Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-01-2020 Thread Starter
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Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp

Hello everyone, I'm new to the site and have a basic question: Does motor need to be removed from boat to fix impeller? I just dropped off boat at shop, engine overheats after 4-5 minutes typically, thinking impeller needs replacement. I was quoted $1000 to fix but, they stated no guarantees because "if something breaks when working on motor, the parts are very hard to find, may have to fiberglass over hole if that happens". Any suggestions wise ones out there? Thx, Bob

Also, if motor does need to come out would likely do a rebuild, I'm handy but not fimular with boat motor, doesn't seem to difficult... any suggestions appreciated. Thx, Bob
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-01-2020
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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.
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Re: Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp

As often happens, Paul's advice is spot on... for the right owner. I would vote for replacing the engine, but realize that you would have to love the boat enough to amortize out the cost with another decade (or more) of use and enjoyment.
Like a lot of mechanical repairs and upgrades on good old boats, you either have to pay someone to do the work, or become that "someone". Some folks like one form of ownership more than the other. It varies...


Keep us posted on progress and results. A lot of the posters here have scars on their knuckles, but also the satisfaction of solving problems.

Good Luck!
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Re: Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp

Thx Paul!
Are there rebuild kits for the powerhead-seals/gaskets and/or impeller/thermostat type kits? My Service Manual just lists what I took pic of. Do you need special OMC tools listed in pic? Thx, Bob
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Last edited by robertf; 04-01-2020 at 10:29 PM.
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Re: Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp

I'm not clear about what you intend to do. Is there a reason that you want to take everything apart? If the motor runs good I would leave it be. As far as special tools you don't need them for replacing the seals and gaskets but if you intend to rebuild the cylinders and crank etc. then maybe so. For replacing the impeller you will need to replace the main gasket where the block separates from the leg. There is a rebuild kit for the pump but you probably will just need the rubber impeller. The part numbers for these are in your book, a parts dealer can get them.
If you don't already do it, it is generally agreed that these motors run cleaner and better with a 75:1 fuel mix; a hotter plug such as a Champion L82YC or equivalent is also helpful.
Your motor seems to be lacking an alternator, this is one of the big advantages compared to an outboard. It isn't that difficult to fashion your own bracket.
You should probably join [email protected]
This is a reborn version of the original Saildrive forum which was lost when Yahoo stopped supporting forums. Unfortunately, the original several years of discussion were lost but there are some new people that sound pretty sharp and they can be helpful in locating parts sources and so on.
I have said it before but Ill repeat, this is a very simple motor with a reliable electronic ignition.
As I predicted, there has already been a polite thumbs down on repairing your motor. If I were buying a boat I would steer away from the OMC Saildrive because it is a 2 stroke engine and therefore it gets poor fuel economy, most owners report 4 to 5 mpg in boats that typically weigh about 2 to 3 tons. If a sailor enjoys motoring long distances instead of sailing this is not the best motor.
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Re: Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp

Thx !

Last edited by robertf; 04-02-2020 at 02:50 PM.
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Re: Zepher OMC Sail Drive 15hp

robertf

You are not giving much feedback and so we don't know what you have or have not done regarding diagnosing your problem. However, it occurred to me that if this is a new to you boat you may not be familiar with the water intake shut off valve. It is at the very rear of the motor and is generally left open but some owners shut it when leaving the boat to prevent an accidental flooding should the intake hose rupture or fall off. Of course it must be open to allow cooling water to flow.
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