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Old 12-03-2022, 05:40 PM   #1
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Hydraulic Steering Line Repair

I was drilling a hole in a locker and damaged one of the hydraulic steering tubes.

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The view is from the engine compartment looking up at the floor of the locker. As you can see the drill bit did a nice job on the tubing.

Searching the forum indicates that the fix is to piece in a length of tubing with compression fittings. The tubing is 3/8 inch.

My only experience with compression fittings is fitting bathroom sinks.

Suggestions and advice will be appreciated.

Bruce
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:48 PM   #2
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Itís bent. It doesnít look like it is kinked. I donít see a leak in that photo. Not a lot of fluid goes through that and it isnít high pressure.

If it is real easy to access it, sure, replace it. If no leaks or restrictions, why?
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:53 PM   #3
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I agree, if it wasn't leaking I'd live with it. BTW, from what I've read in this forum, the pressure can be quite high when the rudder is hard over.

Bruce


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Itís bent. It doesnít look like it is kinked. I donít see a leak in that photo. Not a lot of fluid goes through that and it isnít high pressure.

If it is real easy to access it, sure, replace it. If no leaks or restrictions, why?
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Old 12-03-2022, 06:33 PM   #4
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I don't see the hole but I see heat damage, corrosion and potential kinking. I would find the ends and re route and replace both lines. The instructions to bleed the lines are pretty simple. On my Hynautique system just repressurize the system and do about six complete lock to lock turns on the highest station. Yours may be different but not all that complicated.

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Old 12-03-2022, 06:59 PM   #5
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It's hydraulic, use flare fittings and tool, not compression fittings.
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Old 12-03-2022, 09:09 PM   #6
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It is your steering and it can see 100's of psi of pressure so it is sort of important. I'd not advise a wait and see attitude. You want to use flare fittings and most hardware stores sell brass flare fittings. Flaring the tube is easy with the correct flaring tool which a lot of hardware stores also sell, so does Amazon. Go to youtube and you'll find lots of videos on how to do it. If anyone asks say that you're doing SAE flares. As I mentioned it is your steering and it is important, if you're not comfortable fixing it yourself find a pro.
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Old 12-03-2022, 09:37 PM   #7
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Using a flaring tool isnt difficult, but you do need some room to work. I've only used the cheap flaring tools similar to shown below. The "clamp" bar has to be super tight - put an an adjustable wrench on the wing nuts and thighten them as tight as possible. Its awkward in cramped quarters so you may need to cut-back to an area where you have better access. Similarly, driving the wedge-piece to flare the copper requires a shot cheater-bar on the crossbar. This is not dainty work.

hydraulic steering systems are frequently rated at 900 psi.

Good luck

Peter

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Old 12-03-2022, 10:00 PM   #8
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I will second the flare fittings for a repair. Compression fittings are for bathrooms and other low pressure systems.

I think I see a peel of the tubing so other than the bend and twist it looks to me like there is more damage than just the twist and bend.

Cut it out and splice in a proper repair using FLares.

Your steering system , many of them, when working hard in a rough sea can produce upward of 1,000PSI to get that rudder to respond especially if you have an autopilot operating.

And do some practice so you can reliably produce a double flare joint. On my boat I found split single flares and spent a lot of time cutting them off and redoing with double flares.

You will need a double flare tool kit which is what MVWEEBLES shows.
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Old 12-04-2022, 06:02 AM   #9
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Just repeating..... Pressure rating is typically about 1000 psi, so be sure you use parts and tubing accordingly rated. Tubing comes in different wall thicknesses and you will need the strongest. Look for pressure ratings on every part you use.


Flare nuts are another part where there are different ratings. You need cast nuts, not machined nuts. Again, look for pressure ratings. Water pressure, which is what copper tubing is typically used for, is max 100 psi. Even high pressure LPG is only 250 psi or so.


And great advice to do double flares, plus practice a bunch outside the boat, then do the final flares in confined space.
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Old 12-04-2022, 10:11 AM   #10
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I agree with everyone that you need to flare your fittings but you should really take it one step further.

Buy the most expensive flaring tool you can fine, probably a "Ridgid". Get a good "double flare" kit. Watch a couple youtube videos on double flaring. It is easy and with a good flaring tool really insures a good fit.

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Old 12-04-2022, 10:24 AM   #11
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Pete M - the better flaring tools are pretty expensive ($350-ish) and probably won't get used again by the OP. Plus the double-flares are a bit trickier than single flares (NOTE - the simple tool I linked above is a single flare, not a double flare).

The benefit of the mac-daddy hydraulic tools is they are more compact to use in tight spaces. The mechanisms that clamp the standing tube tight are much more secure.

