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Bleeding hydraulic steering by yourself

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Bleeding hydraulic steering by yourself

Old 02-07-2017, 10:40 AM
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Default Bleeding hydraulic steering by yourself

Bleeding your hydraulic steering system by yourself is extremely easy if you know how. This method works for both single station and dual stations (tower boats). What you will need is 20 feet of 3/8" inner diameter plastic hose, one "T" fitting, a seastar bleed kit, and a quart of seastar fluid or automatic transmission fluid and an empty quart bottle. Cut the bottom off the empty quart bottle and zip tie it to a broom handle. Connect the quart bottle to the helm you're working on with the seastar bleed kit. Cut two lengths of 12" hose and connect to the "T" and connect the rest of the hose to the 3rd spot on the "T". The two short lengths go on the nipples on the hydraulic ram at the motor. The long length of hose returns to that empty quart bottle. I like to secure everything with zip ties.

Loosen both the fittings on the hydraulic ram and connect the short length of hose to them. Fill the empty quart bottle with fluid. Bleed the system by continually turning steering wheel one direction until there are no bubbles at all. Then turn the steering wheel back the other direction till there are no bubbles. I will turn it both ways two or three times to be sure there are no tiny bubbles. Once all of the bubbles have passed through tighten both fittings at the ram then disconnect the hoses. Have a reservoir or bucket ready because the fluid will drain back through that long return hose. If you have a dual station and the steering is OK at the lower station leave it alone. If not do the lower first. Once the system is bled from the lower helm (if necessary) move to the top helm and repeat.

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Old 02-07-2017, 10:45 AM
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Good stuff man! Thanks, it's almost like you knew I needed to do this!
Old 02-07-2017, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Softhammer View Post
Good stuff man! Thanks, it's almost like you knew I needed to do this!
Ya man. It's super easy. I can do my upper by myself in about 30 minutes without spilling a drop.
Old 02-07-2017, 11:25 AM
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Thanks for the pics Nate. I like the return line to the bottle....great idea. Now for the $20 question....what is the red hydraulic fluid you are using as it's not Seastar fluid?
Old 02-07-2017, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by weir mako21 View Post
Thanks for the pics Nate. I like the return line to the bottle....great idea. Now for the $20 question....what is the red hydraulic fluid you are using as it's not Seastar fluid?
Automatic transmission fluid. $4 a quart vs. $28.
Old 02-07-2017, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by captain nate View Post
Automatic transmission fluid. $4 a quart vs. $28.
Nothing draws out the nay sayers like a good ATF vs. seastar brand fluid thread rofl:

They sure get defensive after having grabbed both ankles for the seastar juice
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:46 AM
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It has worked well for me.
Old 02-07-2017, 11:51 AM
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never failed me....
Old 02-07-2017, 12:14 PM
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im sure the ATF is of a much higher quality anyhow
plus you can easily see if you get a leak later on, its like blood lol
Old 02-07-2017, 12:58 PM
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Is that any kind of ATF?
Old 02-07-2017, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wamc0206 View Post
Is that any kind of ATF?
Just regular ATF you can buy at Walmart.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:08 PM
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It's not the quality of the fluid, it's the viscosity. The 5606 fluids are thinner--not much of a deal in the Southeast but can make a difference in perceived steering effort on manual systems up north.
Old 02-07-2017, 01:12 PM
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very nice. i need to do this soon, appreciate it.
Old 02-07-2017, 01:15 PM
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Great, thanks for that

I need to do my Outrage in the next few weeks and I'll def use this method. Also good to get confirmation that ATF is the way to go. So now I know I can use it my my trim/tilt, trim tabs and the steering!
Old 02-07-2017, 01:22 PM
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How would you handle dual ram cylinders?
Old 02-07-2017, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by aln2202 View Post
How would you handle dual ram cylinders?
Do what?
Old 02-07-2017, 03:00 PM
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that's awesome Capt Nate, and just what I needed to get this done this weekend.

Only 1 quick question, are you not afraid of not filtering the fluid that you're pumping out during the bleeding process and reusing it to flow back into the helm?
Old 02-07-2017, 03:19 PM
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My oil is currently full of crap from the PO not changing it, so I'm just going to push that old oil out into a waste can - once I see the fresh oil coming through I'll put the tube back into the bottle feeding the helm.

Hopefully should be good enough.
Old 02-07-2017, 03:29 PM
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Not worried. It's clean.
Old 02-07-2017, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by metalchicken View Post
My oil is currently full of crap from the PO not changing it, so I'm just going to push that old oil out into a waste can - once I see the fresh oil coming through I'll put the tube back into the bottle feeding the helm.

Hopefully should be good enough.


Just flush it with a few quarts.

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