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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-08-2009
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Autopilot ST4000

Hello-

I'm hoping someone can comment on this problem. I have an old Autohelm ST4000 wheel pilot. Other than the compas being off a few degrees, for the most part it works fine. I have an annoying issue when the A/P is disengaged. When I steer, the belt inside the housing feels like it never really disengages. That is, it hangs up on the drive gear and "chatters" as I turn the wheel. I have taken the unit apart and cleaned and lubed everything that could be cleaned and lubed.

Has anyone else experienced this? Are there any suggestions as to a remedy.

Thanks
Doug
S/V Totoro, C&C 30 MkII
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Old 09-08-2009
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Yes I had the same problem years ago. The problem was wear in the wheel unit. Unfortunately, it had to be replaced to cure the problem.
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Old 09-08-2009
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Not to hijack the thread but my Autohelm Wheelpilot 4000 seems to have gotten "water on the brain" after we were caught in a torrential downpour.

I assume the control unit (a black box that hangs on a fitting in the cockpit) got water in it and the unit now just alarms and sends chattering commands to the wheel. It does not respond to pushing the standby button.

Are there any user tricks that I could try? When it was working it was a great help even though its not a great autopilot its way better than no autopilot.

Thanks
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Old 09-08-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hangupndrive View Post
Hello-

I'm hoping someone can comment on this problem. I have an old Autohelm ST4000 wheel pilot. Other than the compas being off a few degrees, for the most part it works fine. I have an annoying issue when the A/P is disengaged. When I steer, the belt inside the housing feels like it never really disengages. That is, it hangs up on the drive gear and "chatters" as I turn the wheel. I have taken the unit apart and cleaned and lubed everything that could be cleaned and lubed.

Has anyone else experienced this? Are there any suggestions as to a remedy.

Thanks
Doug
S/V Totoro, C&C 30 MkII
In all likelihood one or some of the plastic guide wheels inside has snapped off and is floating around interfering with your steering... bad news is that there's no support for these old drive units, and in any case the plastic studs are broken off the ring casting.

The good news is that the new version (grey) is a much more robust bit of engineering and the same problem is not likely to occur... the new drive rings are available separately, and may work with the old unit... but check with Raymarine first!
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Old 09-08-2009
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Thanks for the replies. The guide wheels inside the housing are all intact and appropriately lubed. The belt was replaced 2 yrs ago. There are not many moving parts to wear out. It may just be an inherent design flaw.

I am very tempted to modernize with the new Raymaine and throw this one on e-bay.
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Have you had the drive unit off the wheel at all??? Another possibility, since all internal parts are intact and in good shape, is that it's slightly off center on the wheel, causing things to bind now and then....
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yes, I have had it off. all looks fine. I also took 400 grit sand paper and lightly sanded the surface where the belt comes in contact when the cam is engaged. I guess alignment could be it. I'll tinker with it a bit. That's a good suggestion.

btw, i see you're in BC. We had a great cruise in the gulf islands this summer.
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Old 09-08-2009
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Had the same problem a few years ago. Sent it back to raymarine twice and they charged me but it never worked correctly. try taking the weight off the motor and see if it still sticks. I Ended purchasing a new drive unit and ot worked fine with the old control unit. Probem solved but not cheap.
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Old 09-08-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hangupndrive View Post
....btw, i see you're in BC. We had a great cruise in the gulf islands this summer.
Yes, we had a pretty terrific summer... paid for it a bit this past weekend!
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Must be a rash of ST4000 issues this time of year

Mine started to be have the same way. The two shell parts don't seem to be very tight together. I took it apart and also don't see any problems with the rollers or the belt. Will replacing either/both possibly solve it?

I was on hold for the max 20 minutes with Raymarine and shuttled to "leave a message and we will call you back by the end of the day". Yeah, right. I am ready to be pleasantly surprised.
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