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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All...
Firstly, a very happy new year to everyone...hope 2013 brings us a great sailing calendar with lots of adventure...

Saildrives... I am looking at acquiring another boat and recently viewed one but was reticent to look further due to some worrying stories about saildrives that leak..and get knocked about or snagged underwater.... can someone please give me some definitive advice on these compared to the conventional shaftdrives....

cheers,
Kruser
 

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Happy New Year All!
Have Yanmar SD20 with folding prop on my 30" sloop, saildrive is 27 years old. No leaks, original seals...wanted to change seals
several times just because, yanmar dealer says not needed and
cited older units still going strong with original seals.
Am coastal sailor and would change seals if going offshore or if
did not know history of older unit.
Have gone bump in the night few times, one time sailing over a
substantial submerged tree with no problem. Saildrive sits somewhat protected behind keel, would rethink if more exposed
as could be on a catamaran.
Makes for very quiet motoring with no vibrations transfered to hull
and bilge is dry as no shaft seal leakage and no critical shaft line up. My install my be somewhat unique as motor is turned 180 degree from normal install and presents easy access for inspection of saildrive seals and gear oil.
Almost forgot, there are actually two robust watertight seals
that have a sensor between them that sounds an alarm if
any water ingress. Alarm has never sounded other than when I
remove and test. There is a 3rd exterior seal/rubber flap not
water tight on the bottom of the hull/ saildrive leg that keeps
out growth.
One has to be careful about keeping raw water intake open and I have installed a 3 way valve to another thru hull if needed, i don't
need to use but am very careful about keeping bottom/saildrive clean.
All in all am happy with yanmar sd20 saildrive, which are still made today...can not speak to Volvo drives...and certainly aware
that many are not fans.

Maybe some will speak to their personal experiences with their
particular makes and models.
Beware of experts with no first hand experience/knowledge in all things small and large.
Hope this helps,
Hugo
 

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Hugosalt gives good advice. Leaks are rare but if you are staying in a marina, galvanic and stray current corrosion are bigger issues with saildrives than shaft drives and something to monitor. What engine are you considering ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Hugosalt and Boatpoker... your response has given me something to think about... I'll do some more research...especially re the different brands of engines and available drive accessories...

cheers,
Kruser
(Australia)
 

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I bought a new boat with a saildrive. I was REALLY hesitant. Make SURE you add in a galvanic isolator, they are cheap. I have an SD50 with a Max-Prop, I like the setup. I am still getting used to the idea of a big hunk of metal down there. I burned through my first set of anodes in four months. I have a meter to check my hull potential that I religiously do on a monthly basis and chart the results.
Corrosion Reference Electrode

You need to keep your hull potential between -950 to -1100 mV.

Additionally, here is a link to the Yanmar Service Advisory regarding their saildrives.
www.pcmarinesurveys.com/Yanmar%20Service%20advisory.pdf

You will also "learn" how to change lube of the drive while in the water, not hard, but an interesting activity.
 

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Volvo S130 Saildrive seal. I repowered my Nonsuch 30 in 2007. No problems with the unit but the manual say to replace the saildrive seal after 7 years. It's been 10 yrs now. (I pull out for the winter). Replacement is very involved and expensive. Does anyone know how long the seal will really last? Volvo is notorious for requiring you to use OEM parts. I.e. there is no reference for a Fram or other non Volvo oil or fuel filter. The actual engine D1-30 is a Japaneese Block.
 

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I have never heard of a saildrive main hull seal failing outside of a catastrophic event like landing on a rock and punching the drive into the boat. And I have searched hard, and talked to a lot of pros and others.

We finally got around to replacing our two drive hull seals last year, when they were 18yrs old. Both looked the same coming off as the new ones did going on. There was a slight amount of checking on the old ones, but nothing worrisome.

These are thick seals. If they did develop a leak, I suspect it would be self-limiting and very slow. I also suspect it would be easy to stop with common things on board - if stopping a slow weep was even necessary.

Changing them is actually pretty easy (if you are out of the water). Unbolt the engine mounts from the bed, unbolt the saildrive (remove the prop), support the back of the engine, and move the engine forward on the bed a few inches until the drive shaft is free of the flywheel. Then just lift the drive up and out, swap the seal, and put the drive back in the hole. Reconnect everything.

