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Old 03-11-2013, 08:26   #1
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Hydraulic Tie Bar Issues

Our hydraulic tie bar worked flawlessly for 4,000 miles, then failed miserably. 400 miles into a 4500 mile passage I found that I was having to true the rudders more and more often until it was happening every half hour. At that point I opened the bypass valve, fixed one rudder amidships and sailed the next 4,000 miles on one rudder. Upon arriving at our destination, I put new piston seals in the rams which improved performance immensely, for about 500 miles. Now, after 2,000 miles I am back to aligning the rudders every few hours, more often than that with a following sea.

Everyone I have talked to with a similar system has had similar problems, eventually requiring a mechanical tie bar to keep the rudders in sync. I am wondering if there is anyone out there who has not had to fit some sort of mechanical fix to their hydraulic tie bar. If you have had to go to a mechanical tie bar, what was your fix?

I am currently designing 2 mechanical fixes, one based on aluminum bars and another on a system of pull-pull dyneema lines and pulleys. I haven't yet decided which I will go with.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:01   #2
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Re: Hydraulic Tie Bar Issues

I've done nearly 20,000 miles without any piston seal problems (touch wood). Only time my rudders have gone out of line was when a rod seal on the fluid link side of the cylinder leaked.

What brand are your cylinders? Mine are Ultraflex.
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Old 03-11-2013, 17:00   #3
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I've got what appears to be just a large diameter Teleflex style cable as a cross tie. No problems in 12 years.
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Old 03-11-2013, 18:02   #4
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Re: Hydraulic Tie Bar Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I've done nearly 20,000 miles without any piston seal problems (touch wood). Only time my rudders have gone out of line was when a rod seal on the fluid link side of the cylinder leaked.

What brand are your cylinders? Mine are Ultraflex.
Interesting, mine are Ultraflex as well. Makes me wonder if I might have some corrosion on the inside of the cylinders causing premature failure. The boat has sat unused for up to 7 months while we returned home to work and when I opened the cylinders up to change the seals I noticed some thick goo in the port side ram which may have been water contamination. I didn't see anything when I squinted down the barrel, but might be worth a closer look.

Talking with others I got the impression this was an almost universal problem, but it is encouraging that you are as yet unscathed.
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Old 03-11-2013, 18:06   #5
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Re: Hydraulic Tie Bar Issues

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I've got what appears to be just a large diameter Teleflex style cable as a cross tie. No problems in 12 years.
That was actually my first idea for a fix. Teleflex doesn't have anything with more than 3'' of travel on their website but your post has inspired me to give them a call tomorrow.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:33   #6
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Re: Hydraulic Tie Bar Issues

My boat was equipped with a hydraulic ram to only one rudder post and a stainless steel tie bar (internally mounted) to the other rudder post. The connections at the rudder posts are accessible through lockers on the aft deck; the tie bars themselves can be accessed (and if needed, removed) through a locker with a lift off lid that is located behind the berths in the aft staterooms. One design feature I like is that the tie bars are not a single bar, but rather made out of three pieces with threaded connections. This way if the bar was ever accidentally bent due external contact by the rudders, the bar can be removed from the boat through the aft staterooms.

I prefer the durability of solid bars to a teleflex type cable system, but if you are unable to retrofit them in your boat, then cables may be the only answer. Depending upon where your rudder heads are installed, if you are unable to install bars within the bridgedeck, you might be able to hook up an exposed bar system between the hulls aft of the bridgedeck. The PDQ 36 had such a system and the only concern I can see is that the opening in the hulls for the bars was not watertight.

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Old 05-11-2013, 19:23   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post

That was actually my first idea for a fix. Teleflex doesn't have anything with more than 3'' of travel on their website but your post has inspired me to give them a call tomorrow.
Fortunately its been quite reliable so I've never had cause to dig in and find out the make model etc.
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