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Old 05-15-2020, 12:56 PM   #1
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Garmin autopilot

Hi all. I just installed a new garmin system in my dual helm chb trawler. While bleeding the system the helms got stiff and almost impossible to steer. The smart pump moves the rudder without much effort so it seems itís not returning fluids to the helms. I verified the 3 lines going to the pump from the helm multiple times and they are correct. Used sea star fluid. I removed the shadow drive and replaced it with a union so itís not the problem. Garmin reps focused on that and if I used proper sealer on my fittings. Didnít matter what I did the helms were almost impossible to use yet moving the rudder with the new autopilot display arrows on the dash seems effortless. Garmin has agreed to send a new smart pump 40. Anyone have an idea or experience with it? When using the autopilot does it send return fluid through the helms or is the return line only utilized when steering manually? The smart pump has a manual screw type valve for bleeding or bypass that didnít seem to do or change anything. I am waiting and havenít hooked up the lines for manual steering again. Thanks. Terry
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:25 AM   #2
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Wow 67 views and not one response. What’s up?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:02 AM   #3
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What's the existing steering system (make/model)? Any chance of a sketch of the plumbing so we can see how everything is hooked up?


My first guesses would be that either 1) something isn't plumbed up correctly, or 2) some debris got into the system and has blocked a valve somewhere.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:38 AM   #4
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mizzkim, where did you locate the shadow drive?
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:11 AM   #5
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Are you sure you used the correct hydraulic fluid? The Capilano system which is owned by SeaStar requires ATF, not SeaStar fluid. Just a thought.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:40 AM   #6
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First off thanks for responding! The helms are 80s vintage teleflex. The lower helm has four ports. Labeled T on top, B on the bottom, L on the port or left side and R on the starboard or right side. The garmin rep at first said r is return but that’s not correct. I’ve taken all the lines off and verified them at the stern. The b line is the return for the bottom helm and the T line goes up to the upper helm. The lines are clear. I used ATF fluid and purged the system from the cylinder up to the top helm. As I mentioned the bypass screw on the smart pump didn’t change anything. I think the return valve in the smart pump wouldn’t allow the fluid to go back to the helms. The old pump should arrive at garmin today. Just wondering if anyone else has had a problem with garmin pumps. Thanks a bunch.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:43 AM   #7
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I have a Garmin pump and have had no issues.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:02 AM   #8
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The smart pump? When you bleed the system what happens when you open the bypass bleed screw? Mine made no change. Thanks
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:08 AM   #9
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The shadow drive was located in the starboard line below the helm about 20 inches horizontal and higher than the pump but I took it out and replaced it with a pipe union. Still changed nothing. When I hooked up the bleed screws and purged the system the helms worked normally but when you close the screws and close the purge bypass valve on the pump the helms get almost solid. You can force the wheel and move the rudder but it is hard steering. Almost impossible. Thanks
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:31 AM   #10
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Garmin autopilot

First of all you might consider purging the lines and replacing with Ford Mercon, < 2 gallons. This ATF is the recommended fluid for the Teleflex/Capilano haydraulic steering system with the Model 50 Uniflow. (This solved "hard "steering" for a poster a few years ago.) I DIY'd the GHP10 installation 6 years ago and the Garmin Tech Help, at that time was very specific, so, that's all I've used. Frankly, I've not had to add fluid since. I think after a thorough fluid replacement and bleed, your steering troubles will disappear. The Capilano ram may need to have the seals replaced because installation might have dislodged dirt, but, that is unlikely. I have some notes and research materials if you PM me. The only real problem after installation was doing the sea trial set-up Wizard and installing, and then re-installing the software. (Very time consuming)
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:43 AM   #11
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Thanks

I appreciate that. Iíve definitely purged the system. I did use mercon atf fluid. Iím quite sure my problem is in the smart pump but havenít had a response from garmin yet. What happens when you use the bypass purge valve located on the pump? Nothing changed on mine. It just seems it wonít let fluid return to the helms. I havenít been out to use the setup wizard yet. We get the rudder set up to work. You can change the heading and steer the boat with the arrows on the display and the pump works great. Does not labor but as I stated you canít steer manually. Thanks terry in Alaska
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:39 AM   #12
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Sure sounds like a hydraulic lock. Are the helms free when unhooked ? Find an install diagram for the helms and double check the hook ups. Hopefully you can find one with an autopilot pump too.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:49 AM   #13
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OK, this might be a shot in the dark, but on my older Garmin autopilot pump there are 3 brass screws on the manifold. Closing those screws blocks off the pump and enables manual only steering. Opening the screws puts the pump back in the loop. I've had autopilot pump problems, and those screws are not only great for troubleshooting, but they provided a get-home solution when the pump failed.

Not sure if the SmartPump has the same configuration, but just thought I'd throw it out there in case this helps isolate the problem.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:51 PM   #14
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Garmin shows a number of different ways to plumb up their pump into a steering system. Without knowing how yours is plumbed up I don't think you will get any useful help. If you can sketch up a plumbing schematic then many of us can likely help or produce useful things to test/try. Otherwise there isn't much we can do to help.
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