OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-17-2017 Thread Starter
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OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

Does anyone have an update whether a modern engine is available for a swap with the OMC saildrive?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-17-2017
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

Most manufacturers offer engines with 'saildrives' (the equivalent, conceptually, with the old OMC Zephyr setup) as opposed to standard gearbox, shaft, log and strut.

Changing over will likely involve some considerable glass work as the mounting base for whichever 'new' package you might choose will not mate with the base for the old Zephyr. The molded leg base will be available, but it will need to be glassed-in into the boat before installing the new motor and saildrive. btw, the engine bed mounts will be similarly un-matched, most likely.

Having said that, Beta Marine is known for taking the time and effort to create 'drop in' replacements for commonly used brands over the years.. whether or not they can deal with the old OMC situation is something you'll have to ask them.


If you're asking if another engine will mate with your OMC leg, I'd recommend against trying that, some of the major issues with these old engines was corrosion of the legs leading to cooling water issues with the whole package.

I think Bukh did offer a vertical crankshaft/saildrive unit that was standard on the Laser 28, but that will be the closest you'll find to the Zephyr.

Ron

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post #3 of 12 Old 01-17-2017
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

No new diesel engines can be mounted vertically on that drive. You may be able to cobble an outboard head onto it, though.

I think most new engine/transmission combos are about the same price as a new bobtail engine, so replacing the whole shebang might not cost much more than adapting a new engine to the old drive. The saildrive option may even come with the bed included or for low cost. It wouldn't be difficult to cut out your old mounting and glass on the new bed since the hole in the boat already exists.

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post #4 of 12 Old 01-17-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

I see now, thanks. The Beta site offers a Beta 14 Saildrive that would likely be a change out for the complete OMC unit. The mounting block diagrams are extremely helpful. I'm in touch with Galveston Yacht Service, a rep for Beta, to explore this more. A two cylinder unit with a nice alternator would be great.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-17-2017
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

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Originally Posted by Red Raider View Post
I see now, thanks. The Beta site offers a Beta 14 Saildrive that would likely be a change out for the complete OMC unit. The mounting block diagrams are extremely helpful. I'm in touch with Galveston Yacht Service, a rep for Beta, to explore this more. A two cylinder unit with a nice alternator would be great.
Just make sure you are sitting when you get prices from them. Not sure what boat it is going in, but knowing the size boats the OMC's were in it is likely more than the boat is worth. But if you really like the boat then it might be worth it, just keep in mind there is virtually no market for small sailboats. (not trying to discourage you but keep it real) Most likely an outboard on the transom may be the best way to go, but may not work depending on the boat.

1976 C&C 33
Project boat, lots of work to be done!
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-17-2017
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

Red Raider

You are probably aware of the Saildrive 330. This is the Yamaha 15 hp 4 stroke mated to a saildrive gear case. This unit comes with all necessary mounting materials and will fit your existing hole. I think it now sells for about 6500 dollars. Of course it is much lighter than a diesel. In my opinion it is a beautiful replacement for the OMC. I think that the only real downside is the 10 amp alternator, if I were to install one I would manufacture a bracket or something and attach a better power source.

I have been sailing our OMC Saildrive powered boat for 20 years and have had few issues, are you sure you need to repower?

Paul in Nanaimo
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-17-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

I don't know for certain the OMC needs a change out, but I am master planning. I will be inland lake sailing so little in the way of the boat pitching which causes a prop to come out of the water. If I fall out of my chair because of cost, the mount and motor can be installed.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-30-2017
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

I have an oday with a zephyr in it. I would take your old unit off your hands as parts a hard to find for me.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-13-2018
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

I have a 1980 O'Day with a 15hp sail drive. Motor would not crank so I took the plugs out. Cylinders especially lower one was filled with water. Cranked to get water out and put plugs back in. Engine fired and ran ok. Could this be cracked head or head gasket bad? Is it worth repairing or putting outboard on transom? Thanks for any advice. First time poster.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-13-2018
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Re: OMC Saildrive Changeout to Modern 4cycle

Tsmith

I would suggest that you join the yahoo saildrive owners forum, every issue that comes up with the OMC is covered there by some knowledgeable people.
Before you make your first post there, go back in the archives and start skimming.
You haven't given any history leading up to the failure.
Installing an outboard is a good option with some clear advantages, but there are definite drawbacks as well.
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