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Old 13-08-2016, 02:49   #1
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Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

The Sailtec integral backstay adjuster seems to have leaked some oil, and after 11 years of service is 4 years past the recommended servicing interval. We are in Malaysia so sending the thing to and back from Wisconsin for the $756 servicing is not an attractive option. Anyone have experience with DYI work on Sailtec? The parts all look like simple, generic items -- should we be able to find them at any decent hydraulic shop?
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Old 23-08-2016, 19:28   #2
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

First I will say that hydraulics is something that I deal with nearly daily. Anyway I went through mine several times and ended up just replacing it with a long turnbuckle. It was working fine, just did not want to deal with the hassle.

If you do decide to try it to repair it locally the end fitting on the piston can be difficult and sometimes impossible to get off without destroying it.

Sailtec will sell you the parts, but they are not cheap. I searched quite a while but was unable to determine the part numbers of the seals individually.

Would send it to them for repair if I had it to do again.

They also offered to take mine in on trade and for $1000 they would have given me a new one. Probably should have done that too. (Mine was a -10)
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Old 24-08-2016, 22:41   #3
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

Thank you for the info, Opie91. We purchased our current Sailtec (locking version) on that trade-in program 11 years ago ($1220 + $300 shipping), replacing the Sailtec that was already on the boat when we purchased it in CT in 1997. Now, having lived aboard and cruised full-time for 16 years, we are comfortable doing all of our own mechanical and structural work, DC electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, canvas, etc. Really felt we should be able to replace the seals in this simple hydraulic device so we ordered the seal kits ($265 list for 20 small O-rings and wee plastic bits, plus $112 FedEx to Malaysia) and are now in the process of breaking down the cylinder and pump. As you predicted, the piston end is NOT coming off the end of the rod. Have sent it to a local machine shop. All joints were bathed in so much excess Loctite, that's been the battle.

Equipment suitable for long-range offshore cruising should be field-serviceable. Well, in a perfect world ...
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Old 25-08-2016, 02:41   #4
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

I'm not a chemist, but a Materials Scientist friend once told me that sometimes a long soaking in MEK or MEKP will soften some of the more stubborn versions of Loctite. Like Red. Though I'd wager that MEK/MEKP will probably kill a lot of seals. But if you're pulling them anyway...
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Old 25-08-2016, 04:59   #5
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

Sailing Services in Miami can rebuild many of these units
They are great...



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Old 25-08-2016, 11:12   #6
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

I have gotten them off, but it takes a lot of heat to break up the locktite. Let it cool completely after you heat it or it will gall the end for sure.
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Old 25-08-2016, 15:40   #7
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alii View Post

Equipment suitable for long-range offshore cruising should be field-serviceable. Well, in a perfect world ...
I totally agree. The prices they charge for a seal kit and other parts is crazy. It has to be at least a 500% mark up. Pretty sure they do not want you to service it yourself, just sell you a new one.

That is why mine is gone.
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Old 26-08-2016, 22:39   #8
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Re: Sailtec backstay adjuster rebuild advice?

OK, so the Sailtec has been disassembled, cleaned, new bits installed and reassembled. Waiting for the Loctite sealant to cure before putting it through the 24-hour test to see if it holds pressure. Fingers crossed.

This is NOT a cruiser-friendly piece of equipment, especially the version with the locking mechanism. You need not only extreme patience but several obscure specialized tools to break it down (at least, to do so without damage and scratches). All of the major seals and o-rings had disintegrated. One had been mushed and misshapened when first installed. Of concern now is that some metal parts -- the 3/16" stainless lock pins and connector that join the smooth and threaded rods, and the aluminum gland cap -- are corroding. There is no way to monitor these pieces for further deterioration -- they are hidden by the lock body and tube.

Considering my options ...
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