My present boat is my first with a hydraulic autopilot
. The previous one had a wheel
pilot. The difference of course is night and day.
Since it's my first ownership
of such equipment
I am clueless about what to do with it in the way of maintenance
. There were no manuals
among the reams of manuals
I received with the boat, neither for the ram nor for the pump.
I believe that the pump is a Raymarine
Type 3 reversible.
It has been working flawlessly for the last nearly two years but last weekend I suffered the first glitch with it.
I tried to set the pilot heading out into Southampton Water
and it didn't work. I switched it off and tried again, and -- pop! The breaker for the electronics
popped and the whole network went down. Reset the breaker, rebooted the network, and tried again. Again -- pop! And again. So I gave up and hand steered out of the Solent, not wanting to risk losing instruments in the tricky Needles Channel. Out in Christchurch Bay, I tried again, and it worked. Seemed a little sluggish, but worked and didn't pop the breaker.
The next days it seemed to work fine.
is that just the day before I left on that trip, I had been taking side panels
off inside the laz in order to top up the Eberspaecher heating
unit's header tank. I noticed the container for the autopilot
hydraulic fluid for the very first time -- I had knocked it out of its holder. I looked inside and thought the fluid looked a little murky, and the level a little low. I couldn't find any information about what kind of fluid to put in it, so I put the container back in its holder and left it alone. Then the very next day, these problems.
Any tips? Did I do something, do you suppose? Or is the pump about to crap out on me?
What kind of hydraulic fluid do you use in yours -- ATF fluid like in most hydraulic things? Or something else?
Do you ever change it? Is there any other maintenance