"bumpy" steering

RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,400 Officer
I have a bay boat with a tower and two hydraulic steering stations
Lower one is smooth as silk. Yesterday the top one turned fine but you felt "bumpy" ((?) , "clunking (?) when turning. I was smooth the last time used although it was about 6 weeks back. It did not require additional turns to make the outboard turn.
Checked all hydraulic connection lines at the helms and at both sides of the cylinder on the engine and no obvious leaks.

Not an expert on this so moving with hesitation. Should I open the container under the top steering wheel and ....is there a way to check oil level? I am risking introducing air and making it worse?
 Should I not mess with it?

Replies

  • surfmansurfman WC FLPosts: 5,981 Admiral
    Sounds like it could have some air in the lines, I would think there is a fill plug where you can check the level. I don't have a duel station but mine does have a fill plug and it is easy to check the level, right behind the wheel.
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.

    Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.  Will Rogers
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 1,562 Captain
    edited March 15 #3
    Check fluid in top helm. Should be to the bottom of threads. Don't turn steering wheel with plug out, it will make a mess.
  • Widespread PanicWidespread Panic Posts: 210 Deckhand
    Sounds like air. Only other time I have seen that was when a friend put wrong oil in helm. 

    Easy to top off.  You need oil, a threaded to barb fitting, couple feet of clear hose, rags and maybe pliers. Remove the plug in the front of the helm(between the steering wheel and console). Screw in adapter, attach hose and fill hose 3/4 with oil. Turn wheel in one direction all the way until it stops. You should see air bubble through the oil in the hose. Don’t let the oil in hose drop below the adapter. Turn wheel in other direction. Repeat until no air is left. Drain oil from hose back into jug. Remove adapter reinstall plug. Clean up. 

    By the book you are supposed to do the lower station first. I did that the first few times but found if you catch it early only upper needs to be done. Also lower plug should be solid and upper plug vented. 
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,200 Captain
    It has air in the lines most likely.  Check the level as mentioned.  You're probably due for a flush/bleed of the whole system... it should be done every couple years anyway.  Water will get in there, contaminate the system, and then you're replacing helms and steering cylinders.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
  • RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,400 Officer
    Thanks everyone!
    one question ...out of curiosity....how does air get in the system if you do not have a break or leak somewhere.
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 3,907 Captain
    RStyle said:
    Thanks everyone!
    one question ...out of curiosity....how does air get in the system if you do not have a break or leak somewhere.
    When I got my second station and had a similar problem, I was told it was usually caused by a leak
    You should have been here yesterday
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,200 Captain
    The way cylinders work, there's always a leak... it's just a matter of how much.  
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
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