I have a Jeanneau Espace 1000 with lift keel. Unfortunately it now only has a keel, as the "lift" feature is out of order. After considering sinking the boat in deep water I finally googled some on hydraulic systems, and lo and behold - they require maintenance of some kind. I had no idea, and probably not the owners before me either.
Do you have any experience with this? What are the pitfalls? What should be replaced? Dimensions? Can I do this with boat in water?
I envision doing something like opening the housing the manual jack sits on and find old rubber and too little hydraulic fluid, replace rubber and fill up fluid. More realistically the fittings and gaskets and stuff all need to be replaced, and I will have trouble finding replacements and I will drop important things into the belly of the boat and I will be tempted to revert back to my initial plan of sinking the boat.
Please don’t sink your boat yet, especially after all that good work on the rudder.
If you have a diesel mechanic who also works on construction equipment, he will be familiar with the work necessary on hydraulic systems.
You have not said what is wrong with your system. If the part of the shiny rod that moves through the seals looks ok and there is no leakage around it, it should just be seals and o-rings. These are not specific boat parts, but I would expect them to be available from people who specialise in hydraulic equipment.
It it is almost certainly easier to do any work on the hard stand. Your yard will be experienced with much deeper keels and will set the hull at an appropriate height so you can pack under the keel to take its weight. Then you should be able to see better what has to be done.
I suspect others with more experience in hydraulics will come in shortly and may have additional ideas for you.
The manifestation of the problem is that the manual jack no longer moves the keel up. It's like pumping in air, nothing happens in the system. I haven't seen any leakage of hydraulic fluid, so hopefully a few o-rings and more fluid will solve the problem.
Given your advice it seems like a better move to wait until the boat is on dry land if there's a lot to be done. Some peeping will be done before that though
Hi Jayone, the simplest explanation for your keel problem as you have described it, is that you have a small bubble of air in the system and in fact you are trying to pump air. You are not actually pumping air, because it is compressible and does not increase in pressure enough to lift the pump discharge check valve, so when the lever moves back the air simply expands again.
It could happen if the level in the reservoir became to low so the pump draws in some air. It only takes quite a small bubble.
If you carefully look around the pump casing you might find a small screw, that when loosened, vents air, and allows you to bleed the system by working the handle with the screw loosened. You need to make provision with rags or plastic tube and a collector bottle or something, to collect some bubbles of oil that will come out with the air instead of making a mess.
Of course, if the system has not worked for a long time, there may be trouble with the pump valves, but better to check out the simple first.
If it is air, it is likely that at some stage there was leakage, so keep an eye out for leakage even after you have it working again. That will give you some clues as to what seals etc may need attention.