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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
[UPDATE] I did it myself in the spring, and I finally uploaded a video about it!


The Saltire has a faulty transmission, and so I find myself asking for advice :)

Engine:
M3-20B Westerbeke Universal Diesel (replaced an Atomic 4 in 2006 or so)

Transmission:
ZF 5 M

Boat:
Newport 30 mk 2

Symptom:
Transmission doesn't engage right away or doesn't fully engage. A higher revs it never seems to fully engage or can take up to several minutes to do so.

What I have tried:
I checked the conditions of the shifting actuator and compared it to the specifications in the manual and everything seems to be easily within the thresholds described.

I changed and topped up the fluid.

What the technician said:
I spoke with Stem to Stern in Vancouver and they said that
a. From my description it sounds like the transmission has a problem.
b. ZF 5 m (HBW 50) is difficult to repair and might not be worth it.
c. They don't make it anymore and he thinks ZF 5 m is not a long lasting transmission.
d. Harbor Marine in Everett WA bought up old ZF 5 m stock and might have one.
e. The ZF 10 m (HBW 100) and ZF 15 m (HBW 150) also fit onto my engine, but might not fit in my boat (more on this in a moment). He also recommended the ZF 15 m over the ZF 10 m because the ZF 10 m would be the bottleneck in my power train (this surprised me a little, because I don't see it in the spec). Says a ZF 15 m will probably outlast the engine.
d. If a transmission doesn't fit we might be able to make it fit by moving the engine forward, if that is possible.

Further thoughts:
I haven't measured the compartment yet, but the ZF 15 is about 37mm longer (mount to end of shaft) and 25mm deeper (middle of shaft to bottom) than the ZF 5. Perhaps there is space. If not, and the engine has to move forward, we may need to restructure the companionway and replace the stairs... starting to sound like $$.

It doesn't seem worth it to get a ZF 5 and pay someone to install it, old stock, rebuild, or otherwise. On the other hand, it may become very expensive to install a ZF 15.

Anyone have experience with this? Either on how to spend money to come out with something great, or how to save money to come out with something workable?

Edit: Seems that the PRM model 90D also fits on the engine. Perhaps that is the better route?
http://www.prm-newage.com/north-america
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I don't think I'm going to bite though because I'd have to bear the risk of there being something wrong with it. I could sell mine on ebay too and no one would know the difference!
 

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I don't quite see the point of the HBW50 being difficult to repair. Rebuilt, warranted transmissions are available, so all the yard is required to do is swap it.
 

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What has YOUR experience been with your current HBW50? Is this a new to you boat or have you put many hours on the current one? Perhaps it is a good fit and is just worn, and having it rebuilt (or replacing with a rebuilt from reputable shop) could be the easier way to go and less expensive, even if you only get 1,000 hours of it? Seems to me for cost of moving engine mounts and rebuilding companionways you could swap in a rebuilt more than once.

Is this just worn out or did something sudden and acute happen to it? If it's just wear, maybe a transmission cooler on a rebuilt would help, I put cooler (not a very sophisticated one, just a heat sink in the raw water circuit really) on our HBW100 (Universal 5432/Westerbeke M40 engine) and it has reduced operating temperatures quite a bit which I am hoping helps prolong the life, these trannys have such TINY quantities of fluid in them that they're very prone to overheating it seems.

Did you happen to do an oil analysis on the old oil when you changed it?

As far as other models, I follow a blog about Gulf 32's and the owner changed out his HBW100 to a Twin Disc MG360 and (other than having to paint the case to stop rust) he seems happy with it:
Stories of Aeolus- Our Gulf 32 Pilothouse: Twin Disc MG 360-New transmission for Aeolus
... that being said he had to grind out a spot to fit the slightly larger transmission, but that is probably just because of where the tranny sits in the keel of the Gulf 32, may not be an issue in your Newport as far as extra space.

FWIW, there's a good Newport group on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/860390570690157
... if you haven't seen it before, there might be someone there with very specific experience on this boat with this transmission.

-- Bass
 

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I'd say the quickest, surest way to get back out on the water is to replace the transmission with a bolt-in replacement. Prices vary widely, esp on-line. A year or two back a friend replaced his gear, found one in England and had it within a week, at a price about 60% of anything closer, even after shipping. I had a similar experience with a damper plate as well.

