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Old 12-04-2008, 16:32   #1
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Milky Gear Oil Saildrive (SD 20)

Well, I have my first real problem with the boat.

I have milky oil in my port sail drive.

So what's the story? I'm assuming there are seals around the prop shaft are that leaking... any tips on where to start?

I guess I'll need a haul out. Man, I knew saildrives were garbage (as a choice of equipment vs a standard shaft)...
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Old 12-04-2008, 16:35   #2
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Question: Will the saildrive be reliable for a couple days of sailing with a little motoring in and out of harbors in between?

I will fix in 2 days.
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Old 12-04-2008, 16:54   #3
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Man, I knew saildrives were garbage (as a choice of equipment vs a standard shaft)...
Thou shalt not cast aspersions on used equipment

Quote:
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Question: Will the saildrive be reliable for a couple days of sailing with a little motoring in and out of harbors in between?

I will fix in 2 days.
should be.
Plan on doing both if you budget it.

Where are you?
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Old 12-04-2008, 16:59   #4
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Just PM'd you. I'm on the border of GA and FL. I assume it will be cheaper in the long run to service the SD20's properly, doing the lower seals as well as the seals by the hull. Not sure if this is too far for you. I'm on a budget, so that will dictate how much service I can actually get done. Know of a nice, cheap haul out in GA?
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Old 12-04-2008, 19:56   #5
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The haul out is going to cost more than the seals I expect. So definitely do both.
For the benefits you gain with saildrives, the positives still outweigh the negatives.
I suggest you replace with a fully synthetic gear oil Sean. Synth oils protect metal when in the presence of water and synths tend not to emulsify when churned up with water.
As for the boot around the drive, if it looks perished, you may as well do the thing properly. But if they look OK, they will be fine and tend to be expensive to replace. So do so only if you really have to.
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Old 12-04-2008, 20:06   #6
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I find high sodium and potassium (from salt water) in saildrives more often than not when I take oil samples for a buyer. I agree with BMYC, the dirve should be Ok to run for a while, but if left too long there may be some corrosion start to form on the gear / bearing surfaces. You should definately change the shaft seals on the lower unit, then flush out the unit to remove as much contamination (salt & water) as possible.
The seals by the hull don't have anything to do with water getting into the gear oil, but rather water getting into the boat. Unless you're looking for more of a project, I'd leave it alone unless you are taking on water in the boat.
Brian
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Old 12-04-2008, 20:09   #7
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I really hope this doesn't have anything to do with your scare about possible corrosion of the saildrives due to something you mentioned a while back... the wrong paint or something on them? whatever it was that caused your props to have to be replaced.
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Old 12-04-2008, 20:26   #8
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I have a Volvo saildrive but I would think they are similar. The shaft seal is fairly easy but it will mean a haul out. On mine the seal housing is held on with two allen screws and once you slide this off the shaft the seal can be punched out with something of similar diameter. There are also two rubber o rings that form a seal round the outer diameter of the shaft seal housing and the saildrive body. Don't know about the Yanmar specifics but be aware their may be more than one seal. As far as the main boot if it looks to be in good shape and is not leaking I would tend to leave it alone. On the Volvo they recommend replacement every 10 years so this should be a very robust gasket. Did the P.O. give you any indication when and if he had ever replaced these?
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Old 12-04-2008, 20:35   #9
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The fact that EP oils emulsify is a saver as they will still lubricate with the water held by the oil, If on the otherhand you use a synthetic that keeps the water separate you could have some corrosion problems if not seen to. Eitherway as long as you upgrade your seals asap the problem will be solved, Flush the gearbox with Meths / alcohol to absorb any water that may be trapped.
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Old 13-04-2008, 03:10   #10
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Hi Steve. I can't speak for all synth oils. I am sure some don't do the job as well as others. But the types I use will remain coated to all metal parts and provide a good barrier to the water. The problem with oils that emulsify is that the EP strength breaks down and the act of holding metal parts apart by the thin EP film reduces causing wear. The main area of concern is the bearing surfaces rusting and pitting from the salt water. Gears can take a little punishment, but bearings can't.
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Old 13-04-2008, 03:47   #11
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Sean
UGGGGGGG I decoverd the same problum on my Yannmar SD20 Sail Drive and had no choice to put about 100 hours on it with the water in the gear, and now its been sitting for 6 months wile Im back in the states. I did notice if run hard that gear it would slip - I have 75-90 synthitic oil in it
I also met a guy whos had water in his for a full year of sailing and it seems to be working fine(same boat as your Sean) he put about 4 hunderd hours on his since the last change, and could not gets the seals wile in N Africa so he put it back in the water and it leaked from the start-I gess these sail drives can take abuse.

Something to be very careful of is depending on what year drive you have the prop is held on by a Allan screw and Ive seen the shaft break/crack wile trying to remove or install that screw mank sure you use lock tite when reinstalling the prop

Steve IM not sure about using Alahoal to flush the gears, could that hurt the cluch?
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Old 13-04-2008, 04:05   #12
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Alan I agree with what you say, just that EP. oils as long as they are being used in the short turn will allow you get to somewhere that you can replace / repair the unit. The emphasis on the sooner the better.
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Old 13-04-2008, 04:08   #13
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Ram I don't think the alcohol will do any damage as any residue will evaporate.
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Old 13-04-2008, 09:25   #14
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Quote:
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Alan I agree with what you say, just that EP. oils as long as they are being used in the short turn will allow you get to somewhere that you can replace / repair the unit. The emphasis on the sooner the better.
One of the strong point of EP oils is that they are quite tolerant to water contamination, as far as their lubricating properties are concerned. But as Alan correctly pointed out, it is more the corrosion you have to worry about. But the only real remedy, is haul out and inspect / replace the seals.
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Old 13-04-2008, 10:31   #15
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Thanks for the tips.

I'm going to try to make Charleston for haul out, since I've been told they have larger Travelifts that will handle my beam.

Didn't leave this AM as planned... some kind of stomach issue.

Plan on leaving in the morning. Luckily, all of tomorrow will be sailing outside. After tomorrow, the winds turn north, so I'll have to motor the rest of the way.

I do have one little treatment I can do to help the gears and bearings for a few days while enroute to Charleston. I bought one of those little tubes with a pump on it to extract the gear oil. I can change it out to at least lower the percentage of water/salt in the oil. Wastes a bottle or two of gear oil, but may help the bearings and gears out to some extent for a few days while enroute to a haul out.
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