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View Full Version : Full Power Steering Is Getting Air In It. Why?



Carl C
04-09-2012, 08:56 AM
I started a similar thread last year but I still have this problem. Even the guys at OSO seem to be stumped. :( I have Zeiger full dual ram, helm back power steering. It was fine for 2 seasons but at the end of last season I got play in the cylinders and had to bleed it. I was able to get all but about 1/8" of play out of it; It used to be rock solid. Now this spring, the same thing. I bled it repeatedly and was able to get it to about 1/8" of play. Boat ran great several times out. The steering still had about 1/8" play so I figured I'd re-bleed it and be good to go. Now after just sitting out of the water for a couple of weeks I am back to about 1/2" of play in the cylinders. The fluid level has not dropped and does not appear to be overheating or foaming. I have tightened all fittings and inspected all hoses and components. Any ideas?

VetteLT193
04-09-2012, 09:37 AM
I can't find pictures of your setup anywhere because I can't figure out how to get back to other users albums...

Where is your extra reservoir mounted?

VetteLT193
04-09-2012, 11:52 AM
I did some searching and I don't think you have an external reservoir?

Here is a theory:

you are pounding through the waves and the fluid is sloshing around in the PS tank. If you hit on just right while steering you could suck up a bit of air. I'm wondering if you notice it getting introduced into the system after rough rides?

If so... I'd add the external reservoir.

Carl C
04-09-2012, 01:18 PM
There is just the reservoir on the pump. The sloshing theory makes sense but I don't think it is my problem. It was fine for 2 years of running on the big water.

silverghost
04-09-2012, 01:28 PM
It sounds like an air leak in the system's or pump's intake suction side.
The system could be sucking -in small amounts of air at a time..

Check all intake suction side lines, hoses, & fittings and also the pump's shaft seal itself.

Pressure side leaks ~~~leak hydraulic steering fluid.
Suction side usually leaks suck-in air.

justleft
04-09-2012, 03:28 PM
Have you changed the steering fluid ? The fluid itself may be aerated and while sitting some of the air comes out of suspension.
The fluid may contain some absorbed moisture and when the system is running the moisture is boiled to steam.

Contaminated (or cheap) fluid will expand and contract greater then pure fluid. Maybe sucking air in as the system cools.
Could be sucking air past the shaft seals on the steering rams but they seal under positive pressure. (seen that on heavy equipment)

I would fire it on the hose, after warm run it back and forth many times, shut it down (for safety).
Then wipe every fitting, hose, pump/helm/ram shaft with a white rag or paper towel.
It may not be pushing much fluid out but that doesn't mean it's not sucking air on cool down.

If fresh fluid helps then changing it periodically until the leak shows itself may be the best option.

Fishermanjm
04-09-2012, 03:32 PM
i know this has nothing to do with why you are getting air in your system carl, butt,,, i am wondering, does that system still use the power steering pump and ram that would be found on a factory steering system,,, like i have on mine?

Roadrunner
04-09-2012, 04:43 PM
I have the same steering system and the same problem, 1/8-1/4 inch play unless the engine is running then it is solid. After spending hours trying to bleed the air out I called Paul Everett about this a few years back. He acted as if it was no big as long as there was no play with engine running.

Carl C
04-09-2012, 05:33 PM
I will try changing the fluid. I like that theory.

Fishermanjm, the only components that didn't come with the Zeiger kit are the pump and cooler. Those are the stock 525 parts.

Roadrunner, are you talking about play felt in the steering wheel or at the drive? My drive used to be rock solid with engine off. Now I can physically move it back and forth a good 1/2 inch. I'm pretty certain that play is still there with the engine running. The play in the steering wheel with engine off is normal.

Roadrunner
04-09-2012, 05:40 PM
I'm talking at the drive. See it you can move it with the engine running.

Carl C
04-09-2012, 05:54 PM
"I'm talking at the drive. See it you can move it with the engine running."

OK, will do but I'm still going to change the fluid. I've got a mixture of different kinds of ATF in there now and some of it is cheap stuff. The drive used to be rock solid no matter how hard I tried to manually move it back & forth with the engine off.

joseph m. hahnl
04-09-2012, 06:19 PM
It's using the stock power steering pump to drive the fluid? If so the pump might be shot.

Carl C
04-09-2012, 06:24 PM
Yes, the stock 525 pump. I will change the fluid first and then look into the pump. I have also thought about that possibility. It doesn't have a lot of hours on it though.

joseph m. hahnl
04-09-2012, 06:36 PM
Does it howl like it's low on fluid?

pipnit
04-09-2012, 07:34 PM
I've been taught / learned to never mix two different types of oils for any purposes.

gcarter
04-09-2012, 09:14 PM
I've never seen a Zeiger cylinder taken apart, but I was wondering if you might have a loose piston on a rod.......
same outcome.

