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Old 04 April 2010, 05:21   #1
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How much fluid should there be in the steering?

Just a quick question - I undid the little cap on the steering column today (the hydraulic fluid reservoir) to check the level because the steering has been a little heavy recently I felt.

Looking at it, it appears that its about an inch below the filler hole, is this right or should there be more? I do have a little bottle of fluid that I can add, but I don't want to overfill it!

(I have Parker Parflex pipework and I think a teleflex steering wheel, but I'm not absolutely sure!

Many thanks
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Old 04 April 2010, 05:25   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotchiguy View Post
Just a quick question - I undid the little cap on the steering column today (the hydraulic fluid reservoir) to check the level because the steering has been a little heavy recently I felt.

Looking at it, it appears that its about an inch below the filler hole, is this right or should there be more? I do have a little bottle of fluid that I can add, but I don't want to overfill it!

(I have Parker Parflex pipework and I think a teleflex steering wheel, but I'm not absolutely sure!

Many thanks
I think Roy always fits the Ultraflex steering systems, in which case the level of fluid should be just below the hole. However if you were runnign low on fluid the effect would not be to make the steering heavy but instead it would intrduce air and you would hear and feel air pockets in the system.

If your steering is heavy you may need to look elswhere such as greasing up the engine bracket grease nipples with Evinrude Triple Guard grease.
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Old 04 April 2010, 05:31   #3
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When it comes to hydraulic steering its important to fix problems. If it has lost fluid then you have a leak somewhere which needs fixing, not just topping up.
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Old 04 April 2010, 05:35   #4
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When it comes to hydraulic steering its important to fix problems. If it has lost fluid then you have a leak somewhere which needs fixing, not just topping up.
Unlikely if its an inch below the hole that is quite normal after a few months use as all the remaining air has worked its way out.

If the steering is stiff then more likey there are other problems.
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Old 04 April 2010, 07:19   #5
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Unlikely if its an inch below the hole that is quite normal after a few months use as all the remaining air has worked its way out.
I'm not sure how big the resevoir is - but that sounds like quite a lot of air to find its way out of a well bled system. Of course it might have been that low a few months ago - as from Gotchiguy's question he obviously doesn't know where "full" is / was.

Quote:
If the steering is stiff then more likey there are other problems.
Possibly - although one person's heavy is another's spongy! The girl in that MAIB report I linked to described the steering as difficult and tiring. If Gotchiguy had a lot of experience debugging hydraulics he presumably wouldn't be on here asking for advice. My point was really not to keep topping it up as there must be a leak that needs fixed. But you are quite right the problem may well not be on the oil side of the system - especially if its been sitting for a few months over winter all seizing up.
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Old 04 April 2010, 07:56   #6
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I'm not sure how big the resevoir is - but that sounds like quite a lot of air to find its way out of a well bled system. Of course it might have been that low a few months ago - as from Gotchiguy's question he obviously doesn't know where "full" is / was.



Possibly - although one person's heavy is another's spongy! The girl in that MAIB report I linked to described the steering as difficult and tiring. If Gotchiguy had a lot of experience debugging hydraulics he presumably wouldn't be on here asking for advice. My point was really not to keep topping it up as there must be a leak that needs fixed. But you are quite right the problem may well not be on the oil side of the system - especially if its been sitting for a few months over winter all seizing up.
I have the same system on my Osprey and after the first year of use the level had dropped a little. It is quite common after the first few months for the last bubbles of trapped air to make their way up to the reservoir and Gotchi's boat is exaclty a year old so this is the most likely explanation.
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Old 04 April 2010, 13:38   #7
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I found that during hot days the fluid would weep out of the fill hole as it expanded. Perhaps this could explain a slight drop in fluid level too? If in doubt fill it up! Much better than getting air in the system. You can't do any damage by overfilling it, but it will leave an oily puddle on the floor or on the console, so be warned.
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Old 04 April 2010, 13:54   #8
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but it will leave an oily puddle on the floor or on the console, so be warned.
Yes, it will...

Tricky to clean up too.
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Old 04 April 2010, 16:40   #9
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You can't do any damage by overfilling it, but it will leave an oily puddle on the floor or on the console, so be warned.
Thanks for the advice

I topped it up earlier (upon closer inspection it was only about a 1/2 inch in fact, I only glanced at it the other day. It seems to have made a little difference to the weighting, but nothing dramatic, I think I just need to play with the trim when in port at slow speeds, it seems to affect the steering quick significantly.

Cheers muchly for the advice, and I agree, sound advice from Polwart, a stark reminder of the worst possible outcome from steering failure.
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Old 05 April 2010, 07:14   #10
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Originally Posted by gotchiguy View Post
Thanks for the advice

I topped it up earlier (upon closer inspection it was only about a 1/2 inch in fact, I only glanced at it the other day. It seems to have made a little difference to the weighting, but nothing dramatic, I think I just need to play with the trim when in port at slow speeds, it seems to affect the steering quick significantly.

Cheers muchly for the advice, and I agree, sound advice from Polwart, a stark reminder of the worst possible outcome from steering failure.
A little tip I learn't was to tie a length of rag around the steering helm/pump. That way is soaks up any oil leaking out the filler.

As for the steering torq. You could try adjusting the trim tab just behind the prop and see if you can make things a little easier for yourself.
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