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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-07-2008
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ST 4000 Belt Replacement

This was posted down in the Irwin forums a while back, and I dug it up with a forum search.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdtracey View Post
As anybody who has tried to replace the drive belt knows, Ratheon no longer sells the replacement belt. A belt is available from the supplier below at about $16.00. It has steel cords and is a neoprene

Poly Tech Design
26 West First St
Clifton N.J. 07011
800 859 7659
tHIER NUMBER IS: B10AT5/750 FPS
cOMPARABLE TO::
425 syncroflex AT 5/750
I just bought 3 of these suckers (1 to use and a couple extra spares) over the phone, and they work like a dream. Figured I'd let yall know, and get the info in the appropriate forum.
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Old 07-11-2008
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St 4000

I'm glad to hear the belts worked out for you. Mine seem to be sticking when not engaged and I atrributed it to the neoprene grabbing on the black plastic encasement...I haven't come up with a solution yet, but it may be the wheels that hold the belt in place are not engaged correctly. The other thought I had was that the original belt was 30" and this belt is made to metric standards and measures slightly less than 30" about 29 7/8" and that shouldn't make a difference, but it might. So to end all this if they work like a dream on yours then it must be something I have still overlooked.
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Old 07-14-2008
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Mine was a little tighter, but honestly I like that. It didn't bind.

There's another problem I had, though, and my 'solution' to that problem may have inadvertently aided the spare belt to work. The shear pin that holds the "engage/disengage" handle on its shaft had broken on mine, so the handle was loose, and wouldn't engage the autopilot. I drilled the hole of the shear pin out some, then drilled the hole through the shaft a little wider, then used a cotter pin to hold it in place. The upshot of that, is that my "engage/disengage" handle is much more firmly attached and much less likely to slip out while engaged, but it's got a little bit of wobble in it. That wobble may be enough to loosten the unit, so it works better with the new belt.

My autohelm, with the two semi-ghetto-fixes applied in tandem, is working better and more reliably than it ever has before.

If I were you, I'd check to make sure the 'engage' wheel is doing what it's supposed to. If it is, then possibly consider putting a little 3 in 1 oil along the interior plastic, to help it slide when not engaged, and the tightness of the grip might overcome the decreased friction when it is engaged. Be prepared to wipe it all off if it slips when engaged, though, and keep an eye on it in heavy weather for slippage.
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Old 07-14-2008
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Adjstment

I found the the ST 4000 service manual on-line and apparently the wheel that is across from the engage wheel on the lever is adjustable when you remove the metal coverplate holding the belt onto the drive gear. It looks like it is on some sort of asymetric cam that move that wheel closer or further away thereby setting belt tension. The tension may have been adjusted for a stretched belt before I bought the boat at least I am hoping that is the case. I am not at the boat but I am going to try to figure this out on Thursday when I get there. It was also recommended that I use a dry silicon lube, to lube the plastic parts so that the belt passes freely by them when the belt is not engaged. Lastly it is recommended that the black plastic wheel "slit" be rinsed with fresh water to remove salt crystals after use. I have not been specifically been rinsing this area as the unit is pretty well protected by bimini etc. But as you know, salt has a way of getting into everything on a boat.
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Old 07-14-2008
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Weird. I've disassembled/reassembled mine several times, and although I was aware the 2nd wheel was asymmetric, I didn't realize it was adjustable. If it is, then that's definitely the way to go.

Lubing the plastic parts is a good idea, but avoid getting lube on the belt itself, as that could cause slippage in heavy weather. With the 4000, it's only friction that grips the wheel.
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Old 07-14-2008
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Service Manual

The procedure for adjusting belt is quite involved but there is a definate reference to an adjustment...although this manual is difficult to follow. This Auto pilot has seviced me well in heavy weather and I am sure it is probably due to the "gearing" on the belt which shouldn't slip even when wet and slippery. The motor is TINY. I don't think this will come up as a link, I've got a video with the auto the day after the night from hell, but the auto held up and was still driving us this day. . Note that my brother really isn't steering the boat, and there is little movement on the wheel. As you know, if the sails are balanced, this auto works in some heavy stuff. It is tough to film waves as they actually are but towards the end of this you can get a feel for my "auto" at work.

YouTube - 25-30 Knot Winds 31N 79W 10-20 foot seas
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