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Old 30-11-2019, 17:35   #1
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Clunky noisy seastar helm

We've had some odd noises when turning back from hard port or starboard since we installed our helm - is this normal? If not, does anyone know how can it be fixes?
Here is a link to a video showing the "noise":
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Old 30-11-2019, 18:20   #2
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Re: Clunky noisy seastar helm

Inside the SeaStar helm pump are a series of cylindrical metal pistons (some of them circled in blue below). Sounds like they could be going clunk for some reason. Ive heard them do this on occasion on SeaStar and Capilano helms with no apparent issue, but it could indicate its time for some maintenance. They are spring loaded so maybe a spring is getting weak or the return of the piston is sticking then releasing with a clunk. I dont know for sure.

Seastar does not publish a service manual for these pumps nor sell internal parts to consumers except for a seal kit. Are you anywhere that its feasible to find a Seastar tech?

How old is the pump?

The slippage of the helm is likely a check valve issue. It is normal for a hydraulic helm to continue to turn under firm pressure, but you can hear/feel the check valve repeatedly releasing pressure. How much force are you applying in the video?

Slippage could also indicate air in the system or a fluid leak. Click image for larger version

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Old 04-12-2019, 07:46   #3
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Re: Clunky noisy seastar helm

I also sent this message to Seastar and just got a reply back (for others who may find this thread later..):
Thanks for the email , after reviewing the video the noise you hear is 100% NORMAL , when you hit hard over you build pressure and when you turn the opposite way that built up pressure needs to go some where , it rushes over the lock spool helping change direction . If you have any other questions or concerns feel free to reach out any time .
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:49   #4
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Re: Clunky noisy seastar helm

Belize Sailor,

Thanks for the reply - great to have the image you added!

I'm not too worried about the slippage as it hasn't caused any problems .. but keeping an eye on it. The helm itself is basically brand new (only 380 hours on it (replaced at same time as the engine!)). I think the slippage it at the RAM which I have rebuilt, but is old (1980s) or less likely at the auto-pilot.

I do have one minor leak, but I don't think it's enough to cause that slippage.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:10   #5
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Re: Clunky noisy seastar helm

If it's not slipping much, you're good. All my hydraulic helms have made noise like that when doing more agressive turning of the wheel.
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Old 04-12-2019, 17:40   #6
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Re: Clunky noisy seastar helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffr View Post
Belize Sailor,

Thanks for the reply - great to have the image you added!

I'm not too worried about the slippage as it hasn't caused any problems .. but keeping an eye on it. The helm itself is basically brand new (only 380 hours on it (replaced at same time as the engine!)). I think the slippage it at the RAM which I have rebuilt, but is old (1980s) or less likely at the auto-pilot.

I do have one minor leak, but I don't think it's enough to cause that slippage.
De nada.

For such a new helm its unlikely you have a helm pump issue. I serviced my 18 year old Capilano last year...it need one o-ring and was otherwise in excellent shape.

As I and others have mentioned, slippage on a hard turn is normal and they do clunk sometimes.

Good that Seastar got back to you w verification too.
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