Archive | Cylinders

Bringing New Life Back to an Older 112’ Westport Yacht

We are seeing a growing number of new owners of older 112’ Westports. This “Made in America” production boat has a lot to offer but many of these vessels are purchased without a solid maintenance history. Nevertheless, their new owners/Captains still want to bring them back to life.  In order to do that, sometimes a total refit of the vessel is required.

One of these new owner refits spent a few months at LMC getting a full paint job, mechanical upgrades, interior work and hydraulic systems overhaul and refurbishing. Our capable team of hydraulic technicians was tapped to handle all the hydraulic projects.

Starting with the Naiad stabilizer system, we did a full rebuild including removing the shafts and bearings.  The entire stabilizer actuator system was also rebuilt back to new.  The stabilizer shaft had some corrosion in the lip seal area from sitting too long in salt water so our on-site machine shop, Straight Line Marine, performed a cladding repair.

We then moved on to work on the entire hydraulic central system where we performed a full hydraulic fluid flush, cleaned and pressure tested the heat exchangers and changed all the filters.

In the engine room, we found that we needed to change a large number of the hydraulic hoses.  Hydraulic hoses have a 10-year life and can cause huge problems when they fail on the high-pressure side so it is very important to inspect and replace them during routine service.

We also did a little work on the bow thruster, installing new seals in the lower leg, adding fresh gear oil and testing the hydraulic motor.

Stainless steel ring on main gear

Our team did a full rebuild on the single Maxwell 4500 windlass on the bow, down to the gear box including installing new seals and bearings.  As part of the rebuild, Straight Line Marine also fabricated new stainless steel rings for the main gears to help prevent future gear oil leaks around the lip seals. We also replaced the small Maxwell 2500 capstans in the stern with new electric units due to the cost of installing new versus re-building these smaller units.

We found the steering system to be in good shape.  There were no leaks on the cylinders so these were left alone.  We did, however, replaced a few hoses and upgraded some of the ball valves to stainless steel to help prevent future corrosion.  Finally, we changed the fluid and filters.

This was a big job from start to finish but our talented hydraulic technicians, supported by our in-house machine shop, were more than capable of tackling every hydraulic system from bow to stern and everything in between.

Working on a 26T Crane takes special tools, equipment, coordination and expert experience

The captain of a 215’ Expedition recently contracted our hydraulics team at High Seas Hydraulics to work on the vessel’s crane. This particular yacht is a shadow boat hired out to “shadow” luxury yachts ferrying extra crews and other “toys” the luxury yacht owners or guest may need on their extended voyages. Those toys can range from large tenders to cars to even a helicopter.

The two luffing cylinders on the crane were leaking hydraulic fluids at the seals and needed resealing before the vessel went out to sea again. The catch on this job was the size of the crane, the weight of the cylinders and the timeline to fix. We had just one week to pull, diagnose, fix and re-install the luffing cylinders on this 26 ton crane, the largest crane we have worked on at High Seas Hydraulics. Each luffing cylinder weighs over a ton and needs special equipment to handle.

Coordination was key to ensure this job went smoothly. We first had to rent scaffolding that needed to be erected on the aft deck in order for our hydraulic technicians to reach and secure the cylinders for removal from the boat. We then rented a boom truck with a 73 foot reach from a local business to remove the luffing cylinders from the yacht and place on our sister company, Straight Line Marine’s flatbed truck for transportation back to the shop. Having a flatbed truck as part of our fleet comes in handy for these types of jobs as well as moving large shafts from mega yachts.

Once back in the shop, we inspected the luffing cylinders and sent them out to be resealed. The company that we contracted to reseal the luffing cylinders was unable to pressure test the luffing cylinders due to equipment problems so they were returned to High Seas Hydraulics. Fortunately, we have the proper equipment and experienced technicians to perform the testing in house for these cylinders that required 2,500 pounds of pressure.

