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Old 26-06-2020, 09:24   #1
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Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Hello those with some mechanical expertise and thank you in advance for advice. I have a major steering pump issue. Vetus HTP 125 (or HTP 52) Hydraulic Steering Pump is weeping badly, losing 1 oz hydraulic fluid per day. (yes, I am catching it so as not to pollute but not something I want to continue)

Sailing cat, 46', with simple system - two hydraulic lines form the loop with a return valve and a gravity fed reservoir. Old boat owner(s) had fiberglassed and painted in the old pump so it was about 2 days of "joy" getting to the pump. I pulled pump to inspect and found seals (both inner and outer) were both quite wet and need replacing. (metric sized gaskets). I have already replaced the lines and hydraulic steering ram in back with new Vetus gear so I am rather committed to a solution that involves staying with this company.

Option 1: replace pump/buy new. Vetus direct was somewhat helpful. They told me the new pump a Vetus 4210r was compatible in size (with an adapter flange) so I bought the pump. Simple? not so fast... Old pump spindle was 1" brass with a 1:12 taper outer diamer ("od") and new pump is aluminum 3/4" od with a 1:12 taper. Hmmmm, so much for compatible.

The issue: the 1:12 taper is all about brand sitckyness -- if you have this pump, you generally need to buy a Vetus wheel. Vetus is back backordered up to 12 weeks for a Vetus wheel KW81 (810 mm - about 2.8 feet across). And I already have a perfectly good Manson stainless wheel that was attached and working fine except for the leaking issue.

Issue 2: The old setup was as follows - pump was about five inches directly below the helm's wheel. Two spur gears were used to connect the steering wheel shaft down to the hydraulic pump spindle. The one on the steering wheel shaft was really large and the hydraulic pump gear has a smaller 21 tooth, spur gear that used to mount acceptably on the 1" Vetus pump shaft - not great but it apparently worked for decades with a slot key that held it in place. Now that Vetus has changed the pump shaft to a short and smaller 3/4" diameter, I am left searching for some adapter that has a 3/4" tapered 1:12 ID (inner diameter) and an outer 1" FLAT diameter so I can mount the gear back onto the new steering pump. Not an easy find. I have consulted machine shop friends and talented motorcycle and marine mechanic friends.

One guy offered to take 5 weeks and custom make me a new spur gear with a custom 1:12 taped id. Only $500 and half the summer - so not a good option.

One guy said buy an adapter but all adapters I find seem pretty fimsly and my machine shop guy - with plenty experience says it will last only a short time.

OPTION TWO - extremely humbled (yeah ok, frustrated), I found a great shop in Baltimore that may repair the old pump. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Still waiting for them to get back to me on whether the pump (good spindle and good housing) is salvageable. Maybe this option gets me through the season or even more years?

Anybody else have this problem or have a solution?

OPTION 3 is go nuclear and buy an entire new hydraulic steering system from some other brand. Use old and new pumps as paper weights.

Help? Advice?? Thank you.
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Old 26-06-2020, 09:53   #2
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

If the pump is working OK and it is just the leaks that are your whole problem new seals should fix it. Seals are generally an off-the-shelf from from bearing supply stores.
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:07   #3
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
If the pump is working OK and it is just the leaks that are your whole problem new seals should fix it. Seals are generally an off-the-shelf from from bearing supply stores.
Yes, seals are my only problem I think. Pump works well otherwise.

I would have thought seal replacement was an off the shelf item too ... but a marine mechanic in Rockland Maine that tried to help me in May with this issue had to custom order an overnight a 6mm seal from Virginia for this pump. It did not fix the problem. The other seals need replacing too. I think he changed the back seal and the front seal still horrible but harder to replace because you have to take the entire pump apart so he didn;t complete the job (not blaming mechanic - it was a corona thing and I was out of State - the yard wanted me out of there asap). So thinking there are definitely replacement seals out there but not so easy to get?

Anybody know of a shop that repairs Vetus pumps, I am all ears. Many shops I call laugh and say that they only work on the big pumps -- They tell me too small a job and replace the darned thing.
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Old 26-06-2020, 21:55   #4
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Posting images of the seals where the shafts go through.
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Old 27-06-2020, 08:42   #5
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Just a quickie question and buy dictations I apologize for transcription errors.

I seals are you speaking of rubber round things, or gaskets, or what?
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Old 27-06-2020, 08:43   #6
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Correction, as I cannot edit on my phone. First word is my, not I
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Old 27-06-2020, 08:44   #7
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Further correction: BY, dammit
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Old 27-06-2020, 09:10   #8
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

I had problems with hydraulic steering leaking at the helm where the reservoir was situated. It had a wooden helm which was heavy. After trying all sorts of fixes I noticed in the manual that the maximum weight for the helm was a lot less than the one I was using. I replaced the helm with a stainless steel one--problem solved.
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Old 28-06-2020, 05:26   #9
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Hi Jimmy,
I have never rebuilt one of these myself, but as an engineer, don't think there is much I can't rebuild. After reading your horror story, I would return the new pump, on the basis it was not interchangeable as they claimed and rebuild the old unit. Any machine that is put together, must come apart in opposite manner, thereby making it rebuildable. Only exception is where the maker peens a part over in an attempt to force you to have to buy new. A good engineer will always be able to get around this though too.

As you say the old pump worked well, it should only need seals (fairly normal) and this should be a straight forward repair for any competent mechanic or engineer. These same people should know where to buy the seals when they get them out. Without actually doing your one, my gut feel would be that it should not be more than two hours work, presuming it is already out and no casing repaints etc required. Also some time in between the strip and reassembly for procuring the seals. Rebuild the old - easy task for the experienced tradesman.
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Old 05-07-2020, 23:25   #10
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

If it's the seals on the shaft the critical dimensions are the OD the ID and the width and a common lip seal should do the job. Of the seals ire exposed on the outside you may not have to disassemble the pump to change them.
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:26   #11
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Re: Hydraulic Steering Pump replacement vs repair?

Th Amos for the advice. I had a mechanic replace the seal in May. It was still leaking. I ended up getting a Capliano 1250 replacement pump and
Installing it (and new lines) myself. Easier project than I would have thought. Upgraded lines to 2,500 psi with a tough 1 jacket on 1/4 ID lines. (Parker brand tough jacket model). The hydraulic piston was not leaking so kept original piston. Made sure size was compatible. All works great now and season saved. Best part of the new Capliano pump is that it has a variable volume screw that allows me to change the number of turns from left to right to achieve complete rotation of the wheel.
To the gentleman that recommended the Capliano, thank you very much. Quite satisfied.
Cheers
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