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post #1 of 13 Old 08-09-2009 Thread Starter
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autohelm 4000 parts

I have a problem with my autohelm 4000 wheel drive unit. The plastic (perhaps nylon - don't know) 'pinion sprocket' that transfers the power from the eletrcial motor to the belt drive has broken. I have been seaching the internet for available parts and haven't had too much luck. As I read on other posts, the autohelm 4000 isn't supported anymore. I have some leads on used parts (one in california and one in cape town) but they don't sound promising.
So here are my 2 questions.
1. Any ideas on where I can look for spare parts for this unit or asked another way, where can i find a substitue 'pinion sprocket'.
2. I don't have much to lose so I am considering trying to put the sprocket back together with and adhesive or epoxy of some kind. Any suggestions on what to use?
Some pictures:

Drive Unit external view


Pinion Sprocket in question (asembled but not glued)


The carnage


The schematic of the part, circled in red:


As always, thanks in advance.

~Jim
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-09-2009
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I would look at second hand marine stores like "sailor's exchange" or "popeye" or whatever they may be called in your area. It may take awhile, as you never know what you will find at those places. I myself have been looking for the male two pin connector for the power cable for my older autopilot.

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post #3 of 13 Old 08-09-2009
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You're not too far from me and I think I can help you. I'm on the West River at Hartge Yacht Yard. E-mail me at LSMACD AT (READ @) YAHOO DOT (READ . ) COM (That's to avoid spamalot).

Do it soon; I won't be here long..

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post #4 of 13 Old 08-09-2009
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A machine shop might be able to knock something like that out from aluminum with an hour or two of labor?

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post #5 of 13 Old 08-09-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryandSusanMacDonald View Post
You're not too far from me and I think I can help you. I'm on the West River at Hartge Yacht Yard. E-mail me at LSMACD AT (READ @) YAHOO DOT (READ . ) COM (That's to avoid spamalot).

Do it soon; I won't be here long..
Very Cool!
A PM and an email are on the way.

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post #6 of 13 Old 08-13-2009
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An interesting failure. It brings to mind a failure of the tuning gears on a type of radio I have in my airplane. The builder used nylon gears on a tuning knob and they either wear out or fail. The gear is a $0.75 cent part but the company does not support field repairs, and the flat rate repair is several hundred dollars.

That situation resulted in several resourceful folks scouting the web for replacements. I've saved the links to gear suppliers that I've accumulated. I'll try to look up the links and post them when I get home. If you could find a match made in brass it would probably be a good upgrade/spare to have aboard.

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post #7 of 13 Old 08-13-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
An interesting failure. It brings to mind a failure of the tuning gears on a type of radio I have in my airplane. The builder used nylon gears on a tuning knob and they either wear out or fail. The gear is a $0.75 cent part but the company does not support field repairs, and the flat rate repair is several hundred dollars.

That situation resulted in several resourceful folks scouting the web for replacements. I've saved the links to gear suppliers that I've accumulated. I'll try to look up the links and post them when I get home. If you could find a match made in brass it would probably be a good upgrade/spare to have aboard.
Thanks Mid. You can feel free to post those links for others in the future but my problem has been solved by a Capn Larry. Here's the story.

As a side note the replacement part I got from Larry looks be aluminum (or another similar metal). It is definately not plastic or nylon. I guess the later production runs found the plastic to be problematic.

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post #8 of 13 Old 08-14-2009
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I'm about to remove our AH4000 drive unit to figure out why it was grabing the wheel periodically even when the clutch was released. Fixed temporarily with a small line applying slight tension in one direction. Thanks for that schematic.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-14-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSL3 View Post
Thanks Mid. You can feel free to post those links for others in the future but my problem has been solved by a Capn Larry. Here's the story.

As a side note the replacement part I got from Larry looks be aluminum (or another similar metal). It is definately not plastic or nylon. I guess the later production runs found the plastic to be problematic.
Yeah I just hoped it might help someone down the line. Unfortunately, I've lost the links so I'll be starting from scratch if I ever need either type of gear.

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post #10 of 13 Old 08-14-2009
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Try Replacing the Belt

Quote:
Originally Posted by floatsome View Post
I'm about to remove our AH4000 drive unit to figure out why it was grabing the wheel periodically even when the clutch was released. Fixed temporarily with a small line applying slight tension in one direction. Thanks for that schematic.
Floatsome,

I just had that issue with my Autohelm 4000. I replaced the belt which I found online at EBay Motors (just google autohelm 4000 and belt). Took care of the problem. The belt was only $20 plus $4 shipping. so I bought a spare in case they stop making them.
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