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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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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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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....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!:mad:
 

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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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Mine started acting as stated above, replaced the drive belt and it lasted several months before the guides inside broke off and jamed as I'm entering the harbor- Oooops!!!
The manufacturer recomends ONLY a fresh water wash and NO LUBE. So after screwing around it and checking all alignments with no success and the final brake downn, I figured it was cheaper and sure cure to replace with the new ST4000+ wheel drive..... Problem solved.
Sometimes we need to accept that they have reached the end of their life span. There is alot of plastic in there to wear and fatigue.
 

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I am also having problems with my 4000. I am experiencing a chatter from inside the wheel unit when the 4000 is disengaged. I want to separate the 2 halves but I do not know how the wheel unit is fastened together. I am cautious about prying it apart. How have you fellows separated the wheel unit parts from each other in order to check the belt conditions?

Jerry
New Bern, NC
 

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With the old (black) ST4000 drive unit, you just pry the halves apart. One half has a slight retaining "rib" that snaps over the rollers. This is just one of the weak areas of this era of drive unit. Over time, the weight of the drive motor can put pressure on this part, and things shift a bit causing binding.

Try supporting the motor drive with a zap strap or some such.. usually the wheel brake shaft is a convenient support point for this. We got an extra couple of seasons out of ours that way, even though a couple of the rollers had broken off.

As mentioned previously, RM has greatly improved the design with the newer (gray) drive units.
 

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Raymarine an ST4000

My St4000 started to have separation between the halves. I called Raymarine and was told 1) there is no adjustment and 2) there no longer have spare parts but to send it in. I asked why I should send it in if 1) and 2) were true. They replied they have some stock parts that they keep for their use.

However, the flat rate cost to put in some rubber wheels and/or a new belt is $375. I have seen new ST4000 MKII wheel units for sale for about $475. Raymarine is not on my "good" list. Their repair price is just outrageous. If there were some other wheel drive that would work with the brains from my ST4000 I would buy it in a minute.

So, if anyone wants my old ST4000 wheel drive for parts, let me know. You only need pay for shipping.
 

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ST4000 Autohem

I found $16 relacement belts here (buy a couple!) at shop.polybelt.com

I also discovered a few problems with the water-tightness of the console unit - it's not very. They gto a lot of trouble to put a gasket between the two haves but there are a lot of other holes the water can get into. A little salt water on the circuit boad can ruin it (personal experience here). I ended up putting a little air hose attachment on the unit and pressurized it to a few psi and used a soapy rag to find the holes -they were all over the place! Most of them were where the push-on spade connectors that commute to the outside, through holes in the plastic that weren't sealed. I sealed them with glue. A little silicone grease to the gasket helps also.

If anyone has trouble with the LCD display showing strange characters, it's probably because of the rubber Z-connector between the LCD glass and the circuit board isn't making a good connection. If you press on the front of the unit and it appears to fix the problem, then read on. All you have to do is to take the unit apart, clamp the little plastic frame holding the LCD glass and Z-connector to the circuit board and glue the frame to the circuit board.

Mike
 

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:) Thanks Mike. I was having trouble with my Autohelm ST4000 control head getting funny numbers and symbols on the readout instead of a heading. Your trick with gluing the frame to the circuitboard worked wonders. I am also ordering several replacement belts from Polybelt for the wheeldrive unit.
 

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My 4000 had a similar chattering problem when the auto was disengaged. A new belt fixed that problem. The new belt does not look as sturdy as the original. So it may be that it could wear out in a couple of years.

After reading the entire thread, I now know what other problems to expect down the road. Thanks for all the great info!
 

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Hi Ereiss,
I noticed you were willing in September to give away your old wheel drive - Autohelm 4000. I have been looking for a part for mine for weeks with no luck. Do you still have it? I am willing to pay for shipping, if it has the part that i am looking for. The part i need is inside the wheel, called the Drive wheel assembly. Part #11 on the schematic.
thanks
Sailartist
 
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