Communications is key

Upon completion of the service work and testing, we returned the luffing cylinders to the yacht using our flatbed, brought the rental boom truck back and re-erected the scaffolding. Here is where the real precision work comes into play. While the boom truck does the heavy lifting, our hydraulic technicians guide the cylinders into place using safety line, straps and chain come-along ratchets. Communications with the crane operator is crucial and is most often done with hand signals.

We first secured the lower end of the cylinders into the crane and pinned them into place while they were still attached to the boom truck crane. Installing the pin on a crane of this size takes balance and a little brute force! Once in place, we released the straps from the boom truck crane and using straps and the chain come-along ratchets, raised the luffing cylinders into place for securing the top to the crane. We then reattached the hydraulic hoses to the yacht’s crane so we could use the boat’s hydraulic power to extend the luffing cylinders for the final pin installation. While this work takes experience and knowledge of the process, performing the task while standing on scaffolding more than 10 feet of the deck adds to the complexity.

Once the luffing cylinders were firmly and securely in place, we re-installed the rest of the hydraulic hoses and tested the crane to ensure that it was working properly for the demanding tasks it undertakes while at sea.

This was a big job with a tight timeline that we were able to push through so the captain could meet his charter schedule. This shadow boat is ready to set sail with those “little extras” that help to make memorable adventures.

Refurbishing a Hydraulic Steering System on a 135 foot Broward Yacht


As part of the refit of the 135 foot Broward, the new owner wanted a complete overhaul done on the hydraulic steering system. We started by removing the steering cylinders for tear down and reseal before sending them out to be painted.

We next disassembled and removed the hydraulic power unit (HPU). The HPU consists mainly of a pair of motors, a reservoir tank and a hydraulic pump. These units can generate a tremendous amount of power to drive most any kind of hydraulic ram. Hydraulic Power Units are based on Pascal’s law of physics, drawing their power from ratios of area and pressure. In this case, the HPU takes the commands from the helm to push the hydraulic rods in the right direction to steer the yacht. A failure of the hydraulic steering system at sea or just about anywhere could prove to be catastrophic.

Once the unit was out of the boat, we cleaned the tank, check the values, sent the electronic motors out for testing and tested all of the pumps to ensure they were in good working order. We also made all new hoses for the unit in our hydraulics shop.

Once all parts were examined for quality control purposes, we reassemble the HPU and installed it back in the boat. A completely refurbished hydraulic steering system to like-new specifications will help to provide peace of mind that this yacht and her crew can safely navigate through any waters.





Whether you need hydraulic repairs, running gear work or shafts straightened – High Seas Family of Companies is here to serve

It’s not unusual for mega yachts to haul out at Lauderdale Marine Center requiring extensive work on multiple parts of the boat. That was the case for a 135 foot Broward yacht when she came into the yard. The Captain of the yacht approached High Seas with a laundry list of requirements that included hydraulics and running gear jobs. High Seas is unique in the sense that we have the expertise to work on both areas, providing a central point of contact that can help to design the most efficient work flow through coordinated schedules.

For this yacht, we were hired to:

  • Perform a full NAIAD 505 service with shafts out and new bearings
  • Do a full rebuild on the Hydraulic Steering System including removing the HPU and replacing hoses
  • Reinstall PTOs on new generators with new hoses
  • Refurbish the steering cylinders
  • Remove rudders for a bearing inspection and repack stuffing boxes
  • Remove shafts for new bearings, packing and alignment
  • Complete removal and rebuild of Maxwell 11000 windlasses

In coming posts, we will walk through the steps we took to make this yacht ship shape again.

Fabricating new hydraulic rods for Quantum Stabilizer cylinders

Fine Scores In Rods

Fine Scores In Rods

A customer walked into High Seas Hydraulics with three leaking Quantum Stabilizer cylinders from a 150 foot Trinity motor yacht. Upon close inspection, it was determined that there were fine scores or scratches in the hydraulic rods that were causing the fluid to bypass the seals. These scratches could not be repaired or polished out so new hydraulic rods would need to be installed.

