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Old 01-06-2021, 07:06   #1
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Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

I have a leak at the lower helm (see photo) at what looks like a plug. I tightened it and the leak got worse!

Any advice how to fix this with minimal fluid loss? I was thinking of backing the plug out halfway and using teflon tape on the outer threads, but if there is a seal in there that won’t fix it. Plus, would teflon tape be enough to seal from the hydraulic pressure? Other ideas? Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:52   #2
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Not familiar w/your brand of hydraulic pump, but do you have a parts diagram of your pump? This is handy to have to help to see what's possibly going on inside.

Do you happen to have a similar plug on the opposite side? Many times these plugs are access ports to the spring/seals for the port valves. If this leak is something new you maybe getting blow-by on the seals. Any noticeable steering difference at this station?

Usually one would use a liquid sealant specifically designed for hydraulic fluid for the plug and using teflon tape isn't recommended as pieces make break off, potentially causing problems.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:59   #3
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Not familiar w/your brand of hydraulic pump, but do you have a parts diagram of your pump? This is handy to have to help to see what's possibly going on inside.

Do you happen to have a similar plug on the opposite side? Many times these plugs are access ports to the spring/seals for the port valves. If this leak is something new you maybe getting blow-by on the seals. Any noticeable steering difference at this station?

Usually one would use a liquid sealant specifically designed for hydraulic fluid for the plug and using teflon tape isn't recommended as pieces make break off, potentially causing problems.
Thanks for your thoughts Bill. There is an identical plug on the other side and the Caprilano parts diagrams don't identify them and the installation diagrams don't show them being used for hoses-connections- frustrating!

We rarely use the lower/inside helm and the steering from the upper/cockpit helm seems fine, though we've lost enough fluid now that I'll have to fill and bleed before our next passage.

Any idea what sealant to use?
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:08   #4
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Major brands (Loctite, Permatex, etc.) has several different ones that would work. Did a quick search hydraulic sealant and found several like Loctite 545 and others.
Don't remember the exact brand/model we use, but it is useful for the hydraulic and diesel fitting sealant.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:14   #5
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Major brands (Loctite, Permatex, etc.) has several different ones that would work. Did a quick search hydraulic sealant and found several like Loctite 545 and others.
Don't remember the exact brand/model we use, but it is useful for the hydraulic and diesel fitting sealant.
Do you know if they need to be applied dry or can I apply it in the presence of hydraulic fluid without draining the system?
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:19   #6
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

I've only done them dry, but would read the instructions for the various types to see if any allow wet set ups.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:34   #7
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Undo the plug with an oil catcher below.

Apply thread sealant and replace plug.

Pour the oil into the pump through the filler cap.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:07   #8
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Hi SV Grace.


I wonder if you could post the pump diagram online. I think it is the same as the one I have that also leaks a bit.


Thank you.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:49   #9
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

OK, just got off the phone with Seastar Tech Support and turns out there is an O ring on that plug so I ordered the seal kit they specified- $45. for a whole kit just to get one O ring. Ugh.

Turns out that Seastar has really good, efficient Tech Support- 877-701-2168 or 604-248-3858. You have to leave a message but i got a call back within minutes.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:51   #10
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

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Hi SV Grace. I wonder if you could post the pump diagram online. I think it is the same as the one I have that also leaks a bit.Thank you.
The manual is easy to find online but I couldn't find any diagram that identifies that plug.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:56   #11
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

I thinkthe long way abut is the quick way home! There can't be a lot of fluid in the system. Drain it as far as it will drain via the leaking plug saving the drainage in clean containers. i gallon/4 litre milk containers are ubiquitous. several smaller ones if the gallon job won't fit under the plug. A small funnel with a hose to a jug "around the corner" will also work. Fix the issue with the plug. Refill the system with the drained fluid plus enuff more to meet specs. bleed the system and Bob should be your uncle.

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Old 01-06-2021, 11:54   #12
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Are you sure it is coming from that plug. Any chance it is coming from above and draining there. Clean thoroughly and try putting tissue paper in the appropriate places to see if it is in fact coming from that plug.
Bleeding the system out is a pain and if you can avoid it all the better. Good luck
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:17   #13
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Follow up for those who have Capilano Seastar steering pumps-

I ordered and received the $45. seal kit that came with illustrated instructions that I wish I could have found before as it makes the situation clear.

Those plugs on the side are barrel shaped and the O-ring goes towards the middle, which is good as you can't mess it up by tightening too much, and if it's failing, tightening won't do anything.

Not only that, the instructions came with a crucial little asterisk that mentions that older models use TWO o-rings in this location, one is slightly thinner than the other.

Well, mine only had ONE o-ring and as you can see in the photo, the plug clearly has grooves for TWO. This is probably cause of failure thanks to whoever built or rebuilt this unit before I bought the boat.

Anyone reading this that has the 250/250V or 1250/1275V steering pump- the seal kit is #HS5161 but if you just need those o-rings you could find these sizes for a lot cheaper than getting the whole rebuilt kit-

Regular O-ring according to sizing chart here or here is #113 or #114 and the thinner second one that is used on older models is #014 or #015 (either should work but I would order both)
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:29   #14
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

Glad you found the problem. The o-rings you were probably given in the kit were nitrile and are generally good for most hydraulic fluids. For spares would get Viton, which are better grade and more resistant to degradation.

Found this out the hard way, luckily I have an o-ring shop near us and were inexpensive to purchase.

Did the other plug have 2 o-rings? Can you see inside the leaker to see if the other o-ring broke of inside?

Would change out both o-rings on the 2 plug sets to avoid this pesky problem in the future.
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:33   #15
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Re: Leak at Capilano steering pump plug

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Glad you found the problem. The o-rings you were probably given in the kit were nitrile and are generally good for most hydraulic fluids. For spares would get Viton, which are better grade and more resistant to degradation. Found this out the hard way, luckily I have an o-ring shop near us and were inexpensive to purchase. Did the other plug have 2 o-rings? Can you see inside the leaker to see if the other o-ring broke of inside?

Would change out both o-rings on the 2 plug sets to avoid this pesky problem in the future.
Thanks for asking Bill. I did remove both plugs and installed 2 o-rings on each. Both had just one. I'll keep Viton in mind for next time!
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