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post #11 of Old 05-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Simrad HLD2000 MK2L Drive Motor Brush Replacement

With Omniscient's post, above, I realized I never got back to finish up this thread so here's the scoop:

As I mentioned in my last post, above, after rather a lot of brain damage I discovered that our problem wasn't in our drive motor (brushes et al) but a leaking seal around the drive shaft that actuates the rudder. Correcting that involved extracting the drive assembly which proved rather difficult considering its tight location and 70+ year old joints (mine not its!). Once extracted, I took the drive to the local "go to" hyraulics shop in Sarasota, Fl, "Silliman Fluid Power" on 15th Street, for repair together with the owners manual. Their repeated calls to Navico (ne Simrad) regarding replacement parts/seals proved fruitless but, fortunately, the owner's manual included a listing of seals and their dimensions such that Sillman was able to obtain generic replacements. With that, they proceeded to disassemble the drive but that presented a new problem when they discovered that one of the four tension rods that retain the end caps on the drive shaft had cracked through due to crevasse corrosion cased by exposure to salt water that I had not been aware of. Then the trial became replacing the tension rods. Again, Navico was of no help, either as to replacement rods or even the specifications as to the size or grade of steel used in their manufacture. Fortunately, Sillman was able to direct me to a "old" machinist, Roehr's Machine Shop, on Orange Avenue in Sarasota where the elderly owner was able, with no little difficulty, chase down 6mm rod stock in a 400 grade Stainless. With that finally in hand, he was able to cut and machine four replacement tension rods to match the original rods that hadn't failed (yet!) but at a cost of $95 USD each!

With those, Sillman was finally able to rebuild our drive although that too took an extended period as their lead mechanic, the only tech that was qualified to work on our system, was suffering heath-care issues that kept him out of the shop for several (frustrating!) weeks. Upon his recovery, the job was finally done, however, and I was able to repeat the torture of removing the drive but with its re-installation. Refilling, bleeding and restoring the drive to its prior functionality took a few more daze but finally, "Otto" was back in shape.

All up, the foregoing exercise took 6 months before we were back in business with a working auto-pilot. One does not know/appreciate their value until having used one, one is forced to revert to hand steering for hours on end on long passages. Even well trimmed and balanced, "driving" can be exhausting, particularly in any seaway. On the other hand, the cost of a replacement drive--which would have necessitated the replacement of our system as well--was far greater than the costs of our repairs ($700 USD +/-) and the inconvenience during the event.

So. That's our story and I'm sticking to it!


"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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