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Old 15-07-2021, 08:20   #1
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Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

I came across a problem while doing lock-to-locks bleeding air from the system after RAM seal replacement. Things were going normally = wheel came to an abrupt stop when the RAM was all the way in or all the way out. THEN THE PROBLEM = the wheel comes to an abrupt stop only when turning to port. The wheel continues to turn, relatively easily, when the RAM has reached max travel to starboard.
I'm assuming failure in the helm pump but HOPING (praying) the problem may be associated with air still remaining in the system - or something easily fixed.
The helm pump is vintage Wagner (no idea model #). Rectangular, not round.
If it might help I can try to figure out how to post a photo of the binnacle. CHEERS !!!
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Old 15-07-2021, 16:35   #2
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Hi Rainforest
Somewhere in there is a shuttle valve or lock valve, it might have jammed. Is your autopilot plumbed into the same circuit?
Always consider the possibility that the ram seal job is not a success or that parts of the old ram seal are wandering around in the system. Definitely post pics of your ram and helm pump.
Pete.
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Old 15-07-2021, 17:23   #3
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

THANKS Skipper;
Helm is plumbed with 1/2 copper pipe. There was an autopilot pump and a "Helm Control". Both were bypassed with hose immediately after the RAM seals were replaced.
I'm trying to figure out how to get URLs for photos to post. Can't just copy and paste.
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Old 15-07-2021, 17:39   #4
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

You might have bypassed a lock/shuttle valve. What was the original problem leading to the ram seal replacement?
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Old 16-07-2021, 03:58   #5
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

HTH ➥ http://corbin39.org/wp-content/uploa...ion-Manual.pdf
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Old 21-07-2021, 11:01   #6
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Thanks for all the help & suggestions. Sorry I cant post photos = cant figure out how to get URLs for photos (WTF).
The system at this time is comprised of a helm pump going DIRECTLY to the RAM. The Helm Control (?) and the Autopilot Pump have been removed / bypassed because of leaks or suspected leaks. "Shuttle Valve" was mentioned - there is none that I know of (what is the function ?)
Hope on the horizon = I have been able to contact PAUL WAGNER who, although extremely busy with his AutoNav Company, is willing to review my situation and give some advise. Paul suggested I take the helm pump to Norcan Fluid Power and have them call Paul when they are ready to look at the pump. Paul also said symptoms suggested there could be a leaking seal WITHIN the RAM.
I used to hear "groaning" when bleeding the system - which has cleared up since getting closer to bleeding being completed. Was the groaning (ERR ERR ERR) an indication the RAM had air inside ??? There are no bleed fitting on my Wagner N-175-750/1000 hydraulic cylinder.
Sorry to have been so tardy getting this info back to you to you all. Had no photos and no concrete info to pass back ...
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Old 21-07-2021, 11:19   #7
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Due to COVID and my wife's health the boat has been tied up since July 2019. I visit the boat at least weekly - noticed one visit that the steering felt odd ... which led to finding oil under the RAM. I hired a local fellow to diagnose and fix the problem = diagnosed as leaking RAM seals. The fellow replaced the seals and bled the system HOWEVER air bubbles continued. That led to >me< bypassing the Helm Control & the Autopilot Pump with short lengths of hydraulic hose and to continue bleeding the system. A "groaning" (snubbing / rubbing) noise was noticed until most of the air was bled out. The wheel is now quiet and smooth turning in both directions BUT the wheel continues to turn after the RAM has reached maximum travel when turning to STBD.
OUPH ...
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Old 21-07-2021, 11:33   #8
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

I don't have a wagner, but I did have similar symptoms after a seal change. My solution was twofold. First, more bleeding, like more than the capacity of the system. I used filter paper and a catch basin to pour the fluid back through. Second part was time. The viscosity of the oil kept just enough air in solution to cause a problem for almost two weeks. Every couple days I'd run the wheel lock to lock a few times, and each time it was just a tiny bit better. Finally cleared up and runs to hard stop on both sides now.

