Auto pilot hose and fitting kits.

John Stidman

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Howdy, so I bought the ap44 simrad autopilot kit. It came with some fittings but not what I need. I have new seastar hydrolic steering. I went to 2 local hydrolic shops with elbow out of helm. Fittings, pics of lines to ram. They can't piece anything together. They actually did and charged me $150 and they don't work or fit. Is what it is. So my question. Which of these complete kits like this would be best and easiest with the 3 hoses and fittings for my set up? I see many different ones. This says seastar but will the T's fit to the pump included in the kit. ?

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Screenshot_20210322-112325.png
 

ShadowX

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The first question is what model of Seastar helm pump do you have? Some have orb fitting and and others use NPT (Normal Pipe Tapered Thread). The orb fitting has an o-ring to seal against leaks so you don't need thread sealant (red arrow). Other helm pumps use the NPT threads which has a slight taper and requires sealant tape (blue arrow). Since you mention your pump is new, it most likely has an orb fitting. The orb fitting is far superior because you can adjust the angle and just tighten the jam nut. With the older NPT threads, its harder to adjust angles.

If you take a picture of the back of the helm or find out the model number, it would make your life a lot easier. You should also take a photo of the hoses and other parts you already bought. You may be able to save some money and just buy the adapters if you already paid for the hoses. You might already have most of the fittings you need in your AP44 kit. You just need the hoses and the "T" adapter. It wasn't clear if the shops charged you $150 to try to fit the various parts or that you paid $150 for some parts that didn't fit together. I would be pissed if they charge me that much and end up not getting anything for it.

I think the Octopus kit you plan to buy is fine only if your pump is mounted 20-26 inches away from the helm since the hose is only 30 inches long. If you haven't mounted it, make sure you dry fit the pump into the location you plan to mount and measure the distance to the helm. It mentions that the kit comes with both orb and NPT fitting. Just make sure your Octopus kit comes with both orb and NPT fittings. On one side of the fitting is either an orb or NPT and the other side is a 3/8 straight compression fitting (black arrow). The compression fitting side is to attach the hydraulic hoses.

I think your pump already comes with the correct adapters in your autopilot kit. You should check to see if its there because the picture you showed includes the adapters. If not, you have to be careful of the thread sizes. The 7/16-20UNF thread listed on the RPU80 manual is actually a -4 orb fitting and its not the same size as the -5 orb fitting that comes with the kit. Note, you have a Seastar helm, but people who has a UFlex helm uses a different size (-6) orb fitting and the kit will not work for them.

1617363471892.png


Finding the right hydraulic parts for theses autopilot kits can be a real pain due to the different variations. You almost have to be a hydraulics engineer to make the different systems work together. Luckily, the Octopus kits helps, but doesn't completely solve the different variations.


30" Hose & Fitting Kit Including Orb & NPT Helm Fittings
Hydraulic Hose & Fittings Kit Includes:

  • (2) - 30" Flexible High Pressure Hyd. Hose's
  • (1) - 30" Flexible Low Pressure Hyd. Hose
  • (4) - 90° Hyd. Elbow Fittings
  • (4) - Straight Hyd. Fittings
  • (2) - T Fittings

Orb:
1617358533348.png


NPT:
1617360236493.png

Octopus Kit with orb and NPT fitting.

1617360490081.png




Orb fitting dash number and thread sizes:
1617363140295.png



RPU80 Pump manual:
1617362687612.png
 
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gecsr1

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The older Seastar helms used NPT thread, The new ones use o ring fittings high pressure Hoses are compression fittings , return /low pressure either compression fittings or, push on fittings.
Hope that helps
so sometimes you need a variety of adapter fittings..
 
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John Stidman

Member
Apr 29, 2018
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Baketsfield ca
Name
John Stidman
Boat
26ft seaswirl striper,24 ft trophy walkaround,24ft glasply flybridge.
The first question is what model of Seastar helm pump do you have? Some have orb fitting and and others use NPT (Normal Pipe Tapered Thread). The orb fitting has an o-ring to seal against leaks so you don't need thread sealant (red arrow). Other helm pumps use the NPT threads which has a slight taper and requires sealant tape (blue arrow). Since you mention your pump is new, it most likely has an orb fitting. The orb fitting is far superior because you can adjust the angle and just tighten the jam nut. With the older NPT threads, its harder to adjust angles.

