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Just arrived back at boat after a long sojourn. The saga continues, after bleeding and all the steps above I found I had many leaks that were not there before so I ripped out both hems and the cylinder and installed new seals in all. After reassemby & bleeding I found the hems quite stiff to turn but otherwise working normally, however when I engage the autopilot pump to starboard a large quantity of oil pours out the top helm, it does not do this engaging it to port. The other issue is I can not stop a tiny leak on the cylinder despite having it out twice.

I've had enough and am going to buy a compete new system, particularly since the uniflow valve is obsolete anyway.

Does anyone know if the new 1250/1275 Capilano helms and cylinders are drop in replacements for the old 250/275 helms??? I realy, realllly don't want to get into cutting and splicing copper lines.
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