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Old 11-08-2018, 08:23   #1
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What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Perhaps somebody can help me figuring out what was happening last night with my engine, I am very puzzled... These are the events:

I backed out from the dock at my marina. The fairway at my marina is relatively narrow, so you have to back fairly close to the boats on the other dock to be able to make the turn for going out.

As I always do, I reversed slowly, then put it in neutral for a few seconds, then put it in forward to stop the backward momentum... and nothing happened. I revved the engine much more than usual and still nothing happened, the boat kept going back. Fortunately, I was backing very slowly so there wasn't any problem, I just fended off the boat on the other side a bit.

Eventually, there was a little forward momentum, but very minimal (I had the engine revved up). The boat moved forward, but could not get enough momentum to swing the bow into the wind (about 7 knts of wind, coming down the fairway). I repeated the maneuver a few times, the boat would reverse fine, but only creep forward. After four or five attempts, since I could not swing the bow into the wind (swinging into the wind in forward would require to go against the prop, but I can always do it without problems, but not yesterday), I decided to swing the bow downwind and try to reverse all the way back up the fairway.

Even swinging the bow downwind (favorable prop walk) took a while. The boat would only forward very slowly. Finally, I reversed back into the fairway, and it reversed fine. Once I got to the channel, I tested putting the boat in forward. I was able to get some forward momentum, but no real speed, regardless of how much I revved the engine. I did not feel comfortable and decided to go back to my dock.

I went down the fairway in forward, but could only go very slowly, even with the engine revved up. So slowly that was unable to make the sharp turn into my slip (the wind was perpendicular to the dock, pushing the boat away from the dock), so I missed it and had to back up and retry (backing up was now more challenging since I was going against the prop, and my boat is very bad at that, so it took a while). On the second attempt, I anticipated the turn as much as I could, but still could not bring the bow into the wind and missed again... Then, I went back to retry one more time...

By this time, a crowd had gathered near my slip, so I figured we could pass them a line to help the bow into the slip and somehow inch the boat in. So, I started my approach with the engine in forward, a little revved up to get at least some forward motion and approached slowly. As I turned into the slip, all of a sudden, the boat surged forward (I had revved the engine a bit to get some momentum, but it was still only creeping forward when I was in the fairway). Fortunately, I was able to reverse hard and stop her before hitting the end of the dock.

Once back at the dock, I tested forward/reverse a few times, and now everything felt fine (at least as much as you can tell without really leaving the dock).

I am trying to understand what may have caused this. Forward gear was most definitely very sluggish (there was some forward momentum, so the prop was certainly spinning, but very minimal, no matter the rpms of the engine) throughout, except at the very end, when all of a sudden it felt like normal. Reverse was fine throughout.

Something similar happened to me about two weeks ago, but I did not pay much attention to it... After backing out from the fuel dock, I was not able to revert moving forward for about 30 (tense) seconds, then eventually it worked and everything was fine...

For completeness, I should add that I have a Max Prop, but I do not think that was the issue.

Any ideas?
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:57   #2
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FabioC View Post
Perhaps somebody can help me figuring out what was happening last night with my engine, I am very puzzled... These are the events:

I backed out from the dock at my marina. The fairway at my marina is relatively narrow, so you have to back fairly close to the boats on the other dock to be able to make the turn for going out.

As I always do, I reversed slowly, then put it in neutral for a few seconds, then put it in forward to stop the backward momentum... and nothing happened. I revved the engine much more than usual and still nothing happened, the boat kept going back. Fortunately, I was backing very slowly so there wasn't any problem, I just fended off the boat on the other side a bit.

Eventually, there was a little forward momentum, but very minimal (I had the engine revved up). The boat moved forward, but could not get enough momentum to swing the bow into the wind (about 7 knts of wind, coming down the fairway). I repeated the maneuver a few times, the boat would reverse fine, but only creep forward. After four or five attempts, since I could not swing the bow into the wind (swinging into the wind in forward would require to go against the prop, but I can always do it without problems, but not yesterday), I decided to swing the bow downwind and try to reverse all the way back up the fairway.

Even swinging the bow downwind (favorable prop walk) took a while. The boat would only forward very slowly. Finally, I reversed back into the fairway, and it reversed fine. Once I got to the channel, I tested putting the boat in forward. I was able to get some forward momentum, but no real speed, regardless of how much I revved the engine. I did not feel comfortable and decided to go back to my dock.

I went down the fairway in forward, but could only go very slowly, even with the engine revved up. So slowly that was unable to make the sharp turn into my slip (the wind was perpendicular to the dock, pushing the boat away from the dock), so I missed it and had to back up and retry (backing up was now more challenging since I was going against the prop, and my boat is very bad at that, so it took a while). On the second attempt, I anticipated the turn as much as I could, but still could not bring the bow into the wind and missed again... Then, I went back to retry one more time...

By this time, a crowd had gathered near my slip, so I figured we could pass them a line to help the bow into the slip and somehow inch the boat in. So, I started my approach with the engine in forward, a little revved up to get at least some forward motion and approached slowly. As I turned into the slip, all of a sudden, the boat surged forward (I had revved the engine a bit to get some momentum, but it was still only creeping forward when I was in the fairway). Fortunately, I was able to reverse hard and stop her before hitting the end of the dock.

Once back at the dock, I tested forward/reverse a few times, and now everything felt fine (at least as much as you can tell without really leaving the dock).

I am trying to understand what may have caused this. Forward gear was most definitely very sluggish (there was some forward momentum, so the prop was certainly spinning, but very minimal, no matter the rpms of the engine) throughout, except at the very end, when all of a sudden it felt like normal. Reverse was fine throughout.

