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Old 20-01-2016, 20:26   #1
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Transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Question: I'm looking at a sail boat that has a Borg Werner transmission and has been sailed with the transmission propeller turning (free wheeling) while the engine is not running. Will this damage the transmission and what is the preferred method? Not sure what size tranny, 29 years old, 100 hp engine, used to be hooked to a 60 hp engine. The prop is a standard fixed 20 inch, 3 blade. I can get more info if that is needed.
Thank you for any help you can provide.
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Old 20-01-2016, 20:46   #2
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

That's been asked and answered many times here. You may like to do a search.

But anyhoo. Velvet Drive? If so - yep freewheeling is fine and research has shown that it causes less drag than a locked 3 blade fixed prop.

Striaght from a Velvet Drive manual:

"3-4. Freewheeling
It has been determined by tests and practical experience that all Velvet Drive marine transmissions can be free-wheeled without risking damage in sailing or trolling applications. Caution should be taken to be sure that proper oil level is maintained prior to freewheeling as well as normal running. "
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Old 20-01-2016, 20:52   #3
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Try a search on "transmission position." I don't recall your transmission being mentioned often, usually more for Universals & Yanmars, but you might find it.

Good luck.
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Old 20-01-2016, 20:54   #4
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Most older manual transmissons lube by lower gears immersed in oil that moves up the gear train. Freewheeling does no harm. Hydraulic transmissions usually need the pump working to lube the bearings and need to be locked.
I have twins with manual transmissions. If I fish, trolling I shut down one engine and freewheel the unused prop unless I can't get the boat slow enough. Then I put it in gear. I've been doing this for years with manual transmissons w/o problems.
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Old 20-01-2016, 23:00   #5
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

I believe the Borg Werner is hydraulic and I'm really only interested in what free-wheeling would do or not do for this tranny.
I'll try and do a search.
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Old 20-01-2016, 23:19   #6
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Okay I didn't realize this tranny was also called Velvetdrive, So I think my question has been answered and I thank you for that.
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Old 21-01-2016, 01:05   #7
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

"Velvet Drive Transmissions is a leading manufacturer of marine and industrial transmissions. Once a part of Borg Warner, Velvet Drive became a Division of Regal-Beloit Corporation in January of 1995."


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Old 22-01-2016, 10:31   #8
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Be aware that with older manual transmissions, having a fixed blade prop in gear can result in the engine turning over if you are surfing down a large wave. Happened to us many times doing the Molokai Express with 30 foot seas. That is not good for the engine. You usually can hear the engine being turned over when it happens. Take the engine out of gear.

We regularly surfed in our 12 ton 36 foot luders, full keel, when going downwind on rollers larger than 18 feet.
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Old 22-01-2016, 10:31   #9
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by freshalaska View Post
Okay I didn't realize this tranny was also called Velvetdrive, So I think my question has been answered and I thank you for that.
Yes, Velvet Drive Borg Warner is a freewheeler. If you are worried about any bearing wear in your drivetrain you can install a locking device on your shaft or come up with a device to lock the shaft in place. Trouble with such devices is that if you forget to release them when wanting to put it in gear then it becomes a bit of a problem.

Good luck!
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Old 22-01-2016, 10:32   #10
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Yanmar transmissions, particularly the SD50 Saildrive MUST be kept in Neutral. If you lock it to cut out the prop noise, you will probably wear out the cone clutch.
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Old 22-01-2016, 10:40   #11
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

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Originally Posted by wcrosby View Post
Yanmar transmissions, particularly the SD50 Saildrive MUST be kept in Neutral. If you lock it to cut out the prop noise, you will probably wear out the cone clutch.
But that's NOT what he has. How does this, albeit good information, help at all?
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Old 22-01-2016, 10:44   #12
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
But that's NOT what he has. How does this, albeit good information, help at all?
But it may help others who read these posts. Nothing wrong with adding information that may help others. So stop being a soup nazi.
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Old 22-01-2016, 11:22   #13
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

The velvet drive owners manual states that it is ok to let the prop freewheel.
However, I have a Yanmar 30 GMF and a Kiwiprop feathering prop. Even thought the prop manual stated that it was ok to leave in neutral, I climbed into the bilge and saw that the shaft was, in fact, turning when under sail. Now, consider that the output shaft bearings, on most transmissions, are above the oil level, is it possible that the bearing(s) could be damaged by prolonged running (It takes me 22 to 26 days to sail to Hawaii) ?? I don't plan to find out so I always set sail, head up until boat speed is below 2 knots, and slip it into reverse. 14 years, 2500 engine hours, no problem so far.
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Old 22-01-2016, 11:31   #14
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

I thought a true hydraulics transmission was like a car automatic, that is the pump was on the input shaft so that if that shaft isn't turning, there is no hydraulic pressure to lock the clutch packs, so you do do what you want to with the lever, it's not locking into gear?
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Old 22-01-2016, 11:41   #15
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Re: transmission nuetral or locked while sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
But it may help others who read these posts. Nothing wrong with adding information that may help others. So stop being a soup nazi.
In my earlier reply I recommended using "transmission position" as a search engine.

And besides, it's not a Yanmar transmission. It's the transmission manufacturer that is important, while, of course, most engines have a certain transmission vendor.

If I told this thread what my engine's transmission is, it would NOT help the OP at all, since that isn't what he has.

I've answered so many of these "transmission position" questions, that we've all learned that it DOES depend on what transmission the OP has in order to answer the question properly.

Thanks for helping.

Yours, soup nazi
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