Took her out for the first time today

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Cheapie408

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Cheapie408, I'm sorry to hear that; I was hoping it just needed bleeding; But on a possible brighter note, rebuilding the helm unit doesn't seem to be a major job, other than having to remove it from the boat. There are a lot of Youtube videos that show step-by-step how it's done. (I just watched one, The "Nissitissit Pantologist" and he has posted seven short, step-by-step video that seem complete)... He also mentioned a rebuild from a shop is about $200 and that a new unit is about $500? That is about 5-year-old information so is likely a bit more now...
the rebuild kits are only 20-30 bucks not a big deal. I'm going to take it off the boat and disassemble it for internal rust. If no rust, I might rebuild it. A company out here rebuilds them for $180 plus shipping each way. I'm estimating about $240 all in to get it rebuild. Going to call them to find out what's involved, if they're just replacing a couple seals and call it complete I'll do it myself.
 

Cheapie408

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Scratch the rebuild idea. Spoke to the rebuilder, he said if the fluids are brown, there's rust at the helm. Recommend replacing the whole thing.
 

Andy

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Scratch the rebuild idea. Spoke to the rebuilder, he said if the fluids are brown, there's rust at the helm. Recommend replacing the whole thing.
Just a thought. At this point, since you will have to remove it anyway it would be interesting to see what the inside-parts look like. The Youtube guy I mentioned above had a unit with very corroded parts, (in fact so corroded, it was jammed and only worked in one direction); his cleaned up nicely,
 

Cheapie408

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Just a thought. At this point, since you will have to remove it anyway it would be interesting to see what the inside-parts look like. The Youtube guy I mentioned above had a unit with very corroded parts, (in fact so corroded, it was jammed and only worked in one direction); his cleaned up nicely,
I ordered a new helm already but being a very curious guy, I'd probably open it up anyways. I'll even attempt to diy the rebuild, if it works then I'll have a spare ready to go for next round.

I'll report back with photos when I dissect them thing.
 

chas650r

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I ordered a new helm already but being a very curious guy, I'd probably open it up anyways. I'll even attempt to diy the rebuild, if it works then I'll have a spare ready to go for next round.

I'll report back with photos when I dissect them thing.
I will be waiting to hear the outcome w/ the new pump as I may go there also if that does it. if it was me I would maybe do a atf flush before disassembly to clean the rest of the system so as to not contaminate the virgin pump??
 

Cheapie408

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I will be waiting to hear the outcome w/ the new pump as I may go there also if that does it. if it was me I would maybe do a atf flush before disassembly to clean the rest of the system so as to not contaminate the virgin pump??
At this point I've flushed the system at least 2x over. Fluids are all clear with only new fluids in line.

I hope it's only the helm that need replacing is a quicker easy fix
 

Cheapie408

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Replaced the helm today, still have some play in the wheel but the good news is there are no more bubbles, even the mico bubble.

Spent about 2 hours after that taking the apart the old hem. The was a bunch of sludge inside. Surface rust is obvious. I don't have the proper tools to remove all the rust. Wire wheel can only do much. It cleaned up good and I'm sure I can put it back together and it will perform better but the question is how long? Not sure if it's worth fixing. Would you?

Here's some before and after my attempt to clean it up. Last photo is after lots of purple power and running it through the wire wheel.

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chas650r

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thanks for the update 408. I am sorry to hear you still have some play in the wheel. I just checked mine again and I have at least 2 inches both ways (4 total) at the outside of the wheel before the engine moves . interestingly if I move the wheel back and forth quickly it seems less . just does not feel correct. Is yours similar ? how much is the play in yours now?

As far as the rebuild goes it looks like it would be doable but if you still have play w/ the new unit I might put the effort elsewhere? If I could get the whole system working the way I think it should having a rebuilt backup could be nice. Were you able to get it all apart? I have never seen a total parts diagram but assume there is valving behind the black screw in plugs in the back of the unit?
 

Cheapie408

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@chas650r Mine have about the same amount of play each way as well. Now that I got a new helm, I might take apart the ram ram. Took it out over the weekend and it seems much more manageable though. I think what i need is a 4 blade prop. Have had a 4 blade prop on every boat and I forgot what it means to have a shitty low speed maneuverability.

