Welcome to cruising "Making expensive repairs
in primitive conditions in beautiful locations."
I can feel your pain because we rebuilt our Autohelm
Type 1 short Linear Drive
while anchored off the tourist beach at Cabo. The failed part was the plastic planetary gear
as shown in the attached photo
. We had a windvane
setup to be driven by a Raymarine
Type 1000 tiller pilot when motoring. We did little hand steering
in the 600 NM to Cabo and were really glad we had the windvane
backup to the electronic autopilot
I've rebuilt the Linear Drive unit a 2nd time when I upgraded the motor to a Type 2 which uses 6 amps as compared to the 3 amps of the Type 1 motor. The bronze gears we put in at Cabo had seen about 10,000 additional miles of usage and looked brand new.
The repair is fairly simple and I could now do it in a hour or two.
Order the new BRONZE gear
set (sun and planetary) from Raymarine
and replace the failed ones. We had ours shipped to Downwind in San Diego
and another cruiser flying down to Cabo brought them to us.
Our gears stripped when we had to suddenly leave the anchorage at Punta San Carlos
(Baja west coast
NNE of Cedros) in the dark when a large breaking swell suddenly rolled into the anchorage. We set the autopilot to drive us out of the anchorage while we attended to other matters. I forgot to release the wheel
brake and the Type 1 kept trying to move the linear drive against the almost locked steering wheel
. That stripped the gears over an hour or so.
You need to determine why you gears stripped. Are they Bronze? Autohelm/Raymarine stopped using plastic gears in 2001 and any new ones after that would have bronze gears.
Our repair, done while at anchor
, was only difficult due to the extremely rolly conditions in the Cabo anchorage. The 42' boat anchored next to us was pitching up and down so much that we could see the front half of the keel
when the bow pitched up. I had two episodes of sea sickness
while lying in the engine
room working on the Linear Drive.