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Old 21-04-2013, 14:07   #1
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Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

We have a 2012 Leopard 44 with 39HP Yanmars and SD-50 saildrives. I did the scheduled gear oil change at 500 Hrs per the owners manual. At about 550 hrs, we first noticed that on occasion, the port engine would not go into forward and progressively got worse. As we were cruising the North and East coast of DR, there were no Yanmars dealers close by to query about the problem. Finally when we arrived in PR and contacted Yanmar, we were told the only authorized Yanmar dealer was on the far side of PR. We contacted them and told to come to Farjado on the East coast for warranty repairs. After we got there, we put our boat in a slip at $100. per day and after about a week of phone conversations, they informed us that it might not be covered under warranty and the only way they would perform the work was to give them a signed blank check or a credit card number.
I then contacted a distrubutor in Florida who told me that the PR Yanmar dealership were probably not experienced as they were primarily Agricultural and I should wait until I got to St Thomas and contact Offshore Yacht Svc and they would be the best ones to take care of my problem. About a week after we arrived in St Thomas, the tech came out and said that the clutch cone was toast and would have to be relpace. The starboard engine was fine. After 4 hrs labor and a bill for $925. the the port was now working again. Offshore submitted the invoice for warranty and the warranty claim was denied because I did not follow the required maintenance procedure. When I talked to the manager of warranty at Yanmar USA in Georgia, I got a short letter back with a scan of the warranty book. I was told that the clutch cone is a normal maintenance item and is the responsibity of the owner. It reads "The clutch cone at 500hrs is to be inspected and replaced or lapped". Failure to perform this procedure voids the warranty on the saildrive. The labor to have this done is approximately $500. and involves lifting the engine and seperating from the saildrive, dissasembling the saildrive, and tearing apart the clutch assembly. Not too sure what lapping is but basically it is recoating the cone with an a chemical which renews the surface of the cone.
This must be done every 500hrs or the warranty on the saildrive is voided.

I do know that the clutch cone has been an ongoing problem having talked to several owners and techs, for Yanmar and understand that they will be coming out with a different saildrive sometime in the future.
I was most dissappointed the way Yanmar handled my warranty claim and failure to take responsibility for a problem with their product that they are well aware of.
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Old 21-04-2013, 14:28   #2
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

You must have a different model of SD50 than I do, my requires oil changes every 250 hours and cone lapping every 500 hours. Did you lap yours when you changed oil at 500 hours? I may sound like devil's advocate, I do not like this cone design and certainly hate Yanmar multi-tier 'dealer' network with at least three layers of vultures taking their booty until Yanmar parts get to us, but it is what it is and I try to follow their recommendations to the letter. And no, lapping cone does not require you to lift the engine, disassembling saildrive or tearing apart the clutch assembly (unless removing one left-hand nut on top of clutch assembly is 'tearing apart'). There is thread on this forum that shows how to get clutch assembly out. Once out, it is a child's play to lap a cone.
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Old 21-04-2013, 15:23   #3
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

We have the same SD-50 Bamboo Sailor, my boat had nearly 400 hrs when we took delivery as it was motor sailed for the most part from the factory in South Africa. Hence the 250 hrs service was done already when we took delivery of the boat. I did not lap when I did the 500hr svc and that is where they got me. However, on page 49 of the owners manual it states under the 500hr section, and I quote "Inspecting and / or Replacing the Cone-Clutch." But on the Periodic Maintenance Table on page 36 it does say "Inspect/replace or lap.
Interesting that there appears to be an easier way to effect the required maintenance so why is it a $5oo labor bill and 4 hours of time.
The tech that did the work on my boat did in fact us a most handy compact ratchening device to lift the engine and move it away from the saildrive. And I understand that a $1000 bill is pretty standard for labor and replacement.
I have talked to Volvo saildrive owners and they have no gripes.
I do appreciate the advice on doing the service myself and I will definately plan on that in the future.
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Old 21-04-2013, 15:45   #4
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....
I have talked to Volvo saildrive owners and they have no gripes.....
Anecdotally, it does seem that Yanmar drives tend to have more issues. I dont have hard data to back this up but I hear more from owners and saw more in the charter fleet in Belize.

Im not a big fan of sail drives in general, but I have had zero major issues w my Volvo drives in almost 13 years (damn, probaby should not have said that!). Just seal and oil changes.
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Old 21-04-2013, 15:55   #5
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

Wish I had Volvo.
I have heard the Yanmars have an ongoing problem with oil seals as well and bought an extra set before we left Ft Lauderdale.

