For the Boating Community!


This is the ONLY Internet Site in the World Stocking, Servicing & Selling New, Remanufactured & Used Wagner Autopilots!  Many of these Pilots  built from 1970 to early 1990's are Still in Operation TODAY. This Section is Open for All to Review.

Please Check Back, I Will Be Adding Much More AUTOPILOT Q&A's ASAP ... Some w/Pictures & Diagrams  ... Hope to be of Help!

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Q1 What Hydraulic Fluid To Use

I have a 37 ft Canoe Cove with a Wagner autopilot. The 2 liter header tank is nearly empty and I need to know what fluid to refill it with. Someone suggested I use automatic transmission fluid. Can you help?

Q2 My MK4 Compass Card Keeps Rotating

I'm hoping you could help me trace a problem with my old Wagner Mk4 Autopilot. The compass wheel on the unit just keeps spinning round and round. The drive motor does not stop at the boats heading as shown on the magnetic compass it is supposed to be following. I do not know how to determine whether the fault is with the compass sensor, the synchro transformer behind the card or the mechanical drive itself. If its relevant, I have tried disconnecting the compass sensor completly and the drive motor is still going. This unit has been working impeckibly up until recently when this problem occured. This unit can normally steer a course better than any man when its working.

Q3 S50 Won't Stay ON After A Few Minutes

I have a Wagner S50 auto pilot in my sailboat. The autopilot works fine for about a half hour and then we find ourselves off course. The unit has actually shut itself off completely and cannot be restarted for about half an hour.
We have had it repaired once, about 4 years ago, in BC. This repair was not completely successful. Do you repair this equipment? Or if not, who can you recommend who has these skills? We live in Smithers, BC.

Q4 Micropilot Turns Excessively. 20 Degrees Port to 7 Degrees Starboard



 Q1 Automatic Transmission Fluid should ONLY be used in an Emergency, when the Correct Type/s are NOT Available ... ATF can Eat Up the Synthetic Seals over a Short Time in the Wagner Pumps and Cylinders. Do NOT Use Brake Fluid!

Any oil suitable for Winch Drives is Acceptable!
I use ISO 32, it's Clear in Color & Compatible with Most Wagner Systems and is Readily available in Most Automotive Stores. Aviation Hydraulic Fluid is Also Good.

Wagner Preferred:
CHEVRON: AW Machine 32, EP Hydraulic MV
ESSO: Nuto H32
GULF: Harmony AW32, Harmony HVI 36
SHELL: Tellus 32, Tellus T37
TEXACO: Rando HD32, Rando HD AZ

Note: Depending on what is already in Your System a Good Check with any Type is to Mix a Little in a Cup with the New Fluid and see If They Blend Together, No Separation from Each Other.

 Q2 Your Problem could be a Defective Compass Sensor, Weak Magnetic Field in Fluid Filled Compass, Loose Synchro Holding Screw/s into Compass Card Assembly Bracket OR Loose Set Screw Holding Plastic Compass Card to Its SS Shaft.

All Tests at Dockside Unless Noted & All Remotes/FFU Controllers are Off/In Correct Position!
1) CHECK & Tighten Down All Screws on Compass Card Assembly Terminal Strip, IF Not Done Already.
2) Alignment of Compass System ... (Check & Compare Alignments of Comp Sensor Forward Mark on Comp Bottom to Compass Forward Black Line Inside Bowl.
3) Should the Above Not Locate Problem Try Unwiring Any Remotes/FFU Controllers. Also Check Control Head Main Selector Switch Contacts as well as Rudder Follow-UP Unit & Wiring.

Note: When MK4 is ON, in Any Mode, You should be able to Hear a High Pitch Humming Sound from the Compass Sensor. If Very Weak/No Sound, Sensor Defective or Compass Gain Circuit on Main Board Needs Checked/Tested and Adjusted If Needed as Mentioned in Manual. This is TRUE for the Wagner SE, SE2, S50 & S70 Autopilots ... They ALL Use P/N 510-093 Compass Sensor!

 Q3  I Needed more Info From Customer ...  1) What was the area of Repair worked on before & was it the same Problem back then, shut off?
Eg: Control Head, Motor Board, Pumpset/Mechanical Drive Unit or Other

2) Do You have a Mechanical or Hydraulic Steering System?

