Motor-sailing and Transmission Damage? - SailNet Community

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Old 07-13-2007
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Motor-sailing and Transmission Damage?

Just found out yesterday that it seems I'm having transmission problems on a new (400 hrs) transmission. The problem (hesitation shifting into forward) seemed to emerge after a day spent motorsailing downwind to save time and avoid going wing-and-wing. Any chance that that could have damaged my transmission or clutch?
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Old 07-13-2007
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If by "motorsailing" you mean running your motor in gear while having sails up, I can't see any reason why this alone should cause you any trouble--many of us do this at various times for lots of reasons.
There are lots of knowledgeable people on this site who can provide good advice, but the first things I would check (because it's easy) is the fluid level in the transmission (ie. not to high or too low), the condition of the fluid (ie. nice pink colour, not black or smelling burnt) and the gear shift cable tension (ie. does it firmly move the shift lever on the engine all the way forward--a simple adjustment here may make it shift properly).
Good luck!
Frank.
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vwell-

Motorsailing is a fairly standard practice for most monohulls... so that shouldn't have damaged your engine, unless you were sailing forwards and had the engine in reverse...

It would help if you said what kind of boat, engine and transmission you had... that would open up the possibility of a few equipment specific problems.

P.S. A word of advice...the more complete the information you give about a problem, the more likely you are to get a good answer back... garbage in ----> garbage out...
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Have you changed the fluid?
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Thanks for your input. We have a Cal 31 with Universal 30 hp diesel, install Fall '05. A few weeks ago we noticed a hesitation shifting into forward, although reverse was fine. The problem seemed most pronounced when the engine was cold. After motoring a few minutes the problem would largely disappear. A friend and I wondered if it was a shifter linkage issue, however after disconnecting the linkages and manually moving the transmission's lever the problem still persisted. About that time we'd motor-sailed from San Francisco down to Santa Cruz, including a several-hour stretch straight downwind with a strong following sea. It was a pretty intense ride, and as I puzzle this out I'm wondering whether something could have happened to make this problem worse.

Thanks for considering this.
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What kind of transmission do you have? A dock mate of mind has a Hurth transmission that had the same problem. The troubleshooting guide in the Hurth manual gave the following procedure;

Drain the transmission and replace fluid with one quart of diesel. Run engine for three minutes at idle while engaging forward and reverse at ten second intervals. Stop engine, drain diesel, and refill transmission with fluid

This corrected the problem.
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