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Old 06-11-2015, 20:28   #1
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Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

Our autopilot decided to fail right after sunset while we were going dead downwind with a nasty following sea.

I will spare you the excitement of 15 hours of manual steering with an already exhausted crew, but now we r in cabo and I need to get otto repaired.

I've had no luck in San Jose Del Cabo at the shipyard, will be trying cabo next.

I'm thinking I'm going to have to take it apart and try and get the broken pieces made at a machine shop. Does anybody have any experience with this type of repair or other info? It's an autohelm type 2 mechanical linear drive (long). Or does anybody know of somebody who could refurb it for me?

The drive was 120F when it started grinding itself to death. We promptly shut it down, I can move it in and out, but it makes grinding noise.

I took the housing off (2 allen head screws) and took the 4 allen heads off inside the housing, but it wouldn't come off. I think maybe I need to pull the motor first? Is it full of oil?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

A very tired newb cruiser,
J
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Old 06-11-2015, 21:22   #2
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

Give Dan gearhardt a shout he used to fix them. His email is c250@mydurango.net explain the problems pictures will help
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:44   #3
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

It probably need new gears. Orig are plastic. They changed to metal.easy repair. Bought our kit on eBay. Under 200. Not full Of oil, 2 motor wires need tobe worked 2 slide through case. All the Allen head and regular screws need to come out. U can download the manual pretty easily and it helps

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Old 07-11-2015, 04:37   #4
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

How old is it?

What do you mean it was 120F - is that temperature?

Mark
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:01   #5
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

This thread may be of interest:

Raymarine autohelm type 1 hydraulic pump/drive repair
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:15   #6
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

Quote:
Originally Posted by deblen View Post
one of the best threads on CF. Thanks, Deblen.
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:39   #7
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

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.
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Old 07-11-2015, 10:20   #8
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

The anchorage at Cabo really sucks. And the marina is expensive.

Sounds like you may be able to follow the advice above and get it fixed relatively easy. The few times we needed to get work done at some Mexican machine shops were good experiences. But we had a bad one too and many others we knew had some problems so you really need to vet the shop or store very carefully for good recommendations from other cruisers. La Paz is a better place but you might not want to go that far hand steering. You can do it in three daylight legs. If push comes to shove, you can rent a car and get up to San Diego in two days, staying overnight along the way. We did that to get our new radar back in the day. Downwind Marine can send parts along as noted. We did that once but it can be hit or miss as to timing. Cabo was our least favorite place in Mexico so you may not want to stay any longer than you need to. Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2015, 12:18   #9
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

120F was the temp of the unit using a handheld IR temp gauge.

Attached is a pic of our shredded gears.
Looks like I need this to fix it:
Raymarine Autopilot Linear Drive Unit Heavy Duty Gear Kit N021 Auto Pilot Spares
I'd probably want to get a new belt while I have it apart:
Raymarine-Autopilot-Linear-Drive-Unit-Toothed-Belt-N006-Auto-Pilot-Spares
and I need to figure out how to test the clutch to see if I need one of these:
RAYMARINE-AUTOPILOT-N007-CLUTCH-KIT
I'll probably take the motor apart and see if it needs new brushes as well, but I'm guessing that should be easy to resolve locally.

Might send one of us back to the USA for parts. Will also be trying to find recommendations for a machine shop that could fabricate what we need.

Luckily, we're in a slip so working on things isn't as hard as it would be rocking in the swell, but the cruising kitty is bleeding profusely.

Anybody have any luck buying things off ebay and having them shipped to cabo? It seems all the parts on there are in England as well, and we need to get out of this slip ASAP. We met a good guy today that might be able to help us out, but I'm trying all angles. Will start googling machine shops next.
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Old 07-11-2015, 12:20   #10
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

It's hard to see in the pic, but the planet gears are slightly worn, but the small gear in the middle of the sprocket gear is totally wasted.
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Old 07-11-2015, 12:30   #11
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

Your gears are wasted. Easy fix

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Old 07-11-2015, 12:35   #12
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

Looks exactly like mine. How old is your Linear Drive?

I replaced our gears in December 2001 and at that time all that Raymarine offered were bronze gears. They told me that all Linear Drives manufactured after 2000 had bronze gears.

Defender has brand new OEM LD motors for a very good price.
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Old 07-11-2015, 12:37   #13
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

Is that a plastic gear, like others have mentioned?

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Old 07-11-2015, 16:45   #14
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

yeah, the gears are all plastic. trying to figure out what is less painful, finding a good machine shop to make me some new parts, or have somebody local order them, or go to SD to get them.
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Old 07-11-2015, 16:56   #15
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Re: Repairing a type 2 mechanical linear autopilot drive in cabo

I would think this would be a difficult machine shop project that would cost more than just importing it.

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