Jraysray
04-09-2012, 09:50 PM
Where and how are you bleeding the system.

Carl C
04-09-2012, 10:11 PM
Bleeding per factory instructions but turning the wheel full to the right and holding pressure on steering wheel and loosening a fitting at each cyld. Then to the left and loosen the other fittings. Over & over! I'm getting air out but can't get it 100% tight anymore. Then it gets more play just from sitting out of the water. I'm going to change the fluid to a high quality/high temperature ATF. Then I think maybe a call to Zeiger before changing the p/s pump.

joseph m. hahnl
04-10-2012, 06:14 PM
Are you using the power steering cooler? maybe check those connections too

CHACHI
04-11-2012, 07:11 AM
Carl, I think I am running 10W fork oil in my system and I don't seem to have the issues you are.

Personally, I don't think it would be the oil.

Ken

Carl C
04-11-2012, 09:51 AM
Chachi, the oil change will be the easiest thing to try first and I should have better oil in there anyway. I'm going to stick with the recommended ATF but look for some high quality/high temperature non-synthetic oil. Going to get it right now in fact. Now there is a mix of Mercon and Type F in there and some of it is the super cheapy stuff. If the problem persists then I will call Zeiger.

And, yes, I checked the connections at the cooler and I back-flushed all raw water components last fall.

VetteLT193
04-11-2012, 12:30 PM
you might want to drain the system. there are two sides to it and I'm taking a guess that the air is coming from the steering wheel side, not the other side. The back end should run in a loop and self bleed but the steering side I can see where there could be air introduced and it stay in the system. if you drain it you may be able to see the bubbles coming out... just a thought.

HallJ
04-11-2012, 12:43 PM
[ QUOTE=$originalposter]{$pagetext}[/QUOTE]

Most likley you need to put attention towards the pump shaft seal.
Air can get in where oil can not. That's why you may not see any oil leaking.

Jeff

Carl C
04-11-2012, 01:55 PM
I'm leaning toward it being the pump too but I'm going to drain all the oil out that I can and try once more. I will get in there and disconnect it at the cooler since that is a low point. I'll loosen all ram fittings and work the wheel back and forth. Then I'll fill it and bleed it with the gallon of Valvoline ATF that I bought today. I'll keep a close eye on what comes out of there! Will check the cooler good to while I'm at it. I will probably do that tomorrow but I don't know when it will warm up enough to get back on the water.

zipper
10-31-2012, 08:12 PM
What ever happened... Did you find the problem
I have a friend that is experiencing the same issues.
Thanks

Carl C
10-31-2012, 09:00 PM
I checked the cooler, I triple checked all lines and couplers. I flushed fresh premium ATF through the system. After a day of hard running I still end up with a half inch or so of play. If I take it out for a run on the small lake it tends to bleed itself tight again. Otherwise I have to manually bleed it. I keep the reservoir a little extra full now. The fluid does not get hot or foamy. Problem still unsolved. I've been living with it. The pump is ridiculously expensive and not a part you want to just throw on with high hopes. Not like a car.

VetteLT193
11-01-2012, 08:59 AM
If it fixes itself on calm waters I'm back to the external reservoir. There is a reason that so many boats with external steering have them and the biggest names in external steering ship their kits with them (Latham for example)

gcarter
11-01-2012, 09:48 AM
I agree with Bob, rough water and no reservoir could certainly introduce air.

Carl C
11-01-2012, 10:32 AM
This is a remote reservoir isn't it?
http://i763.photobucket.com/albums/xx275/CARLC222/8-2012147.jpg

VetteLT193
11-01-2012, 11:22 AM
yes and no...

Yes it technically is remote, but it's not the same concept as the one latham ships. Latham has an additional reservoir mounted higher than the stock one. The additional one connects to the stock one via the cap so the stock one is always full. As the system expands and contracts with fluid it goes in and out of the secondary reservoir. By doing this you never get slosh and the air that goes with it. If the system expands / contracts with fluid (more common on single ram setups) it goes in and out of the top one and no air can be introduced.

Right now you are leaving the stock reservoir about half full to deal with the expansion / contraction with temperature and the system needs. With a true additional reservoir the stock reservoir will be completely full with no air in it.

Carl C
11-01-2012, 12:21 PM
Vette, do you have any more info on that type of reservoir? Like where I can see one? I've been keeping my stock one fuller and it seems to help. Your explanation could well be my problem.

VetteLT193
11-01-2012, 01:26 PM
latham has one specific for the 525, it appears it doesn't piggy back but may only add capacity.

It's on this page about half way down... http://www.lathammarine.com/st1b.htm#1


I know hardin makes them, imco makes them, and probably others...

Attached are of my brother's 22 with latham. the blue cap on the factory PS reservoir is linked by the hose coming out of the Latham tank.

