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Old 25 July 2008, 09:16   #1
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Bay Star HH 4016 Hydraulic Steering System

I have a Bay Star HH 4016 Hydraulic steering system fitted on an XS600 with a 115 Optimax. It is now into its second season with about 130hrs on the clock

I noticed last autumn, before lay up, slight oil dampness under hydraulic oil filler cap above the steering wheel hub. It is kept in a yard in Spain so I asked them to check it out over the winter and they came back saying its all ok (or I think they did as my Catalan isnít that good)

Last week I felt that after an hour or so at sea the wheel had rotated about ľ of a turn or so to port. Being such a small amount it is difficult to detect so it may always have been present.

The steering still seems very positive and solid. It is not slammed over hard on the stops at all. From what I can tell the hydraulic system is full.

I have had a look at the Teleflex website and they give instructions on how to bleed and top up the system but not much else.

I am not familiar with these hydraulic steering systems so is this something I should be unduly concerned about or should I just keep an eye on it.

Any suggestions please.

Jon
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Old 26 July 2008, 07:00   #2
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If the oil expands in the heat of the day and touches the bottom of filler thread it then gets drawn up by capilliary action and looks like a leak. It's normally just down to having the oil level too high. I find my steering needs constant readjustment when cruising which can be either doen to air in the system or bad trim on the engine.
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Old 26 July 2008, 08:45   #3
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Thanks Erin

I think what you are saying is that they may be a little air in the system and may need bleeding.

From the Teleflex website it seems you fill the system right to the very top (see attached dia) so if there is any air in it the a little oil will be forced out of the filler cap. If I recall I noticed it most when we went snorkelling in the morning leaving about 08:00 when the air temp was say around 20c and coming back about 13:00 when it was probably around 35c I noticed it on the way back when maybe a tiny amount of air in the system had expanded.

My concern was that the seals on the helm pump were worn but that doesnít make sense as the steering is still firm and doesnít give when taken too full lock. I understand you can knacker the seals on these systems if you continually lean on the wheel when the steering is against the stops which I take care not to do.

I think I will just monitor it and if it gets worse try bleeding the system.

Jon
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Old 27 July 2008, 03:19   #4
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Jon,

I have bled a couple of these systems and it does not sound like your needs it.

There is always a little bit of play if you twitch the wheel side to side as the valves have to do their stuff and you will hear them clicking away when you do this. However if the steering generally feels solid then you are probably fine.

There is one way to tell if the steering needs bleeding and you will need the filler pipe that screws into the top of the helm pump to test this. All you do is undo the filling cap, screw in the fill pipe and then half fill the fill pipe with the correct hydaulic fluid. Then rock the steering back and forth. If the level of fluid in the pipe rises and falls by more that an inch then you could probably do with bleeding it, otherwise you are fine.

It is quite usual for the steering wheel position to alter and if you fit one of those five spoke steering wheels you won't notice it then

Chris
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Old 27 July 2008, 05:04   #5
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I have to say that the last statement Chris made about "wheel Creep" is a normal process of the hydraulic steering system, some are worse that others depending on build/wear factors and is really only noticable with steering helms that use steering wheels with unequal spokes, this is one reson people tend to put "balanced" wheels on.

If it feels right then I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 28 July 2008, 15:30   #6
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Chris and Andy thanks for your thoughts

The only reason I noticed it was because I have an uneven spoke layout to my wheel. If it is acceptable to have a small amount of wheel creep then I will just monitor it.

I like the idea of fitting an evenly spaced spoke wheel so you donít notice it ÖÖ just like turning the radio up on my car to drown out the rattles and bangs.

But seriously in the back of my mind I was just thinking if the system fails Iím pretty stuck. 115 hp but canít point it in the right direction!!! Thinking about it if it did fail and I was some way off I think I would try to lash the main engine in amidships using the A frame to secure it and then use the main engine as a source of propulsion and run the auxiliary just to try and steer or perhaps jury rig a paddle as a steering oar. Interesting to know if anybody has had a complete steering failure and what they did to resolve it.

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Old 28 July 2008, 17:27   #7
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I would hazard a guess that hydraulic steering systems are one of the most reliable mechanical systems found on a boat. Sudden failier is normally though the connection between cylinder and engine (though torque sheering bolts/pins etc) or hoses having already been damaged, bursting.
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Old 28 July 2008, 17:41   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon.esp View Post
I noticed last autumn, before lay up, slight oil dampness under hydraulic oil filler cap above the steering wheel hub.
Jon
I bet you were 'cruising' when you discovered a 'leek'.
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Old 29 July 2008, 04:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon.esp View Post
Interesting to know if anybody has had a complete steering failure and what they did to resolve it.

Jon
The club boat had just such a failure on a dive a few years back. She returned to port with a large idiot diver draped over the 115hp, pushing the A frame as required. I wouldn't recommend this as an ideal solution, large idiot divers are not scarce but you may not have one to hand. Since this, a few of us have fitted a mod to our own engines, bolting/welding a "receiver" on the outboard into which a tiller (boat hook) can be inserted.
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Old 29 July 2008, 05:55   #10
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I would not consider myself as large, however my children would argue long and hard over the idiot aspect. The idea of modifying the engine to receive an emergency tiller sounds good but if as Andy suggest that the chances of such a failure is remote so is it worth it. From your experience you clearly think it was willk. Have you ever tried tiller steering 100hp +? I think it may be quite interesting especially if you had to have a short tiller and there was any sea running but as the whole object is to get you home safely and as quickly as possible I guess we would all live with the experience. Keep the revs down!!!

Jon
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