Raw material for rods

Raw material for rods

That is when our hydraulic teams turned to our sister company, machine shop Straight Line Marine. Through our procurement department at High Seas, we were able to source raw materials to fabricate new hydraulic rods within a day.

The Straight Line Marine machinist went to work and crafted new rods to exact specifications including intricate thread machining.

Finished rod

Finished rod

The ability to bring the stabilizer cylinders back to top working order with new hydraulic rods fabricated on-site in our machine shop saved this motor yacht’s owner and captain both time and money and was completed from a one-stop company.

One Stop Service for Multiple Projects on your Yacht

Having a machine shop, Straight Line Marine; a running gear shop, High Seas Yacht Service and a dedicated hydraulics business, High Seas Hydraulics under one roof at Lauderdale Marine Center really pays off for our customers who are in need of running gear and hydraulics work done on their boats while they are hauled in the yard.

Hose coupling being attached according to specifications.

Hose coupling being attached according to specifications.

We just completed work on a 73 foot Palmer Johnson Sport Fisher – a very unique vessel. The NAIAD Stabilizer System required a complete rebuild from replacing the bearings to new seals, hoses and cylinders. We were able to take advantage of our specialized capabilities in the hydraulics shop to make the new hydraulic hoses with our Parker crimping equipment. We have the ability to make hydraulic hoses up to 1-1/4 inches in diameter. We were also able to re-build and stress test the hydraulic cylinders with the help of Straight Line Marine.

We also performed basic running gear service on this boat, removing and straightening the shafts in our machine shop and replacing the Lasdrop Dripless Shaft Seal system using our mechanics at High Seas Yacht Service.

Our customers have come to rely on the High Seas family of companies for one stop shopping to get the job done right in a timely and efficient manner.

Upgrading a NAIAD Stabilizer System for better Fit and Performance

NAIAD Stabilizer lower bearing housing

NAIAD Stabilizer lower bearing housing

While performing routine lip seal maintenance on a NAIAD Stabilizer System on a 120 foot Custom Yacht; we found excessive amounts of corrosion on the external side of the housing. The corrosion was so bad we could not remove the plates in order to replace the seals.

An important component to the comfort and safety of any vessel, the principle behind NAIAD fin stabilization is to counteract the tendency of a vessel to roll with an equivalent and opposite righting moment applied in exactly the proper phase and proportion. These righting moment forces are typically generated from a pair of underwater fins, although other control surfaces are also available. Wave forces are thus prevented from aggravating the vessel’s natural tendency to roll.

Specially design hydraulic press

Specially designed hydraulic press

Once the fins were removed from the NAIAD Stabilizer, the corrosion on the shaft and in the bearings was so significant that the shaft could not be removed using the most common methods.  In order to get the shaft out, we built a special hydraulic press to drive the shaft out of the boat. With the shafts out, we then worked with NAIAD to upgrade the system to the next larger size unit.

Upgrading to the next size required a new housing which required fiberglass modifications to resize the hole in the hull.

What started out as a routine job turned into a complete replacement and modification to the yacht in order to guarantee continued high performance and comfort at sea.

Rebuilding BCS Trim Tabs for a Smooth Ride

BCS Trim Tab

BCS Trim Tab

One of the more important features on any Super Yacht is the trim tab system for stability, speed and ride comfort in any sea conditions.

The working principle of a trim tab system is simple. By pushing one of the buttons on the control panel, the electro-hydraulic power unit receives an electric impulse which starts the electric motor. In turn, the latter makes the hydraulic pump start, being connected to it by means of a coupling. As the pump starts to turn, it sends an oil flow towards the side of the hydraulic cylinder corresponding to the desired movement (up or down), making the tab raise or go down. By pushing the button on the other side, the cylinder moves in the opposite direction.

As with any marine systems that come in contact with salt water, the trim tab system is subject to pitting and crevice corrosion.

We recently were hired to rebuild the BCS Trim Tabs on a 100 foot Azmit Yacht. The BCS Trim Tabs on this particularly vessel were not retracted in the up position and were left in the extended position too long contributing to significant crevice corrosion and pitting. When the cylinder is extended the rod is sitting in salt water – when retracted it is safely inside the cylinder in hydraulic fluid.

