Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

This forum is for comments and the exchange of information relating to Trojan Boats and boating. Please do not post used parts or boats For Sale in this area. For general, non-boating topics please use our "General Discussions" section.

Note: Negative or inflammatory postings will not be tolerated.

Moderators: BeaconMarineBob, Moderator, BeaconMarineDon

Medic4U
Registered user
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Medic4U » Wed May 29, 2019 3:00 pm

Help! New owner of '82 36' Tri-cabin. Having issues getting rudders operational. I put 35 PSI air pressure via Schroeder valve on reservoir, but she will not move the rudders. To be honest, this is my first boat with hydraulic steering, and I see the auto pilot motor/pump mounted out board of the starboard engine, but have not tracked down if that is even getting power (not that should not allow for rudder control), as it's control on the dash has been silent since she was put in the water.

But I cannot see where any of the pump or other components are for the steering. The copper lines run along the transom, and then turn forward on the starboard side. That may be going to link up with the pump mentioned earlier. Where is the pump, or other devices used to run the power steering? I don't see it on either motor, as other boats I have had simple Mercruiser power, and a power steering type pump on the one engine. I don't see anything like that on either engine, or anywhere else. I was thinking, maybe under the starboard night stand in the aft cabin, where those two lines copper lines run from the cylinder, but that is just a wild guess.

Any help will be appreciated. Docking with just the screws in the river with current and wind isn't always fun...

User avatar
P-Dogg
2019 Forum Supporter
2019 Forum Supporter
Posts: 849
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:15 pm
Location: Near Baltimorgue, where Maryland proves to the nation every day that gun control doesn't work.

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by P-Dogg » Wed May 29, 2019 3:04 pm

No power steering, per se. Your arms pump fluid when they turn the wheel. Think of hydraulic steering as easy to run mechanical cables, nothing more.

You said there was air. Is there oil visible in the sight glass on the transom-mounted reservoir?
I needed a less expensive hobby, so I bought a boat!

User avatar
prowlersfish
2019 Gold Support
2019 Gold Support
Posts: 11750
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:56 pm
Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay ,Va

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by prowlersfish » Wed May 29, 2019 6:31 pm

Basicly what P-Dogg said . the steering wheel turns the pump . You are the power . Check the fluid in the tank you put air in . Fill it add air and turn back and forth
TROJAN F36 Conv.
6BTA Cummins diesels
Life is to short for a ugly boat :D
2009 TROJAN RENDEZVOUS
Port Kinsale 2010 & 2011. Solomons get together 2011.

User avatar
P-Dogg
2019 Forum Supporter
2019 Forum Supporter
Posts: 849
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:15 pm
Location: Near Baltimorgue, where Maryland proves to the nation every day that gun control doesn't work.

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by P-Dogg » Wed May 29, 2019 8:18 pm

Medic4U wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:00 pm
I see the auto pilot motor/pump mounted out board of the starboard engine
I am intrigued by this statement though. Pics?
I needed a less expensive hobby, so I bought a boat!

Medic4U
Registered user
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Medic4U » Thu May 30, 2019 1:23 pm

Well now I know why there is a quart of ATF on board (I did read in the Trojan manuals that came with the boat that Trojan uses this same stuff in the hydraulic steering system at the factory). I see no leaks anywhere, and the bilge only has a bit of water in it from the leaky thru-hulls from each of the engine cooling pick ups.... Actually, I think they are leaking from between the hull and the thru-hull itself, but all thru-hulls, as well as strainers are being replaced this coming winter. I will check the level. and ad as needed. I am staying aboard tonight, so I will take some pictures and post.

Owning this boat has become a blessing from a work stand point too; only 20-minutes from Mitchell field in Milwaukee for early morning flights out, and heading to Manitowoc tomorrow morning, for a customer in the AM (too bad I can't arrive at the customer's by boat though), it's just over an hour, instead of 2 1/2 from home... Thanks for the information. It is starting to make sense now.

User avatar
prowlersfish
2019 Gold Support
2019 Gold Support
Posts: 11750
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:56 pm
Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay ,Va

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by prowlersfish » Thu May 30, 2019 5:21 pm

ATF is not what should be used in steering ( Except emergencies) ATF is used in your trans . Use hynautic( Seastar) fluid or a hydraulic fluid that meets MIL-H-5606 spec (air craft Hydraulic Oils) . ATF can cause hard steering
TROJAN F36 Conv.
6BTA Cummins diesels
Life is to short for a ugly boat :D
2009 TROJAN RENDEZVOUS
Port Kinsale 2010 & 2011. Solomons get together 2011.

