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    Hydraulics - options-gctid348548

    I am wondering how many of you have had the awful experience I have had with the Mercruiser hydraulic tilt rams? I had my last boat, a 2000 2452 with alpha drive, for 5 years. During that period I had to have the seals in the back of the rams replaced twice. The tech here tells me the salt is responsible for it, the seals get corrosion behind them and swell to the point that they bind up the ram. I could see the effect on the last set, the stainless steel around the seal begins to rip away from the seal in response to the swelling. Last time I had them rebuilt, they said the tool that is used to open the end of the ram would not work and they muscled it off with pliers and pipe wrenches!! Obviously the chewed up the end and the housing, then told me it was the only way to do them. Well that boat is gone, now on the "new" boat, 2004 288 I have a BIII drive. Yesterday I was over to the boat to change my "zincs" (aluminum) and when I pulled the anodes off the end of the rams I could see the same thing taking place on these, and I can not turn the piston when disconnected from the drive, which is what the last guy told me was the symptom of this problem, and sure enough when I put the rams back on the drive it will not go up or down, although the pump is running. I know it is the same problem.

    Now the heart of the question, I have the option of getting these rebuilt again, to the tune of a hundred or more per unit, or I have found online that SEI sells new ones for $120 each. I would rather have new, but am not familiar with these. I generally try to stick to OEM parts but thinking I dont have much to lose here, as I will still have the old ones if I need to get them rebuilt. Anyone have any experience with this company? I see they make replacement lower units for outboard and Alpha drive units with "3 year no fault" warranty. Seem silly to keep getting the old ones redone if I can get new for $120 per. Whatdaya think???

    #2
    I'm wondering of there is something else adding to the problem? My 98 2452 B2 has never had them taken apart. It is a trailer boat so they aren't always sitting in salt water. Maybe there is some problem with the way they were assembled? or there was some corrosion inside that erroded the seals as they worked ? Either way the replacement units would correct that kind of defect defect. 2 yrs is a good warranty if they stand behind them in 18 mo.
    Carl
    2452

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      #3
      My boats have been trailer and/or dry rack, never had boat that stayed in water. The problem according to the tech is from salt water corroding area around seal and "squeezing" the seal against the rod and binding up. Not sure about the warranty, they specify warranty on the drives but not sure on hydraulics. Just hoping someone out there has used these folks (SEI).

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        #4
        Have gotten the new cylinders on the boat and waiting for a nice day to bleed lines. I had to order some new parts for mounting as the old were cross threaded and nearly had to destroy to replace. Anti-seized going on everything this time too. As far as the old ones go, they were locked up solid, as mentioned. I can not even get the rods out of the end caps the seals are so swollen and corroded. Here is a picture to see the problem, not real clear but you can see the stainless steel retainer on the seals is burst and the seals are totally corroded. Can not believe this is not common out there, it is very common to me, 3 times in 7 years!!

        [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/664835=25528-photo.jpg[/img]

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          #5
          I had an alpha drive on my 26foot and in 7 years I had no problems. It was in salt water most of that time.
          1989 Avanti 3450 Sunbridge
          twin 454's
          MV Mar-Y-Sol
          1979 Bayliner Conquest 3150 hardtop ocean express.
          Twin chevy 350's inboard
          Ben- Jamin
          spokane Washington

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            #6
            Well jury seems to be in and verdict is that this prolbem in not widely experienced, Just don't get it, may some kind of corrosion specific to where ever my boats have been. Find this very strange that it recurs so much to me.

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              #7
              Contaminated fluid could be a factor in swelling the seals. Or possibly the incorrect fluid. Even if it was flushed, enough could remain that over time it would affect the seals.

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                #8
                Ding Dang wrote:
                Contaminated fluid could be a factor in swelling the seals. Or possibly the incorrect fluid. Even if it was flushed, enough could remain that over time it would affect the seals.
                I had a 98 2452 with a Bll leg that spent summers in the marina and as far as I know they were the original cylinders. They worked like new. Ding Dang makes a great observation, what is the common denominator? This is just my 2 cents....

                I would stay away from the last hacks that worked on it, just sayin'.
                2005 2359 Trophy Pro "SOLD"
                "Amigo"
                B lll 5 ltr.
                1998 2452 (Sold) "Island Time"

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                  #9
                  I could go for the fluid theory or the shop theory but, last boat twice rebuilt by two different shops, and new boat likelihood of contaminated or wrong fluid in both boats seems unlikely coincidence. Both boats maintained by Mercruiser certified shops, both time rebuilt comment from shop was "we see this all the time". Hope I do not see it again. Thanks for all comments.

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                    #10
                    My only other guess will be the water temperature... I am in the Pacific Northwest, water is usually around 50 degrees, and it is probably different on the East Coast. Hot salt water may contribute to the corrosion.
                    Alex
                    1997 2859, 7.4 MPI, Bravo II
                    1993 2452, 5.7 Bravo II - SOLD

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                      #11
                      Can anyone point me to a link that has the bleed procedures for mercruiser tilt/trim? I got my new sei cylinders on there but need to bleed them.

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                        #12
                        I looked when I put mine on and found one on Google, and may have been on youtube to. Funny but stopped at the shop today to check on progress of revealing the drive, and when he saw the lines still hanging on mine he said you don't have to bleed them just run up and down a few times and they bleed themselves.

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