Crevice corrosion and pitting on BCS trim tab shaft

Crevice corrosion and pitting on BCS trim tab shaft

As part of the job, we fabricated new stainless steel rods in our machine shop, Straight Line Marine and rebuilt the BCS cylinders at High Seas Hydraulics.

After final assembly and installation back in the boat, the yacht is good to go for many more years of smooth sailing.

Performing routine preventive maintenance on Nautical Structures Beam Cranes

Installing Nautical Structure Beam Crane Cylinders using Yard Crane

Installing Nautical Structure Beam Crane Cylinders using Yard Crane

We were recently hired to perform routine preventive maintenance on a pair of Nautical Structures beam cranes on a 155 foot Admiral yacht.  The beam cranes are used to launch the tender or jet skis that are stowed on the main deck over either side of the boat. They are mounted to the underside of the upper deck and run athwartship, or at right angles to the keel, over the main deck but are hidden in the ceiling.

As part of the process, we removed all four cylinders from the cranes and rebuilt and repainted them in our hydraulics shop along with inspecting all of the bearings.  We also replaced the Spectra Line on the cylinders. The four cylinders were located at the top of the beam crane on the port side of the boat.  In order to remove the cylinders, we needed to extend the beam crane to pull the cylinders off.

Scaffolding used to install Nautical Structure Beam Crane Cylinders over water

Scaffolding used to install Nautical Structure Beam Crane Cylinders over water

Because of the way the boat was docked, coupled with the fact that it could not be turned around, we could not perform the procedure from the dock.  This meant we needed to find a creative solution.  Our answer to this problem:  rig scaffolding on a floating dock and bring in the yard crane to remove and re-install the cylinders over the water.

When doing this type of work, the safety of our employees is the highest priority.  Safety harnesses were used any time the crew was over the water.  While this was not the first time we have rebuilt cranes, this was a first in doing so over water.

Performing routing preventive maintenance on Nautical Structures beam cranes is highly recommended after a couple of years of hard use.  Finding the right shop that has the technical expertise and creative approach to getting it done will help to ensure trouble-free operations for years to come.

Machine Shop and Hydraulics Shop under one roof – convenience for the customer


Hydraulic Cylinder Rebuild – Pitting on the Rod requires replacement

Hydraulic Cylinder Rebuild – Pitting on the Rod requires replacement

It is a fairly common occurrence for us to find pitting on hydraulic cylinders or shafts that we work on in our shop at High Seas Hydraulics. This is typically caused by corrosion from salt water, crevice corrosion or as a result of cheap stainless steel material used in fabrication. The lip seals on a hydraulic shaft or rod need a smooth surface or the hydraulic fluids will leak out causing a reduction in the performance of the units and, in this case, hydraulic fluid leaking into the ocean.

To fix this problem on large propeller shafts, we would perform a process called cladding at our machine shop, Straight Line Marine. Cladding or shaft weld-over, is the process of repairing a worn or damaged area on a propeller shaft or rudder shaft.   Stainless steel shafts can be damaged by excessive wear in contact areas, such as bearings or seals, due to long life or misalignment. Shafts can also be damaged from crevice corrosion or stray current corrosion.  Straight Line Marine is the only shop in Florida that is ABS approved to perform this type of work.  Replacing a large shaft could cost up to $25,000 each shaft, depending on the size. However, the cladding repair is only a few thousand dollars. For smaller shafts like sailboat shafts or hydraulic cylinder rods, we would simply buy new rod material and scrap out the old rods.

Crevice Corrosion on Shafts will destroy a Lip Seal System

Crevice Corrosion on Shafts will destroy a Lip Seal System

The convenience of having a machine shop Straight Line Marine and hydraulics shop (High Seas Hydraulics) under one roof ensures our customers that they can get the right level of expertise no matter how big or how small their needs.