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Old 23-11-2022, 16:25   #1
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Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

It’s often the easiest things that become the hardest things.

I have my new hydraulic steering system completely installed. It’s completely full of hydraulic fluid. The liquid tie bar works perfectly. It turns from port to starboard perfectly. Everything is fine on the manual side of things.

The last step is to bleed the lines that go to the auto pilot pump.

The instructions say to:

1) turn on the AP

2) make a 100 degree course correction to starboard while turning the wheel to port. This pressurizes the port line, forcing hydraulic fluid to the pump which then pumps it into the starboard line which you are sucking fluid out of with the helm to pump to the port line. Effectively creating a loop between the AP and the manual helm to bring bubbles to the manual helm.

3). Do the same thing as #2, but reverse everything so the hydraulic pump is pumping to port while you pressurize the starboard line.

Some bubbles then come up to the helm.

I’ve done this a bunch no of times. No joy.

Fluid is not pumping between the lines via the AP pump. And I can’t figure out why.


The setup is pretty straightforward. The AP pump is a bridge between the port and starboard hydraulic lines that connect to the helm.

Yet this isn’t working.

Anyone ever have this problem?

Advice until tech support opens again?
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Old 23-11-2022, 16:32   #2
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

What hydraulic steering system do you have? Is it a 2 line system or 3 line with reservoir like Hynautic?
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Old 23-11-2022, 16:51   #3
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

I have these components.











There is no reservoir. And there are check valves in the helm itself for when the AP pump is pushing the fluid.

2 line system, but plenty of lines.

1) line from helm to starboard cylinder
2 line from helm to port cylinder
3) line connecting port and starboard cylinders (they move in unison unless you open the liquid tie bar valve to adjust them)
4) A bridge between line 1 and line 2 with the AP pump in the middle.

There is no diagram for my exact system, but this is the closest.



The difference being that there are two hydraulic rams and an auto pilot as well as a liquid tie bar.

However, I should be able to set up a circular flow between the manual pump and the auto helm pump in this very diagram above. It doesnít really matter whatís beyond. It could just be capped off hydraulic tubing. It doesnít even need to have a ram to do what I am supposed to be doing right now to bleed it. Itís supposed to create an infinite loop between the helm and the auto pilot pump and it wonít do that.
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Old 23-11-2022, 16:53   #4
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

The crazy thing is the only thing that won’t work is the auto pilot. Otherwise the helm works perfectly. Including the liquid tide bar. I can adjust and align the rudders and then lock them in and steer. But for some reason the hydraulic pump for the autohelm will not engage the fluid.

It won’t do the control loop that it’s supposed to do when you turn the wheel in one direction and the auto pilot in the other direction. That’s supposed to set up a continuous flow from helm to auto pilot pump to helm and around in circles.

And also in the other direction. That’s how you are instructed to bleed the pump.

But what happens is instead of me pushing fluid into the pump, I hit the hard end. Pressure builds in the line that the pump is supposed to be pulling from and the wheel doesn’t turn anymore. It maxes out.

It does that in both directions.

Then, when I try to use the auto pilot by itself to turn the rudders, nothing happens at all.

The pump is working and cycling and making noise. It’s not that the pump is broken. It’s that it’s not somehow engaging the hydraulic fluid.

And there is nothing between the pump and the lines that I’m pressurizing with the manual helm except a T fitting. That’s it. It’s just teed into the lines. That’s why I’m stuck. It’s wide-open to the hydraulic lines that are working properly. It just forms a bridge in between them. With the hydraulic auto helm pump in the center of the bridge.
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Old 23-11-2022, 17:05   #5
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

That almost sounds like the autopilot pump somehow isn't priming or otherwise moving fluid. I'd be tempted to unhook the lines and see if you can get it to pump fluid from a container. Or at least find out if fluid has made it to the pump.
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Old 23-11-2022, 17:21   #6
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
That almost sounds like the autopilot pump somehow isn't priming or otherwise moving fluid. I'd be tempted to unhook the lines and see if you can get it to pump fluid from a container. Or at least find out if fluid has made it to the pump.
Thatís probably not a bad idea if I can squirt some into a bucket at the autohelm then something is wrong with the pump I think. There arenít really any other variables.

I have some concern about introducing air into the lines when I do that, because Iím getting low on the steering fluid. It sure took a lot to bleed the whole system. Iím down to less than a quart left right now.

