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Old 21-03-2015, 07:41   #1
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Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

I have a Volvo Penta engine (D2-75) with a Volvo saildrive (150s). I recently had a few problems to engage the reverse but after a few attempts, it would always work normally. Yesterday as we were mooring, the same thing happened (not able to put in reverse) but then I was unable to put in gear both forward and in reverse. Fortunately, we were able to drop anchor in this crowded anchorage with the help of a few dinghies.

Now the engine turns normally but I am totally unable to put it in gear. We then did a few tests: with the engine stopped and the transmission in gear (both forward and in reverse) it is possible to turn the propeller by hand. Also, when the engine runs and in gear, we can see the propeller turning slowlyunder water (very slowly). In reverse it's the same thing but it turns the other way.

As per Volvo, we use normal engine oil in our saildrive (15W40) and the oil level appears fine in the saildrive.

Our boat had saildrive issues in the past (hard to engage in gear) but the unit has been rebuilt by a Volvo specialist 10 months ago and was working normally until recently.

I would welcome any helpful hint as we are in a very remote area and will likely have to solve this issue ourselves.
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Old 21-03-2015, 07:58   #2
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

What kind of shifter linkage to you have? If you haven't done this already, have some one watch the shifter on the side of the transmssion as some one else works the remote shifter to make sure you don't have a linkage problem.

Edit: also check that when the lever on the side of the transmission repositions that the shaft entering the transmission actually turns, i.e., make sure the lever is not slipping on the shaft.

Dave
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Old 21-03-2015, 08:17   #3
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Hi Dave, thank you but we tested this also. The cable works fine and we also disconnected the cable to move the handle on the saildrive manually to exclude a cable problem... unfortunatly it's not the cable...
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Old 21-03-2015, 08:39   #4
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

OK, bugger.

I happen to have the shop manual for the 130/150 drives (I have two 120s). Looking at it briefly I see a shifter cam that can get worn - the manual specifies to check the cam dimensions. But there's some significant disassembly to get to it. I'd be happy to email you the manual if you'd like. It's a 1500kb pdf so not too big if you have slow inet where you are. PM me an email address.

Dave
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Old 21-03-2015, 15:14   #5
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Dave's right
We had one go a few years back in Tortola. The volvo agents who used to be at the back of the boat yard fixed it. can't remember the exact time, but a fair amount of disassembly and re-assembly is required
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Old 21-03-2015, 16:58   #6
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

We've had the same problem a couple of times (D2-55 with 130S), brought on by catching a fishing line round the prop shaft, which then worked its way through both seals and allowed salt water into the leg. If you suspect this may have happened, watch out - the only thing between you and a swift in-rush of sea water is that dip-stick and a layer of oil!

Back to the immediate problem: you are in a remote area with a stuffed Saildrive. We managed to nurse our way a few hundred nm down the Queensland coast to Mooloolaba where we had the clutch plates replaced by the pro's. Not a small job, as you have to move the engine about 5" forwards to release the Saildrive top bearing, but then it can be lifted out and removed to the shop for re-assembly with fresh plates & shims. Quite a bit of balancing involved to get it right, so not really a DIY project. Can be done in the water, as long as you don't suspect the seal rupture/contamination problem I described above.

As for 'nursing' the boat back to civilisation, we found that selecting a gear at idle, then waiting a while before applying revs often allowed the engine to get some 'grip' through the clutch, then ops normal. Just don't assume you're going to find reverse ever again, until you have this fixed!

I wonder if you can take her back to the Volvo specialist who did the work 10 months ago and get it looked at on warranty?

Good luck!