3) If a Hydraulc System, What Model Pumpset & Steering System do You Have?
Eg: PV125, PV040, PV100 or PV140 with a Wagner B1 Helm Pump & N Cylinder

I suspect a Problem with Your Pumpset/Drive and/Motor Board Over Heating. It is Manually 'SET' to Shut Off should it draw More than 20 AMPs for a 12vdc System. There is a Resetable Breaker on the Motor Board & when Tripped You need to wait a Minute to Reset.
On Pumpset Systems the 20 AMP Current Draw on the Motor to Trip Breaker is Set via an Adjustment Screw/Bolt on the Pump Body itself depending on which Model Pumpset You have.
Check Your Hydraulic System for Any Restriction either direction that could cause the Pumpset to Over Work itself.
Eg: Air in the System could cause the Motor and/Motor Board to Overheat trying to keep up with holding on a Straight Coarse. You might See Rudder 'S'ing Underway or Hear Pump Running during Dockside Testing trying to maintain Rudder at Amidship.

Customer Update ... They replaced a switch in the control head and took out and by-passed the feed-thru capacitors from the pump motor control box which they said were unnecessary. One had the end blown out of it.  They also check over the lines and physical set-up.  They did not solve the problem but I think it took more time before shut off.  They did not adjust any set screws that controlled hydraulic pressure or flow.
2)  I have a hydraulic system with two steering stations.
3)  I live 250 miles away from where my boat is moored.  I am not positive which model of pump set I have but the manual says it is a PV125T-XX-PC.
I plan on going to the boat in a month's time.  I have just read over the troubleshooting section of the manual and will attempt to reset the hydraulic pressure as it suggests.
I really felt that the problem was in the control head as it suddenly lost power and the LED's no longer worked but if the control head gets its power from the motor control box, that may explain it.

This may help...
Check Out the Relay on the Motor Board Next time it Turns Off by itself.
With Only the Sea State Swich On, with NO Light Action Happening because it shut OFF, try Holding the Relay IN, LED's May Light Up. If So, You could have a Bad Relay ... dirty/worn contact/s.

Since You say the Tech removed the 2 Filter Caps You may have the Circuit Board with an Open Relay just above the Resettable Breaker. Also, the Filter Caps were originally Installed for RF Noise Interfernce and OK to Remove unless Radio Equipment has problems when in AUTO Mode (Rudder Switch Turned ON).

PV125 Pumpset has the Motor & Pump Body attached without a Coupling Showing.  Pv040/100 Pumpsets have an Opening between Pump & Motor You can See/Touch.  Both Motors have a Tach Mounted to the Ends. If You Remove the Motor Board make Note of Locations the Red & Black Small wires from Tach (connected to Term Strip or Pushed On Pins attached to Board) and the Combination of Colors of the Electric Motor Large Wires (Connections on Outside of Box) ... they are made to be a Matched Pair during Original Installation. If You Reserse Colors of Tach You Must Revrse Motor Wires.

PV125 Lockvalve has an Adjustment Bolt on its Side w/Nut ... this Nut is Loosened and Bolt Turned IN/OUT a LITTLE should You need to Reset Current Draw.
This is done when Rudder is Held Had Over Until Pump Shuts Off.  If You do Not have a Dodge Button/Remote w/One You need to Turn Rudder Switch ON Clockwise ALL the Way and Dial a 30 Degree Compass Difference Off Null ... Rudder should go Hard Over. Turn Compass Dial Back 60 Degrees to Go to Other Rudder Stop. By the way, this Compass Dialing Port-Starboard as just mentioned w/Rudder Switch Fully Clockwise is how You check Hard Over to Hard Over Rudder Rate/Timing without the use of  a Dodge Button/Remote ... should be between 8 & 14 Seconds.

 Q4  Best Solution ... Reset System Software Back to Factory Settings via Hidden Service Button as Described in the Manual, that usually works. Factory Settings Work the Best For MOST Vessels.

Common Tests & Checks for Your Type of "S-ing" Problem ... Check around Compass Area for Newly Placed Metal Objects ...  Examples:  New/Relocated Gear into a Nearby Locker/Compartment or a Newly Mounted Fire Extinguisher Mounted on the Other Side of a Bulkhead :) Check for Air/Leak in Hydraulic System & Pumpset Leak especially between Pump Body & Electric Motor (Generally Coupler Area).  Also Check 'Hard Over to Hard Over' Timing of Rudder via Dodge Buttons, Should be 14 Seconds. Check Vessel Charging System/Battery Condition & Autopilot Power Connections.

If that does Not Work & IF Installed ... Check Rudder Feedback Unit Sensor/Adjustment and/or Loose/Worn Linkage ... RFU Recommended on Vessels w/Single Rudder for Best Operations, especially in a Following Sea Condition.

If Possible Contact Me when You can via Landline from Your Boat & I will Chat You thru Dockside Testing to Isolate the Problem/s.



This is the ONLY Internet Site in the World Stocking, Servicing & Selling New, Remanufactured & Used Wagner Autopilots!