Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rebuilt Hydraulic Linear Drive

Repaired HLD upon receiving. Oil included.
At the start of  this cruising season, I checked out my autopilot and after some discussion with the experts, came to the conclusion that my Hydraulic Linear Drive was faulty. The prior year we had had all sorts of issues arise with the Furuno and intended this year to get them sorted. I had a spare, so fitted that and still had no success. Both failed the rudder test, in the dockside setup menu, of the Furuno autopilot.
So, I sent both of them out to be repaired, and soon learnt that both HLD's had "bad"(worn) gear pumps and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately you can only receive the motor and gear pump as one unit.
I told my repair guy to go ahead and repair one HLD and see if that will fix my issues, before committing to to both being repaired. At that time, we were about to leave for the Whtisunday Islands in Queensland, Australia, so arranged for him to post the HLD up to us. We would continue our journey with our CPT autopilot.
Cutting a long story short, it took nearly five months for the HLD to be repaired and sent back to us; and we received it just before we were getting ready to leave the Whitsunday Islands and head south again. It mostly revolved around the issue of poor supply from the dealers in Australia. Simrad would not allow the repairer to source directly from the company.
Fitted HLD

The HLD was fitted to the quadrant again, and everything worked well. What a relief. We have now given the guy the OK to go ahead and fix the second HLD. This should be ready for us to pick up when I return to the boat next March. We have a long journey next year; heading to Thailand.

You will notice perhaps in the photo to the above, two rudder reference units. (one is disconnected) This is because we also have our Robertson Autopilot available in case we need to change from the Furuno at some time. For the season we used our newly purchased CPT autopilot; a great autopilot that drives the wheel instead. But the Furuno is our favourite, and all our issues with the Furuno seemed to have disappeared with the rebuilt  HLD.
Cost; Australian $1300. about $300 more than quoted; but all in all, half the cost of a new unit. All the seals etc were replaced and the ram unit hardly ever wears. Finally some peace of mind.