Something similar happened to me about two weeks ago, but I did not pay much attention to it... After backing out from the fuel dock, I was not able to revert moving forward for about 30 (tense) seconds, then eventually it worked and everything was fine...

For completeness, I should add that I have a Max Prop, but I do not think that was the issue.

Any ideas?
Most likely something fouled in the prop stopping the blades setting properly?
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:21   #3
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

a) Do you have a folding or feathering prop? Fouled with barnacles? or fixed prop?
b) Your transmission discs may be slipping, what model tranny?
c) plastic bag caught on prop?
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:28   #4
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
a) Do you have a folding or feathering prop? or fixed prop?
b) Your transmission discs may be slipping, what model tranny?
I have a Max Prop, which is a feathering prop.
Yes, I am wondering about the transmission, but what puzzles me are two things:
1. Only forward seems to be affected.
2. This seems an intermittent problem. I experienced this a couple of weeks ago, then went out sailing at least five times and used the engine without issues, then yesterday's events...

I'll certainly have the transmission and the prop checked by a professional next week, but I am trying to get an idea of what to look for, because I am puzzled...
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:33   #5
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

I've had 5 max props and not had that happen, but it could be that. Have a diver check it, you may have a big barnacle buildup, or maybe it has problems and he can try to feather it under there to see. Maybe just have him clean the bottom too! or if you snorkel dive under there!

In the carribean my Cat had two Max Props. We stayed in one harbor 5 weeks and the props looked like a coral reef! The barnacles were 1" thick in places!
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:36   #6
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

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Originally Posted by edsailing View Post
Most likely something fouled in the prop stopping the blades setting properly?
Certainly a possibility. That would explain why the boat surged forward at the end (maybe whatever obstructed the prop finally came off...).
Once back to the dock, I found kelp stuck in both rudders (I have twin rudders). I am not sure that kelp could play a role in the prop not feathering out correctly, but it is not impossible...
However, how could that explain that reverse was working fine and only forward was affected?
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Old 11-08-2018, 14:44   #7
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Certainly sounds like something fouling your Maxprop and preventing the blades from rotating properly into forward. Since the Maxprop actually turns the prop the other way to reverse (so that it uses the same leading edge in both directions) fouling could well affect blades setting themselves in only one direction.
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Old 11-08-2018, 14:53   #8
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Could be the prop but it could also be a slipping hydraulic transmission. Different clutch settings in forward and reverse.
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Old 11-08-2018, 14:56   #9
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Your description is also consistent with a Hurth HBW50 transmission failure, what kind of transmission is it ?
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Old 11-08-2018, 15:52   #10
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

i would suspect either the oil has not been changed in a long time in the gearbox and poor oil quality is causing the plates to slip if it is a hydraulic type gearbox,or the max prop is not rotating through it axis
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Old 11-08-2018, 16:08   #11
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

If it is Hurth /ZF transmission, it is a very common problem with older units. I just replaced my Hurth 50 with a ZF 10 after living with intermittent forward for 5 years. Totally mysterious symptoms. Started a thread a year back about it. No gurus chimed in.
Anyway. It started just very infrequently. Taking it out of gear and back in again worked at first, then it got where I had to try to put it in fwd two three times before it clonked in. At the end, once drifting between the docks I shifted into forward 21 times before it obliged. Just like in your case, occasionally it would pop in on it's own. Once the transmission warmed up though, it never gave any trouble. I could motor 12 hours. Definitely no slipping, just reluctance to go into forward.
Since I put in the new to me ZF10, I have the almost opposite problem. It goes in gear with great gusto, sometimes with a horrendous crash. If it ain't one thing...
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Old 11-08-2018, 16:40   #12
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

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Originally Posted by sv.antea View Post
Since I put in the new to me ZF10, I have the almost opposite problem. It goes in gear with great gusto, sometimes with a horrendous crash. If it ain't one thing...


Can you idle it down some?
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Old 11-08-2018, 16:45   #13
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Hi FabioC,
can you advise the type of drive you have on your boat. Is it shaft or sail drive. If shaft than it is probably something that has already been mentioned. I would also check the gear linkage to ensure it has not slipped and may need re-adjusting and tightening.
If it is a saildrive I would suspect it may be an SD 50 saildrive with cone clutches and the cones require re bedding. The symptoms sounds identical to this.



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Old 11-08-2018, 17:23   #14
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sv.antea View Post
If it is Hurth /ZF transmission, it is a very common problem with older units. I just replaced my Hurth 50 with a ZF 10 after living with intermittent forward for 5 years. Totally mysterious symptoms. Started a thread a year back about it. No gurus chimed in.
Anyway. It started just very infrequently. Taking it out of gear and back in again worked at first, then it got where I had to try to put it in fwd two three times before it clonked in. At the end, once drifting between the docks I shifted into forward 21 times before it obliged. Just like in your case, occasionally it would pop in on it's own. Once the transmission warmed up though, it never gave any trouble. I could motor 12 hours. Definitely no slipping, just reluctance to go into forward.
Since I put in the new to me ZF10, I have the almost opposite problem. It goes in gear with great gusto, sometimes with a horrendous crash. If it ain't one thing...

That doesn't fit with the OP's description at all:


"Once I got to the channel, I tested putting the boat in forward. I was able to get some forward momentum, but no real speed, regardless of how much I revved the engine."


His problem is not with engaging, it's lack of propulsion when it is engaged.


So it's either clutch or Maxprop blade turning. (My first guess is still prop fouling)
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Old 11-08-2018, 18:24   #15
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Re: What could have happened?... Transmission?...

If a shaft drive, visual observation of the shaft whilst in fwd gear and not moving properly will show whether it is prop malfunction or slippage in the tranny.
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