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Old 11-10-2011, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default Bleeding Air Out Of Dual Steering Catana

I have a Catana 41 built in the year 2000, the instructions I got for bleeding the air out of the dual hydraulic system don't match my boat, and the factory says they don't have any other instructions. My system has 8 purge valves, the highest one is at the starboard wheel. On the port wheel is the reservoir .

The system has air because there was a leak on the starboard bypass and the oil reserve got emptied, so now the port wheel does not move unless the bypass is open. I started by filling the reservoir with oil but I'm not sure where to start purging.

Each jack has 2 valves, then there are 2 Ts with a valve each, so that's 6 valves plus another one on the autopilot motor, plus the top valve at the starboard wheel ( 8 valves total)

The jacks are at the lowest point, the Ts and the pilot in the middle.

Thank you for any advise
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:38 PM   #2
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Just my two cents worth, it's free and remember you get what you pay for. Sorry to hear about your trouble, and the pox on the factory

for not having at least some suggestions. It's a disgrace on them.

What I'd do:

Open all the identified bleeder valves. I think you've done that already.

Open any other valves too, but try to do one side of the system at a time. Start with the reservoir side

as you are trying to push all the air along ahead of the oil. Try and get a visual concept of what needs

doing and it will all become a piece of cake.

Now the hard part:

Get a trained Tarantula spider, 'cos they have eight eyes and could watch all the bleeder spigots. Otherwise get

Jose and Ramos to watch the bleeder spots and say '"nada'' or to shout "aceite" when oil starts running out without any

bubbles. It should be oil only, no little spits and squirts, just a clean steady flow. Catch the overflow in a clean container

and simply recycle it through. ( I'd filter it first though through some cloth or wadded tissue )

If you are alone, spread some tissue below the bleed points... you may waste some oil but can gauge the amount

that came out. Keep the pump "on pressure" while closing the bleeders. You can also rig up a temporary "gravity feed" system

using a can or a hose and funnel etc. Just raise it up to provide oil pressure. ( You have those things on board, right? If not

you have no business being out there on your

float. )

Pump quite slowly and keep checking.

Now In theory at least, of course and off-course, the pipes, T's and all will fill up and overflow. That is where you shut

them closed and continue pumping for the one next up the line to start bubbling and then leaking steadily..

After you have pumped through a pint and still have no gusher going I'd start looking for the overlooked go-zouta that

by now has made a nice big lake on the master cabin bed or another unfortunate location.

You did say the one side emptied 'cos of a bypass flummox but there may possibly be another fault. Hydraulic systems were

not really designed to loose oil, something did likely go wrong somewhere. Perhaps an over-pressure event blew a hose

or a fitting off and it's now become a drain line to no-where. After a coffee mug of fresh fluid you should start seeing some

results, unless there are empty 2ndary reservoirs someplace or empty piston chambers that need refilling first.

Good luck. I'm waiting for FedX to bring in my replacement power steering pump for the car this morning.. a quite similar

problem. Power steering fluid all over and lotsa smoke from the belts. Failure: shaft seal on the pump itself, identified only

AFTER I fixed a suspect hose connection to it.

Ivo

b
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Nave View Post

I have a Catana 41 built in the year 2000, the instructions I got for bleeding the air out of the dual hydraulic system don't match my boat, and the factory says they don't have any other instructions. My system has 8 purge valves, the highest one is at the starboard wheel. On the port wheel is the reservoir .

The system has air because there was a leak on the starboard bypass and the oil reserve got emptied, so now the port wheel does not move unless the bypass is open. I started by filling the reservoir with oil but I'm not sure where to start purging.

Each jack has 2 valves, then there are 2 Ts with a valve each, so that's 6 valves plus another one on the autopilot motor, plus the top valve at the starboard wheel ( 8 valves total)

The jacks are at the lowest point, the Ts and the pilot in the middle.

Thank you for any advise
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:08 PM   #3
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We also experienced this same problem on a Spirited 380 cat when one of the four turn-off valves leaked on the starboard side. The yard mechanics took about three hours just to refill the system from the highest point and turning both wheels a lot to purge any air, I think the trick is to turn the wheels slowly. All in all this was a seven hour two man job. Don't forget to realign your rudders at the end!

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Old 06-27-2012, 06:43 AM   #4
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Vessel Name: Day Dreamer
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Having had hydraulic steering problems before on our Privilege 42, I'd be interested to know: Does Catana use standard hydraulic hose and fittings? Privilege does.

Both of our wheels have a reservoir. The manifold that joins port and starboard wheels was located right under a salt-water leak and being ordinary steel it rusted through (this part happened before we owned the boat), releasing the fluid and putting an end to our ability to steer. Fortunately, the emergency tiller works just fine, though it could use a longer "arm" for a little more leverage and comfort while steering. We tied on a couple feet of 2x4 lumber, which worked just fine, while the epoxy dried on our emergency patch on the hydraulic manifold.

We were able to get a normal hydraulic shop to sell us a new manifold and fashion new hoses (the ends were rusted too). The only glitch being we were in the BVI and the boat is French, so we had a mismatch of metric and non-metric threads on the ends that connect to the boat fittings (wheel pumps, ram cylinder, etc).

The bleeding was not that bad. We had to do it twice, once for the emergency patch and again with the new hoses. It was much easier and quicker the second time!

There is a single bleed nipple on the steering cylinder at the starboard quadrant (the port rudder is slaved to starboard via an aluminum pole). We added fluid at each wheel, slowly turning the wheel to pump the fluid though the system. We added and pumped through what seemed like enough fluid at the starboard wheel (which is closer to the bleed valve) to fill the lines for that wheel, plus some extra. Then did the same at the port wheel (farthest from the bleed valve) until we got only fluid coming out at the bleed valve. I think we used three quarts of fluid total, not recycling any of it. We now always travel with at least this much fluid, just in case.

Our Privilege has a single purge valve. I guess they were counting on the fluid pushing the air all the way out instead of on gravity to raise it to the nearest high point. With 8 purge valves and no instructions to the contrary, I would start at the reservoir and bleed one valve at a time. Once a valve released no more air, I'd close it up and move on to the next one down the line. Based on my experience with a single bleed point on my Privilege, if one (or more) of the valves was hard to get to, I'd be tempted to cheat and just skip it. If the steering feels squishy, you can always go back an bleed the one you skipped.

Greg
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