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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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Old 11-04-2009
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Removing trans from engine

Velvet Drive 1.91:1 mated to a Westerbeke 55B Four. Prop shaft stopped turning while underway. I have determined - not yet with certainty - that it is the damper plate as the culprit. As such I will need to remove the trans to make the repair.

The installation is such that the engine and trans are mated and then mounted on four mounts. Two mounts on the engine, two on the trans.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how to support the engine while removing the tranny? I was thinking of a small v frame or an H frame to rest it on using the two unused engine mounting sites.

Thansk for an ideas on this.
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Old 11-04-2009
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Alot depends on the boat's layout. I just pulled one on a 34' Seafarer. I put a beam across the companionway slides to serve as an anchor point for a strap and cablewinch. I hooked a chain to the aftermost lifting eye on the engine and lifted the engine slightly to take the strain off of the rear mounts . I left the forward mounts secured. I then put another beam across and attached to the tranny. Once supported on both sides, it was easy to unbolt and separate the engine from the transmission. Each were adjustable in height and liftable independently. I used an 8"x8" for the engine beam and a 4"x4" for the tranny beam.
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Old 11-05-2009
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Thanks XS. For me there are a few other considerations; the weight if the engine (~450 lbs), the companionway is offset to stbd, I live on the boat, and its in the water in a rocky marina.

Thanks for the great ideas as I will certain use the crossmember to hold the tranny as I unbolt it.
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Old 11-05-2009
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is there room enough to put a tire tube under the engine and inflate it enough to hold it just where you need it? sounds dumb I know, but it can work.
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Old 11-05-2009
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Thanks for the interesting idea. I think I'm going to have to make something more secure however since its going to be sitting in that state while I make repairs, etc.
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Old 11-05-2009
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If you have room to work around and behind the engine then you can use a hydraulic jack to elevate the trans/engine up off the rear mounts and use a length of channel iron or box steel iron and side it under the engine in the area between the bell housing and the oil pan. That will hold the rear of the engine up while you take off the rear engine mounts. Then fashion a support system using beams and wood blocks to support the transmission as you remove the mounting bolts and slide the tranny off the engine. You need about a foot or more room to move the tranny out of the bell housing and then out of the work area. Then you can replace the dampner plate.
- - If there is no room to work in your engine compartment then you have to do it the hard way. That is to remove all the pipes, hoses and wiring to the engine and bring the whole engine/transmission assembly into the main salon floor where you can disassemble the tranny from the engine and work on the dampner plate. Replacing the dampner plates takes 5 minutes. Removing the engine/tranny from its position can take two days. it all depends upon how much working room you have around the engine.
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Old 11-09-2009
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Thanks for the excellent response. A few questions; do I really need over a foot aft to get the tranny off? That'll be tough as the prop hits the rudder ( she's in the water ). I can get the shaft back 6 to 8 inches. If I do need that room I thought I could remove the reduction from the main trans then get the trans off. Thoughts?

Next, is it unthinkable to rest the engine on the oil pan since it will not be bearing the whole load (assuming its done with wood where the load can be spread over a large area) ?

Lifting the whole thing into the salon is not really feasible as the engine is completely below the sole. Plus it my home and way too much weight for the flooring.

Lastly, since the tranny will be out does it not make sense to rebuild it so I don't have to take it off again in two years? Or is that just overkill.

Thanks again for the thoughtful responses.
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Old 11-09-2009
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- - Prop shaft? you have to totally disconnect the prop shaft from the transmission and push it as far aft as possible which sometimes is only an inch or so. Then you raise the engine by lifting or jacking the underbody of the transmission. Be sure to loosen the forward engine mount bolts/nuts so you do not rip the forward mounts out of the boat. The engine/tranny has to be elevated enough to pass over the prop shaft as the tranny moves aft.
- - Block the engine up by a beam - not under the oil pan - but just behind the oil pan on the little edge of the engine block that is between the oil pan and the transmission bell housing. Sometimes there are little "ears" in the engine block casting that can be used to put the temporary supports under.
- - How far the transmission has to move aft is dependent upon the length of your transmission spline shaft and the depth of the bell housing. On average this is about one foot. Although you may be able to start turning the transmission sideways as it is being removed if there is room on one side or the other to do that.
- - If the transmission is fine and the fluid is clear there is no compelling reason to have it rebuilt. Normally you will find that they do not rebuild your transmission but "swap" you a rebuilt transmission for yours. Then yours is sent to a central location somewhere in the US to be rebuilt and resold somewhere else to somebody else. And the costs are extremely high.
- - If the dampner plate turns out to be okay, then there might be something wrong with the transmission and a rebuild or rebuilt might be necessary.
- - The cabin sole of the boat will support the engine and transmission, boats are built with that in mind. But I normally cut and install a piece of 1/2" or 5/8" plywood on the cabin sole to both help distribute the weight and to shield it from the gouges and dents an engine will cause to a beautiful teak/holly cabin sole.
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Old 11-10-2009
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Well, I am grateful for your generous response. Thank you. You have helped me to clarify my approach. I did as you mentioned once before to slide the prop shaft under the trans to get the prop off. If my rudder was not in the way I could simply push the shaft aft (its a very long run from tranny to stuffing box) and thats what I was referring to in the other post.

Room is tight - the whole unit is in the top of the stem of the wineglass shaped hull and below the sole - but this is doable and now I am excited to get rolling.

Dumb question. I anticipate the fasteners to be pretty tough and thought to use pneumatic tools. Any thoughts, cautionary or otherwise, on this? In someplaces I don't see enough room to swing a socket handle.

On the tranny note - I was going to rebuild myself but if its not necessary that I guess thats a bad idea, huh. Can I have it tested at least while its off?

Thanks again. Andrew
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Old 11-10-2009
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You should be able to find a product call PB Blaster in most hardware/auto stores. It is a spray can that loosens corroded/rusted bolts, etc. Better than WD40. Do not use pneumatic tools as they will probably twist off the bolt head. A 6 point socket and wrench/breaker bar and a short length of pipe over the socket wrench handle can increase your leverage enough to break free sticky bolts. Use a lot of PB Blaster if the bolt does not want to come out.
- -The biggest problem is screws that are phillips or slotted head. Get a really good, proper size screwdriver with some sort of "hardened" bit on the end. The screw drivers that have a hexagonal shaft versus a round shaft are best. You can put a small adjustable wrench on the screwdriver with the hexagonal shaft. Then with extreme downward pressure on the screwdriver with one hand - you apply rotational pressure with the adjustable wrench to rotate the screwdriver and break the screw loose. But "feel" how the screwdriver/machine screw are reacting to each other. The screwdriver will try to "climb out" of the machine screw head if it is frozen. Don't let that happen as it will "strip" the slots in the machine screw. Use more PB Blaster and maybe tap the screwdriver to try to break the corrosion free.
- - As to the tranny - if it wasn't mis-behaving or making funny noises and if the transmission fluid is clear and not cloudy, don't mess with it. You can after removing the tranny from the engine/boat drain it, refill with a little fluid and shake and rotate the transmission to try to get any deposits of metal out of the bottom and into a jar so you can see how much metal particles have accumulated in the bottom of the transmission. Then refill with new fluid after you re-install everything.
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