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Old 05-09-2010, 04:00   #1
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B & G Hydraulic Ram Drive (Auto Helm)

Has anyone got any information on how difficult it is to fit a new seal kit to a hydraulic drive. I am not sure to have a go at it myself or send it to a hydraulic shop. Any advice please.

B & G Hydraulic Ram Drive (Blue) T1.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:34   #2
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I believe there is a thread on here about this. I would take it to a hydraulic shop. The seals are easy to replace if you can source the correct parts, but you can't do that until you take the thing apart and then start hunting around. A hydraulic shop will have almost any seal and the expertise to match them correctly. Or you can buy the set from B&G for an outrageous amount of money. More importantly, the ram will need to be refilled and bled of air afterward. While this is also easy to do, you will need to buy more fluid than you will ever use in it and engineer a fitting system to introduce it without adding air.

All in all, the hydraulic shop is faster, easier and less expensive than buying the seal kit from B&G and doing it yourself.

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Old 05-09-2010, 08:21   #3
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Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:48   #4
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I had never taken a hydraulic cylinder apart before.
A friend and I spent about 4 hours replacing all 15 or so seals in my new boom vang.
It was a blast seeing how that stuff is sorted out.
As mentioned...the proper spares will be critical.
I guess it depends on whats worth more at the time....the time or the money.
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Old 05-09-2010, 20:24   #5
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Thanks guys for the info.

I have already purchased the seal kit from B&G (very expensive as you say). I purchased it when I first got the oil leak as I was cruising and wanted it as a backup.
The other odd thing is that the ram leaked oil on only one occasion when I was sailing in heavy weather and surprisingly, it has never leaked a drop since. I am concerned that if the ram has a heavy workload again it may fail.
The oil leak appears to be originating from the cylinder housing and not from the ram itself.

Giving the fact that I already have the seal kit on hand would you still advise taking it to a hydraulic shop?

I would like to do it myself, however, I am concerned it might be like taking my watch apart. If it is relatively simple I would like to have a go.

John
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Old 06-09-2010, 00:58   #6
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Its pretty straight forward...just pay particular attention to the orientation of the seals...some of mine were o-rings with a back-up ring that had a small concave shape on one side for the o-ring to seat against.
Other seals were "poly-seals"...they have an orientation....one side towards the pressure.
I would think that you'll learn a lot by looking at the seals.
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Old 06-09-2010, 20:00   #7
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Just be meticulous about cleanliness. Lint free cloths, etc.
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Old 06-09-2010, 20:14   #8
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Just ask yourself this question....Do you trust your work?

Do you want to be in a predicament and have to say "I wish I had sent it out".

Orderly disasasembly, cleanliness and attention to instructions is paramount.
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Old 06-09-2010, 20:47   #9
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Simister;
In thinking about your last post, maybe the ram is undersized for the boat. I have never heard of a ram leaking because of a seal and then healing itself, but it could be possible that under very heavy load the pressure could force a leak that wouldn't show up under less extreme conditions. Just a thought.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:44   #10
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Yes, I am also surprised that is hasn't leaked since. However, I have been in rougher weather than what I experienced when it did leak.

It did not leak around the piston part of the ram but around the housing. It was difficult to pin point the exact spot.

As it has not leaked since I am in two minds to just leave it and not change the seals.
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Old 07-09-2010, 15:39   #11
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Did you tighten anything when you were trying to find the leak? That may have fixed your problem. If not and if you are making any long offshore passages you might want to keep a spare on board.

Expensive, but might ease your mind.
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Old 07-09-2010, 20:05   #12
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Hyd rams have an O-ring seal where the head screws into the cylinder bore. This may be the source of your leak.
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Old 08-09-2010, 00:18   #13
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Yes, I am considering purchasing a complete new ram drive with motor and keeping it as a spare. The auto helm is so critical on long, short handed passages.
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Old 21-09-2010, 15:19   #14
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I really don't like the units that are "all in one", where the motor and pump are mounted on the ram. Very expensive and complicated. If you are going to buy another unit consider a separate motor/pump and actuator. Find out what the fishermen in your area use and you may be able to get the works and spares for less than the price of the combined unit. Takes up more room though and you need a bypass switch.
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Old 21-09-2010, 20:33   #15
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Yes, I agree and I am currently looking at the Coursemaster ram which has a separate Fluid reservoir.

Regards, John
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