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Old 10-28-2005, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default Hydraulic Steering Fluid

I have a Seastar system and it calls for a certain type of fluid. I had a kink in one of my hydraulic lines and the dealer came to replace it. The manual says that ATF should only be used in an emergency, but when he bled the system, it had that ATF red color to it. THe Seastar fluid is clear to yellow in color ($12-$13 a quart). Is this just hype, or is ATF actually bad for the system? What do you guys use?
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Ran into the same problem with TR 1 auto -- the one they sold was a silcone base??? about the same price---I am curious---
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:35 PM   #3
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Default RE: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

ATF. No Problems at all.

ATF is thicker than Teleflex Fluid. You might have to use 2 fingers, rather than 1, to turn the wheel.
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Old 10-28-2005, 08:03 PM   #4
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Default RE: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Some of the compatable hydraulic fluids made by the oil companies are a different color. I have seen both red and blue besides the SeaStar light yellow.

Using the colored fluids help out in case of a leak as they're easier to see.
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Old 10-29-2005, 12:51 AM   #5
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Default RE: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Just an FYI …..

From the Teleflex marine’s/SeaStar website
In the FAQ section

Q: Can I substitute Transmission Fluid (ATF) for the recommended SeaStar Fluid?

A: In Emergencies only. ATF will void the warranty and decrease the efficiency of the steering system. SeaStar Steering Fluid can be replaced by any Hydraulic fluid with Mil Spec H5606.



If you look through the site they give you the list of the other acceptable fluids if you do not want to use the SeaStar Hydraulic Fluid.
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Old 10-29-2005, 05:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

I had to bleed the entire system on my boat, I refilled it with seastar fluid. It has since turned red in color. Go figure.
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Old 10-29-2005, 07:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Axiom2222: Why did you have to bleed the whole system?
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Old 10-29-2005, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

My Marina bled my system, before it was bled the fluid was yellow. After it was red. I questioned them on it and they said Seastar had made a red fluid that they still had in stock and that it was not ATF.
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Old 10-29-2005, 12:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Hynautic brand ( now owned by seastar ) hydraulic fluid is red color, juts like ATF. The pressure involve is much higher in a steering, like 1,000 psi, use Seastar brand instead of ATF, it is better and in fact design specifically for hydraulics. Unless there is a leak, the fluid will last a last time, unless you have power steering PTO, then twice a year replacement or every 1,000 hours make sense.
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Old 10-30-2005, 06:00 PM   #10
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Default RE: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

The mil spec you quoted is for aviation hydraulic fluid. I would think that automotive power steering fluid (not ATF) would be OK but I'm not sure. I used the aviation fluid in my SeaStar system and have had no problems so far.
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Old 10-30-2005, 06:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

the ATF may ruin the seals, i would use the reccomended fluid to avoid future headaches.
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Old 10-30-2005, 07:00 PM   #12
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Default RE: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

ATF will eat the seals out of the unit.
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Old 10-30-2005, 08:16 PM   #13
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Default RE: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

A tech at Sea - Star told me I could use any fluid (seawater) in an emergency. AND ATF works fine, just a little harder to turn the wheel at lower temps. I use the synthetic ATF.
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Old 10-30-2005, 09:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Umm, power steering fluid is the correct fluid.
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Old 10-31-2005, 08:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Fluid

Unless power steering fluid meets Mil Spec H-5606 C, which I don't think it does, it is not the correct fluid.

How much clearer can the Seastar manual be? It says to normally use Seastar fluid or any other fluid that meets Mil Spec H-5606 C. The manual even goes so far as to list the common names for fluids that meet this spec.

http://www.seastarsteering.com/OUTBO...ED/Fluid.htm&1

It clearly states to use a "specific" ATF fluid (not just any ATF fluid) only in the event of an emergency.

The colors of the fluids don't really mean squat. Different types of ATF fluids can all be red in color, but use the wrong type fluid and you risk messing things up. Any manufacturer can dye his fluid to whatever color he wants. As an example, Mercon III ATF is red and so is Mercon V. However, Mercon III is not to be used in a system that is designed for Mercon V and vice versa. It is the specification of the fluid you are looking for.
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