If you take a picture of the back of the helm or find out the model number, it would make your life a lot easier. You should also take a photo of the hoses and other parts you already bought. You may be able to save some money and just buy the adapters if you already paid for the hoses. You might already have most of the fittings you need in your AP44 kit. You just need the hoses and the "T" adapter. It wasn't clear if the shops charged you $150 to try to fit the various parts or that you paid $150 for some parts that didn't fit together. I would be pissed if they charge me that much and end up not getting anything for it.

I think the Octopus kit you plan to buy is fine only if your pump is mounted 20-26 inches away from the helm since the hose is only 30 inches long. If you haven't mounted it, make sure you dry fit the pump into the location you plan to mount and measure the distance to the helm. It mentions that the kit comes with both orb and NPT fitting. Just make sure your Octopus kit comes with both orb and NPT fittings. On one side of the fitting is either an orb or NPT and the other side is a 3/8 straight compression fitting (black arrow). The compression fitting side is to attach the hydraulic hoses.

I think your pump already comes with the correct adapters in your autopilot kit. You should check to see if its there because the picture you showed includes the adapters. If not, you have to be careful of the thread sizes. The 7/16-20UNF thread listed on the RPU80 manual is actually a -4 orb fitting and its not the same size as the -5 orb fitting that comes with the kit. Note, you have a Seastar helm, but people who has a UFlex helm uses a different size (-6) orb fitting and the kit will not work for them.

View attachment 1268781

Finding the right hydraulic parts for theses autopilot kits can be a real pain due to the different variations. You almost have to be a hydraulics engineer to make the different systems work together. Luckily, the Octopus kits helps, but doesn't completely solve the different variations.


30" Hose & Fitting Kit Including Orb & NPT Helm Fittings
Hydraulic Hose & Fittings Kit Includes:

  • (2) - 30" Flexible High Pressure Hyd. Hose's
  • (1) - 30" Flexible Low Pressure Hyd. Hose
  • (4) - 90° Hyd. Elbow Fittings
  • (4) - Straight Hyd. Fittings
  • (2) - T Fittings

Orb:
View attachment 1268770

NPT:
View attachment 1268775
Octopus Kit with orb and NPT fitting.

View attachment 1268776



Orb fitting dash number and thread sizes:
View attachment 1268780


RPU80 Pump manual:
View attachment 1268778


Here is the new seastar steering kit I have. Also I have the brand new simrad ap44 med kit for autopilot.

IMG_20210405_184319.jpg


Screenshot_20210322-112325.png
 
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John Stidman

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John Stidman
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26ft seaswirl striper,24 ft trophy walkaround,24ft glasply flybridge.
I don't mind spending more money for a proper octopus kit that has everything. We have few tractors and backhoe that I can use these on possibly later. If not I'm not worried. I rather have correct parts and hoses all together for easier install and proper fittings.
 
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ShadowX

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Here is the new seastar steering kit I have. Also I have the brand new simrad ap44 med kit for autopilot.

I think you are good with the Seastar HK6400A-3 system. It looks like it uses an orb fitting on that model and you have a new system. The octopus system should fit the bill since it has most of the parts you need. The reason I say that is because the kit says it comes with 4 straight and 4 right angle fittings. It is not clear if it comes with 4 orb straight and 4 orb right angle or if its 2 orb and 2 NPT fittings. I would wager to bet it has two of each type in a straight and right angle configuration.

I assume you already bought two high pressure hoses that goes from the Seastar to the the cylinder mounted to your motor? The Seastar kit does not come with those two hoses since very boat is different and the length is custom. If you don't have these two hoses, you need to measure the distance needed to go from your cylinder, through your hull and into the console and add at least another foot to make sure you have some margin. I can make some recommendations of the hoses to buy with that measurement.