On the other hand, I realized that I just need to learn how to operate an outboard. On the I/O the prop sits much lower, I can trim it almost however and never have an issue. On this boat at an idle speed and reving it up, if the motor is trimmed up even just a little bit the engine would rev up but I go nowhere cause the proper is not making enough contact with the water. I just have to remember to trim all the way down if I want to take off while at idle.
 

chas650r

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408 , if you want to do more reading re. seastar there is a lot of info here; https://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-forum/321796-seastar-steering-helm-pump-rebuild-pics-6.html
within that info a rebuilder outlines a ram test that I just ran on mine. it involves tipping the motor up and using the weight of the motor to test the ram seals, made sense to me . with the motor all up and turned a bit to one side I marked the ram w/ tape then you wait and see if the motor moves the ram over time indicating bypass in the ram ( or the helm if the wheel turns ) . I made sure to shove the motor the way it will fall to take out any play before marking the ram. on mine , overnight , w/ a good shove again I got about a 1/4" movement . the helm wheel did not move noticeably. the rebuilder said you should get 4 hours before the motor falls all to one side so mine seems to pass that test easily.

I am more confused than ever now that you have a new helm and still have play. on the one hand you and I seem to have similar symptoms and maybe correct. on the other hand andy's is much better . I guess I will get the parts together to make a simplified version of andy's bleeder. if I understand his system correctly it's just hoses from both bleed ports teed together back to the helm fill bottle . this is basically what I did before by transferring the fluid from the ram back to the helm bottle but with andy's system I can do it alone and watch the return fluid at the helm.

if you try the ram test please let us know the results.
 
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Andy

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408 , if you want to do more reading re. seastar there is a lot of info here; https://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-forum/321796-seastar-steering-helm-pump-rebuild-pics-6.html
within that info a rebuilder outlines a ram test that I just ran on mine. it involves tipping the motor up and using the weight of the motor to test the ram seals, made sense to me . with the motor all up and turned a bit to one side I marked the ram w/ tape then you wait and see if the motor moves the ram over time indicating bypass in the ram ( or the helm if the wheel turns ) . I made sure to shove the motor the way it will fall to take out any play before marking the ram. on mine , overnight , w/ a good shove again I got about a 1/4" movement . the helm wheel did not move noticeably. the rebuilder said you should get 4 hours before the motor falls all to one side so mine seems to pass that test easily.

I am more confused than ever now that you have a new helm and still have play. on the one hand you and I seem to have similar symptoms and maybe correct. on the other hand andy's is much better . I guess I will get the parts together to make a simplified version of andy's bleeder. if I understand his system correctly it's just hoses from both bleed ports teed together back to the helm fill bottle . this is basically what I did before by transferring the fluid from the ram back to the helm bottle but with andy's system I can do it alone and watch the return fluid at the helm.

if you try the ram test please let us know the results.
I've been staying silent on this the last few days as I too am at a loss. I've had experience with only 8-10 hydraulic-steered boats, including our own boats, for the last 35+ years. Although I suppose it is not unusual, I have not seen a helm-pump with issues like Cheapie's. On all of the boats, once they were bled, I have not experienced any 'play' or 'jerking' of the steering. I've researched this on other sites, and have asked others for their opinions/advice. They come back with the same answers that Chad650r and I have mentioned.... Even now, they think there is still air in the system; or a hydraulic leak. Once Cheapie checks the hydraulic ram, I know of nothing else to check.
(PS... I would like to know how water/moisture got into Cheapie's or others system in the first place; If the seals were bad, could there have been enough moisture in the intruding air? Did someone pressure-wash the helm pump?)
 

Cheapie408

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I have to go into the office today but will try another method of bleeding when I get home. Instead of looping the two bleed valve, I'm going to get a long enough tube and return the fluids into the fill bottle. This I think it's the best way to completely push fluids throughout the system releasing all the air.
 

Andy

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I have to go into the office today but will try another method of bleeding when I get home. Instead of looping the two bleed valve, I'm going to get a long enough tube and return the fluids into the fill bottle. This I think it's the best way to completely push fluids throughout the system releasing all the air.
Yes; and that is what is shown in the videos; (See Bleed Video #2); and also described in detail in the comments segment of #3. No wonder your neighbors thought you had gone nuts ☺(500+ turns!)... The long return tube needs to run all the way back to the source; the "Highly Raised" fill bottle. I hope that corrects your issue.
 
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chas650r

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I've been staying silent on this the last few days as I too am at a loss. I've had experience with only 8-10 hydraulic-steered boats, including our own boats, for the last 35+ years. Although I suppose it is not unusual, I have not seen a helm-pump with issues like Cheapie's. On all of the boats, once they were bled, I have not experienced any 'play' or 'jerking' of the steering. I've researched this on other sites, and have asked others for their opinions/advice. They come back with the same answers that Chad650r and I have mentioned.... Even now, they think there is still air in the system; or a hydraulic leak. Once Cheapie checks the hydraulic ram, I know of nothing else to check.
(PS... I would like to know how water/moisture got into Cheapie's or others system in the first place; If the seals were bad, could there have been enough moisture in the intruding air? Did someone pressure-wash the helm pump?)
agreed, I also have had other boat systems that did not have play that is why I question seastars info that some is ok or expected unless their system is inferior. I had a hynautics system on twin 235hp outboards in the 80's that was perfect. are you in agreement that your bleeding system is as I described? I see no reason for the tee in your fill line if I just run the hose from the ram back into the raised fill bottle , correct?

thanks for the additional info.
 

