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Hydraulic Fluid Question

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  • Hydraulic Fluid Question

    Lost my ability to steer from tower on 2002 28 Classic (lower station worked fine). Decided to check it myself but am far from mechanically inclined although I thought this should be a gimme. Had same problem in beginning of year and hired a mechanic to check it while he did some other work. He told me it was low but couldn't find leak. Obviously there is some leak, but at this time of year, I just want to fill it up if low and deal with finding leak later. So, I pulled the starboard fishbox and found what I thought to be the cylinder that held the fluid located slightly forward of the box. The measuring tube indicated a maximum reserve that I was a little under. Unfortunately, with my mecahnical abilities, I could not find where I was supposed to fill the fluid. I know I will not feel smart after I get the answer, but I will certainly appreciate it. Thanks guys

  • #2

    What you found was the reservoir for the control system (gears and throttles) not the steering. Your steering reservoirs are on the helm pumps themselves and need to be filled with SeaStar fluid.

    If you have lost steering in the tower only, then the upper helm pump is probably low. It is not unusual for a little fluid to leak out of the vent cap over time (season changes, expansion & contraction) as well as through the seals on the rams (sitting idle for a period of time dries the seals out and then they weap slightly). Get the SeaStar fluid from West Marine or other such boating store and get the fill kit (a threaded plastic cap with a clear hose attached to it) and refill the upper station.

    The directions are in your manual that came with the boat but in essence: fill by removing vent cap on upper helm pump and attaching clear hose/bottle, invert bottle, poke hole in bottom of bottle, and add fluid by turning wheel from lock to lock, repeat until air bubbles are not visibile in your clear tube, put a thumb tack or nail in bottle hole that you made, recap, and go fish . . .

    Keep a rag under the vent while doing this to minimize the mess from attaching/removing the fill tube.

    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      thanks but

      Where is the upper station pump located?


      • #4
        The wheel is attached to it. You will see a small plastic vent cap on the bow side of the pump. There is a plastic fitting that screws in after you remove the cap. A clear plastic hose between that fitting and the bottle. Seastar can provide you with that setup free of charge. It's good to keep one on the boat in case you need to add fluid offshore. I am not sure if west marine will have one or not. If not give seastar a call. Their contact info is under the vendor section.
        Life is to short for an ugly boat

        2015 Enclosed Helm 35


        • #5

          You can improvise and get an adapter from hardware store. Nothing more than 1/4" mpt (or 3/8" mpt) to hose barb (slip on) male, which fits a clear 3/8 tube (12" pc), get a oil bottle with a spout, if not already on Sea star bottle. add fluid as previous posts. If you have an issue with air, you really should have a second hand to bleed it right. If you don't have the manual, sea star does have them online. I would buy approx 4 ft tubing, place a short pc on each bleeder valve into a bottle to catch fluid and avoid bilge contamination.

          Definetly easier to remove fish box / live well across stern to gain access for out drive system. My bleeder valves are behind fuel tank area, under floor fish box's.

          After all my earlier troubles and the help from this web site, mine steers OK know. Thanks to the other members who guided me straight.

          Over Billin
          2002 28 CC
          SSM, OC, Md.