Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nanaimo BC
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Re: Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp
To replace the impeller the power head needs to be removed but the lower unit stays in place. However, you can not remove the head with the boat in the water unless you can positively block the water intake at the bottom of the leg; this has been accomplished by a few people. Your photo shows the boat on a trailer, that would be a great place to do the job.
Yours' seems to be the classic case of why OMC Saildrives are scrapped for no good reason. It starts with a mechanic who doesn't know as much as he/she should. You can test the impeller very simply. With the boat in the water, remove the inlet hose where it enters the exhaust tower. Place the end of the hose in a bucket or join another hose that will reach the cockpit. Start the motor and check the flow, if there is a good stream of water jetting out the impeller is working. Next point, this is a 30 HP Johnson power head, the parts for it are readily available at an OMC dealer. This job should not result in broken parts. The exhaust, throttle, and gear linkages need to be unhooked, and 6 bolts removed to disengage the power head. The impeller is right under your nose. Probably the toughest part of the job is working in the tight space. This is not a job that you should be paying someone else to do. I'm assuming that you have a repair manual and parts list, if not I can try and relay it to you.
There is a good chance that other sailors will advise you to ditch the motor, put them in the same group as the mechanic.