As to whether the old is 'repairable', the story of the HurthZFs being not worth it is commonplace; but obviously others have had different experiences.

Are there any odd noises, or does it simply fail to engage? We had slippage in a Hurth V150 years back, I built up the lobes on the shifter cam and it started engaging again...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'd say the quickest, surest way to get back out on the water is to replace the transmission with a bolt-in replacement. Prices vary widely, esp on-line. A year or two back a friend replaced his gear, found one in England and had it within a week, at a price about 60% of anything closer, even after shipping. I had a similar experience with a damper plate as well.

As to whether the old is 'repairable', the story of the HurthZFs being not worth it is commonplace; but obviously others have had different experiences.

Are there any odd noises, or does it simply fail to engage? We had slippage in a Hurth V150 years back, I built up the lobes on the shifter cam and it started engaging again...
No odd noises, other than the clear difference in sound between when it's not engaged to when it's engaged.

Some of the replacement transmission models may fit into the compartment, but if there is a different drop, or a longer shaft, do I necessarily have to move the engine? How would I go about assessing that on my boat, given the dimensions of the replacement gearbox?
 

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I'd say the quickest, surest way to get back out on the water is to replace the transmission with a bolt-in replacement.....
I'm a fan of R/R with rebuilt by a shop.
Old comes out and new goes it.
There is no fiddling...or worrying/guessing later.
One time and done
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm a fan of R/R with rebuilt by a shop.
Old comes out and new goes it.
There is no fiddling...or worrying/guessing later.
One time and done
Those are good reasons to put in a rebuilt ZF 5, but I also wonder whether that one is too small in the first place. It's not even clear to me whether or not I can run my engine at the RPMs recommended in the manual (up to 3300 RPM when cruising, has 18hp at 3600 RPM). It kinda sucks to go around at 5kts when I could be travelling at 6kts if only my transmission wouldn't overheat and wear out. If I want an upgrade, now is the time. The engine is relatively young, having been installed new about 10 years ago, with only about 700 hours.

I'm calling around, will look at existing gear, etc.

I'll be posting the outcome here, eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Brief update here: I spoke with Mike Vote at Harbor Marine in Everett and he said that the HBW 50 has some flat cones that develop divots over time, and without replacing those things you get a crappy rebuild. If you do replace them you get an expensive rebuild. He recommends the PRM 60 as a replacement, which requires the engine move up about 1/4" on all 4 mounts, and the prop shaft move back about the same amount. As of this writing he quoted the transmission at $932.49 USD (plus shipping and custom charges for me). That would be a much preferable option over the HBW 50 if I find the room to make the adjustments.
 

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Brief update here: I spoke with Mike Vote at Harbor Marine in Everett and he said that the HBW 50 has some flat cones that develop divots over time, and without replacing those things you get a crappy rebuild. If you do replace them you get an expensive rebuild. He recommends the PRM 60 as a replacement, which requires the engine move up about 1/4" on all 4 mounts, and the prop shaft move back about the same amount. As of this writing he quoted the transmission at $932.49 USD (plus shipping and custom charges for me). That would be a much preferable option over the HBW 50 if I find the room to make the adjustments.
That doesn't sound like a bad deal, and you must be able to get that kind of minor adjustment out of what's there. I know nothing of the PRM gears, but something that's that close a fit is a good find.

The 1/4" on the mounts should be no issue, and moving the whole shaft/prop aft that amount shouldn't cause any issues unless you have no gap between gear and stuffing box now, and/or you're already too close to the rudder - which I suspect is unlikely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That doesn't sound like a bad deal, and you must be able to get that kind of minor adjustment out of what's there. I know nothing of the PRM gears, but something that's that close a fit is a good find.

The 1/4" on the mounts should be no issue, and moving the whole shaft/prop aft that amount shouldn't cause any issues unless you have no gap between gear and stuffing box now, and/or you're already too close to the rudder - which I suspect is unlikely.
Yeah, I'm going to go measure it tonight. The current engine required raising the cockpit floor, so hopefully they left enough room for another 1/4". Time to dig up pictures of the prop to see if there is enough room under the boat.

