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Old 06-04-2013, 13:07   #1
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Big Cats Steering

Aloha, I'm working on a 70' X 36' Sailing Cat that is 3yrs. old and since new, has had steering issues. Obviously, the hydraulic system was not correctly designed. The issue is rudder drift, the rudders have to be adjusted almost daily. There is no mechanical link between rudders and almost impossible to do at this point. I understand there is a "liquid link" or "fluid link" with bypass valves etc. Anyone with a similar experience or info/ recommendations, I will appreciate!
Thanks, Butch
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Old 06-04-2013, 19:57   #2
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Hydraulic steering will creep,it does on my current boat and it did on my previous cat. However on my new boat i have an electronic soleniod in the port steering compartment that is operated from the helm. This isolates that ram from the starboard one and you realign the rudder with the wheel and the rudder angle indicator,takes 5seconds
,
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:02   #3
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Re: Big Cats Steering

with the use of only a hydraulic tie bar adrift will be inevitable the only solution is some how to install a mechanical tie bar
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:46   #4
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune Maui View Post
Aloha, I'm working on a 70' X 36' Sailing Cat that is 3yrs. old and since new, has had steering issues. Obviously, the hydraulic system was not correctly designed. The issue is rudder drift, the rudders have to be adjusted almost daily. There is no mechanical link between rudders and almost impossible to do at this point. I understand there is a "liquid link" or "fluid link" with bypass valves etc. Anyone with a similar experience or info/ recommendations, I will appreciate!
Thanks, Butch
Butch,
Won't help you today but might in future. Had heard of this problem b4 (friend has same intermittent problem in his big cat also 3 yrs old) and since our new cat won't be ready till late Sept. we are having this self adjusting system from Raymarine installed by the shipyard. Size is close to yours 78' X 31'. (Most electronics also Raymarine.) Evolution Autopilot | Autopilots from Raymarine
their new Evolution Autopilot, self adjusting was feature got our attention along with their Glass Bridge Monitors for the open weather helm on the flybridge.
Johnny
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:48   #5
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Thanks for the reply Thorcat! I have been researching and the info is a bit vague. I have read about systems similar to yours and it has my interest. Do you know of a brand name/ manufacturer/ model number?

I am not opposed to correcting the drift, especially as easily as you describe it to be. At this point-everyday- the captain has to go below and bleed from a couple of fittings, time consuming & messy
My cat has a large (Capilano 1350) helm pump w/ 1/2" ports. I'm hesitant to choke the fluid down to a smaller diameter in a valve. I'm aware of a pressure relief valve for system protection and would like to install one as well---any input on relief valves???
Your input has been very helpful & I appreciate you taking the time to help me!!!
Aloha, Butch
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Old 06-04-2013, 20:59   #6
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Thanks for the reply Motion30, I understand what you say about a mechanical bar & you are correct. We got a bid from a local boatyard over $60K...plus 2 weeks drydock. Thats' a lot of bleeding time for the captain. Hydraulic is the feasible solution for me & I only want to do it once-thats' why I'm asking & I do very much appreciate your input!!! Any ideas on parts sources?
Aloha, Butch
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:07   #7
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Thanks for the good info Johnny!! I'll look Raymarine up. We're doing drydock mid June & I'll figure out how to contact you w/ our results. I'm new at this post stuff, used to doin it by ham radio--much more fun!! Something fun to do while cruising.
Take care, Butch
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:13   #8
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Hi, try this company i have used their system and it works only takes a few seconds to align the rudders using the valve Hydrive - Products - New Products

If you find the alignment out too frequently you either have an undersized system or a small leak(the leak may only be trapped air in the hydraulic lines) the bleeding of the lines is crucial to the workings of these systems.

I found that i needed only to adjust the rudders once or twice a year after the system was fully functional .
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Old 06-04-2013, 21:16   #9
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Have a look at www.hydrive.com.au.
Look Under catamaran steering ,you will find everything you need to fix your problem should be easy to retro fit and not to expensive either
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Old 06-04-2013, 22:17   #10
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Bloody Right Mate, Thanks for the info!! I can live w/ once or twice a year-no worries! Thanks for the down under come-back, appreciate your help/info!!!
Aloha, Butch
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Old 06-04-2013, 23:39   #11
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Your steering shouldn't be going out of alignment that often. Mine simply never needs re-aligning. Unless there's a leak.

Maybe your fluid link hasn't been bled properly? You need to bleed the link via the bypass valves. Air in that link could possibly be causing creep.

First thing I'd do is get plenty of fluid, and bleed the system thoroughly.

The only time mine went out of alignment was when I had a leaking seal in a cylinder.

If you don't have a leak, ie. fluid leaking out of the system, (and the system is bled properly) then one or both piston seals must be letting fluid by.
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Old 07-04-2013, 16:34   #12
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+1 for the piston seals being the problem. I am not understanding bleeding the system to get them realigned. Normally there is a bypass valve next to each ram. You put the rudder with the sensor to center then on the other side you activate the bypass valve and center that rudder by hand, then put the bypass back to normal position, takes all of one minute. When under way it helps to have a pair of headphones so the person at the helm can keep calling out center from the rudder indicator. You might have to wait for a wave to push you around just right when moving the rudder by hand. Once the system is bleed you would not need to bleed it again unless you opened up the system or if you have a leak. Is the system leaking?
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Old 07-04-2013, 19:40   #13
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Re: Big Cats Steering

I mentioned bleeding the system in case it hasn't been done properly. Air in the hydraulic link would cause the rudders to go out of alignment.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:45   #14
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Crusincat, Thanks for the reply. There is no hydraulic link, thats' part of the problem. I'm looking for assistance in part sourcing. Read previous threads to see what I've described. All parts have just been replaced-brand new. The design/lack of proper equipment is the issue. Not bleeding, leaking etc.where can I find 1/2" dia.ports/ fittings on bypass valves, pressure relief, equalizing valves etc.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:41   #15
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Re: Big Cats Steering

Hi, if you can give us more info on your system, what size /type of hydraulic lines size ,type of cylinders and steering pump you have also do you have an autopilot hydraulically linked we may be able to help more. the systems are all different depending on the brand and type so this would help greatly,(i sent you a link to Hydrive in that they actually have layouts of cat systems are any of these close to what you have?) We need more info to solve your problem or to advise on actual valves.
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