Medic4U
Registered user
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Re Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Medic4U » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:22 pm

OK, I took the quart of Trans fluid (now I see someone has said I should not use trans fluid, but right in the Trojan manual it calls out this exact fluid, so that confuses me now too). But, I filled the sight glasses full, added my 30 PSI of air, and turned the wheel left & right in 30-40 turn increments, probably a dozen times. no difference. After a couple of times, the air pressure had dropped, and the fluid had dropped a bit too, so I added a bit of both. Still no joy. Now, I do notice since I have done this, I hear what sounds like fluid, with air bubbles trapped in at at the helm, and the hydraulic ram connected to both rudders will move slightly (more than it did before).

That was last Wednesday eve. So I'm hoping when I go back in the next day or two, it may have purged some of the air together, and it may 'burp' itself when I start moving the wheel again... It doesn't hurt to hope... I was out of town for a funeral last weekend, and will be gone this Thurs thru Sun for a HUGE air cooled VW car show. My wife made a massive Herbie cake, plus 100 cup cakes that will be auctioned off in raffles, with proceeds going to St. Jude's, so I gotta be there for the kids... And it's Herbie's 50th anniversary this year! So we're taking my '74 VW Thing, and away we go... I am in the process of downloading some pics as promised... I should have some up later today. Again, any and all help is appreciated...

Medic4U
Registered user
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Medic4U » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:23 pm

Here are some Pics.
Transom Looking Down.jpg
This is the Transom looking down.
Transom Looking Down.jpg (48.73 KiB) Viewed 2152 times
Steering Resivoir.jpg
This is the Reservoir for Hydraulic fluid & air Pressure
Steering Resivoir.jpg (46.32 KiB) Viewed 2152 times
Auto Pilot Pump.jpg
Location of Auto Pilot Pump & Motor
Auto Pilot Pump.jpg (70.94 KiB) Viewed 2152 times
Auto Pilot Locale From Above.jpg
Auto Pilot from Above
Auto Pilot Locale From Above.jpg (68.64 KiB) Viewed 2152 times
Auto Pilot Lines heading Aft.jpg
Auto Pilot Lines Looking Aft
Auto Pilot Lines heading Aft.jpg (49.04 KiB) Viewed 2152 times

User avatar
prowlersfish
2019 Gold Support
2019 Gold Support
Posts: 11750
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:56 pm
Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay ,Va

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by prowlersfish » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:28 pm

Pretty normal set up . While I would not mount my auto pilot pump there it will be fine . While the ATF won't cause any damage , it can make steering stiff especially in cooler temps . You will notice they list the fluid on the reservoir . You see the green pump/tank next to the tank ? That is for your trim tabs . and that takes ATF . Made by Boatleveler /instatrim FWIW .



Has the steering gotten any better ?
TROJAN F36 Conv.
6BTA Cummins diesels
Life is to short for a ugly boat :D
2009 TROJAN RENDEZVOUS
Port Kinsale 2010 & 2011. Solomons get together 2011.

User avatar
captainmaniac
2019 Gold Support
2019 Gold Support
Posts: 1854
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:26 pm
Location: Burlington, Ontario

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by captainmaniac » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:26 pm

I'm a little confused... hydraulic steering is hydraulic... not pneumatic... If you are talking about issues with some separate auto pilot system then so be it, but if you are trying to fix a hydraulic steering system, why are you pumping air into it? Maybe I missed some key point in a post.

As others have said, ATF is only for 'emergency' use (which I believe the manual says, if memory serves me correctly), so you may have compromised your steering system by using it. If you pumped air into it as well, you have definitely messed it up. I am assuming you have the standard Syten steering system installed, which I believe your vintage should have. My '79 F32 had the same system.

For steering, the 'pump' is the base that your helm wheel is attached to. When you crank the wheel one way or another, it forces hydraulic fluid one way or the other to activate a ram at the transom, that pushes or pulls on the rudder posts. There is no engine mounted power steering pump on your boat, unless someone has ripped out original Trojan equipment an done a 'DIY' job... if that's the case, good luck.

User avatar
prowlersfish
2019 Gold Support
2019 Gold Support
Posts: 11750
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:56 pm
Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay ,Va

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by prowlersfish » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:35 am

captainmaniac wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:26 pm
I'm a little confused... hydraulic steering is hydraulic... not pneumatic... If you are talking about issues with some separate auto pilot system then so be it, but if you are trying to fix a hydraulic steering system, why are you pumping air into it? Maybe I missed some key point in a post.

As others have said, ATF is only for 'emergency' use (which I believe the manual says, if memory serves me correctly), so you may have compromised your steering system by using it. If you pumped air into it as well, you have definitely messed it up. I am assuming you have the standard Syten steering system installed, which I believe your vintage should have. My '79 F32 had the same system.

