I know this question has been answered, but I would like to make sure. Maine Sail posted previously that Yanmars should be placed in the neutral positon while sailing. Does this also apply to the Atomic 4?
When the motor is off, leave it in forward to prevent prop from turning. Just remember to put it back in neutral b/f starting. I think the idea is to decrease wear on the turning parts (mine also makes clunk-clunk-clunk sound).
You asked: ericirvine - question: why should it be in forward? Also, I assume, this is only if you are using the motor and sails at the same time? Not if you are just sailing, correct?
Sorry so late to reply. As others have suggested, putting it in gear prevents the propshaft from turning, thus reducing wear and tear on the stuffing box, transmission seal etct etc.
Why Forward? If I remember correctly (always difficult for me), my A4 transmission had a 'lock in' feature in forward gear which effectively prevents any clutch slippage. This was not the case in reverse, where only the pressure from the shift lever prevents clutch slippage, and if the pressure is relieved, the clutch will (or could) slip, again creating unnecessary wear. Perhaps someone wiser can confirm or correct me on this point.
Eric, that is correct. If you don't hold the shift lever back (in reverse gear position), it will slip. A little detail my Cat30's PO neglected to mention to me, but I figured out the second time I backed out of my slip. That's part of why it's called a "reversing gear", not a transmission.
I think it also has to do with lubrication. I believe the transmissions on Yanmar has the lubrication pump moved by the same shaft as the output shaft, while many other lubrication pumps are moved by the input shaft, therefore if shaft rotates from water passing the prop (and motor not running) the gears and clutch plates will run dry. This is more of an issue then the wear and tear of the movement. Also why many boats have a shaft lock, stops the movement of the shaft, normally lined up to keel to provide the least resistance.
Transmissions like Borg Warner have the oil pump(cooling) on the input shaft and turns when the engine is running. oil controls bands or disks and takes heat to heat exchanger. under sail no heat transfer and unnecessary wear on reduction gear before it overheats. lock or feather or motor most of the time. Running hot with low oil can cause lock up when shifting, stopping every thing until il cools , releasing the disks .Not good.