Getting a new, non-discontinued gearbox installed would be grand.
 

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Non discontinued has a nice ring to it.

It would mean hauling, but if you can't move the shaft 1/4" back because of rudder or other interference I'm sure it would be reasonably easy to (once out of water) have shaft removed and cut down a bit.

I would see if anyone on the Newport Facebook group or their Yahoo group (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/newportsailboats/info) has any experience with this as it could be very helpful if you found someone with same boat who'd used same transmission (although sounds like you have a repowered boat so might not be as critical).

-- Bass
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update: Scheduled installation of PRM60 on April 30. Still need to hammer out some details and secure the parts. Stay tuned.
 

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While you are there, replace the damper plate - probably another $200. Better to do it now, than have a spring crack a month after installing.

I had researched them some time ago, and found the correct brand (Sachs?) and model number. Problem is that I don't think that I wrote it down. If you find it post it here PLEASE!
 

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"without replacing those things you get a crappy rebuild. If you do replace them you get an expensive rebuild. "
AAMCO, the auto transmission repair franchise, used to offer different rebuilds. Six month warranty, one year warranty, lifetime warranty, three prices. The cheap one was just "fixed". The one-year had any obviously worn out parts replaced. The lifetime was the only one that was really rebuilt, and they charged dearly for it. But...the cheaper ones were only as good as the time on the warranty.

Boat transmissions, sure, simpler machines. But I think you'd still find the same thing in repair shops. The job is only going to be as good as the warranty and some shops will offer rebuilt meaning "fixed" while others actually remanufacture to factory spec.

IF that transmission is properly matched to that engine (really needs to be checked) then I'd go with Faster and say drop in a fully remanufactured from a good vendor. Sometimes you can ask & negotiate a longer warranty as well. Keep the old one, eat the core charge, and when there's time, consider tearing it down and doing your own rebuild. They aren't very complicated machines, they're not very delicate, it can't hurt to have a spare that way.

But if the engine is simply mismatched and it is going to eat the transmission, well, yeah, the only thing to do is figure out how much work may be needed to put in a properly sized one. I suppose a lot depends on how constrained your time and budget are.

Moving the engine, rebuilding the engine bed, that's a lot of work unless you plan to keep this boat for at *least* five more years. And you're up to the task.
 

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Here is the internal parts diagram of the HBW-50;
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
"without replacing those things you get a crappy rebuild. If you do replace them you get an expensive rebuild. "
AAMCO, the auto transmission repair franchise, used to offer different rebuilds. Six month warranty, one year warranty, lifetime warranty, three prices. The cheap one was just "fixed". The one-year had any obviously worn out parts replaced. The lifetime was the only one that was really rebuilt, and they charged dearly for it. But...the cheaper ones were only as good as the time on the warranty.

Boat transmissions, sure, simpler machines. But I think you'd still find the same thing in repair shops. The job is only going to be as good as the warranty and some shops will offer rebuilt meaning "fixed" while others actually remanufacture to factory spec.

IF that transmission is properly matched to that engine (really needs to be checked) then I'd go with Faster and say drop in a fully remanufactured from a good vendor. Sometimes you can ask & negotiate a longer warranty as well. Keep the old one, eat the core charge, and when there's time, consider tearing it down and doing your own rebuild. They aren't very complicated machines, they're not very delicate, it can't hurt to have a spare that way.

But if the engine is simply mismatched and it is going to eat the transmission, well, yeah, the only thing to do is figure out how much work may be needed to put in a properly sized one. I suppose a lot depends on how constrained your time and budget are.

Moving the engine, rebuilding the engine bed, that's a lot of work unless you plan to keep this boat for at *least* five more years. And you're up to the task.
I do plan on keeping the boat. Very happy with it otherwise. I looked at it last night and I'm pretty sure we can get the 1/4" movement without major troubles. I will find out about replacing some related parts mentioned above. Repair person will look at the boat before the haul out to assess whether the engine and prop can be moved as required.
 

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While you are there, replace the damper plate - probably another $200. Better to do it now, than have a spring crack a month after installing.

.....
I second that emotion!....
 
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