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Old 20 November 2011, 10:09   #1
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SeaStar Ram Movement

In going over the RIB today I noticed some movement in the steering ram whilst rocking the outboard side to side (about 20mm either way). I checked the resevoir on the helm which did need a little topping up but the oil does expand and contract from hot and cold days, so was expected to be a little low. After working the steering back and forth a few times the play had reduced, but after an hour it was slightly worse (about 10mm either way) I hadn't noticed this before. Is this normal? I guess there is some dampening in the cylinder, the RIB handles as good as it ever did.
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Old 20 November 2011, 10:34   #2
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A little movement is ok otherwise I would suggest bleeding a little oli through and looking for bubbles
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Old 20 November 2011, 12:06   #3
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Any weeping oil from the glands where the driven rod exit the ram tube?

Most people find leakage after about 3 or 4 years (though I don't specifically recall play being an issue.)

Seal replacement is pretty easy; kit is around $100US, and comes with new glands (with seals), a tool to remove/replace the glands, and a bunch of O-rings for the various bleed nipples (which I ignored.)

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Old 20 November 2011, 14:42   #4
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I installed the hydraulics 4 years ago and don't remember any movement. Checked, no leaks anywhere. I'm not used to any movement in industrial hydraulics, but am aware that on some rams there are vibration dampening cylinder pistons that do actualy promote some movement.

I'm not too worried about the immediate future, but it looks like I'll be bleeding the system at somepoint.
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Old 24 November 2011, 11:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
In going over the RIB today I noticed some movement in the steering ram whilst rocking the outboard side to side (about 20mm either way). I checked the resevoir on the helm which did need a little topping up but the oil does expand and contract from hot and cold days, so was expected to be a little low. After working the steering back and forth a few times the play had reduced, but after an hour it was slightly worse (about 10mm either way) I hadn't noticed this before. Is this normal? I guess there is some dampening in the cylinder, the RIB handles as good as it ever did.
Hey there - 20mm is on the high side of movement, we prefer to see it less than that (around 5-8mm). You may have air in the system that may be from a leak. The very first thing that I think you should do is look into a leak. There is a way to pressurzie the system, as shown below

* ensure helm is full of fluid
* turn steering wheel hard over to the starboard side
* when your wheel stops, force it one-turn past the stop point
* leave wheel in this position for at least 5-minutes, then, start looking everywhere for any signs of a leak
* repeat to the port side

NOTES:
1. the helm, when turning past and off of the stop points will make a lot of noises, this is normal
2. after you turn the wheel 1-turn past the stop point, for the first few seconds, watch the steering wheel. If you see this wheel wanting to turn on it's own, then we may have a helm pump problem (get a fluid sample in this case)

If/when you find the leak, it will need to be cured, then the system re-bled free of air

thanks and if you have any questions please feel free to ask

Marc D. Adams
Teleflex Marine
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Old 24 November 2011, 12:29   #6
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Thanks for your help, I will try this tomorrow.
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Old 24 November 2011, 12:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaStar Steering View Post
Hey there - 20mm is on the high side of movement, we prefer to see it less than that (around 5-8mm). You may have air in the system that may be from a leak. The very first thing that I think you should do is look into a leak. There is a way to pressurzie the system, as shown below

* ensure helm is full of fluid
* turn steering wheel hard over to the starboard side
* when your wheel stops, force it one-turn past the stop point
* leave wheel in this position for at least 5-minutes, then, start looking everywhere for any signs of a leak
* repeat to the port side

NOTES:
1. the helm, when turning past and off of the stop points will make a lot of noises, this is normal
2. after you turn the wheel 1-turn past the stop point, for the first few seconds, watch the steering wheel. If you see this wheel wanting to turn on it's own, then we may have a helm pump problem (get a fluid sample in this case)

If/when you find the leak, it will need to be cured, then the system re-bled free of air

thanks and if you have any questions please feel free to ask

Marc D. Adams
Teleflex Marine
I wish other manufacturers were as helpful, nice one
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