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I'm looking at a boat that has a 15 hp OMC Saildrive engine(1979). I would like to hear from some folks who have owned them or have some experience with them, would you own another one or would you keep looking? Thanks.
 

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Tim...I have not owned one...but there have been several threads here and elsewhere that indicated that sail-drives of that era were a maintenance nightmare for seals and zincs which required hauling the boat. You might want to ask the present owner what the maintenance schedule is or to have a look at the engine manual to see what is required.
 

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I've known and seen several boats with these engines - Every one of them now has an outboard on the back. They are notorious for allowing water intrusion from the exhaust system, not sure why exactly. Two owners in our marina were dead set on keeping them going, one threw in the towel after 6-7 years of fighting, the other held out for another year or two - in the end they both gave it up.

Once you do the inevitable and replace it with an outboard, there is still the problem of the old leg to be removed and the hull repaired in that area. (one of them now is still dragging the old leg around but the powerhead is removed!)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was afraid that I would get the type of responses that I did. It is a shame because I really liked the boat otherwise. I think I'm going to keep looking, Thank you!
 

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Tim
Depending on the deal and all other things being what you want, maybe it's not a deal breaker. You may get a few years out of it before having to bite the bullet.

I would still worry about reliability, I suppose, but if the deal is right maybe you can justify repowering..... say if you can get the boat at a price that reflects, essentially, no engine.
 

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OMC Saildrive

There is a Yahoo saildrive group with quite a bit of expertise. I had a burned out impeller on my O28 which was replaced 5 years ago, and I haven't had any problems since. I have also maintained the engine/outdrive by completely stripping it every year, priming it with outboard primer, painting it with outboard paint, and applying anti-fouling. The downside is that parts are very hard to come by, and reading and understanding the maintenance manual is crucial. Replacing anything involved in the lower unit, including the impeller, requires pulling the boat and removing the power head. Replacing the shear pin requires pulling the boat or diving, but then any inboard requires that for propeller maintenance. There are replacement drives, but they are pricey, whether it by the Honda-powered 4-cycle or some of the diesels. Use of the synthetic oils can cut the oil-to-fuel ratio almost in half, along with the trail of oily exhaust. Don't run the engine without the boat being in the water. The impeller can go really fast. Good luck, and try the web site.
Bill
 

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timangiel said:
I'm looking at a boat that has a 15 hp OMC Saildrive engine(1979). I would like to hear from some folks who have owned them or have some experience with them, would you own another one or would you keep looking? Thanks.
I installed my Saildrive model 15S13A, in 1980 and other than a gasket problem between the lower unit and the power head, I have not had a real problem until my fall pull-out when I couldn't shift into forward. It turns out to be a shift linkage rod alignment problem caused by a deteriorating rubber "iso-ring" that I just started looking for on the internet a few minutes ago. I don't know if I can fabricate this gasket if I can't find one either on the marine dealer network or on the internet. I am going to attempt to keep mine running as long as I can and move on to a new boat rather than replace it with the Honda alternative (way too expensive) when I can't.
 

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OllieMc said:
I have two sail drive engines for sale. One spare which I got with my boat and the one currently in the boat. If anyone is interested, Email me and I will forward information, pictures, and pricing. I do have someone interestied in the spare at this time so he would get first choice.
I am interested in your spare Saildrive if you haven't already sold it. My main interest at this time is the "iso-ring" but if I had a complete spare unit I could probably keep mine running another 10 years easy.
 

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Have a 1980 S2 8.0B that uses an OMC Saildrive engine. Runs great with capability of pushing the boat to hull speed. Cranks every time with a bump of the key switch. Would rebuild and keep before spending the $6K plus for the 18HP Honda saildrive.
 

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I am interested in your spare Saildrive if you haven't already sold it. My main interest at this time is the "iso-ring" but if I had a complete spare unit I could probably keep mine running another 10 years easy.
I have an OMC sail drive on my 25' C&C. To date I have only had to replace the water pump impeller. I did a google search for OMC sail drive and the second hit was a site by Keith Ford and his destroyed lower unit. All I can say is WOW! He re-motored with a Volvo. He will have the same thing happen to the new motor as his last. He states that there is an issue with the aluminum on the OMC lower unit. He really/clearly has another issue with the boat not related to the old OMC sail drive. Reading this kind of nonsense drives me crazy. My boat was 11 years old when I bought her, now 19 years later the motor is still good to go. My advice to potential buyers is the OMC motor is a good motor as long the PO/present owner paid/pays attention to proper maintenance unlike Mr. Keith Ford.
 
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