Free Wheeling Steering issue after adding second station

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Ludicrous40

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Just checking to see if anyone has had a similar problem. This isn't a specific Parker issue, but in the past I found that the experience level on this site was exceptional:

Added a second station to my 2003 2520XL, single 300 outboard. Installed as described by Seastar with Tees behind the forward helm, compensation line between both helms. I put the vented cap on the forward helm, although they are about the same physical height except when underway. The problem is when underway, if I turn the wheel slowly to port, it free wheels, doesn't engage the pump (so to speak), such that I can turn the wheel slowly without changing the engine position. If I increase the speed of the turn at all, it grabs and turns fine. Turning to Starboard doesn't have this problem. So when underway at speed, small corrections to port are a pita, but otherwise it works fine. I've power purged several times from both helms, and thought that maybe it got better, but I still have the problem. When first discovering this issue, I chalked it up to being a problem with my front helm, so I replaced it with a new one after one season with the second station. Same problem.
Both helms are: SeaStar HH5261-3 Rear Mount 1.7 Hydraulic Marine Helm pump...

Prior to last season I contacted Seastar regarding the issue and they suggested that I needed "Pro" helms, but I'm fairly confident that many Parker users have added a second helm without needing to switch to Pro helms. I decided to power purge several times, and it seemed to be better, but then returned to same symptoms. Any comments/suggestions appreciated. I plan to revisit with Seastar to see if I get the same response, but figured I'd see if others had some experience first. The online service rep that I dealt with left me feeling like he just wanted me to go away. He suggested that Pro Helms were required in my configuration, and I pointed out that there was no documentation suggesting that my configuration was incorrect. After that I tried to research and find documentation that suggested that my configuration could have issues, and didn't find any....

Thanks

Rob
 

Roper

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My second helm is in my tower. I only have this problem when my boat is on plane, and only from the helm in the cabin.

I'm interested to see what solution you come up with.
 
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when my steering starts free wheeling it is an indicator that (1) i am low in fluid or
(2) there is air in my system. i have seastar and my solution is to unscrew the cap at the helm and add fluid. seastar has the solutions online and i printed them out good luck
 
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sorry to keep posting. you need to make sure you dont have any leaks in your system. pay additional attention to the ram and the attachments for purging your system attached to the ram
 

big_tuna

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I have that same problem with just one helm in my 2005 parker! I don't see how having 2 helms if installed correctly would cause this problem. I continually have issues with air in my system, I eventually found a leak in one of my lines and will be replacing this winter.
 

Ludicrous40

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Thanks for the feedback, bummer that is somewhat common.
New seals on the ram at the beginning of last season, no leaks. I get that it could be air, a small leak on the back of the helm (with all the connections) makes the most sense, but again no leaks. Will check again when it warms up here in New England, and will put pressure on it with the wheel.
I'm considering putting the non vent cap on the front helm, thinking out loud: maybe when banging around underway, air between the vented cap and the helm turns into a bubble in the fluid in the tubing between the two, then eventually air gets in the helm. If non vent there, I should be able to fill right to the top, put the cap on, and no air could enter this way. Maybe not the specific cause but does that make sense?
 

big_tuna

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Thanks for the feedback, bummer that is somewhat common.
New seals on the ram at the beginning of last season, no leaks. I get that it could be air, a small leak on the back of the helm (with all the connections) makes the most sense, but again no leaks. Will check again when it warms up here in New England, and will put pressure on it with the wheel.
I'm considering putting the non vent cap on the front helm, thinking out loud: maybe when banging around underway, air between the vented cap and the helm turns into a bubble in the fluid in the tubing between the two, then eventually air gets in the helm. If non vent there, I should be able to fill right to the top, put the cap on, and no air could enter this way. Maybe not the specific cause but does that make sense?
Yes, I agree if while on plane the front helm is highest then it should be vented. Why not just put vented caps on both?
 
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