Andy

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agreed, I also have had other boat systems that did not have play that is why I question seastars info that some is ok or expected unless their system is inferior. I had a hynautics system on twin 235hp outboards in the 80's that was perfect. are you in agreement that your bleeding system is as I described? I see no reason for the tee in your fill line if I just run the hose from the ram back into the raised fill bottle , correct?

thanks for the additional info.
Hi chas650r, Yes, I agree. After bleeding, I have not had ANY(zero. none. nada) 'play' or skipping in any of my boats hydraulic steering systems (Wagner, Hynautics, and SeaStar)... I'm not sure I understand your question about needing or not needing the 'Tee' in the line. Both of the Tees (the one in the stern that splits the bleed ports near the engine, AND the Tee near the forward helm that connects to the 'Raised fill Bottle') are both critically important for the system to work properly. (by the way, the higher the fill bottle, the better).. I'm thinking at this point, that may have been Cheapie's issue (I had assumed he was bleeding with a system as shown in my videos; (I know! A.S.S.U.M.E!..☺)....
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chas650r

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Hi chas650r, Yes, I agree. After bleeding, I have not had ANY(zero. none. nada) 'play' or skipping in any of my boats hydraulic steering systems (Wagner, Hynautics, and SeaStar)... I'm not sure I understand your question about needing or not needing the 'Tee' in the line. Both of the Tees (the one in the stern that splits the bleed ports near the engine, AND the Tee near the forward helm that connects to the 'Raised fill Bottle') are both critically important for the system to work properly. (by the way, the higher the fill bottle, the better).. I'm thinking at this point, that may have been Cheapie's issue (I had assumed he was bleeding with a system as shown in my videos; (I know! A.S.S.U.M.E!..☺)....
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thanks for the reply, sorry I did not make it clearer. my question is about the tee at the helm end. seems to me that just running the long tube from the stern tee into the fill bottle (up high) would do the same and not add air into the fill line. as you noted when air returns from the stern in your system it goes into the fill line at the tee the air must rise and escape into the fill bottle. seems counter productive when I could just dump the return fluid into the open bottle . am I missing something here?

btw ,408 home depot has that 1/4 id tubing 20' ~ $6

thanks
 

chas650r

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another observation from my bleeding I will throw out there for comment . I made a fill bottle with the top totally open so I can just add fluid as needed . the bleed fluid was just collected at the stern and dumped back into the open top bottle . at the end of my bleeding session I try to use all the fluid in the fill bottle so the mess is minimal when I disconnect my fill line . so I bleed until the bottle is empty and fluid is in the tube only . this is when I see an interesting thing , with the bleed ports closed , when I just start to move the wheel the fluid level in the tube goes down a small bit. at first I was convinced this was from air being compressed somewhere in the system but after hours of bleeding with out a change in this I convinced myself it was something else, maybe line flex which seastar agrees happens. now after hearing that andy has No play I am back to thinking air somewhere in my system.

anybody else notice this? comments welcome!
 

Andy

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thanks for the reply, sorry I did not make it clearer. my question is about the tee at the helm end. seems to me that just running the long tube from the stern tee into the fill bottle (up high) would do the same and not add air into the fill line. as you noted when air returns from the stern in your system it goes into the fill line at the tee the air must rise and escape into the fill bottle. seems counter productive when I could just dump the return fluid into the open bottle . am I missing something here?

btw ,408 home depot has that 1/4 id tubing 20' ~ $6

thanks
Hi Chas650, The key is to have all the air bubbles returned to the fill bottle. I've even seen people bleed from just having a tube between the nipples on the ram, and if the system has just a few minor bubbles, that might work. I've also seen people bleed the system into a handful of rags, and make a mess; and although they get some bubbles out, they leave most of them in, and still have play in the wheel,...
I've not used other methods than the Bubble-Purge system (via recommendations from others), and it has worked well for me. I like the no-mess fittings. (I have no monetary interest in the company; I'm just happy with the product, and with the verbal person-to-person service). My guess is that all the parts, including the two Tee's and return-hose, are there to make the process quicker and easier. I understand what you explained, but using the system as I have doesn't re-introduce air back into the system at the helm unless the fill bottle is too low. I eventually raised the fill-bottle high in the air; in fact hung it from the VHF radio mounted near the ceiling.
 

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