Jim
SY Harlequin

PS. We've had our Saildrive apart many times now, even replaced one completely due to a top bearing failure (needle-bearing seized, on departure from NZ for Fiji - an expensive exercise) so if you need any help with the procedure for lifting out the top bearing just PM me your email address and we'll be happy to assist. Perhaps that way you could take the top bearing itself to a service location and have it fixed that way...
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Old 21-03-2015, 18:57   #7
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Better yet post your questions and answers here for the benefit of all our members.
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Old 21-03-2015, 21:07   #8
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

I believe the Volvo 150S is made by ZF and the internals are similar to the SD10 sold by Nanni and some other brands, I have two SD10 saildrives and the same problem you describe turned out to be worn/faulty clutches. this problem IMO was brought about by ZF/Nanni specifying ATF as the oil, they have since revised that to 15W-40. In fact ZF replaced the clutches in both mine and other gearboxes before we launched the boat in 2011 but they still failed again until we changed the oil to 15W-40 ZF were very good they supplied two sets of clutches out of warranty in 2014.
It would be interesting to know if your repairer installed new clutches. Please let us know the outcome.
Cheers
Henry
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Old 21-03-2015, 21:12   #9
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

PS I have a Parts breakdown for a 150S if its of any help. PM me and I will Email it to you.

Henry
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Old 21-03-2015, 21:21   #10
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henryh View Post
It would be interesting to know if your repairer installed new clutches.
A good point, Henry. One would not expect new clutch plates to fail within 10 months, whether using ATF or 15W-40.

Sounds like your Volvo specialist just did a re-balance of the top bearing, which is done by using various thickness shims until the correct clutch force is achieved.

If that's what he did, perhaps he gave you the left-overs of the Volvo kit, which would contain a load of un-used shims that might come in handy now...?
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Old 22-03-2015, 04:16   #11
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Mandala5 I cant help thinking that to get out of trouble it might help to temporarily use some thicker oil. When we changed from ATF to 15W-40 (15W-40 is thicker) I did get an old set of slipping clutches to work. Could be worth a try to get you home possibly add some gearbox oil but make sure its not friction modified.

Henry
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Old 22-03-2015, 10:33   #12
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Thank you all for your help. I have been using 15W40 since the clutch plates were changed. I may put in new oil even if there is no sign of water ingress to see if it helps. I don't believe the plates have been replaced the last time they serviced the transmission (I would remember paying for them!). Also, looking at the service manual, I concur that it's not an easy DIY job. I will look if it might be a cam / engaging fork issue but otherwise I think my best option right now would be to take the transmission out of the boat, hop on a flight to the USA, have it fixed and then fly back here...
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Old 22-03-2015, 17:55   #13
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Where is 'here'...?
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Old 22-03-2015, 18:38   #14
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

Sorry, I forgot to mention it. We are currently in Puerto Villamil, Isabella in the Galapagos Islands. It's a lovely place but not the best to get specialized assistance. About 900 miles upwind is Panama (not being particularly well equipped though). The only Volvo Penta dealer listed in South America is in... Brazil. The next destination downwind is French Polynesia with uncertain services and probably expensive rates. At least we speak French since we are French Canadians...
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Old 22-03-2015, 21:32   #15
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Re: Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse

That certainly is remote! In which case - unless anybody can come up with any other ideas - flying to the States may be the best option.

To remove the top clutch bearing assembly you'll need to pump out a fair amount of oil, to lower the level below the top casing. Also, prepare to move the engine forward by about 5" which will likely involve a sling under the engine to support it when separating it from the Saildrive, as the gearbox acts as a rear mount for the engine and will have to be disconnected. Suggest you mark/tape the existing position of the forward engine mounts so you can easily return to that position on re-assembly.

Then dis-assemble the top of the gearbox (taking pictures as you go) until you reach the stage where the top assembly will lift clear. This is when you'll need to slide the engine forward to allow enough wiggle-room to lift the top assembly up and aft. Pop that in a bag and you're good to go.

Again, I would take great care to keep the bolts, washers, etc, etc, etc organised (perhaps in dis-assembly order) so that you don't end up with problems on re-assembly. Also try to be scrupulously clean and tidy as you don't want any debris dropping into the gearbox. Worse, any bolts or washers, as this would require a boat-lift to sort out.

A photo of our old one attached. You can't see it here, but this had a collapsed needle-bearing deep within. Unfortunately we couldn't get it fixed or replaced in any reasonable time-scale (or cost) so had to buy an entire new Saildrive! As I said to my wife at the time, don't ever, ever ask how much that all cost...

Good luck!

Jim
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