Bleeding Teleflex Steering Systems

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FOUNDER of Classic Parker Forum
Feb 16, 2006
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Newbury, MA
FWIW I've had better luck doing my own 2 methods to purge air from hydraulic lines versus following any of the instructions from Teleflex. One is really simple, just takes many repetitions, while with the other one you need to make a "ventable" line using a plumbing relief valve and some clear vinyl hose.

First the TEST:
Turn wheel slow all the way to one side, open the fill cap and look at the level. Continue to turn the wheel hard in the same direction while looking at the fluid level. When full it should be at the bottom of the fill threads if mounted +/- horizontally or 1/2" below the threads if mounted +/- of vertically. If the level drops when you force the wheel over you have some residual air still in the system.

Re-cap the vented cap and turn the wheel sort of fast the other way (but AVOID frothing or bubbling of the fluid!). "Crack" the vent cap just enough to let air escape, but not fluid. Turn wheel the other way and repeat. Repeat, repeat, ... repeat.

Now here's what I do ... I'll do it a few times and then get onto other projects, but while waiting for something to set or just stretching my legs ... I'll do this simple method. Doing the Test and Simple bleed above, I have 'yet' to ever have to perform the Super Bleed method again once done right. Unless of course, I added a new hose or new helm ... meaning I broke the integrity of the system.

SUPER Bleed:
Make up a line of clear hose that fits your bleeder "T" fittings on your Telefelx steering arm. If you don't have the bleeder T-fittings, I would change them out, as the method where you otherwise loosen screws to bleed it will drive you crazy! I forget the size hose and plumbing fitting you need, but get it to match the T'flex T-fitting. The plumbing fitting with vent knob (pressure relief valve) can be had at a good plumbing or hardware stores for < $10.

Use as MUCH clear hose as you need to so that you can 'see' the valve and hose from your steering wheel, i.e., so that is is up higher than the transom like on a boat with a full transom. I just tape the hose and valve to the top of the OB cover with 3M blue tape.

  1. Add hose/valve (vent knob CLOSED) to bleeder Ts
  2. Crack OPEN both bleeder Ts
  3. Turn wheel (OB won't turn) and watch hose ... looking for 'big bubbles' of air, like when several inches of the hose is not full of fluid
  4. Try to keep and get as much air on one side of the valve, watching which way the wheel turns to push the air TOWARDS the vent valve
  5. Note which way you need to turn the wheel to 'push' the air towards the valve
  6. CLOSE bleeder T on the side of the clear tube OPPOSITE where the air is
  7. OPEN the vent knob
  8. Turn wheel s-l-o-w-l-y as to force the air out of the clear tube and vent
  9. STOP as soon as you hit fluid, or even before, and CLOSE the vent knob
  10. FYI - a helper here makes this go really fast and have them CLOSE the vent valve as soon as fluid seeps from the valve
  11. OPEN the bleeder T which was closed
  12. Repeat
  13. To get rid of smaller air pockets, also do the simple purge/bleed once or twice or so
  14. With both bleeder Ts OPEN, make sure to turn & turn & turn the wheel in, if not both directions, many many times so as to ensure all air is removed
I tell you ... it's FASTER to do this than it was for me to type it out! It is foolproof and works the 1st time - every time! Like I said, I've only ever had to do this once per system install and I never have to bother with Teleflex's methods of tubes into the fill cap, pins in the bottle and all of that fuss and bother.

Besides, with this bleeding tool, you'll be a hit in your boatyard and will never be without beer again! Works for me ;) ...


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Maybe it's time for a "You Tube" video of this routine, you know, kind of a Dale's Boatshop Tips and Video Club! I'm sure it's easier to see and understand than to read and follow. I'll be trying these procedures sometime and I appreciate the help. Thanks Dale! :D
Ranger Tim":2ipaw3x8 said:
Maybe it's time for a "You Tube" video of this routine ...
Forget that ... how about "CP Tube"! Seriously ... :) !

FWIW I'm taking pictures this weekend of a lower unit oil change and will document a "DIY How To" pictorial for CP.
We have done the bleeding thru the back pistons via the T's and with teleflex's instructions and ive alwasy thought it was a PIA to do (dual helms). We have a kit now that allows us to easily bleed the system and it works flawlessly. At the main helm we undo the threaded cap, insert a fitting that has allows a tube to be hooked up and at the other end of the tube we attach a gallon bottle with hyd fluid in it and we tip the bottle upside down and hold it up over the helm. Turn steering wheel back and forth (slowly) and watch the air bubbles come out. Once the bubbles stop just put bottle upright and let fluid drain back in and put plug back in helm, Repeat at other station. It might not be the correct (teleflex) way but it works every time. We have helped other guys out with the kit and every time we have done it, its worked perfect. I dont remember where we bought this kit but it works.