Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hooking up the hydraulics

Kind of light on the pictures, but just prior to hauling out we got most of the hydraulic plumbing in place up to the forward bulkhead where the bow thruster is going. This included three more lines from engine room to bow (supply, return, and case drain from the thruster motor- more on that later).
There was also a lot of engine room hoses to make and install. I used a hydraulic fitting crimper to make all the hoses in the shop at work:

Then a weekend installing everything:

Snaking new hoses through the boat to the bow:

Reworking the anchor winch plumbing to work with the new hydraulic pump:

Hooking up all the wiring for the control box:

After all this, I was able to successfully start up the engine and run the pump to set pressures and make sure all the controls for the system work the way they are supposed to. This pump is a beast: 
20+ gpm at 3,000 psi, at engine idle. So far so good. Good pressure, no leaks found, and the anchor winch works. The big test will be running the bow thruster motor after we get it installed at the end of our haulout. Hope to be able to launch the boat with the bow thruster fully functional.


  1. You're making this look too easy.

    My case drain is off the pump...

    Is your pump pilot controlled?


  2. Definitely not easy! This is probably one of the more challenging projects that we've done on the boat. Many months of planning and execution. We have case drains off the pump, and the bow thruster motor, so I plumbed them to a manifold, then back to the tank. We have a control box with relays and a PLC board that opens a solenoid on a line from the pressure distribution manifold to the load sense on the pump. The logic works like this:
    Turn on hydraulic system at the thruster control station and the pump clutches in and sits at standby pressure (150psi). Call for thrust (left or right joystick input) or turn on anchor winch toggle switch, and the pump spools up to full pressure.