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Old 12-01-2012, 00:27   #1
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Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

I am going to replace my hydraulic steering system in a 39ft Pilothouse Sailboat. It has twin steering. I had a good look at the system and how it works and feel I am capable to do it myself . Two reasons for that. Firstly I save a nice hand full of money and secondly I know my boat better than I did before.
The two pumps are Capilano 1250V and the hydraulic cylinder is a Capilano BA 150-7TMB. I plan to replace all the lines as well.
I don't see a real problem doing it myself or is there more to it?
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:37   #2
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

Hallo Reiner, I'd be interested in how you're getting on with that, I've got the exact same system Capilano 1250V with "uniflow" valve. I think the modern systems don't use that valve nor a third return line any more (since the valves are in helm pump), I should think that entails changing the autopilot pump too?
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:24   #3
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

Quote:
Originally Posted by idpnd View Post
Hallo Reiner, I'd be interested in how you're getting on with that, I've got the exact same system Capilano 1250V with "uniflow" valve. I think the modern systems don't use that valve nor a third return line any more (since the valves are in helm pump), I should think that entails changing the autopilot pump too?
My system runs two pipes only and the two pumps are hooked up parallel . I hope the autopilot pump is ok. It is only 3 years old. There is one more hose running from the bottom of the higher( inside) steering to the filler of the lower( cockpit) pump.
The pipes are copper and pretty green so I have to find out if it is smarter using nylon or rubber pipes.
I had a look at your boat, it looks fantastic and a nice size too.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:34   #4
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

Thanks for your kind words!

I hear the best solution are copper pipes. I have rubber hoses, which need to be replaced every decade or so as per the advice of a naval surveyor friend.

Looks like you have the slightly more modern version of the system. Why are you changing if I may ask?
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:08   #5
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

I also have a multi station Capilano 1250 system. Having done this several times in other boats. some of the things one should remember. Teflon hose with the braided outside cover is a very nice way to go but it can be pricey. I have also used copper tubing The heavier type, so you can do flaring and use brass connectors. Rubber hose should never be used for the pressure lines but is ok for the venting line. You need to run a vent line from the lowest station to the next highest and so on. This allows you to purge the air out of the system and assure full pumps at all times. The addition of a station is easy if the stations all have check valves built in, if not they will have to be added. Otherwise it is simply a parallel addition. The vent line is plumbed in series.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:39   #6
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

I have a multi-station Marelon hydraulic system. It seems pretty straightforward. Because of the runs, I'm happy to use rubber hose instead of copper. My impression is that, while you have to be exact.

This is a tractor tutorial on some DIY hose fitting. Whether that's for you I leave to your confidence and skills level. I found it useful.

Re-Usable Hydraulic Hose Fitting Tutorial - TractorByNet.com
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Old 12-01-2012, 15:02   #7
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

Quote:
Originally Posted by idpnd View Post
Thanks for your kind words!

I hear the best solution are copper pipes. I have rubber hoses, which need to be replaced every decade or so as per the advice of a naval surveyor friend.

Looks like you have the slightly more modern version of the system. Why are you changing if I may ask?
I just bought the boat and found the steering is creeping to port slowly but surly and I need to correct all the time. If the pressure on the rudder increases so does the creep. I pulled the pump out and it looks pretty worn around the pistons. I replaced all the o-rings but that didn't make any difference .I spoke to some hydraulic people here and they recommended not to try to fix a 23 year old pump but to replace it. My thought was if the pump is worn the ram can't be far off so while at it I replace that too. The pump in the pilothouse would have had a lot less work done but might have been swapped over some time ago who knows so I replace that too. After the exchange I'm going to get the two pumps and the ram tested and keep whatever is ok as spares.
I believe steering and brakes you don't cut corners.
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Old 12-01-2012, 18:23   #8
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

Well my system is a lot older than that and I would rebuild if needed. These are usually very rebuild-able and for many times. The cylinder is usually just seals and packing. when you are talking pump are you talking helm station or autopilot? Having been in the commercial fishing industry some many years back I know of several helm pumps that were also very rebuild-able
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Old 12-01-2012, 22:21   #9
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

