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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Wheel Mount Raymarine Wheel ST4000 is binding. When the Autohelm is turned off (No power at all), the steering wheel binds during turning. This is not the actual steering wheel binding, but the autohelm drive wheel/track mounted to the steering wheel. It's not really binding as in consistent resistance during turning, but more free turning, then an abrupt stop followed by a snap/pop release when more torque is applied. I tried a little dry lube, which helps some but does not get rid of it. It's pretty pervasive as in a full turn, the bind/pop can happen 0 to 10 times.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks.

DrB
 

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I have the same problem. I plan to take it off and see what I can figure out. I can get all the Allen screws loose except one (on the clamps that hold the drive unit to the wheel spokes).
 

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My Wheel Mount Raymarine Wheel ST4000 is binding. When the Autohelm is turned off (No power at all), the steering wheel binds during turning. This is not the actual steering wheel binding, but the autohelm drive wheel/track mounted to the steering wheel. It's not really binding as in consistent resistance during turning, but more free turning, then an abrupt stop followed by a snap/pop release when more torque is applied. I tried a little dry lube, which helps some but does not get rid of it. It's pretty pervasive as in a full turn, the bind/pop can happen 0 to 10 times.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks.

DrB

This happened to me. Take a look at this schematic. Nevermind the red circles, I used those for a different post. In my case, part number 8 (a sheer pin) broke so part number 9 (the drive lever) rotates the oblong parts 10 and 11 incorrectly and won't disengage the belt properly. In my case, I took part 1 off, with a simple prying motion with a flathead screwdriver (very easy), removed part 4, correctly aligned the oblong parts and used a very small cotter pin to replace the broken sheer pin. All is well.
 

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I too have this problem. Its the drive belt that stick to the wheel housing. try some taculm powder. Mine starts to stick AFTER I dismantle it for washing (dish washer liquid). Usually after sometime on Autopilot, I need to "break-free" the sticky belt by jerking the wheel before its normal.
 

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Another Possible Cause...

I have had the same or at least a very similar problem to what DrB described. So I followed the great schematic and instructions given by JSL3. However instead of finding a sheared pin I found that my belt (#5 on the schematic) must have been pretty worn since it had a thin 6" wire coming out of the edge of the belt. Kind of like a worn steel belted tire. So in my case it looks like this wire would get caught on other parts as I turned the wheel. When the wheel is is in the position with the rudder amidships it seems that the worn part of the belt is near part #7. Which seems to make sense since this looks like the point where the belt has the most friction. I cut the wire flush to the belt and tested, so far so good. Thanks for the tips!

Now anyone know where I can get a replacement belt?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses...

I plan on taking the gizmo apart this weekend. I'll report back the findings and hopefully a solution.

DrB
 

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Another possible cause is one or more of the plastic guide rollers broken off. Thats what happened to our old drive wheel - no parts available for that, the original molded plastic nubs for the rollers had snapped off.

We installed a new S-1 - the drive assembly is a much better engineered product.
 

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I second Faster, as that is exactly what we went through.
Replaced belt as it was binding and wires sticking out of the side. It worked fine for several months... until one day coming into the harbor the thing jams, I heard a snap after messing with it for a couple of minutes it was free but broke. The guide rollers snaped.
I do have a new spare belt for yours if you are interested, just pay shipping.:)
We replaced with a new S1 and it works great, it is a lot more robust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update

Went sailing this weekend twice and no issues, so I can fix what isn't broken. As soon as it breaks again, I'll try the suggestions in this thread.

Thanks.

DrB
 

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I too have this problem. Its the drive belt that stick to the wheel housing. try some taculm powder. Mine starts to stick AFTER I dismantle it for washing (dish washer liquid). Usually after sometime on Autopilot, I need to "break-free" the sticky belt by jerking the wheel before its normal.
Aha! I've been searching all summer for an explanation of why our ST4000 drive unit binds periodically to jam the wheel when it should be free-running. I took the unit off the wheel, took it home and split the halves. Other than age, I could see nothing wrong, and the two halves run freely on the bench. But, on the boat, I had to rig a small line to pull up a bit on the drive motor to change the way the two unengaged halves relate to each other. That slight change allowed the unit to run free when the clutch was off.