Not counting all the additional drive and engine work I did while I had the chance, replacing the first hull seal took me maybe 1hr, and the second was done in 30min.

But you don't get another chance to get this much access, so while the drive is out, it is a good time to replace the rear crankshaft seal, just because you are there anyway, as well as replace the input shaft seal on the saildrive - for the same reason. Both are inexpensive. Consider replacing the damper plate, although I didn't. This is much more expensive.

As for filters, the only thing that matters is that the threads are the same, the seal fits the boss, and the oil filter has a bypass valve. The canister size is inconsequential as long as you can fit it in the access space. Actually, the larger the better. Threads are pretty much universal in this filter size, the seal is easy to determine by just bringing it to a store and putting it against another filter, and a bypass valve is immediately noticeable inside the filter.

Cross references abound for these engines. I like Donaldson filters, that I get from filterspro.com for $3.50 each (oil). This one should work for your engine oil, but make sure first: P502016 - SFO0241 - LUBE SPIN DONALDSON REPLACEMENT FOR EXMAN SFO0241 - Filter Products .

Mark
 

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UPDATE

After 620 hours (7 years), my SD50 cone clutch has major problems. It will not engage into reverse when hot. It will engage when cold but then starts to slip after a short bit. After many hours on the phone with mechs around Puget Sound, the word is that the SD50 has major design issues. While there has been, apparently, a thriving business of rebuilds/lapping of the cone clutch, Harbor Marine no longer will do a rebuild. I looked at a new SD50 top end but the pricing was higher than a new SD60. I contemplated going extreme with a s/v Panache trust bearing upgrade (another "fix SD50" side business) but I just did not have the guts. At the end I just lost confidence in the SD50 and was no longer going to put our lives on the line for it. Going through the series of rapids on the way up to the Broughton Islands with a dodgy tranny design was not an option. So a new SD60 is coming our way. A completely new design, standard clutch plates rather than the cone clutch design (how novel). So our two month ride to the Broughton's was exchanged for six days in Port Townsend with most of the time spent on the phone:( Oddly, not a single service bulletin from Yanmar on the issue.
 

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The SD60 clutch is not without its problems either. The Volvo and Yanmar drives are almost identical, and built by the same manufacturer, but Yanmar made some cheap design specs on some critical internal parts compared to Volvo, and they all suffer problems because of this.

S/V Panache has engineered some modifications that essentially turns the Yanmar drive into a Volvo as far as the clutch problems go. Sleeving the prop shaft solves Yanmar's cheap metallurgy specification there. The modification is pretty easy to do, and they have good video and instructions on how to go about it.

I know you have made your decision, but I thought I'd mention the above for others in similar situations.

Mark
 

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The SD60 clutch is not without its problems either. The Volvo and Yanmar drives are almost identical, and built by the same manufacturer, but Yanmar made some cheap design specs on some critical internal parts compared to Volvo, and they all suffer problems because of this.

S/V Panache has engineered some modifications that essentially turns the Yanmar drive into a Volvo as far as the clutch problems go. Sleeving the prop shaft solves Yanmar's cheap metallurgy specification there. The modification is pretty easy to do, and they have good video and instructions on how to go about it.

I know you have made your decision, but I thought I'd mention the above for others in similar situations.

Mark
Thanks for your input Mark. I did research the s/v Panache upgrade but decided against it. In 2017, Yanmar fixed a major issue with the SD60 ram angle clutch plate. It appears to be stable since.

I am still in a state of shock on Yanmar's behavior regarding their product issues. And how they restrict parts distribution is a throw back to the 80's.
 

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I have always had concerns about saildrives. This thread has just confirmed my uncertainty about them.
 

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I have always had concerns about saildrives. This thread has just confirmed my uncertainty about them.
Yeah buddy!!! When we bought our boat seven years ago we were extremely excited about the new Beneteau Oceanis design. I was also extremely disappointed that they put a saildrive in this fine boat. It almost killed the deal for me. And obviously my concerns were validated. If I were to buy another boat it certainly would not have a saildrive, hands down, no question. The boat has exceeded our expectations though, we love it. We view it as an investment into something we are both passionate about. I have high expectations for the SD60, hopefully I am not delusional.

-craig
 
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