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Old 11-06-2010, 14:40   #1
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Possible Water in My Sail-Drive

Good afternoon, I have a Volvo Penta MD2040 with a MS25S S-drive. When I check the oil level in the S-drive it looks like I may have water in the system. Does anyone know is there a way to empty/ drain/ siphon the oil out while in the water? Or do I have to be hauled out? I want to test a theory and see if I can fix the problem.
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Old 11-06-2010, 14:52   #2
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I have heard of people pushing thin hoses down the dipstick/inspection port and pumping a fair bit (but not all) of the oil out that way. I haven't seen it done personally, though. There are only a handful of ways that water can get into lower unit oil, the most common being a damaged shaft seal- do you have a suspected culprit?
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Old 11-06-2010, 15:01   #3
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Well….my anode came completely loose and in the process of fixing while in the water I inadvertently loosened the screws to the gear housing. I may have broken the seal but not sure. If I am able to remove the oil and put in new while in the water and it remains clear, then I will know it is not a seal or bearing. If water gets back in then I will haul out and repair. I am trying to stay in the water this year.
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Old 11-06-2010, 15:05   #4
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Some thin plastic tubing (thin enough to fit down the dipstick hole) and a big syringe should get a fair bit of the oil out... if you can't get it all out (probably impossible to get the tubing all the way to the bottom of the gearcase), you might have to settle for diluting what's left with fresh oil and sucking it out again (wastes oil, but beats hauling out....).
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Old 11-06-2010, 15:10   #5
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Yes a lot cheaper. I may be able to dilute enough to test my theory. currently the oil is foamy white, water in oil.
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Old 11-06-2010, 15:31   #6
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In my experience with taking oil samples, you can't get the small tubes down very far, definately not all the way to the bottom.
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Old 11-06-2010, 15:35   #7
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Are you able to get down far enough to get a reasonable amount out?
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Old 11-06-2010, 15:37   #8
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I have a yanmar SD40 Sail Drive and I got 99% of the oil out with a vacuum oil change tool. Make an air tight seal at the lowest entry point possible and suck away! If you can create enough vacuum the oil will come out. Helps if the oil is warm and more less viscous.

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Old 11-06-2010, 19:08   #9
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Any idea on a make for me to look at on the internet to see how to make. In Grenada I will have to probably do myself. How big of a pump did you use? Is it attached to a hose placed down into the drive? Or just cover the intake hole and make it airtight?

Great idea
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Old 11-06-2010, 20:59   #10
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These things are great for changing oil. Best type I've used.

WEST MARINEManual Oil Changer - 6.9 Qt at WestMarineNew

Good luck with getting it all out. I agree that it might take two or even three times.

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Old 12-06-2010, 06:12   #11
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I can't remove but about 1/3 the oil out of my SD20, using my hand, oil change pump. Did it about 9 times, with light running in between to remove water in the oil.

Then I made an oil header tank attached to a tube through the fill cap, and mounted it a foot or so above the waterline.

It relieves the pressure differences that will occur in an otherwise unvented saildrive. I can check/add oil much easier as well.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:15   #12
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One other thing. May just be hype, but Amsoil makes a marine gear lube that they claim tolerates up to 10 % water. That's what I use.
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Old 13-06-2010, 05:43   #13
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I tried to push a hose down the dip stick hole and it went about 12”. I used a coat hanger and tried to lightly work it down the housing. I was unable to have it go any further than about 12 inches also. It takes two liters of 15W/40 oil appox 1/2 gal, not much oil. Any idea on how big of a chamber it is down by the prop? Possible the top holds the majority of the oil and by siphoning it out and diluting with more oil as previously suggested will work. I have a MD2040 with a MS25S drive. Thoughts?
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Old 13-06-2010, 09:08   #14
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There is an earlier thread on this forum where a member got pretty innovative and changed sail drive oil in the water. I didn't find it in a quick search but it is definately a good read.

Still, the best way is haul the boat, then you can do pressure and vacuum checks on the unit.

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Old 13-06-2010, 15:17   #15
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I think this is the thread with instructions on how to drain all the oil out, while afloat.
Not sure I would do it though.


Yanmar SD20 Sail Drive Caution
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