I agree with others that even if this is not leaking right now, it should be repaired soon. It looks really constricted which will affect steering. Repair really depends on access to the line. With the simple mechanical tool I posted above, you really need to put your entire weight into it and use cheater-bars/pipe. For propane fittings, I put a dab of pipe-dope on the face to help, but I don't think it would play nicely with hydraulic oil.

If the OP has a mechanic that is familiar with hydraulics and has the nice hydraulic too (also used for brake lines, so good chance), he may want to wait and have it professionally done. If it leaks, he has recourse. I'd say there's a non-zero chance the hand-tool approach would leak.

Peter
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Old 12-04-2022, 11:45 AM   #12
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The things you learn, I had never heard of a double flare before probably because I have never needed to work on brake lines.

mvweebies: I cant find anything for "mac-daddy".

I did find an Eastwood hydraulic kit:

https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-hy...ce=google&wv=4

Is it as compact as the mac-daddy?

Are the compression fittings the same for single/double flare?

I am sure that I will be doing this repair myself. The cost of the hydraulic tool is much less than the cost of having a mechanic do the repair.

Thanks to all for helping out with my continuing education program.

Bruce









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mac-daddy hydraulic tools
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Old 12-04-2022, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennBruce View Post
The things you learn, I had never heard of a double flare before probably because I have never needed to work on brake lines.

mvweebies: I cant find anything for "mac-daddy".

I did find an Eastwood hydraulic kit:

https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-hy...ce=google&wv=4

Is it as compact as the mac-daddy?

Are the compression fittings the same for single/double flare?

I am sure that I will be doing this repair myself. The cost of the hydraulic tool is much less than the cost of having a mechanic do the repair.

Thanks to all for helping out with my continuing education program.

Bruce
Eastwood is good, and qualifies as "Mac Daddy" in my book.

Reason I say it's more compact isn't because the tool itself is smaller, but it requires much less space when using. The $30 hand tool I posted works fine if you can put the multi-hole base clamp in a vise (best); or wedged on the floor (works but distance second). For larger size tubing, you really have to womp on the wing nuts to keep the tubing from slipping when you drive the cone-wedge flare head in.

The hydraulic one has double the gripping surface as the el-cheapo; and the hydraulic ram removes the need to swing a large wrench with cheater bar held in place. It's much easier to use for in-situ repairs.

Good luck -

Peter
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Old 12-04-2022, 12:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennBruce View Post
The things you learn, I had never heard of a double flare before probably because I have never needed to work on brake lines.

mvweebies: I cant find anything for "mac-daddy".

I did find an Eastwood hydraulic kit:

https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-hy...ce=google&wv=4

Is it as compact as the mac-daddy?

Are the compression fittings the same for single/double flare?

I am sure that I will be doing this repair myself. The cost of the hydraulic tool is much less than the cost of having a mechanic do the repair.

Thanks to all for helping out with my continuing education program.

Bruce

That is a reasonably good kit. There are less expensive kits as well. The key is adequately securing the tube. Not a fan of the thumb screw kits but they do work.

Since you will be splicing in a section of tube. Look for areas that give you room to work. You might find a tubing bender will allow you to splice in a larger section and make it easier to make the flares.
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Old 12-04-2022, 12:47 PM   #15
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tiltrider1


You are right. Finding room to work is the challenge!

Bruce



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Since you will be splicing in a section of tube. Look for areas that give you room to work.
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Old 12-04-2022, 12:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Since you will be splicing in a section of tube. Look for areas that give you room to work. You might find a tubing bender will allow you to splice in a larger section and make it easier to make the flares.

Very good point. You don't have to do the splice right where it's damaged. You can do it anywhere along the pipe run as long as it encompasses the damaged area, and you can fish the new pipe through. That might allow you to find more convenients location to work.
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Old 12-09-2022, 08:07 PM   #17
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Follow the copper line to see if there is a place to work on both ends and put in a longer splice?
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Old 12-09-2022, 08:38 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. PB. I second and third the advice given so far. Single flare is fine and it doesn't take a lot of bench practice time to make a good flare BUT, I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the MOST important, by far, aspect of the whole exercise:


Put the nut on the tubing BEFORE you flare it!!!!!


Um...er...Don't ask me how I know...











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Old 12-09-2022, 08:40 PM   #19
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Old 12-09-2022, 08:48 PM   #20
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I have this one https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...ringtools2.php

Its the best one I have used and has all the dies in the tool that just rotate. Very compact. It also flares to 37 degree flares which are better than the old SAE 45 degree flares. Just be sure to buy 37 degree fittings. They are either JIC or AN.
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