But yeah. I donít know what else to try. If I can squirt some into a bucket at the autohelm pump using the manual pump to squirt it, then something is definitely wrong with the pump.
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Old 23-11-2022, 19:20   #7
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

You have a common hydraulic steering system.Common meaning it is used by many brands.
I have attd an old Wagner instruction booklet which details bleeding the manual part of this type of system.It does not cover the teeing in of an autopilot pump.https://corbin39.org/wp-content/uplo...ion-Manual.pdf


You say that the manual helm steering is turning the rudders fine.
So-your problem must be the electric pumpset.
1.Are you keeping the helm full of oil at all times?The helm is the system reservoir.

2.Do not run the pumpset.Crack the center hose fitting at the pumpset.The oil should run freely from the helm reservoir.Top up the helm reservoir.
3.Disconnect the 2 pumpset motor wires at the A/P. Touch these 2 wires to the heavy + & - AP controller supply terminals-polarity doesn't matter.
The pumpset should run,rudders should move.Reverse the polarity of above wires-pump & rudders should run & move opposite dir.
If the above doesn't happen,the pump isn't pumping oil.
Does your pumpset have tiny shut off or flow control valves built in?


Answer these questions & then we can go further.
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Old 23-11-2022, 19:29   #8
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

Is the motor making noises and trying to move?

When you say it hits the end. Is it hitting the end by wheel or by motor? You need to turn the wheel at a speed to keep the rudder centered. It should not be hitting the end. You either need to stop turning / go slower. or go faster. (Or turn the correct way? If it’s not commissioned yet it might be backwards and you might be Turing the same direction as the pump. .

Garmin is better at this because in the install menu you can just hold the button and the pump will run untill you let go. I can do the pump / backwards wheel turn for several mins. Not just a little 100 degree turn. It’s not enough.

You could hook 12v direct to pump and it will start turning one way after the air gets out. . You’d want a 2nd person so they can unhook power if the wheel person can’t keep up. Otherwise it’ll go hard over and not stop

Are you using a filller tube to keep the helm full?
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Old 24-11-2022, 04:30   #9
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

On mine there was two methods once was via the oil reservoir the other was cracking thd filler at the highest point in this case the upper helm pump. Then you operated the pump over and back.
Usually purged the air quite quickly.
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Old 24-11-2022, 04:45   #10
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

Just wanted to check in on this thread for a second. I have to go out and perform all these tests and try these things before I make a response. That will be in about 12 hours or so. Maybe less.
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Old 24-11-2022, 06:56   #11
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

I’m not seeing the check valves , you need check valves to separate the two Systems
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Old 24-11-2022, 07:26   #12
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

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Originally Posted by Baby tug View Post
Iím not seeing the check valves , you need check valves to separate the two Systems

Many AP pumps and some helm pumps have adequate check valving built in, so not every system needs external check valves plumbed in. And I don't think missing check valves would quite explain the behavior Chotu is seeing, although they could cause some weird steering issues.
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Old 24-11-2022, 08:38   #13
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
Many AP pumps and some helm pumps have adequate check valving built in, so not every system needs external check valves plumbed in. And I don't think missing check valves would quite explain the behavior Chotu is seeing, although they could cause some weird steering issues.

Exactly. The check valves are inside the helm and the helm is also the reservoir. Simple system.

If it was more complex, it would be easier to understand why there is a problem. Ha ha

Iím going to go out and start playing around with this pretty soon and report back.
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Old 24-11-2022, 09:14   #14
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

The check valves cannot be in the pumps , oil has to return to the pumps , you need check valve to isolate one pump from the other , most likely check valves on your helm pump lines because oil can return through the 12 V pump something like that , but you definitely need check valves
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Old 24-11-2022, 09:41   #15
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Re: Raymarine Tech Support is Closed - Hydraulic AP Pump Bleeding?

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The check valves cannot be in the pumps , oil has to return to the pumps , you need check valve to isolate one pump from the other , most likely check valves on your helm pump lines because oil can return through the 12 V pump something like that , but you definitely need check valves
Do you follow what the check valves do?

Because thatís not what the instructions from SeaStar say.

Hereís what they do. They prevent the autohelm pump from pushing fluid up to the helm station. That way the auto helm pump when it pushes, it pushes on the ram instead of the steering station. Then the steering station doesnít spin and the ram moves instead as pressure rises in one side or the other. . Thatís what the check valve is for.

So check valves actually have nothing to do with the situation we are talking about.

Also, if I put in another set of check valves, that would be redundant. Because they already exist inside the helm pump.

If they didnít exist in the helm pump, the rudders or the aurohelm could move the wheel.
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