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Originally Posted by Lancerbye View Post
Well my system is a lot older than that and I would rebuild if needed. These are usually very rebuild-able and for many times. The cylinder is usually just seals and packing. when you are talking pump are you talking helm station or autopilot? Having been in the commercial fishing industry some many years back I know of several helm pumps that were also very rebuild-able
I just got home after removing the helm pump and the hydraulic cylinder. I went to a company who is pretty big in hydraulic and also does marine gear. They asked me how old the system is and told me it's pretty much throw away gear. Not worth rebuilding. I asked them to check the pump and the cylinder so I know where the problem is. I got strange looks but they are going to test the bits. I'm sure it is rebuildable and about 20 years ago everything here in Australia was repaired and rebuild......not any more. At $80 or $120 per hr workshops repair very little and love to throw away gear.
So I better start ordering new pumps and a new cylinder.
At the moment the pipes are all copper, is that best to leave them or get plastic or rubber piping?
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Old 12-01-2012, 22:39   #10
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Re: Hydraulic steering.....DIY?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reiner View Post
I just bought the boat and found the steering is creeping to port slowly but surly and I need to correct all the time. If the pressure on the rudder increases so does the creep. I pulled the pump out and it looks pretty worn around the pistons. I replaced all the o-rings but that didn't make any difference .I spoke to some hydraulic people here and they recommended not to try to fix a 23 year old pump but to replace it. My thought was if the pump is worn the ram can't be far off so while at it I replace that too. The pump in the pilothouse would have had a lot less work done but might have been swapped over some time ago who knows so I replace that too. After the exchange I'm going to get the two pumps and the ram tested and keep whatever is ok as spares.
I believe steering and brakes you don't cut corners.
I installed a complete single station from scratch by myself. Hydraulic Steering & steering

If you already have one in place it would be much simpler. If it were mine I'd replace the pumps and rebuild the cylinder. Just one scratch in one of the pump piston cyl's and it's going to bypass. Running a clean system is very important. I flushed out every line just before installing every joint. And even filtered the oil before it went in. With and electric pump is best to have a filter in the return line.

You do want to keep the copper lines to prevent serging, except where there is movement like at the cylinder.
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Old 13-01-2012, 01:16   #11
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

I installed our hydraulic system from scratch. Delmarry is right, absolute cleanliness is essential. We used normal annealed domestic hot water copper pipe as recommended by the manufacturer of our system.
Buy a good flaring tool.
Too much flexible pipe will give you a spongy system.
Make sure you have the correct installation manual and follow it exactly.
Pretty easy job if you don't rush at it.
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Old 13-01-2012, 08:14   #12
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reiner View Post
I just got home after removing the helm pump and the hydraulic cylinder. I went to a company who is pretty big in hydraulic and also does marine gear. They asked me how old the system is and told me it's pretty much throw away gear. Not worth rebuilding. I asked them to check the pump and the cylinder so I know where the problem is. I got strange looks but they are going to test the bits. I'm sure it is rebuildable and about 20 years ago everything here in Australia was repaired and rebuild......not any more. At $80 or $120 per hr workshops repair very little and love to throw away gear.
So I better start ordering new pumps and a new cylinder.
At the moment the pipes are all copper, is that best to leave them or get plastic or rubber piping?
I understand the part about getting someone else to rebuild these things. I do these jobs myself so I only look at the parts cost. My retired time is free. lol If the copper lines don't show signs of pitting and actual corrosion leave them. Being green does not mean they are corroded. No wear or corrosion happens on the inside. As others have stated cleanliness, cleanliness. Key point.
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Old 14-01-2012, 09:18   #13
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

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We used normal annealed domestic hot water copper pipe as recommended by the manufacturer of our system.
Richard.
It is better to use refrigeration copper pipe because it come internally cleaned and is sealed. If you can not get the original Capilano installation manual I have a Hy-Drive manual.
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Old 14-01-2012, 10:16   #14
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

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It is better to use refrigeration copper pipe because it come internally cleaned and is sealed. If you can not get the original Capilano installation manual I have a Hy-Drive manual.
The 1/2" refrigeration copper has a .050" wall thickness and a higher pressure rating. And one will need a long handle bender.
The cleaning should come after flaring the ends and teflon taping. If you use SS fittings you can get a special tape for SS.
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Old 14-01-2012, 12:05   #15
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Re: Hydraulic Steering - DIY ?

Listen to delmarrey. If you use flexible hose you must clamp the hose in short distances over the entire run. If you do not when under pressure the hose will flex and move. All movement adds up to making the helm feel "squisshy", not stiff.

I am an advocate of rebuilding the cylinder if, as delmarrey mentions, there are no scratches on the moving parts. When you do this note the generic part numbers on all the seals. Buy two sets of seals from a bearing supply house (they are inexpensive). Place the spare set of seals in a sealed bag and zip tie the bag close to the ram where you cannot fail to find them the next time you must rebuild it. You can make your own spanner to disassemble/reassemble the ram. I have done this at anchor.

Carry containers of hydraulic oil with your, enough to replace the volume in your system.
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