Join Date: Nov 2005
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Others will chime in with the cons, so I''ll give a couple of pros. A friend last year bought a mid-''80''s Etap 30 with saildrive. Despite what you hear about corrosion, the lower unit looks great after all these years (I checked it out on land over the winter.) It needs zincs of course, so keep up with that for sure -- just as you would with a regular shaft and prop. Where the saildrive unit exits the hull is a sealed joint, so no leaks (as from a stuffing box) to worry about. And the boat handles very well under power. It turns on a dime, has little vibration, and almost no prop walk.
Manufacturers like them because they are cheaper to install, and Volvo must be making some sweetheart deals to sell their engines as well. From all the griping you hear about the high prices of Volvo parts, Volvo must know they can make a profit on parts later on. Most European makers use saildrive, as does Tartan, at least for some of their models, in the US.
The cons I''ve read on here usually revolve around lack of access to the lower unit to change oil, etc. if you are off shore, or in a foreign land where a haul out may be difficult. But I''ll let others go into that.