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Old 26-07-2012, 02:24   #1
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V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

Hello all - I'm about to sink my life savings into a boat which has a V-drive. I know nothing about them.

Questions below relate to sail boat experiences:

Are they more maintenance intensive?
Do they need shaft aligning at more frequent intervals?
Is performing a shaft alignment any more difficult than with inline transmissions?
Is vibration and noise more of an issue?
Do they have a bad reputation?
Should one steer clear of sailboats boats with V-drives?
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Old 26-07-2012, 04:25   #2
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Nothing wrong with the typical V-Drive units. The shaft seal often ends up under the engine rather than out in the open. That can be a pain.
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Old 26-07-2012, 07:12   #3
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

See ➥ What About a V Drive?

especially Bill’s post #20
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Old 26-07-2012, 07:24   #4
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddle View Post
The shaft seal often ends up under the engine rather than out in the open. That can be a pain.
I have the same thing but my trained octopus takes care of the stuffing box adjustments.
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Old 26-07-2012, 07:27   #5
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
See ➥ What About a V Drive?

especially Bill’s post #20
That post has it right in a nutshell. I have a v-drive on my boat. I would rather not if it wasn't necessary but in the boat's layout it pretty much is and the unit is generally solid and trouble free. But like anything mechanical, sooner or later you might have to do some repairs.

Bottom line, if you find a boat you otherwise like I wouldn't let the V-drive be a deal breaker.
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Old 26-07-2012, 07:46   #6
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

Neelie,
Bill's post is pretty succinct description of the function of a V-Drive. You don't mention what make and model V-Drive is on the boat you intend to buy. I have a Walter V-Drive, which is probably over-built for my 54 HP engine. Some V-Drives are built into the transmission. The Walter is a separate gear box connected to the transmission by a jackshaft (adjustable length shaft).

My response to your specific questions, based on the Walter V-Drive

Are they more maintenance intensive?
It is another gear box so it does require some maintenance. That is mostly just checking the oil periodically and changing the oil once a year or so.

Do they need shaft aligning at more frequent intervals?
Nothing about the V-Drive would require more alignments.

Is performing a shaft alignment any more difficult than with inline transmissions?
The shaft alignment is basically the same as for an inline transmission except the alignment is between the V-Drive and shaft. The alignment of the jackshaft between the transmission and the V-drive does not have to be done to the same tolerances.

Is vibration and noise more of an issue?
If there is a problem in the drive train the massive gears in the Walter V-Drive can produce a very loud backlash noise at low RPMs, but then it is telling you there is a problem.

Do they have a bad reputation?
I think Walter has an excellent reputation and provides good service from their USA plant. That won't mean so much to you in Hong Kong.

Should one steer clear of sailboats boats with V-drives?
I wouldn't, but not all V-Drives are the same.

John
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Old 26-07-2012, 07:56   #7
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

The front of the engine with all the usual maintenance/"need to get to" items is now in the back and hard to reach.
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Old 26-07-2012, 08:19   #8
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Thumbs up Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevens View Post
Neelie,
Bill's post is pretty succinct description of the function of a V-Drive. You don't mention what make and model V-Drive is on the boat you intend to buy. I have a Walter V-Drive, which is probably over-built for my 54 HP engine. Some V-Drives are built into the transmission. The Walter is a separate gear box connected to the transmission by a jackshaft (adjustable length shaft).

My response to your specific questions, based on the Walter V-Drive

Are they more maintenance intensive?
It is another gear box so it does require some maintenance. That is mostly just checking the oil periodically and changing the oil once a year or so.

Do they need shaft aligning at more frequent intervals?
Nothing about the V-Drive would require more alignments.

Is performing a shaft alignment any more difficult than with inline transmissions?
The shaft alignment is basically the same as for an inline transmission except the alignment is between the V-Drive and shaft. The alignment of the jackshaft between the transmission and the V-drive does not have to be done to the same tolerances.

Is vibration and noise more of an issue?
If there is a problem in the drive train the massive gears in the Walter V-Drive can produce a very loud backlash noise at low RPMs, but then it is telling you there is a problem.

Do they have a bad reputation?
I think Walter has an excellent reputation and provides good service from their USA plant. That won't mean so much to you in Hong Kong.

Should one steer clear of sailboats boats with V-drives?
I wouldn't, but not all V-Drives are the same.

John
Concur with John's post cited above.

On another 424 I was trying to replace a V-drive in concert with a re-power. The cooling jacket was rusted too thin to be re-built (many are water cooled). The really sad thing I learned is that on that boat (and many of the large Pearsons) the cooling water was apparently not even needed.

It IS another part to tend, but not one that requires much... and the designers use them to open up a lot of interior volume....


What boat are you looking at?
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Old 26-07-2012, 09:25   #9
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Hello all - I'm about to sink my life savings into a boat which has a V-drive. I know nothing about them.

Questions below relate to sail boat experiences:

Are they more maintenance intensive?
Do they need shaft aligning at more frequent intervals?
Is performing a shaft alignment any more difficult than with inline transmissions?
Is vibration and noise more of an issue?
Do they have a bad reputation?
Should one steer clear of sailboats boats with V-drives?
Never had any alignment or vibration issue when I had a V drive connected to a 27 HP Westerebeke. But, getting at and adjusting the stuffing box was a bit of a pain as there was not a lot of range when adjusting with the wrenches. Also discovered some rusting at the engine transmission joint area from drops of sea water being slung up from the prop shaft. It was out of sight out of mind until we had to cut one of the transmission bolts to remove the engine before I converted to electric propulsion. You can see that problem in some of the photos on this blog post:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: EASY ELECTRIC BOAT MAINTENANCE PART TWO: SHAFT COUPLING REPLACEMENT

My advice is to make sure to inspect under the V drive area to make sure there is not a corrosion problem underneath the engine. I never noticed until I went to pull the engine.
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Old 26-07-2012, 10:12   #10
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Re: V-Drives in General - Pros, Cons, Opinions?

My experience is aligning the shaft is easier, but the adjusting the packing gland is a royal pain. Plus the front of the engine is to the rear so lots of boat yoga as I call it to adjust belts, change oil filter, etc.

Still I've not had one problem with it either in five years I've had the boat
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Old 27-07-2012, 06:41   #11
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Ok. Thank you everyone.
I read the post by Bill Trayfors, and see there is no significant difference, which is the general gist of all the replies here.
Boat has a PSS shaft seal, so adjustments are a non issue.
Case closed here, its back to the anchoring thread for some blood boiling controversy.
Cheers
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