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Old 08-12-2018, 21:03   #1
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Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

Helllo everyone ,

itís fair to say Iíve screwed up a few days ago
For some time Iíve been hearing some grinding noise coming from the drive unit , it was clear it originated from the sliding mechanisme that commands the steering quadrant to rotate.
So lubricating it was the message , apparently Raymarine has provided a small service hole at the base of the main pipe for that ( or maybe that hole is just there to release the air when the piston goes in again ) , which I obviously missed , and had to find out later when my mistake was made .
Underneath I have several pictures explaining everything .
After unscrewing the top main nut and pulling the drive-rod off the worm the lot came out with a big supprise .
I managed to accidentally pull the clip off the end of the worm so the worm- holder came out and so did the bearing balls .gen rollen:

This is where I feld that I was in trouble .
There is no way to get the worm-holder on the worm again and at the same time also get the bearing balls in .
I figured out that the pipe in which the piston slides into has to come off first , assemble all parts again and finally get that main pipe on again.
This is where Iím stuck.
First of all I canít t the tha back of the autopilot off even when all 4 screws are out . Is there a fix that I am missing ?
Secondly , how is that main pipe attached to the gearbox of the pilot ? Is it screwed on or do I absolutely need to get that back off and release the main pipe from the inside .
I will write some reference under each picture so there is a link to the terminology Iíve used in this text.




This a layout that Iíve found on the net showing all the parts.
No explanation though on how to get the back ( lefthand side ) or the main pipe off .




The piston pipe on top of the main pipe , if I can get that last one off I Ďm confident that I can get all the bits and pieces lined up again .





The main pipe with worm inside .
As you can see there is no room to get the piston / worm-holder in , make sure the bearing balls stay in place and at the same time get the end lock clip on .
At the end of the piston pipe thereís a loop ( on both sides ) that allow the bearing balls to run through when being pushed by the worm in or out .





Not sure if you can see it properly but next to both loops being filled with balls , also the spiral inside has to be loaded with balls .
I have put some grease on inside to prevent the ball from falling down and tried to get the piston/ worm-holder back on to no avail .
The grease makes it all too sticky and the balls pile up inside when the worm is pushed in .





So agin a pic of the main pipe , is it screwed on by itself to the gearbox or is their another fix on the back side ?





If this cover comes off I have a view on the inside , all 4 bolts are out what Iím I doing wrong ?




Thanks for your help
Regards
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Old 08-12-2018, 21:25   #2
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

It is probably too late for the OP, but just so others know, these can be factory refurbished at a flat rate of $600 (as of last year).
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Old 08-12-2018, 23:54   #3
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

i'm guessing here but i would think the main pipe should unscrew from the main aluminium housing to expose the worm drive rod.
with the pipe removed you can thread on the piston pipe to the worm drive ,replace the circlip.
then re assemble pushing the outer pipe over the piston pipe and ball bearings and screw back into the main housing.

the back cover probably has 2 blind locator lugs or a snug inner rim as well as the 4 screws so might need to be gently prised apart from each side.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:02   #4
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

Ok I'm a drive unit expert.. Lol!

I've had my drive screw up three times in the last 12 mths, three different problems.

I had that grinding nice. I changed the planetary gears, easy fix, no more noise.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:51   #5
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Ok I'm a drive unit expert.. Lol!

I've had my drive screw up three times in the last 12 mths, three different problems.

I had that grinding nice. I changed the planetary gears, easy fix, no more noise.
Hey daletournier ,

Do you also have ST 6000 ?
If so , how did you get the main/solid cover off ? Is it only fixed by the 4 bolts ?
Thanks
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Old 09-12-2018, 02:11   #6
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

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i'm guessing here but i would think the main pipe should unscrew from the main aluminium housing to expose the worm drive rod.
.
Atoll , this would be my best guess too , and I actually tried to loosen ( using limited force) with a wrench to no avail .
Before I put some muscle to it I would like to be sure it is threaded on , or at least get the back cover off so I can check it out .

As to what has been suggested by another poster and spending 600$ to have it refurbished , what can I say , ....like most of us I also try to cut some corners and keep the bank balance ...balanced .

Regards
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:09   #7
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

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Atoll , this would be my best guess too , and I actually tried to loosen ( using limited force) with a wrench to no avail .
Before I put some muscle to it I would like to be sure it is threaded on , or at least get the back cover off so I can check it out .