I am a new sailor having had a 42' motoryacht for 6 years before switching to blow boats less than a year ago. So admittingly, I tend to motor more and tack less when the winds are against me (most of the time). But with my lack of confidence in my Yanmar saildrives and the required frequency of maintenance, I think I will start sailing more and motoring less.
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Old 21-04-2013, 17:31   #6
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I actually had more issues with volvo's compared to yanmars when I managed a fleet that was a 50/50 split between both manufactures. Allen, who owned your boat before you, didn't know squat about boats, and sat on the dock from annapolis show until he sold the boat... As we all know, boats sitting tend to do funny things.

I'm sorry to hear you are having sail drive issues, and issues with yanmar.
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Old 21-04-2013, 18:08   #7
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

Lagoon is starting to put the SD60 sail drives into the 450s starting June this year. The explanation was "too many problems with the SD50s". Had the SD50 on my previous boat to 1000 hours. Never knew about the lapping and had all the services work done by Yanmar service people. the oil level in the drives would fluctuate all the time. One day it is dead on, the next there is too much oil.
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Old 21-04-2013, 18:23   #8
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

I'll tell you Wiley - we love our 44 but very disappointed with Yanmars. There was a 5/8 main halyard instead of the max for the Spinlock of 9/16" - not sure why it was used but we got it replaced with 1/2 here in Tortola by the Mooring rigger. Peter promised that Moorings would pay the bill - still waiting for the check.
Other than that -the 44 is everything we hoped for.
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Old 21-04-2013, 18:32   #9
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

Quote:
Originally Posted by roetter View Post
Lagoon is starting to put the SD60 sail drives into the 450s starting June this year. The explanation was "too many problems with the SD50s". Had the SD50 on my previous boat to 1000 hours. Never knew about the lapping and had all the services work done by Yanmar service people. the oil level in the drives would fluctuate all the time. One day it is dead on, the next there is too much oil.

I have not noticed the oil level flucation, only the clutch cone problem. And the starboard engine and saildrive have never missed a lick.

Why is it that Yanmar knows they have a defective product but shift the onus of resovle with the owner.
If Ford Motor company produced a new model truck with similiar problems - there would be a recall and the problem taken care of at Fords expense.
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Old 21-04-2013, 21:27   #10
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If Ford Motor company produced a new model truck with similiar problems - there would be a recall and the problem taken care of at Fords expense.
Yea like how they took care of all those defective 6.0 power strokes right (sarcasm) ? This is standard for just about every manufacture. Just deny there is a problem and only settle with people tenacious enough to get a lawyer.
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Old 07-05-2013, 18:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roetter View Post
Lagoon is starting to put the SD60 sail drives into the 450s starting June this year. The explanation was "too many problems with the SD50s". Had the SD50 on my previous boat to 1000 hours. Never knew about the lapping and had all the services work done by Yanmar service people. the oil level in the drives would fluctuate all the time. One day it is dead on, the next there is too much oil.
Roetter, where did you read info on the Yanmar SD-69 sail drives? I haven't found this model in my search. Thanks

Steve
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Old 07-05-2013, 21:52   #12
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Roetter, where did you read info on the Yanmar SD-69 sail drives? I haven't found this model in my search. Thanks

Steve
L450
I got that from my dealer. I am getting #280, ready end of August. So I am getting the SD60 and the 125A alternators instead of the 80s.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:20   #13
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

The SD50 was a redesign to "solve" a cone clutch problem. Let's hope the SD60 actually solves it. As far as problems go, just google Yanmar saildrive problems and Volvo saildrive problems to see where most of the trouble lies. Engines may be a different story, but Yanmar saildrive models with cone clutches are notorious problems. And relapping or replacing cones every 500hrs as routine maintenance???? That is plain nuts.

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Old 01-08-2013, 20:40   #14
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Re: Beware - Yanmar SD-50 Saildrive

I have 2 SD50 saildrives for sale.
from Yanmar 54hp engines
less then 300 hours
completely serviced at 260 hours
located south florida
make me an offer
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Old 03-09-2013, 00:15   #15
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I got that from my dealer. I am getting #280, ready end of August. So I am getting the SD60 and the 125A alternators instead of the 80s.
Roetter,

Did you managed to get SD60's from Lagoon for nr L450/280? If so, we're there any issues ordering them? How are they performing? A few weeks ago I placed an order for an L450, hull nr 304, and made a request for the SD60s and still waiting for a reply.

Anyone else out there with the new Yanmar SD60s and share their views?

Steve
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