Carl C
11-01-2012, 01:44 PM
Thanks Vette. I've got all winter to look into this now. It could well fix my problem which seems to only occur when I'm bouncing around a lot. It probably won't help "zipper" though, who resurrected this thread.

gcarter
11-01-2012, 03:01 PM
I have the seal type pump cap that clamps onto the pump reservoir that includes a male JIC fitting so it can easily be attached to a large remote reservoir. Hynautic offered a large 2 qt. (or so) reservoir that can be pressurized.
If anyone needs the cap, I don't need it and will offer it for $35.00 plus shipping.

http://www.hardin-marine.com/p-11482-power-steering-return-dump-cap.aspx

http://www.hardin-marine.com/images/Product/large/135-1010.jpg

zipper
11-01-2012, 07:00 PM
Thanks Vette. I've got all winter to look into this now. It could well fix my problem which seems to only occur when I'm bouncing around a lot. It probably won't help "zipper" though, who resurrected this thread.
[ QUOTE=$originalposter]{$pagetext}[/QUOTE]

I'll forward that info on to my buddy... It may help him.
I'm contemplating putting hydraulic steering on my 22c, so any info will surely help my cause also

Carl C
11-01-2012, 07:44 PM
[ QUOTE]I'm contemplating putting hydraulic steering on my 22c, so any info will surely help my cause also[/QUOTE]

Zeiger provides (or provided) the factory steering for late model 22 Classics. They offer a complete kit with pre-cut hoses, SS helm cover plate, templates, drill guides, etc. The complete kit which anyone can install themselves cost just under 4g two years ago. Specify 7 or 8 inch rams if you have dual ram tabs. Specify a 120 CC helm if you don't want to end up with excessive steering wheel turns. That will give you about 3 turns lock to lock. Call Paul Everett @ Zeiger for info or to order. 419-621-7770. You will love it. You can take your hands off the wheel at any speed or conditions. It's expensive but it's worth it. Hopefully the extra reservoir will fix my problem.

George, I don't know what I will need at this time so don't know if I can use your cap. Chances are that I will buy a complete kit in the spring.

Conquistador_del_mar
11-04-2012, 12:12 PM
I had wondered why my Eliminator Daytona had the extra power steering reservoir mounted above the PS steering pump. It is a relatively small reservoir, but it apparently resolves the air introduction issue since the Eliminator has dual ram external steering. I have never had any steering problems with the boat. Great thread and eventual diagnosis of Carl's apparent cause of his steering problems. Bill

Pismo
11-07-2012, 12:55 AM
Certainly worth a try, sounds very inexpensive and simple to do. Might solve your issue fairly easily.

Carl C
11-07-2012, 07:13 AM
[ QUOTE]Certainly worth a try, sounds very inexpensive and simple to do. Might solve your issue fairly easily. [/QUOTE]

I'm going to do it. It makes a lot of sense now. My driving on the Great Lakes has gotten more aggressive as I gain experience and that's when the problem started. Never an issue on smooth water. Obviously there is no hurry at this time but I will dig this thread up and post updates and results as they occur.

Carl C
12-17-2012, 03:36 PM
VetteLT, you had it figured out the whole time and I just didn't get it! I thought I had a "remote reservoir". Instead of the piggybacked reservoirs, latham makes this one that is supposed to accomplish the same thing. It has larger capacity and baffles that prevent the fluid from rushing upward on rough water. It was on the link posted. I just talked with a guy at Latham about this problem and it looks like this is my answer. It will look pretty sweet on the 525 too. What do you think? Cost is $548. I think that will be my Christmas present. Are the factory Zeiger equipped boats coming with stock P/S reservoirs? Has anyone else had a problem with air getting into the system when running hard on rough water?
http://i763.photobucket.com/albums/xx275/CARLC222/lathamreservoir.jpg

VetteLT193
12-18-2012, 08:34 AM
That Latham one is the same one my Brother's 22 had. It's a nice piece, excellent quality.

The instructions say you have to mount it above the top of the factory PS reservoir... That wasn't possible with the HP500 in a 22 but he got it as high as he could and it worked fine. I think the key is to not put any dips/loops in the line that goes to the factory reservoir cap. Your setup is different on the 525 so it may be no problem.

Hardin makes them for a bit less $$. They are nice too, but I do have a thing for the Merc Blue color that the Latham comes in :)

Also... you'll need the power steering cap with the hose adapter, it doesn't seem to be part of that kit you posted?

