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Old 07-30-2006
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Seastar hydraulic fluids

I have a Seastar 1250V hydraulic steering system on my newly purchased boat, and the manual says in no uncertain terms that it should use automatic transmission fluid (ATF). ATF is bright red, and the fluid in the system is clearly not red, so I suspect the old owner replaced the fluid. The manual does not specify a procedure for draining and replacing all the fluid in the system, and I am a bit hesitant to do this. So, there are several questions from all of this. I don't know what fluid is in there, can I find out what it is? They say it's bad to mix 'em. How bad? Can anyone advise me on a good way to drain the system and re-fill it? Lastly, how bad is it to use the wrong fluid? Maybe I should just live with it. I am presuming it has the widely available Seastar "hynautic" fluid instead, and could just use that.



System specifics:
- Dual-station system, with the 1250V and an Autohelm pump hooked up.
- It's a single cylinder at the rudder, with two bleed screws.
- Lines are beefy black flexible hosing, and the total length of all lines is about 30-40 feet.
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Old 08-07-2006
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Location: Ketchikan Alaska
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I have a seastar system on my boat. The seastar hydraulic fluid I have is very clear, very refined and real slippery. They don't want you to mix or replace it with any other oil. In Ketchikan Alaska they sell seastar oil for $45 a Qt. I didn't buy any. WM is much cheaper. They like to screw us up here. If I had to use some other oil in my system I would use hydralic oil they used in air planes.
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