Maybe its as simple as an old belt binding on the surface it is supposed to glide on? Perhaps it shrunk a bit in diameter over the years? Or perhaps the drive lever (clutch handle, I call it) flops down when the wheel is in the right position, clamping just enough on the belt to make it grab on the drive (pinion) sprocket?

After I posted this message the first time this morning, I found this in Raymarine's excellent self-help database, which I had not noticed before, dealing with binding and squealing: "The ST4000 and ST4000+ wheel drive units uses a toothed belt internally, which is tensioned by the clutch lever. The unit also has rollers internally which locate and guide the rotating drive ring. The ST4000 and ST4000+ wheel drives are BLACK in color. Do not confuse them with the newer ST4000+ Mk II wheel drive, which is GRAY. The MkII wheel drive has completely different internals. The parts and procedure listed in this solution do not apply to the ST4000+ Mk II wheel drive. Over a period of time, salt deposits can build up inside the unit and around the rollers and this can lead to the feeling of 'stiffness'. As time goes on, the rollers may also require lubrication. Any squealing noise you hear is probably from the rollers. Raymarine offers a wheel drive service kit, part number D169, which should restore the drive unit to like-new operation. The kit contains a custom tool for opening the wheel drive unit, a replacement belt, waterproof grease and instructions. You should avoid getting grease on the belt or the belt's running surfaces. You should also check the rollers in the clutch mechanism, they may be stiff too and may also need greasing."

UPDATE: Two marine suppliers told me the D169 repair kit for the ST4000 is no longer available.

By the way: I think the Allen heads are metric, which is why my 1/8" Allen wrenches seemed a hair too big? That's 0.125", or 3.2 mm.
 

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ST4000 repairs

Unfortunately, I have learned from Raymarine that 1) there are no adjustments to be made in the unit and 2) there are no parts for sale. Then they said I could send it in to them for repair. I asked why I should if there were 1) no adjustments and 2) no parts. Their response is that they hold on to some parts and can do the repair.

I'm, at this moment, trying to find out the cost to have them replace the rollers and the belt on my ST4000. Looking at their price list I come away confused. The web pabe (Raymarine Marine Electronics - Autopilot Repair Rates) says that repair to the ST4000 Wheel Drive is $375. One could buy a new MK2 for about $100 more. That's a lot to put in some rubber wheels and a $20 belt.
 

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....(Raymarine) says that repair to the ST4000 Wheel Drive is $375. One could buy a new MK2 for about $100 more. That's a lot to put in some rubber wheels and a $20 belt.
If you're bent on retaining your old ST4000 control head I'd definitely go for the newer drive ring. It's a much better engineered item for the extra $100. I'd also have little faith in the "repaired" unit.

If you choose to go with the newer version S-1 or better, be aware that the architecture has changed - the cockpit mounted head is a Seatalk unit and the "brains" are in a separately mounted computer controller. Depending on the version you'll also be installing a rudder sensor or a gyro. This means a pretty complete rewiring job is required. We installed ours this spring with good results.
 

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Found a belt

Hi - found a belt on ebay as suggested and would like to know if anyone knows what the special disasembly tool/technique is or can help with the instructions. Or - if anyone has the instructions from the d169 kit possibly.
 

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Jerr - Shipwright, rigger
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Sorry to say folks but they're really cheap units, sold at sickeningly high prices. I just mended the brake of a customer's unit with an elastic band, until he gets disgusted at it enough to buy a new unit. Autohelm ought to be ashamed to put this level of flimsy out as a product.

There is some good news, though, on the subject of belts. All commercial belts are printed with numbers. Go online to a commercial belt wholesaler and they'll ship you one or several for about $15 each. They're just standard belts and don't let manufacturers talk you into otherwise. For one of my machines, Hitachi has a six month waiting period and charges $260 for a six-inch belt I bought at a local industrial supply store for $4.50 and yes, it was in stock and truly was identical. Cheers! - Jerr
 
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