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post #1 of 8 Old 06-07-2012 Thread Starter
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Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

I am having trouble with belt tension on my wheel unit. When I have the unit engaged, the belt seems way to tight. When it is disengaged, it is barely disengaged (still has a little drag). Often, when I engage it, it disengages on its own when the wheel turns in a CCW direction. If I engage it and reingage it several times, the belt seems to strech a little and then stay engaged better. I think the answer might be to lubricate the back side of the belt which comes in conctact with the cam of the lever. I have though about using wax or lanolin etc. It seems worse when it is damp or I have gotten water in the unit from rain. Any thoughts.

Note, I have had the wheel apart several times and I believe I know how it works. I have the tension cam adjusted with the least amount of tension. I have replaced the two pins that hold the lever arm onto the shaft (had corroded and sheered off). The belt looks fine and has all it's teeth.

I have read many of the posts on sailnet but have not found anything relating to lubricating the back side of the belt that comes in contact with the lever cam.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-07-2012
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Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

I have the same issue and cant seem t figure it out either. Wish I had some better info for you.

- Rob
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-07-2012
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Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

It seems that the drive unit should be re placed to have proper tension. Another method might be using a bigger belt.

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post #4 of 8 Old 06-07-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

celenoglu
What is your basis for suggesting the drive unit be replaced? It seems to work fine and simply engages with the teeth on the inside of the belt. Plus, that would be a several hundred dollar item. What I'm suggesting is something that would cost nothing but an hours time.
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Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

The positioning of the drive unit should be changed, not replaced.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-07-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

OK - but I'm not sure how I would do that. Below is a photo showing where the drive unit mounts. Is there some adjustment that would permit less belt tension? I do agree that would help. As I'm sure you know, the wheel on the right is attached to the lever. The one on the left is the tension adjustment which is adjusted as loose as I can get it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-07-2012
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Arrow Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

I had this same problem when we acquired our boat. I was able to adjust the cam to a lessor tension and resolve the problem.

In researching the problem, I was told that these belts tend to shrink with age vs. stretch as one would think.

I've seen replacement belts available on ebay.

Good look.

Paul
`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes
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Re: Autohelm ST4000 belt tension

Thanks MSN2. That doesn't make sense but it's a good explaination for what is happening. I read in another thread that the steel inside the belt will rust over time and affect the performance but this is the first I have heard of shrinkage. Perhaps I should try leaving it engaged when I'm away from the boat. That might help keep it stretched. I have adjusted the cam for the least tension possible. If I increase it, I think it's possible I'd break the belt or some other part if I tried to engage it.
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