Carl C
12-18-2012, 09:27 AM
"That Latham one is the same one my Brother's 22 had. It's a nice piece, excellent quality.
The instructions say you have to mount it above the top of the factory PS reservoir... That wasn't possible with the HP500 in a 22 but he got it as high as he could and it worked fine. I think the key is to not put any dips/loops in the line that goes to the factory reservoir cap. Your setup is different on the 525 so it may be no problem.
Hardin makes them for a bit less $$. They are nice too, but I do have a thing for the Merc Blue color that the Latham comes in :)
Also... you'll need the power steering cap with the hose adapter, it doesn't seem to be part of that kit you posted"

I just called Latham back and the unit I pictured replaces the stock reservoir rather than piggyback to it. I don't have clearance for a second reservoir without having an S bend in the connecting hose. This looks like the part for me! They are going to send me pics of one installed.

Carl C
01-09-2013, 04:00 PM
I ordered the part shown in post #40 :).

Now knock off all the gun talk.... :uzi:

Carl C
01-16-2013, 04:29 PM
This came today! It will look real sweet on the 525 and is supposed to improve flow and stop it from sucking air on rough water.
http://i763.photobucket.com/albums/xx275/CARLC222/8-2012172_zps2eebdcfa.jpg

dsparis
01-16-2013, 05:13 PM
Very nice. Did it come in race blue ?

Carl C
01-16-2013, 05:58 PM
Very nice. Did it come in race blue ? Yup! Mercury Racing blue. It is proprietary to the 525 EFI.

roadtrip se
01-17-2013, 10:30 AM
Only way to go. I've had this exact piece since 2001. One little tip. Resist the temptation to overfill as the reservior level will vary dramtically.

Carl C
01-17-2013, 12:12 PM
Only way to go. I've had this exact piece since 2001. One little tip. Resist the temptation to overfill as the reservior level will vary dramtically.

OK. It is tempting to overfill a little with all that wasted space but I will fill it to the "fill" line. Thanks. Sounds like I got the right part to fix my problem.

osur866
01-17-2013, 11:20 PM
Put one on when I installed my system and haven't had a lick of trouble, think that should solve your issue.

Carl C
01-21-2013, 05:46 PM
It sure does look good on there. I really want to drive my boat.....
http://i763.photobucket.com/albums/xx275/CARLC222/8-2012173_zpsbc3c30f0.jpg

Offset
01-21-2013, 06:18 PM
Great looking engine compartment Carl.

Nice.:thumbsup:

Ed Donnelly
01-22-2013, 12:19 AM
You shouldn't have to break that much ice to get it in the lake.

What are you a sissy or something?

The water is above 30F you know.

If you fell overboard, take your time getting out as you have at least 4 minutes before you freeze to death..............................LOL....Ed

Carl C
01-22-2013, 07:35 AM
-5* F. right now here Ed. That would be -26* C to you. The ice is damn thick!

katanna
01-22-2013, 07:10 PM
St. Clair river is wide open.

Carl C
01-22-2013, 09:13 PM
St. Clair river is wide open.

No ice chunks floating around? It would be a blast in a full canopy boat.

roadtrip se
01-23-2013, 11:53 AM
Just spent all weekend out in it sledding in the UP, eh. Much colder there at the time, than it is here now and we saw below zero this morning.

Rockne and Baldwin have a standing invite out for a pontoon ride over to the Ford Yacht Club for dinner, across the Detroit River for the non-locals,
any time this winter. I guess they do it all the time! Might have to put a crew together and give it a shot in the next few weeks. When in Rome!

But the Donzi stays on the trailer for now.

Carl C
07-02-2013, 07:49 PM
http://i763.photobucket.com/albums/xx275/CARLC222/8-2012173_zpsbc3c30f0.jpg

I'm glad that I bought the Latham reservoir because I needed it anyway and it's kind of cool but it didn't fix my problem of ending up with a little air in the system after a good run on rough water. I'm just going to live with it for now. It bleeds itself back tight on the small lake.:propeller:

Carl C
05-25-2014, 08:11 PM
I'm pretty sure that I fixed this long, ongoing problem. Doing some early spring look-overs I noticed a high pressure p/s hose weeping fluid just a bit. I wiped it off and a new droplet started to form. This is a high pressure line in the engine room, not a return line. I cut the end off and had a new connector clamped on at the local hose shop. They even did it for free!! This seems to have fixed my problem. After 3 times out the steering is still tight. This high pressure hose was not leaking fluid; You would think it would be squirting out while running. Nope. It was drawing in air! It was only very slightly weeping fluid while sitting. I got lucky and spotted it. How do you steering gurus explain that one? :bonk:

gcarter
05-25-2014, 09:33 PM
Carl, I wish you well and that it is fixed, but the only way you can generate a vacuum on a high pressure line is to run it through some sort of venturi........

Carl C
05-25-2014, 10:28 PM
Carl, I wish you well and that it is fixed, but the only way you can generate a vacuum on a high pressure line is to run it through some sort of venturi........

I don't understand it either. It's a standard twin ram Zeiger. All that really matters is that it's fixed!