Autohelm linear drive unit

John and Anne on Bali Hai <annejohn@...>

I have put a couple of pics in the photos section. These were taken
on my last boat, a 1985 Oyster 435.The drive unit originally had
nylon planetary gears and these had a very limited life. I went to
Autohelm,as it then was pre Raymarine, and bought three sets of spare
gears at a cost (1990) of £12.50 per set,one to replace mine and two
as spares. I could have bought brass ones but they cost £125 per set!
I later sold the other two sets to two cruisers stranded at a couple
of places in the South Pacific and bought brass gears.
Olivier assured me that my boat(2001) has brass gears but it may well
be that earlier models do not. A prudent yottie would check before a
long voyage.
The second pic shows the effect of worn out brushes which could also
cause a stranding. Again spares should be carried on long passages
unless you have two drive units.
Getting the spare brushes was not easy in a faraway location.The
Agents in Australia sent me the wrong ones as Autohelm had changed
motor suppliers and seemingly kept it a secret. A fax to Autohelm
gave me this bit of info adding that they did not carry spares for my
motor. Nor did they tell me who made my motor and their contact info.
Stranded in Vanuatu we were not impressed.

Best wishes, Anne and John SM319

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