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clueless about removing auto pilot

Old 10-21-2011, 08:44 AM
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Question clueless about removing auto pilot

i recently bought a boat that had an auto pilot installed. it works fine but its got to be close to 10 years old. im not sure that i trust something that old with my steering so i decided to remove it.
my questions are.
do i need any special tools to do this? i see its connected to the back of my steering column.
can i just unhook it or is the fluid under pressure?
also will i need to top of the fluid when im done.

ill post pics asap, i just wanted to get a general idea of what kind of project this is.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:04 AM
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The fluid is not under extreme pressure, but yes, a decent amount will leak out during removal. To lessen that amount, you could try opening up the bleeder valves on the ram, hooking up hose to a reservoir (anything that will hold the fluid, could be an empty milk jug) and turning the wheel until no more fluid comes out. I'm assuming you have a seastar steering system? If so, I would download the installation manual for the helm you have, and basically, you want to do whatever you've got to do to get it to where it's stock as per that manual. After everything is removed, you will need to bleed/refill the hydraulic steering system. If you'd like to sell the AP you remove, pm me, I'll happily purchase it.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:26 AM
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it does have the sea star, ill check into it and let you know. ill pm you after its removed. thanks
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:05 PM
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Mystyle covered that nicely, but forgive me if I mention, FWIW- I sure wouldn't remove my Simrad just because it's16 yrs old. Works fine and I use it extensively virtually every trip since it steers a even straighter course over ground than I do and saves fuel and time to varying extent. Unless you are upgrading, it sounds like you may be removing a valuable boating tool unless you just don't like it.
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Old 10-22-2011, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by TTaxi View Post
Mystyle covered that nicely, but forgive me if I mention, FWIW- I sure wouldn't remove my Simrad just because it's16 yrs old. Works fine and I use it extensively virtually every trip since it steers a even straighter course over ground than I do and saves fuel and time to varying extent. Unless you are upgrading, it sounds like you may be removing a valuable boating tool unless you just don't like it.
Assuming its a Simrad unit, 10 years isn't too old to use. I know several people who use 12-20 year old Simrads day in day out. Just check the fittings for corrosion and the hoses for chaffe and cracking. I wouldn't remove it either. Autopilots, unlike GPS, haven't radically changed in the past 16 years.
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