Make sure you open up your AP44 unit and verify that it has all the fittings for the pump. One of the fittings should be for a 3/8 compression hose since that is the most common connection to the pump.

One you get the Octopus kit, you should lay out all the parts on a table and dry fit it to make sure everything fits together nicely before you install it. The 3/8 compression threads and orb fittings don't need teflon sealant tape. If the tape is installed incorrectly, bits and pieces can contaminate your hydraulic fluid and cause issues with the valves. Some people use tape, but make sure its few threads back from the end. That is fine if you know what you are doing, but its not needed.

Basically, you thread the orb "T" fittings to the input and output ports of your Seastar unit. That side should have a black o-ring on it. You turn it all the way down until it bottoms, then you turn counter clockwise until the T fitting is at the angle you want. Now turn the threaded nut until it seats onto the back of the steering pump. You can torque the nut to make sure the connector is installed firmly. Note, if you are just dry fitting, you can torque this later when you install the unit into your boat. Repeat the same on the opposite port. In the middle port (that is the return line), you can put in a straight orb fitting.

The straight side of the "T" connector should go to the hose and connect the left or right side of the pump. The middle goes to the middle of the pump. On the left and right side, you use the black high pressure hoses. The middle hose is the return line, so its low pressure. In that port, use the clear hose. On right angle side of the "T" connector, you connect to your original pump hoses. You have a new Seastar installation, but if the Seastar unit is already installed, you need to label the your hoses as "left" and "right" before you take it off. If the hoses are reversed, it would steer in the opposite direction.

Make sure you have a hydraulic bleed kit also. You will need it after you fit everything together. A standard bleed kit for hydraulic system will work. You can also get a "Bubble Purge" system which helps to bleed the system with less hassle. When you get to that point, I can make a few suggestions on how to completely bleed the system. It will take multiple steps before all the air is removed. Properly bleeding the system is one of the most critical steps.



1617688567099.png



1617688441196.png
 
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ShadowX

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Parts list:
1) AP44 Autopilot kit (you have)
2) Seastar kit (you have)
3) Octopus hose kit
4) 2 high pressure hoses from Seastar helm to your outboard motor (assuming you have a single outboard. Dual outboards require more parts.)
5) Hydraulic purge kit
6) Hydraulic fluids (not sure your kit has the fluid). Make sure you have at least 3 bottles. Its better to have extra in case of problems.

Its the easiest to get Seastar branded fluid. The higher cost is relatively low compared to how much you already spent. There are alternative fluids used by aircraft companies you can safely use. Some people use automatic transmission fluid, but I would not use it unless its during an emergency. There are different viscosity differences between the fluids and its the least hassle with the Seastar brand. I actually know which generic brands they use and the suppliers they used in the past, but its not worth the hassle going direct to the supplier to save a few bucks in my opinion.
 
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John Stidman

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Just so anyone ever doing this for first time. I bought the octopus hose kit and it had everything needed. It only has 30in hoses but that worked for me. It's installed, calibrated now just need to take to the lake and calibrate there.
 
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ShadowX

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Just so anyone ever doing this for first time. I bought the octopus hose kit and it had everything needed. It only has 30in hoses but that worked for me. It's installed, calibrated now just need to take to the lake and calibrate there.

Did you run the pump motor back and forth to purge the air trapped in the pump? It took me a while get all the air out. When you run the pump, it also puts a lot of small air bubbles into the hydraulic fluid and takes a little time for the air to form bigger bubbles again.
 
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John Stidman

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Baketsfield ca
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John Stidman
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26ft seaswirl striper,24 ft trophy walkaround,24ft glasply flybridge.
Did you run the pump motor back and forth to purge the air trapped in the pump? It took me a while get all the air out. When you run the pump, it also puts a lot of small air bubbles into the hydraulic fluid and takes a little time for the air to form bigger bubbles again.
Yes, I did it for awhile. Re bled it. Turned the helm back and forth slowly til no more air bubbles at all. I think it's gd.
 