For steering, the 'pump' is the base that your helm wheel is attached to. When you crank the wheel one way or another, it forces hydraulic fluid one way or the other to activate a ram at the transom, that pushes or pulls on the rudder posts. There is no engine mounted power steering pump on your boat, unless someone has ripped out original Trojan equipment an done a 'DIY' job... if that's the case, good luck.
The system is Hynautic After filling the tank/reservoir you put air pressure in the tank . The air pressure forces the fluid to the helm pump as the tank is mounted down by the rudders .
TROJAN F36 Conv.
6BTA Cummins diesels
Life is to short for a ugly boat :D
2009 TROJAN RENDEZVOUS
Port Kinsale 2010 & 2011. Solomons get together 2011.

User avatar
Big D
Ultimate User
Posts: 2850
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 10:39 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Big D » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:55 am

This type of hydraulic steering MUST be pressurized with air for it to operate properly. There are a couple of differences between it and a non pressurized system but essentially it operates the same way in that the helm is the pump. Unlike others, you don't want to remove the fill cap on the helm without relieving system pressure first or you'll have a mess, and the cap won't be vented either. The amount of pressure varies by application, in this case as stated on the reservoir, it's 25-30 psi.

Keep turning the wheel back and forth (this could take a while), and check the fluid level and pressure as they will drop a bit while you're doing this. If you've topped up the fluid closer to the high mark, don't worry so much about it dropping a bit as long as it's above the low mark, hopefully it'll stay around the middle. The pressure drop though is what you want to correct periodically during this process. After several turns, go below and check if the rudders have move. If they haven't there's a problem with the helm or steering cylinder. You should also look for leaks at the helm, AP pump, cylinder, lines and all connections/fittings.
She was a 1969 36 ft wooden beauty with big blue 440s that we'll miss forever.
And thanks to the gang, 2012 Trojan Boater Of The Year

Medic4U
Registered user
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Medic4U » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:21 am

No, rudder operation is still a no-go. But the engines are both operating great. Still going to tune both up, just so I know where they're both at from the start as it were. and change filters. She was at an honest 22 MPH the other day in the inner harbor of Milwaukee, with both engines at almost identical RPMs.

Good point about the ATF being for the trim tabs. I have used them, and they are working perfectly, so obviously now low. If the ATF in the hydraulic steering is fine, just may cause stiffer steering in lower temps, I'll leave it until this winter, and change it out then. I didn't even think about needing fluid for the tabs. I have never needed to service tabs on any boat I've ever owned, kind of like out of sight, out of mind I guess.

But I have spun the wheel at the helm 30-40 times each direction at least a dozen times, checking the air pressure after each sequence of CW & CCW rotation, minimal, if any change. I think the minimal change was actually wishful thinking... I added fluid once, after my first sequence of CW & CCW, then put the air pressure back in. After all this there has been no change whatsoever. Turning the wheel CW (at least I think it was CW) I could hear what sounded like, and felt like air bubbles in fluid passing thru the pump at the helm. It's kind of funny, I'm getting pretty good at docking with engine throttle, and gear selection alone, kind of out of necessity, but would sure like the added steerage the wheel would allow in the tight confines of a river, when you're stuck between waiting for the next bridge to go up, while one is coming down...

User avatar
WayWeGo
2019 Gold Support
2019 Gold Support
Posts: 664
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Oakton, VA / Rhode River - Chesapeake Bay

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by WayWeGo » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:29 am

Having the system pressurized also avoids sucking air into the system if you have a minor leak.

You might try turning the wheel only one way for 200 turns or so until you get good rudder movement. I have heard of folks who have needed to do this with a system that has lots of air in it. When the lines are full of air, you won't get much fluid at a leak. Once there is fluid all the way through the lines, leaks are much easier to find!
1975 F-36 Convertible
Twin Chrysler 440's

Medic4U
Registered user
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Hydraulic Rudder Control or lack there of

Post by Medic4U » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:04 pm

I'm going to stay on the boat again this evening, and will try several hundred rotations one way, and see if the rudders turned any amount. Then, this weekend, if I still do not have it fixed, my adult son will be with me, and we will try & crack the lines at the hydraulic ram, and see if we can displace any air. I put in a work order at the marina over a month ago, but launching dozens of boats still has taken priority over fixing any. Hopefully in a week ot so, they will be caught up... I have become quite good at steerage by gear position, & throttle position, and have only grabbed then wheel to help 'try' and turn the boat a few times lately. By the end of the summer, maybe I won't even want or need them fixed anymore... I will update.

Post Reply