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Old 19-05-2019, 06:20   #1
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Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

Hi,
I recently noticed that a plastic reservoir bottle behind the helm has a cheap broken plastic top and the fluid in the reservoir is down to the bottom. I assume this is the steering fluid reservoir? With research I see that the Lecomble & Schmitt Hydraulic Autopilot is likely installed in the Helia Evolutions but can't find the fluid I should be adding. It appears to be a version of Dexron. Does anyone know the correct fluid to use? Thanks.

Mike
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Old 19-05-2019, 14:00   #2
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

I carry a bottle of Seastar hydraulic fluid for refills. However, you should not be leaking fluid, I would look around at each joint in the steering and see if you can feel hydraulic fluid. I have the same system and which had a leak, which when corrected the level hasn't changed in two years.
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Old 29-05-2019, 05:34   #3
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

Thanks. I will pick up some of that. I don't appear to be leaking anywhere and the fluid level isn't changing. I think it got knocked over at some point out of the plastic strap while some electronics work was being done. The flimsy top is split open and not providing a seal.
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Old 29-05-2019, 06:24   #4
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

Great news the level is holding steady. My leak was near autopilot motor and it ran down to the insulation on the back wall of the engine compartment which soaked it up. There was never any oil around to see. It is very ugly when the steering just dies.
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Old 10-06-2019, 14:48   #5
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

Was told the correct fluid is "Dex/Merc" by Pennzoil. It was readily available at the diesel supply house near Just Cats and the matching color when poured.
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Old 10-06-2019, 15:05   #6
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

Hello Doc,

Saba 50 here, on my way north to the Great Barrier Reef. Currently behind Fraser Island right now...

I went to the SCIBS, one of the largest Boat Shows in the Southern Hemisphere, and met up with the Lecomble & Schmitt Hydraulic Autopilot Distributor in Australia. I wanted full spares, as I single handle the Saba 50 as my Wife is a bit disabled now. My most important Crew is the L & S Autopilot. They told me for spares, buy a spare hydraulic pump. And for the Ram, pictures below, they told me they could put together a kit and it could be rebuilt with seals and o-rings...

And to answer your question they told me just regular old DEXTRON III does the job just fine. That is available everywhere. I bought a 4 litre jug of it, in case I blew a line..

Best regards, enjoying a Queensland morning behind Fraser, about 16 C..

Saba 50 "Serenity"
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:53   #7
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

Recently did some work on a L&S hydraulic system. As I recall, there is a study referenced on their web site where they got better performance out of mineral oil based fluid than Dexron. Although Dexron is still fine to use in their systems....just steered a couple thousand non-stop miles with one filled w Dexron.

In a pinch, almost any fluid will work. Ive even heard of cooking oil being used. We developed a leak a couple of days out of Bermuda and kept topped up w 15W40 motor oil...worked fine. Purged, repaired, filled w Dexron in Bermuda.

PYI put together a spares kit for us, supplementing the standard spares kit w seals etc. A bit spendy, but quite complete. Very knlowledgeable staff and excellent customer service.

https://www.pyiinc.com

The L&S is good quality gear.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:32   #8
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

I had a little center console with a mercury Verado outboard, Verado’s are all hydraulically steered, I blew a line so I ordered new ones and of course the “special” $20 a quart Mercury hydraulic oil, which turned out to be 5w-30 motor oil. Not sure of the weight, but it was just motor oil.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:25   #9
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

I think that expensive steering fluid mentioned is repackaged MIL-H 5606 aviation hyd fluid, about $8 a Qt.
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Old 12-06-2019, 13:11   #10
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Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

There are two types of 5606, one synthetic and fire resistant and one mineral oil.
I think the fire resistant may be 83282?
Both are red just like transmission fluid and in fact I’d challenge anyone to tell the difference between it and Dexron.
I think they are 10w, but you won’t find that easily

The Mercury was fluid was regular motor oil, likely synthetic as it said 0w-30 on the bottle, looked and smelled like motor oil, dark honey colored.
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Old 12-06-2019, 14:24   #11
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Re: Correct Steering Fluid? Dexron or Other?

There was a mention of Seastar fluid. It's the one that is the same as -5606 which is a mineral oil. The red dye is just for color and finding leaks. The only thing unique about Aviation fluid is the cold flow temp which is about 20 deg colder than the others(-60 vs-40 deg.)
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