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How to Bleed a Boat Hydraulic Steering System

How to Bleed a Boat Hydraulic Steering System – Video Transcript

In this program, we're going to talk about how to properly fill and purge a manual hydraulic steering system. First off, you're going to need two people. You can have one person stationed back here at the steering cylinder. Their job is going to be to open and close the bleeder valves as well as periodically pushing the engine; giving a good hard shove to get out any additional air. The other person is going to be located up at the helm. They're going to have the hydraulic steering fluid connected up to the helm and they're going to be filling the reservoir.

At the same time, you want to go ahead and turn the helm so that the pump is pushing fluid through the reservoir, through the pump, through the hoses back here to the steering cylinder. If this is a new installation, a helpful hint is to fill the reservoir on the helm first.

Okay now let's talk about what we want to do next. First thing is we want to take the steering fluid take the bottle connect it to the filler tube. Unscrew the top, take the cap off, screw the filler tube on to the top of the bottle and then open up the port on the helm and screw this in the filler tube into the top of the helm. And, if you'll notice, attached to the filler tube is a pin. What you want to do with the pin is once the bottle is turned upside down you want to puncture the plastic side of the bottle and allow the air pressure to equalize inside. This will allow fluid to flow down through the filler tube into the reservoir. Now while this is all going on. keep turning the wheel. That will keep forcing fluid through the system, through the reservoir pump hoses back to the steering cylinder.

Now that the helm is full of hydraulic steering fluid go ahead and have your assistant turn the wheel hard over to the right, as my assistant is doing now. Once the steering cylinder has moved all the way over, is hard over, go ahead and crack the starboard bleeder valve. I'll leave the valve open. Make sure your assistant is keeping constant pressure on the helm. Constantly turning to the right and let about a half a quart of fluid flow through the steering cylinder. Once that's been done, go ahead and close the bleeder valve.

What we're going to do now is we're going to go to the left and turn counterclockwise and repeat the same process. And we will do this back and forth several times until we've gotten all of the air purged out of the system. Lastly, you can expect to spend 30 to 40 minutes purging all of the air out of the system. The way to tell if the system is clean and if it's correct; turn the wheel hard over to hard over. If the flow is nice and smooth, there's no jogs no bumps, that's a good indication. Also the last thing to do is count the number of turns from hard over to hard over. If the number of turns matches what's in the manual, the system is correct.