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Old 09-16-2019, 10:26 PM   #21
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Went out for a sunset dinner cruise with the wife and on the way home, after dark, we lost steering in the pilothouse...the wheel just spun. Happily, the after steering station (it's a former commercial fishing boat with a helm in the cockpit) is lower and still worked, although with absolutely no forward visibility! The admiral leaned out the port side of the cockpit and I leaned out the starboard and somehow we threaded out way though the marina to our slip.

There was a tiny leak in the seal at the rear helm. I wasn't checking the hydraulic fluid often enough and it suddenly got low enough to stop working at the upper helm. Replaced the old o-rings, topped off the system, and it's all good...and we have a new item on our startup checklist!
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:12 AM   #22
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I looked up the Capilano system and that looks like mine. Because of the location I cannot pour fluid in it. I am thinking of cutting a hole above it and putting in an inspection port. Where it is located I doubt the level has ever been checked so this will make it easy for me to check.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:09 PM   #23
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The knob below the wheel adjust the steering ratio/number of turns lock to lock. The upper pump is the reservoir. Had the same system on our last boat. Current boat is a sail boat with hydraulic steering and it does have a separate reservoir that needs to be pump up.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:59 PM   #24
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Based on the age/size of your boat it is probably a Capilano 250V. If the pump block is silver it does not contain internal check valves. Once you fill it with fluid, you must open the bleed screw on the Uniflow Valve located near your steering cylinder(s) in order to bleed the system. See attached. http://www.boatsteer.com/assets/capi...structions.pdf
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:50 PM   #25
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Not helpful this time, but, since the same thing happened to us at the start of our sea trial, we now check both helms and all shift / throttle controls before starting the engine.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:17 PM   #26
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you say it is a sundeck. the reservoir is probably under the bed in the aft cabin. it probably has a fitting to add fluid as well as a fitting to pressurize it with a bicycle pump.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:45 PM   #27
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The Celestial had a Capilano helm system, upper and lower helms. I once had to add oil to it. I found the same problem with the plug and no room. I solved that by using an old oil can with a manual finger-operated pump. I put a small vinyl hose on it and put the other end into the plug hole. Simply pumped oil until the reservoir was full. Had to tighten a connection at the ram, then purged air out of the system and never had any more problems. IIRC, the knob under the helm wheel was to adjust how many turns of the wheel it took to go from lock-to-lock.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:39 AM   #28
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I have a 1985 Marine Trader Sun Deck. My boat lost steering at the upper helm only about a month ago. My filler is easy to get to right above the wheel on the helm dash. I didn't see a place to add pressurize?

I am guessing I have the Capilano since it looks like what's in the diagram here. I have a small leak at my auto pilot so topping off is a normal ritual recently I noticed I have air in my line so this post is helpful, I'll try bleeding it.

I am wondering if I will have to bleed it every time I fill it?
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:24 PM   #29
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Derik, you will have to bleed it every time you get air in it. You can tell if you have air in it by turning the wheel to one side or the other to a rudder stop. If there is any softness/squishiness when attempting to put a little pressure against the stop - there is air in it (or your flexible lines on the ram are getting too soft and are expanding under pressure - they should not). If you have some leakage in the helm pump, that may feel like softness/squishiness, but there would be no back pressure on the helm when released due to compressed air in the system, i.e., there should be virtually no "rebound" on the wheel. The Capilano helm pumps have check valves in them to prevent one helm from turning the other helm. It is normal on older systems to have a little movement on one helm when the other helm is being turned as the check valves sometimes have to have a little pressure on them to seal properly. Capilano helm systems are normally great systems and are essentially trouble free once any leaks are corrected and the system properly bled. There are rebuild kits for Capilano pumps - Google for them. If you do a rebuild yourself - be aware that as in any hydraulic system, cleanliness is paramount - a tiny speck of something can make a seal leak a lot. I don't know how your system is set up, but in the Celestial, there was a valved bypass at the ram on the rudders, which, when opened allowed hydraulic fluid to flow continuously in either direction, so that by simply turning the wheel continuously in one direction, it was possible to purge all air out of the lines. When purging, be sure that the ram is first moved lock to lock to purge any air within it, then open the bypass and purge the lines. Be sure that there is always hydraulic oil in the pump to preclude ingesting more air and that when finished purging, to close the bypass valve if there is one.
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Old 09-26-2019, 03:06 PM   #30
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Thanks Wayne, I'll do a little investigative work to see what's going on. My theory is it was low when I bought it (I added almost a quart of fluid) Then I didn't property "purge" or burp it so it worked much better than before but eventually needed more fluid once the air bubble went away. I have added a total of about a half gallon but my leak at the auto pilot is very minimal, it appears to be an o ring on one of the bolts (black square box).
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:35 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Myns View Post
I talked to a mechanic and he told me the knob on the front of the wheel is the vent and fill opening. Being an ex sailboat I had assumed it was a helm brake. Hr told me slowly add hydraulic fluid toll full then let it sit overnight and if needed add more. He says it will not be perfect but should get me back to my haul out marina. I will try it this weekend.

No, the knob on the front of the Capilano system is an adjustment for the sensitivity of the steering pump. The vent is on the top of the pump itself.
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