V-drives, avoid or embrace? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-02-2018 Thread Starter
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V-drives, avoid or embrace?

After reading the book How Not to Buy a Cruising Boat I am skeptical about V-drives. We are currently searching for our Caribbean cruiser but have passed boats with this drive. Fear I’m bypassing too many great boats.
Thoughts?

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post #2 of 18 Old 03-02-2018
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

Use of a V-drive is a way to gain more interior space in a smaller boat. The saildrive is a different approach to the same problem. My main issue with a V-drive is that it requires that the motor be mounted "backward" - ie. the water pumps, belts, and alternator are aft, and the transmission is forward. This would make changing an impeller or a belt interesting. Transmission service, however, should be a breeze!

I had also seen a V-drive that spewed oil all over the engine compartment as it self-destructed. I suppose that this could have happened with a conventional transmission, but I have never seen this happen.

Our friend Maine_Sail has one on his CS-36T and he seems happy with it.


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post #3 of 18 Old 03-02-2018
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Use of a V-drive is a way to gain more interior space in a smaller boat. The saildrive is a different approach to the same problem. My main issue with a V-drive is that it requires that the motor be mounted "backward" - ie. the water pumps, belts, and alternator are aft, and the transmission is forward. This would make changing an impeller or a belt interesting. Transmission service, however, should be a breeze!

I had also seen a V-drive that spewed oil all over the engine compartment as it self-destructed. I suppose that this could have happened with a conventional transmission, but I have never seen this happen.

Our friend Maine_Sail has one on his CS-36T and he seems happy with it.
Yss, motors need to be installed backwards but that does not mean the 'service items' (water pumps etc) are in the wrong place. The good ole' Atomic 4 comes in a special V-drive configuration where these things are all at what would be the back on a straight shaft installation. Very convenient.

I have a V-drive in my boat that, to the best of my knowledge, has been running flawlessly for over 40 years. Annual oil change (very easy, it is right in your face) is all it takes.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-02-2018
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

I had a 1983 boat with a V-drive that has worked fine for 34 years and is still going. Just because the engine is mounted "backwards" doesn't mean access to belts, water pumps, etc. is going to be better or worse. Those were not an issue for me. My only complaint was that access to the drip-less shaft seal (stuffing box) was difficult, but you can't have everything.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-02-2018
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

i have a brand new V-drive ready to swap the old on in our Valiant. Only 20 years old but the old one is throwing so me oil from the seal. Not terrible but needs repair. was more $ to replace than rebuild but since I'll have it out figured would get a better result. In any case i don't think there is anything inherent with the v-drive that has caused our problem. But since the old one is useless i'll bring it home and take it apart.

Would i buy a boat with a vdrive again? sure. I've changed impellers and belts and it hasn't been terrible.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-02-2018
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

Had one on an old Cruising Cal 36 - wasn't a problem( access to water pump and other items were in the front) - but just another thing that could go wrong - I would not walk away form a boat with it - but all things being equal would prefer to avoid it - I would walk away from a saildrive attached to an older volvo engine - that seems like a lot of problems - and expensive to fix when they do come up
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

Does a v drive make a future repower any more difficult or expensive compare to a "standard" drive?

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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

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i would walk away from a saildrive attached to an older volvo engine - that seems like a lot of problems - and expensive to fix when they do come up
^^^ this! ^^^


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post #9 of 18 Old 03-03-2018
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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

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Does a v drive make a future repower any more difficult or expensive compare to a "standard" drive?
From talking to one shop I would say yes, although honestly I think it is largely because they are less common, and therefore fewer people have experience with them. I am re-powering my CS36T, and doing most of the work myself, and practically speaking I don't see what would make them objectively more complicated (this is my first re-power, so it is also possible I don't know what I'm talking about )

In terms of other access (for impellers, oil filters, etc) the CS36T has reasonable access all around so that is not particularly difficult. I can't speak for other designs. One place that is tight is access to the stuffing box - not impossible or anything, but it is under the engine and is awkward

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Re: V-drives, avoid or embrace?

LOL That is the boat I was actually thinking about, one for sale I'm thinking about taking a look at now the the weather is improving. Problem is if I buy a new boat I have no excuse left as to why I'm not out cruising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reduc View Post
From talking to one shop I would say yes, although honestly I think it is largely because they are less common, and therefore fewer people have experience with them. I am re-powering my CS36T, and doing most of the work myself, and practically speaking I don't see what would make them objectively more complicated (this is my first re-power, so it is also possible I don't know what I'm talking about )

In terms of other access (for impellers, oil filters, etc) the CS36T has reasonable access all around so that is not particularly difficult. I can't speak for other designs. One place that is tight is access to the stuffing box - not impossible or anything, but it is under the engine and is awkward

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