Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

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bjgin
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Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by bjgin »

How often does everyone do their hydraulic ruder alignment? It seems like we have to do ours about every 70 +/- miles, or our steering starts to get very hard to turn.
BJ and Ginny Patterson
2004 PDQ MV34, #40, 110 Engines
FantaSea IV
The Villages, FL

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AMCarter3
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by AMCarter3 »

We do our rudder hydraulic reset about once a week as routine maintenance. We do not wait until it becomes an issue. And, note, I've never seen our helms become "hard to turn"... they simply get a little bit "soft" at the hard stops to port or starboard. We also periodically (once a year) check the level of hydraulic fluid, top it off it needed and try to remove any air in the system.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
Home Port: Bellingham WA 98229
Member of San Juan Sailing & Yachting Charter Fleet: http://sanjuansailing.com/charter-detai ... .php?id=35

AlanH
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by AlanH »

We try to remember to do it as a part of our routine shutdown. We do forget sometimes though. When we run in the neighborhood of a 100 miles (our max) it does not seem to be much further out of alignment than when we do 35 miles. Our steering does not get hard to turn, the rudders just drift out of alignment which is probably affecting handling and fuel efficiency.

Alan
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deising
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by deising »

I would say 150 nm or so is when we realign the rudders. My admiral turns the wheel at the lower helm while I actuate the valve. She reports the approximate arc distance that the wheel moves in each direction. 2-3 inches is not too bad. Anything over 5-6 and I wonder.

It seems like the more the autopilot has to actuate the rudders, the sooner they go out of alignment. Straight, open-water cruising is not so bad as lots of turns like in the ICW.
Duane Ising
m/v Diva Di
Punta Gorda, FL
2006 PDQ MV 34 - hull 91, 75HP, 3-blade

duetto
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by duetto »

if your steering is getting like driving a truck rather than a sports car one possibility, which we had, was a cracked piston inside the rams which allowed fluid to pass from one side of piston to the other. this manifested itself in truck-like heavy steering. there was no fluid loss. greg burdick diagnosed this via email while we were in the bahamas.

we have also seen heavy steering at the upper helm when the system has air and needs to be bled but doesn't necessarily cause bad rudder alignment.

we align rudders about once a season whether it needs it or not.
john & diane cummings
duetto mv34 #23

John&Ria
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by John&Ria »

I've not kept close track of how often we need to align the rudders, but I would estimate it to be once or twice a 500-1000 mile season, perhaps more when we are travelling longer distances, such as on our trip to Alaska. We also check and top up the hydraulic fluid at least once a year.

John

deising
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by deising »

I must say I find it amazing that several of you can go so long without checking (or apparently needing to check and fix) rudder alignment. Talking with other owners, I thought our experience was more typical. Glad for you, of course.
Duane Ising
m/v Diva Di
Punta Gorda, FL
2006 PDQ MV 34 - hull 91, 75HP, 3-blade

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AMCarter3
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Re: Hydraulic Ruder Aligbment

Post by AMCarter3 »

It must seem strange to those that seldom do the rudder realignment procedure to hear that some PDQ owners do the realignment procedure much more frequently. I think the key question is "How do you know WHEN to do it?" Should you wait until your helm gradually becomes hard to turn? Or should it be done on a routine schedule. Here's what my original 2006 Owner's Manual says:

"Due to the potential for leakage across the piston seals, it is possible for the rudders to get out of synchronization. We are unable to predict, due to circumstances beyond our control, the frequency that misalignment may occur, therefore rudder alignment should be checked and corrected as required before leaving the dock."

What we noticed in the first year we owned the boat (2016) was that the rudder indicator on our original Raymarine Autopilot gauge frequently indicated our rudders were 3-5º out of alignment (when the boat was moving straight ahead in calm water. And second, we noticed that EVERY time we performed the brief re-alignment procedure (it takes less than 1 min.), you could tell that air in the hydraulic system was being "synchronized" (or balanced) across the system. You can actually hear a slight "hiss" sound in the hydraulic system when the cylinder alignment valve as you go through the process. This occurs most often when our helm is turned to PORT.

So, since our boat is used a lot during the April-Oct charter season, we do this simple procedure routinely once a week now. And every time we do it, you can tell it makes a slight, perceptible improvement in the steering feel at the helms.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
Home Port: Bellingham WA 98229
Member of San Juan Sailing & Yachting Charter Fleet: http://sanjuansailing.com/charter-detai ... .php?id=35

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