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Old 12 February 2011, 05:56   #1
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Seastar hydraulic steering oil leak

I have noticed a slight oil leak at steering ram of Seastar 3 yr old How easy? to fix or is it better to get expert to do it. General condition immaculate
thanks
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Old 12 February 2011, 14:56   #2
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I have noticed a slight oil leak at steering ram of Seastar 3 yr old How easy? to fix or is it better to get expert to do it. General condition immaculate
thanks
Pretty easy to do, assuming you can get the kit. Kit contains (as I remember): 2 seals premounted in end caps, a spanner for removing and installing said seals, a few other bits and pieces. Kit runs between $60 and $85 US, depending on where you buy it.

If you can't get the kit, you'll need the appropriate glands with seals, and need to fabricate a wrench that fits the little holes in the cap.

I suppose it's possible to reuse the caps and just replace the seals, if you don't mind being down for a bit. (see below)


Seastar used to recommend doing a complete flush and fill when you do the seals, but it's quite possible to replace them without losing much fluid at all.

Basically, you disconnect the steering arms from the ends of the ram, turn the wheel so the ram moves all the way to one side, remove and replace that seal, then go the other way to change the other side. Bleed the ram on either side to eliminate air, and you're pretty much done.

As a side note, many people say that you can take the old glands to a hydraulic shop and have the seals replaced; seems easy enough, but I haven't gotten around to it.

As long as you're doing the ram seals, you might as well replace the helm seal as well. That way all the user replaceable stuff is done at once. The helm seal runs about $5.

Luck;

jky
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Old 14 February 2011, 04:06   #3
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sounds simple thanks for that
doug
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Old 14 February 2011, 07:23   #4
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seastar

Doug,

Although you state 'immaculate' please make sure that you carefully check the ram/rod for damages since if the seals start leaking because of damages on the surface of the piston rod, replacing the seals will be a waste of time.

Repeatedly occuring leakages will be imminent if only a 'scratch' is on it, at least that is my (unlucky) experience now... Had in the end the piston rod copied out of a slab 316 since the 'government issue' MOD spec piston on my boat (without any further markings on make/brand/type) had such damages....
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Old 14 February 2011, 08:37   #5
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Taking apart tonight so will see how good it really is thanks
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Old 14 February 2011, 11:31   #6
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Well, IMO, the seals on the Seastar rams are somewhat less than indestructible. They seem to fail (not catastrophically, but begin leaking) with higher than expected regularity.

On my boat, they lasted about 3 years before they began leaking; the new set is still fine (3 years now), but I've heard of others who regularly develop leaks after a season and a half.

Scratches, nicks, etc on the rod will accelerate things, but from various forums I have read, it really doesn't seem that the seals need the help to begin leaking.

jky
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Old 15 February 2011, 09:25   #7
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cant see any marking on shafts have ordered seastar kit ouch but as it is crititcal bit of kit right thing to do, im sure you could replace just the seals at much reduced price had fitted power assist last year and was concerned that induced early failure but seems no issues with that.
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Old 15 February 2011, 09:57   #8
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have ordered seastar kit ouch
How many ?
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Old 15 February 2011, 10:26   #9
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110 for the kit you have to get the special spanner its better than a screwdriver and hammer
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Old 15 February 2011, 11:22   #10
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Sounds a little steep. Discount boat shops have the kit (well, the one for the "normal" single outboard steering ram) with wrench, glands with seals, and little thread avoiding gizmo for about $100 US.

Aren't we still in the neighborhood of 1.5:1 GBP to USD? Or am I way behind the times? (Again)

jky
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