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  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-02-2008 10:34 PM
Originally Posted by thekeip View Post
It is quite difficult to put and keep the transmission in reverse in the 1st place. Putting it into reverse and expecting to keep it there is not likely. Forward, in this transmission, is the only practical way to avoid undue wear.
Admittedly, with an A-4 reversing gear, forward is more positive, because of the detent in the forcing cone--which is not present in reverse. We've experienced no problem putting ours in reverse and having it stay there throughout the sail, however. (We remove & store the shift lever during sail. Otherwise it's just sitting down there waiting to snag lines or get bumped into neutral .)

08-02-2008 07:13 PM
Rockter Don't let the prop spin though.
It'll drive you nuts listening to it scuffing along.
08-02-2008 07:00 AM
sander06 Westerbeke says neutral.
08-02-2008 04:24 AM
Rockter Do not let the transmission spin when you are sailing.
Put the gearbox into reverse to stop it spinning.
A gearbox that is not spinning does not need lubrication.
08-01-2008 11:06 PM
It is quite difficult to put and keep the transmission in reverse in the 1st place. Putting it into reverse and expecting to keep it there is not likely. Forward, in this transmission, is the only practical way to avoid undue wear.
If you have an older Volvo Penta, your sailing with the engine in reverse.
08-01-2008 10:51 PM
thekeip It is quite difficult to put and keep the transmission in reverse in the 1st place. Putting it into reverse and expecting to keep it there is not likely. Forward, in this transmission, is the only practical way to avoid undue wear.
Howard Keiper
08-01-2008 08:18 PM
tommyt My guess ????, which is what we are all doing, is that the question and the issue are not related.

First, unless the manufacturer of the transmission says to keep it in gear, put it in reverse. One, less drag. Two, why bother with the noise when you are sailing?

Now to the oil in the water guess. You stated in your follow up that you thought that the water was coming down the mast. Fix that. You also stated that you finally got a good sail in today? My guess is that if the boat is new to you, that you or the previous owner did a nice job of cleaning up the bilge before or after the sale. Now you get water down the mast and in the bilge, then you go sailing. Up, down, sideways, having the time of your life...right? The water, hopefully from the mast, is sloshing around in the bilge and getting under the engine where it did not get really clean in the prior cleaning. The water mixes with the oil and you have oily water in the bilge.

If my WAG is correct, you need to find out where the water is coming from and if there is a leak on the engine that has not shown up as yet. Don'g panic, there is always some blow by. You just want to make sure that it is not significant, which can be as easy as checking the oil before and after every sail...which should be done before every sail anyway. Wish I was religious about it....I am not.

Go sailing!
08-01-2008 07:43 PM
thekeip It's common to put the transmission in reverse if you have a reduction don't. Just leave it in gear (assuming you're motoring forward) when you turn off the ignition. Oil does indeed lubricate the transmission on a A-4.
Neutral is not a good idea.
Howard Keiper
Sea Quest
08-01-2008 07:30 PM
speciald Depends on the transmission; hydraulic or not. If hydraulic - should be in neutral, if mechanical - should be in reverse. Check your documentation. If you have a feathering prop, run up revs, shut down motor, then shift to reverse, shaft should not spin.
08-01-2008 07:26 PM
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Engine oil should not get to the transmission,
Quite the contrary in this case. On an Atomic-4 the "transmission" (more correctly called a "reversing gear" on an A-4) is more-or-less integral with the engine and gets its lubrication from the engines lubrication system.

Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
and past the stuffing box (not on a working engine.
Shouldn't even get to the stuffing box. With an A-4, there's an output flange on the back of the reversing gear. The prop shaft flange is coupled to that with four bolts. Obviously one should never see oil past the reversing gear case. (The foregoing assumes direct drive. I know not how V-drives are arranged.)


You should not be getting oil in the bilge from leaving your shifter in neutral while sailing. You may tend to get a small amount of oily residue in your engine space's bilge area, if from nothing else than blow-by. (All engines have some of that, and the original A-4s do not have a PCV [positive crankcase ventilationi] system to fully re-cycle crankcase blow-by). But that should result in no more than a slight oily sheen atop your water in the bilge from time-to-time. And when I say "slight," I do mean slight. As in: You have to look for it.

There are products out there you can place in your bilge that will soak up the oil and not the water. The most effective of these might be AbTech's Bilge Skimmer, based on their Smart Sponge technology. I have not found a place to buy that particular product and it's unclear to me whether it's re-usable. The other products claim they're re-usable.

(How the heck does one thoroughly clean an engine space on a sailboat, anyway? It's not as if one can climb in there with a power-washer. Least-wise not on a Pearson 30. Formula 409 and a boat-load of paper towels? )

I recommend you carefully check your engine space for oil leaks. Get a nice, bright flashlight. For example: When I recently checked our reversing gear adjustment, I found that somebody, at some point, had failed to replace its case cover's gasket and that was resulting in a small amount of oil seeping out from under it. Wasn't enough to amount to an appreciable amount of oil in the bilge, but still: It's bad form .

As for having that much water in your bilge after a few hours of your prop shaft turning while under sail: Sounds to me like your packing gland may need attention.

We put our shifter in reverse while under sail. But be careful: You probably have no neutral switch to prevent you from inadvertently starting the engine whilst in gear.

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