By Dez Duran-Lamanilao
The key benefits of using a hydraulic system for your small fishing vessel is that it allows variations and improvements in both speed and power. This is done by changing RPM and working pressures. Since the system is watertight, it can work in exposed locations even under severe conditions. While owners can enjoy the reliability of hydraulic systems, they still need regular maintenance to keep working in optimum performance.
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- The rule for land vehicles apply to water vehicles. Always check the oil. And make sure it is clean. Oil is the key factor of hydraulics, thus it is important to fix any leaks, if present, and keep the system locked and only open when necessary to avoid contamination. Some of the most common threats to oil cleanliness include metal, sand and particles, and even heavy formation of oxidation products and water.
- Check the steering. Basically, a hydraulic steering system usually has three components: a pump, a ram connected to a rudder, and connecting lines that are responsible for transmitting inputs from the pump to the ram. Make sure that the seals of the ram are not leaking, or the shaft does not show signs of corrosion. Also check all the fasteners as well as the fittings on the steering system.
- Clean the inside and outside of the hydraulic reservoir and keep a record of hydraulic pressures for future reference in case problems arise. Modifying the hydraulic reservoir may eliminate or minimize the occurrence of contamination. Install a valve for oil sampling.
- Inspect and evaluate the failures that are related to the system’s components. Take note of the current conditions of the component at the time of the failure. This will better give you an idea on what really caused the failure and how you can prevent it from happening again in the future.
- Remove the boat’s steering wheel and regrease the steering shaft. Make sure to clean first the area before applying new grease
Your hydraulic system should be able to reach its optimum performance, given proper care and regular examinations. Increase the reliability of your fishing vessel. Schedule a maintenance checkup now.