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Bleeding AP Pump

Old 02-24-2015, 08:41 AM
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Default Bleeding AP Pump

I posted on this about a year ago, however, I have completely re-done the steering on the boat from last year. Put a new steering cylinder on at the motors and had to replace the helm as well...it wasn't rebuildable. My question is what is the best way to bleed the air out of the AutoPilot pump and hoses? My plan is to prefill the pump with fluid..since I am taking all the old fluid out and putting new fluid in...but the lines will have air in them. I have been told that when I bleed the system down the way seastar recommends doing it that it will bleed the air out of the pump...this just doesn't seem correct. I have called Simrad for tech help since their manual for the pump is very vague and of course I got no help. All the manual says is to open "A, B and C couplings"...can any of you "do it yourselfers" give me some advice or help?
Old 02-24-2015, 08:50 AM
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I know many here will say do it manually with a small piece of tubbing. Do yourself a favor and locate someone in your area that has a power purge. In the end you will thank yourself that you did. To bleed the system with a power purge it should not cost more than 100.00 or so.
Old 02-24-2015, 08:56 AM
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When I do mine, I follow the Seastar instructions. I shunt the two nipples on the ram cylinder w/ clear tubing.

It is easy.
Old 02-24-2015, 09:15 AM
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I did the Simrad's boat which has the AP2403 package on here, but I've done a bunch of Hydraulic steering systems and AP's, I've done it manually and with power surge. I suggest if you haven't done it before Mike's right, your time should be worth something and each of those quarts of Sea Star fluid is around $20, so if I were you I'd find someone that can do it for you. But I bled the system like normal, I didn't bleed it from the pump, that doesn't even make sense, because that would be introducing air in the middle of the system. Plus with the power surge there's less waste in fluid as well.
Old 02-24-2015, 09:43 AM
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Thanks guys. I've got a local marine service shop that has one of those power purge systems. I was planning to bleed it down the seastar way. What I'm just afraid of is when I put new fluid in the system...are my hoses that come off the back of the helm (I have "t" fittings in the back of my helm" one supplies the cylinder and one goes to the pump) going to the AP pump going to get filled with fluid as I introduce new fluid into the full port on the top of the helm or is there going to be one giant air bible in each line?
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:12 AM
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On the simrad head, you can manually turn pump on to steer l/r. On my ap35 you just hold the l or r button in stdby. Just bleed per normal seastar instr and periodically run pump back and forth. It will purge itself just like the helm.

If you still can't get it right, get someone to power bleed it. I've done several steering systems and always got a good bleed without any power bleed etc.
Old 02-24-2015, 01:22 PM
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that looks like an AP pump? if so you don't need tees there, just 90's. if the helm already has tee's. just mount the pump under the helm and connect the three lines to the helm. The return line (center) goes to a port on the helm that is plugged and need a fitting.
ps, I would not worry about pre-filling the pump. when you add fluid to the fill port on the helm, gravity will largely fill the pump. Where you "bleed" it will take care of all the air.
Old 02-24-2015, 02:51 PM
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Thanks fellas. And nah that isn't my AP pump. That's my new tilt helm. I sent off my old tilt helm to Boat Steering Rebuilders in Florida and Butch called me up last week and said that my helm looked bad inside...lots of sludge and rust material and fluid. So I decided to do it right and just put all new components back. A good little project before the spring mahi bite. I started to do this last year but decided against it for some reason...but do any of you have 1/4 valves installed in y'all's AP pump in case you have to disconnect? See the pic I have attached...that was how I had them hooked up before I removed them...
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:01 PM
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I don't put valves on the AP pump. If replacement is needed. it's not a big deal to bleed as we discussed. Not sure why some have valves. Not like the valves allow replacement without opening system up, either, fitting geometry and clearance too tight. Not sure those valves are great at 1000psi.
Old 02-24-2015, 03:09 PM
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Just wanted to see what you guys thought. After speaking with the lovely tech guys at Simrad a year or so ago...they recommended the setup you see there...it was a tight fit as far as clearance around all fittings...so I took them off. Once again after talking to a tech guy at Simrad today he asked if I had valves installed for servicing my pump...I gave him my reasons as to why I don't and he still insisted that I should put some 1/4 turn valves so it would allow easier servicing. In my opinion it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal if they aren't there.

Last edited by JWPGA; 02-25-2015 at 09:36 AM.
Old 02-24-2015, 06:29 PM
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It's not a big deal to bleed. Depends on where your pump is. Mine is located near the ram, so I bleed my ram as recommended, then I do it again but using the pump. I just put it in steer mode. Then once everything is closed up I run it hard port/start a few times.

Also, if you have your system designed correctly, where the ram is the lowest point, then the pump, then the helm, your system should naturally burp out.

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