If there's a next time I think I'll make a fill tube adapter so I can put a couple gallons through the reservoir without having to fill/refill every couple turns.
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Old 21-07-2021, 12:26   #9
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

THANKS Corvidae. I will continue to bleed lock-to-lock hoping I may get similar results to yours. Was your problem the wheel continuing to turn after the RAM had reached it's maximum travel ???
Happening in only one direction = to STBD in my case.
I don't know, in early bleeding, if I had that problem turning to PORT as well.
&%$# .......I've been at this since early June...
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Old 21-07-2021, 15:53   #10
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Hi rainforest, in case you were unable to open it, hereís a screen shot from gordmays excellent Wagner link in post #5.
Your hydraulic fitters suggestions make sense and the possibility of a leaking or missing piston seal is high on the suspect list..... Iím more interested in the lock valve, if it got debris from the ram seal failure it could get stuck. In gordmays link to the schematic the valve is in the helm pump but there could be another somewhere else in the circuit for the pilot pump. You can bleed the air from the cylinder by loosening the connections and those connections need to be on top of the ram, not facing the bilge.
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Old 21-07-2021, 16:04   #11
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

If you have an emergency tiller it might be useful to put it in place and cycle the ram using the tiller rather than the helm pump to get an idea if the ram is full of air or if the piston seal is leaking (and it might help to re connect the autopilot circuit as it originally was..... if it was a functioning unit! You will need to bleed the air out of it too)
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Old 21-07-2021, 16:34   #12
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainforest View Post
THANKS Skipper;
Helm is plumbed with 1/2 copper pipe. There was an autopilot pump and a "Helm Control". Both were bypassed with hose immediately after the RAM seals were replaced.
I'm trying to figure out how to get URLs for photos to post. Can't just copy and paste.

We have a rebuilt Wagner hydraulic system in our boat and it works fine.

When you say "helm control" are you talking about a 3 position valve (lock, normal, tiller) with a small handle? If that is so, you have a special sailing helm pump w/no lock valves in it. This is what we have and it allows full rudder feedback to the helm. If you ever intend to use the AP again the helm control valve will need to be put back into the system.
It would really help to know which pump you have also (labeled on the side of the helm pump).
If you are able to turn all the way to stbd with no end, you still have air in the line. When you bleed the system at the ram have someone else at the helm pump to keep adding oil so you don't run dry/add more air into the system.
The main group that can help you and has Wagner parts/diagrams are in BC. https://jastram.com/ Ask for Keenan Parker he was very helpful.
Again best to know which pump you have before contacting them.
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Old 22-07-2021, 13:57   #13
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Hi BillO; I wrote a ~100 word reply to your post - then somehow it disappeared into the ether ... The essence was/is:
YES. The Helm Control is the three position lock/tiller/normal valve. Thanks for the info for what it does. I'm quite sure the boat was intended for offshore. I don't intend to ever use autopilot but will save the parts removed for a new owner (yeah, 83 ... selling is on the horizon).
The helm pump is jammed into the binnacle. I will attempt see if there is a part number on it. Knowing that the pump is original - installed when the boat was build in 1972-1973 - Paul Wagner's boat - so installed by Wagner Engineering.
BLEEDING has been a never ending nightmare - complicated by the RAM not having bleeding screws. I don't know if the fellow who fixed the RAM seals was able to properly bleed the RAM - he is now on vacation so = ??? As the RAM is original there must be a trick they used in the 70's. I would REALY like tp know what the trick is so I can pass it on.
I called and spoke to Jeffery at Jastram. Helpful. Jastram does not have mobile repair repair.
I also spoke to Paul Wagner, AutoHelm ...... Paul is BUSY. Said he will get back to me. Also said bleeding the "no bleeding screws" on tech RAM was to a problem. ???
Thanks again to ALL OF YOU !!!
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Old 22-07-2021, 14:19   #14
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

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Old 22-07-2021, 14:20   #15
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Re: Wagner helm pump bleeding ???

Do you have a Wagner ram? A common one would be the N type ram. There should be bleeders on it where the hoses come into the cylinder if its a Wagner.

See the corbin 39 attachment Gord posted above to see the general location of the bleeders and follow the section on "Filling the System" for the proper procedure to fill/bleed the system.

If there are no bleeders it's probably not a Wagner cylinder and without them I'm not sure how well you could bleed the system.
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