As to what has been suggested by another poster and spending 600$ to have it refurbished , what can I say , ....like most of us I also try to cut some corners and keep the bank balance ...balanced .

Regards
i have never dismantled your type of drive made originally by navico/autohelm,but have dismantled many of the wheel pilot units of a similar design that use pleanery gears.
all their outer tube casings were threaded at each end,
as is the smaller ram drive unit for the autohelm 3000 which uses a worm drive.

hopefully dale will be able to confirm now he is an expert!
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:58   #8
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

Well Atoll , first hurdle is taken .



The 2 brass long stretched nuts (see first pic under the layout one ) appeared to also hold the heavy back cover.
Would be nice to know how to remove the main/outside pipe before having to disassemble the gear unit to see what’s under it as a possible fix for the main pipe .

Anyway good thing I got the cover off because there’s a pile of grinded rubber that came off the little drive belt .
Might be worth to source and score a spare by the time we make the Atlantic crossing .
Regards
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:33   #9
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

It looks like I’m in a winning streak .



The main pipe doesn’t seem to come off in any way , but I can adress the bearing balls via an escape route . Pull the worm out and slide with the piston attached to it back in a build up the gearbox .
And by the looks of it I have metal gears so that’s good to know .

Regards
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:29   #10
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

Hi Bobs, i see im to late . The little bronze gears in your photo are the planetary gears, i bet thats your grind, you may not be able to see the problem but the little holes the stainless steel pins run through flog out just enough to result in a grinding noise,at least that was the case with mind.

Notice theres a raised section on one side of each gear, make sure they go back the way they came off. Also while your there clean the commutator that the brushs run on with some wet and dry paper and replace the brushes if needed.

Id replace the belt as well.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:17   #11
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Hi Bobs, i see im to late . The little bronze gears in your photo are the planetary gears, i bet thats your grind, you may not be able to see the problem but the little holes the stainless steel pins run through flog out just enough to result in a grinding noise,at least that was the case with mind.

Notice theres a raised section on one side of each gear, make sure they go back the way they came off. Also while your there clean the commutator that the brushs run on with some wet and dry paper and replace the brushes if needed.

Id replace the belt as well.
Have you considered contacting the manufacturer and asking for advice?
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:53   #12
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Have you considered contacting the manufacturer and asking for advice?

It is utterly beyond my comprehension why people refuse to do this! I have fixed SOOOO many things after a phone call and discussion with manufacturers, and wasted sooo much time when I avoid doing this! Often there is a simple tip of how to do something, and almost always, a greater understanding of how things work is gained. I have even made a friend or two.


The modern way of completely mistrusting the maker, in favor of chatting with others who don't know, over the internet is mind boggling. Chatting, in and of itself, is good, and there are some folks who have encountered the same problem before and can help, but why is the manufacturer not the first call? If nothing else, it helps them with better designs in the future!
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:24   #13
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

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Have you considered contacting the manufacturer and asking for advice?
What advice am I asking for? Did I miss something?
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:44   #14
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobs View Post
It looks like Iím in a winning streak .



The main pipe doesnít seem to come off in any way , but I can adress the bearing balls via an escape route . Pull the worm out and slide with the piston attached to it back in a build up the gearbox .
And by the looks of it I have metal gears so thatís good to know .

Regards
good to see you are winning!
very annoying that manufacturers don't publish a workshop manual these days and only a parts list if you are lucky.

more often than not the operator manual will include a troubleshooting guide,with at the end,RETURN THE UNIT TO SERVICE AGENT when all else fails ....not much use when you are half way through a passage and having to hand steer when it fails
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Old 09-12-2018, 17:22   #15
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Re: Autopilot ST 6000 drive unit Ií in trouble

The plastic gear that fails on these is the small gear that the planetary gears rotate around. It is on the cogged wheel that the drive belt turns. If it is plastic replace it with a metal one. Especially if you are planning an ocean passage. You don't want this to fail on passage. The plastic ones have not been made in a long time so if it is plastic it is, in my estimation more that 15 years old. Also inspect the plastic ring gear. Any sign of wear and I would replace it. It is a small increment from visible wear to total failure.

The system of balls is called a recirculating ball drive. It reduces friction and just about eliminates backlash. You were lucky to get it back together. I hope you didn't loose any balls. Google "recirculating ball drive" to find some very good information on how they work.
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