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ShadowX

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Yes, I did it for awhile. Re bled it. Turned the helm back and forth slowly til no more air bubbles at all. I think it's gd.

There is one more trick. You will get air trapped in the valves on the steering helm. The way you get rid of that quickly is to turn the helm all the way to the max in a clockwise direction. Add a little more rotation after you hit that stop and you can feel the steering want to push opposite direction. The slight springiness you feel is actually the hose pressurizing and bulging slightly. Once you feel the pressure, turn in the counter clockwise direction quickly. Its almost like you are relieving that pressure suddenly. It would release a lot of air bubbles trapped in the valve along with the fluid when it depressurizes.

Now you rotate the opposite direction to clear the air bubbles trapped in the opposite value. Just repeat this about 10-15 times and it should get rid of most of the air in the valves. If you have a bottle hooked up, you will see large bubbles go up the hose. If you don't hook up the bottle with hose, that is fine too. You will just see fluid drop slightly and need to add more fluid when you are done.

If you don't do this, it would naturally bleed, but may take a while. Those air bubbles stay trapped behind the valve and eventually bleed out over months. You will notice your fluid drop a bit in the helm reservoir. Its just a faster way to get rid of those trapped air.

Its a trick I saw in a video once, but can't find it. I know it works because every time I "pop" the steering wheel, I can see a large bubble go up the hose. After doing it 10-15 times, the bubbles are gone. Just turning the wheels back and forth does not get rid of these types of bubbles located right behind the valve.

Keep an eye on the color of the hydraulic fluid on the clear return hose. I suggest you change out the fluid at least 2-3 years. The seals on the helm sometimes let in air and over time, the water in the air mixes with the fluid and you get rusting. I rebuild Seastar helms and you can't believe how much rust sludge ends up in the helm over the years if the seals are bad. I have pictures of about half inch of rust sludge that looks like mud trapped on the bottom of the helm.

Good luck. You will love your new autopilot system.
 
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John Stidman

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Baketsfield ca
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John Stidman
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26ft seaswirl striper,24 ft trophy walkaround,24ft glasply flybridge.
There is one more trick. You will get air trapped in the valves on the steering helm. The way you get rid of that quickly is to turn the helm all the way to the max in a clockwise direction. Add a little more rotation after you hit that stop and you can feel the steering want to push opposite direction. The slight springiness you feel is actually the hose pressurizing and bulging slightly. Once you feel the pressure, turn in the counter clockwise direction quickly. Its almost like you are relieving that pressure suddenly. It would release a lot of air bubbles trapped in the valve along with the fluid when it depressurizes.

Now you rotate the opposite direction to clear the air bubbles trapped in the opposite value. Just repeat this about 10-15 times and it should get rid of most of the air in the valves. If you have a bottle hooked up, you will see large bubbles go up the hose. If you don't hook up the bottle with hose, that is fine too. You will just see fluid drop slightly and need to add more fluid when you are done.

If you don't do this, it would naturally bleed, but may take a while. Those air bubbles stay trapped behind the valve and eventually bleed out over months. You will notice your fluid drop a bit in the helm reservoir. Its just a faster way to get rid of those trapped air.

Its a trick I saw in a video once, but can't find it. I know it works because every time I "pop" the steering wheel, I can see a large bubble go up the hose. After doing it 10-15 times, the bubbles are gone. Just turning the wheels back and forth does not get rid of these types of bubbles located right behind the valve.

Keep an eye on the color of the hydraulic fluid on the clear return hose. I suggest you change out the fluid at least 2-3 years. The seals on the helm sometimes let in air and over time, the water in the air mixes with the fluid and you get rusting. I rebuild Seastar helms and you can't believe how much rust sludge ends up in the helm over the years if the seals are bad. I have pictures of about half inch of rust sludge that looks like mud trapped on the bottom of the helm.

Good luck. You will love your new autopilot system.
i did exactly that about 20 to 30 times and some. til no more bubbles were seen. i did the test run today and its working great. testing it this wk end in morro for salmon troll. thank you for all your advice and help.
 
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