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Old 04-26-2007
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Question OMC Zepher Saildrive - Ericson 27

Hi all. I am looking at an Ericson 27, vintage 1974, with a 15 HP OMC Zepher Saildrive. (The outboard that poses as an inboard.) I have heard all kinds of things about these engines, can any of you shed some light regarding maintenance or potential problems. The owner says it runs good and he has a good source for parts. The boat is dry docked so I can not start it yet. It looks clean with a new alternator. Any tips or tricks regarding this engine. Thanks!
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Old 04-27-2007
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I've known several owners of these engines - all of them now have outboards mounted on the transom.

From what I can gather the biggest problem is a tendency for raw water to get into the engine proper - causing obvious difficulty starting.

A good stock of spares is, unfortunately, a necessity with these. The constant worry is a major PITA.

On top of that, when it comes to the eventual replacement (usually an outboard) you're stuck with a costly removal/hull repair, or you end up dragging the lower unit around after the fact (you can remove the power head to free up some space and save some weight.)

Unless, of course, you're prepared to spend $10K or more to put in a new saildrive diesel!
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Old 05-18-2007
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Check out saildriveowners : Saildrive Owners Group which is a yahoo group of 300 members most of whom have this saildrive and do their own maintenance. A pretty good engine but parts are getting difficult to come by. Should not be a deal breaker though as is relatively simple to replace with an outboard if th engine dies.

Lots of parts available via above group as people tend to sell off the old saildrives if they replace them.

Mike
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Old 05-18-2007
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[quote=zaldog]The boat is dry docked so I can not start it yet.[quote]
Is that really true ? I don't know the engine but does it suck water like an outboard ? If so maybe the 'earmuff' type of water input for dry dock running used on most outboards can be used to at least see if the 'owner says it runs good' part of the picture is true. Just a thought.
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Last edited by christyleigh; 05-18-2007 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 05-19-2007
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[QUOTE=christyleigh][quote=zaldog]The boat is dry docked so I can not start it yet.
Quote:
Is that really true ? I don't know the engine but does it suck water like an outboard ? If so maybe the 'earmuff' type of water input for dry dock running used on most outboards can be used to at least see if the 'owner says it runs good' part of the picture is true. Just a thought.

They do suck water from an intake located of the bottom of the gearcase and it is possible to supply water and run the engine. Do not run it dry or you will quickly ruin the impellor.
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