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mercier 06-08-2003 06:26 PM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
I own an OMC Saildrive 15 hp. My boat is sensitive to heating up. Is there someone in the sailing communauty who has a similar engine and had solved that problem. How to connect the alarm system to detect the overheating problem?


jbanta 06-08-2003 10:29 PM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
I had an OMC saildrive on my Lancer 29. I know where you are coming from with your heating problem. You motor is needing a complete overhaul. It is cloged up from years of faithful service. It is a basic Johnson 15 hp powerhead so you could do the job yourself or like me give up on that motor and move onto a moretrustworthy motor. I am sorry but this motor doesn''t have the best reputation and from my experience I think it deserves it. I love the idea of sail drive but there are better ways to go.
Take a look at much better system...

mikehoyt 06-09-2003 04:24 AM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
There is a site dedicated to saildrives and the OMC in particular. Try it at

Good Luck


AJS 06-09-2003 06:38 AM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
Is water being expelled with the exhaust? If there isn''t very much you may have a clogged water intake or a worn impeller. These engines also have a thermostat that is accessed by removing the cylinder head, this could also be the problem. You can check to see if its clogged or stuck.
Just because an engine is overheating doesn''t mean "it''s in need of a complete overhaul". And no, its not simple to do yourself. And its a 30 or 35 horsepower OMC motor detuned to 15 hp for durability.
The Honda 280 looks like a great rig but is pricey. A good choice for a smaller (up to around 28 feet I would think) sailboat over a heavy diesel.

jbanta 06-09-2003 01:56 PM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
I am sure that my saildrive was a built on a Johnson 15hp power head. I had mine overhauled 3 years before I finally gave up on it and the shop assured me it was a Johnson 15. I guess it wasn''t that bad of an aux since it was first installed when the boat was built in 76, but when they start to go they go bad fast. If he has a OMC 15 hp sail drive and it is over heating I still contend that the motor is shot and it''s time to repower. There is NO impeller on such a motor the cooling water pump is seperate and sits directly forward of the power head. A heavy diesel would be bset for his needs but the 280 is about $4k less money and gives pleanty of kick for a 29 footer. He must have some water getting thru the cooling system or the motor would be cutting out alot sooner than he says it is.

AJS 06-10-2003 06:37 AM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
The OMC Saildrive is 15 horsepower, but its my understanding that the power head is a 30 or 35 (can''t remember) with a smaller carb. Its certainly much larger than any 15 hp power head that I''ve seen.
My saildrive has the water pump located on the driveshaft under the powerhead. I''ve never heard of the seperate pump set up that is described above. What runs it? Is it electric? It sounds like a retro fit to me. I don''t think the models of OMC Saildrive are very different.
I really like the idea of the Honda Saildrive in a boat under 30 feet. What does a 25 footer need a diesel for anyway?

jbanta 06-10-2003 07:59 PM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
I know it was a Johnson 15 hp power head the shop comfered that when I had the damn thing overhauled. Also it was,''t that much bigger than the power head on my mercury 9.9 I have now.The water pump was on a pump belted to a pulley on the drive shaft before it went down into the transmission. It was the best thing about that system no empeller to pull the boat out of the water to replace.I can''t imagin that yours would be built with an empeller water pump. The Honda power head on the Saildrive 280 is great I am after them for a way to us a heat exchanger instead of sea water cooling. And 4 stroke beats a 2 anyday!! You OMC is a 2 right?

AJS 06-11-2003 05:51 AM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
Yes, mine is a 2 stroke. I agree, the honda unit being 4 stroke would make it quiet, efficient and reliable and a real possibility to consider over a diesel.
Wow, what you decribe is nothing like mine. Mine definitely has the impeller running off of the drive shaft. Mine is a 1982 model, near the end of the line. Was yours perhaps a much older model?

jbanta 06-11-2003 03:00 PM

OMC Saildrive 15 hp
Mine is a 78 thats not alot older and I did like the idea of a descret water pump. That saved alot more trouble and I had my share of trouble trying to keep that OMC running. I will be putting the 280 in as some as I can swing the $$$. I am in process of doing a major refit on the hull, decks, and cabin interier. Am am thinking it will all take about 2 seasons and I am hoping that water returns to my sailing grounds by then.

__floater__ 08-30-2015 08:34 PM

Re: OMC Saildrive 15 hp
When the shop told you it was 15hp they meant the saildrive model is rated @ 15hp. The 15hp Zephyr Saildrive is rated at 15hp but the power-head used is also used for OMC, Johnson and Evinrude 20 & 30hp outboard engines but it has been de-tuned to 15hp in the case of the saildrive to extend longevity.
I have 3 of these units and have used one of them for over ten years. They do indeed have impellers over the main shaft between the upper and intermediate cases. There is no external water-pump. The raw coolant water enters at the skeg forward of the prop and is pushed through the engine and out the exhaust riser by a rubber impeller.
If the shop actually meant the "powerhead" is from a 15hp engine, they are wrong. All OMC Saildrives used the same 20 & 30hp OMC powerhead.

If the engine is heating up it's either a plugged entry port, a worn out impeller or possibly a faulty thermostat. Other than noise and occasional stink, my engine is reliable, trouble-free and powerful.

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