Aberdeen Hydraulics: Ship Steering Problems? Could be Wrong Fittings

When your car breaks down in the middle of the road, it’s quite easy to just call the nearest repair shop, or buy petrol and other components you need to have your car fixed. What would you do, though, if it’s a large ship you’re manning and it suddenly breaks down in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? That would be a shipload of problems, literally.


One of the most common problems large boats and ships encounter involves the steering gear system. If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are things you should check to determine the root of the trouble.

  • Oil Leakage – This is a common problem because machinery have several moving parts, all operated by hydraulic oil. Try checking the cylinder-ram seal for hydraulic ram type steering gear, and check for leakages in the rotary vane pump chambers. If the leak still persists then your fittings may not be the correct “fit”. Ideally, this problem would be better off detected before the ship goes out to sea, as it would take time to have components delivered to your location. If this is the problem, contact a company that supplies hydraulic fittings in Aberdeen, such as Hays Hydraulic Supplies, and have it replace your old parts with the proper fittings.
  • High Oil Temperature – If oil level is low, it usually increases in temperature. When this happens, viscosity is reduced and causes problems in the steering operation. Make sure that the low oil level indicator is working properly and immediately replenish your oil supply.
  • Remote Control Operation – If you lose steering from your remote control, immediately switch to local manoeuvring and check the hydraulic pumps; they may be malfunctioning.
  • Air Bubbles – This can be detected easily through the excessive noise and vibrations coming from the steering gear. The air must be removed from the system, and you must ensure that the valve is always open. Closing it will entrap the air and create bubbles.
  • Malfunction of Safety Valves or By-pass Valves – This creates unsatisfactory steering, and increases main engine fuel consumption. Always remember to check the safety and by-pass valve operation regularly, and respond accordingly to the first sign of a problem.

If, after checking all these things, you still can’t find the source of the problem, immediately contact Aberdeen hydraulics professionals and have them troubleshoot your vessel’s system. Steering gear and component problems could potentially make you lose control of the entire vessel and cause heavy damage to your ship, your crew, and the environment. Companies providing hydraulic supplies and services, such as Hays Hydraulic Supplies and Hays Hydraulics & Mechanical Services Ltd, can help you get the correct components and parts.



(8 Common Problems Found In Steering Gear System Of Ships, marineinsight.com, July 9, 2014)

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