Hurth HBW-5 Transmission - SailNet Community

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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 05-16-2010
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Hurth HBW-5 Transmission

I am "sailing" new waters with our Santana 30, and am asking for help/advice. The slipping tranny has passed from a semi-functional state to reverse only! Now begs the question of what to do...I've read the horror stories regarding Foley, and am hesitant about spending the thousand + dollars for a new-rebuilt transmission. The Hurth HBW-5 is connected to a Universal 5411, and appears to be straight forward process for its extraction from the "engine compartment". The prop shaft is equipped with a dripless stuffing box.

I am asking for opinions as to the options for the removal of the transmission ...is it less painful to pull the boat, disconnect the prop and move the shaft aft 6-inches to get the transmission/bell housing assembly off of the engine, or slide the engine forward to gain the 6 inches to remove the bellhousing and tranny without pulling the boat out of the water?

Since i am not a contortionist, my game plan was to gain access into the engine compartment via the port side with the removal of the port side engine side....unfortunately, all of the electrical systems are mounted to the inside and will necessitate a systematic ID and then removal. With te port side engine compartment removed, i can access the transmission via the "berth" on the port side.

Any recommendations for a reputable mechanic to rebuild the HBW-5 in the Baltimore / Annopolis area? Any words of wisdom or local knowlegde that is appropriate for the task at hand?
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Old 05-16-2010
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Can't help you with local recommendations, but will inject a word of warning. With a dripless seal the position of the coupling and the seal ring is all that is keeping the water out of your boat. If you disturb that relationship, the pressure will come off your bellows and a lot of water is going to want to be in your boat.

While doing this out of the water is clearly the safest way, we have removed an engine in the water with a dripless seal.. we thoroughly taped the collar to the seal ring prior to disconnecting the coupling. One of the disadvantages of doing this job on the hard is the added height you'll need to drop the engine/tranny package to the ground compared to the dock if afloat.. though on the hard you can drop it directly into a truck.

Don't think you have much choice about spending the boat bucks on a new/rebuilt tranny....
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Old 05-16-2010
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I replaced my Hurth for less $ than any rebuild price I was able to find. In my case, a new ZF6 was $1200.

Regarding the questions about in/out of water attempt and engine fore/aft, there are tough to answer without a schematic or some pictures.

I did mine on the hard by sliding the prop shaft aft and raising the bellhousing side of the engine only - all I had to do was loosen the motor mount forward to allow enough movement of the engine to access the hardware and replace the parts.

As for the shaft-seal, don't forget it's held in place with set screws on the shaft. If you do decide to move the propshaft aft and move the dripless hardware, you'll need to be sure the shaft is clean and lubricated with something that won't harm the internal O-rings. Soap works well, but only after you've thoroughly cleaned the shaft of anything that might abraid the O-rings.

Good luck.
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Old 05-17-2010
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I replaced my HBW50 with a ZF10 (the equivalent of a HBW100) two years ago on my Universal M25. Did the job in the water, but mine has a standard packing box. Put a hoseclamp around the propshaft so it cannot accidentally be pushed out! The next haul out (maybe next winter) I have to pull the shaft & cut 2" off the prop log/tube & seal the cut end with epoxy. It needs more room for changing the packing. The ZF10 is the next size up and is about 1 1/2" longer than the HBW50. It is beefier & more robust (so far, knock wood). I slid the prop shaft back that extra distance but you must check for clearance before you do that. Enjoy your swim.

I unbolted the motormounts & raised the engine onto blocks of wood for clearance to slide the trans back & off. Replace the damper plate while you're at it.

Not a fun job, but what can you do? It cost me ~$1050 + $95 for the dampener, IIRC.

ZF bought Hurth about 2-3 years ago. All the drawings & specs are on the ZF web site. They probably stopped making the ZF5.
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Old 05-20-2010
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Did this last year. I had to slide the prop as far aft as possible compressing the bellows for the shaft seal. Then support the engine with a small bottle jack and then remove the tranny and bell housing.

My tranny problem was a conical bearing cone that the bearing spins in came loose in the bell housing. They are held in place wit this expensive Locktite compound. Very quick fix and back together it went.
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Old 05-21-2010
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I appreciate the replies and words of wisdom/experience. I got into yesterday after she was pulled from the bay the day before. My thinking was options available, and there was only one way to get the transmission out if she stayed in the water. The port side of the engine compartment was removed after securing the entire electrical system that was attached to the port side "wall". The alternator was relieved of its duty to make more room to slide the wall toward the bow.

I was prepared to move the prop shaft aft and worked on this tack for an hour before going to plan B....move the engine forward. At the connection between the transmission and the prop shaft is a 8-in diameter, solid metal disc , approximately 1.5-inch thick and the shaft is in the center with two large set-screws to hold it in place. Anyone know what the purpose of the metal disc?

Anyway, the shaft would budge out of this metal disc, and plan B was implemented without hesitation. I used a come-along to keep forward pressure on the engine while i jacked up the aft end to above the engine bolts. After a few more hours, the transmission with bell housing is ready for the transmision shop. I wanted to replace the damper plate, and need to ask how this is removed from the flywheel...i see six allen set screws around the perimeter?
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Old 05-22-2010
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The damper plate is the center of the flywheel assembly and is removed with the eight allen set screws. I removed it and delivered the trans to American Transmissions in Edgewater, MD yesterday for an estimate and possible repair. One of the mechanics is stating that the trans is not a 2:1 gear ratio, but rather is a 1.5:1...and just happens to have a new 1.5 gearbox for sale. The sideplate is stamped 2R, so now its show me time. Shooting for a fix next week to restore the inboard over the weekend and get back on the water!
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Old 05-30-2010
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The HBW-5 needed forward and reverse clutch packs, one thrust washer and a new damper plate...i retrieved the tranny on Friday and everything is back together, except for the LH prop. I repositioned the shift cable so when the shifter is moved forward toward the bow, the transmission now engages the forward gears.

Any successful experiences removing the barrel bolt inside the Martec hub?? The barrel bolt uses a 1/2" socket, and its integrity is less than desirable. The prop has been rebuilt at least twice, and is ready for the recycling bin if i can't pursuade the barrel bolt out.
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Old 06-18-2010
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Hurth Transmission / engine stopped

Recently after running my engine for several hours crossing LI Sound, I came in to the channel and the engine stopped in forward while at low idle. Luckily I slid in to the empty fuel dock!
I checked the transm fluid on the Hurth 50 or 100 (not sure which I have) and the fluid was almost bone dry. I put ATF in it and unfroze the transmission cable (which was replaced last year) from forward gear. Everything appears fine now and she goes into gear much easier, however I'm wondering if the thrust washers are worn and would cause this? Should I have this tranny rebuilt or put a new one in?
I have a sailing charter business so I'm hesitant to do the repair in the middle of the season. Would it be ok to leave it until the fall?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
My boat is a 1963 Pearson Alberg, with a Universal 25 3cyl. 1983 vintage...also, I replaced a very worn prop with a new one which performs much better. Would the transm be running harder due to this? The prop was done locally by a reputable prop shop so I'm fairly confident it is the proper size and pitch.
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Old 06-18-2010
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Compassrose - my first thought regarding your transmission challenges is the lack of oil wasn't good for tranny. The wear on the clutch pack would increase without lubrication oil. There is a guy in CT, Joe DeMers (860-666-2184 - Sound Marine Diesel LLC) that can help you...he was a good source for my transmission challenges! Good luck
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