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Old 19-03-2005, 11:31   #1
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Yanmar SD20 Sail Drive Caution

Let me first of all preface this by saying I love Yanmar products and service. But, there are a couple of potiential issues that I wanted to make everyone aware of.

The first is more of annoyance than issue. The SD20 requires that it be removed from the water in order to completely drain the oil. The manual recommends the oil be changed every 100 hours or once a year. This is suggesting that the boat be hauled every 100 hours of engine operation! That's about a $700 operation on my catamaran down here in Florida. Think it will happen? I would have bought an SD40 had it been an option for the 3YM30's.

The second is a potientially serious issue. When I pulled my first engine, I closed the seacock on the saildrive and pulled the hose from the fitting. Several gallons of water proceeded to come into the boat while I tried first to close the seacock, it was closed? the put the hose back on. Hmmm Strange I say. Must have been damaged in some fashion!? I don't like it anyway. It is a twisting valve affair, can't tell whether it is open or closed!!! But, oh well. no harm, no major foul. I then moved to the second engine. I had replaced the engine, didn't really need to remove the hose. Got the engine done, said " I'll replace the hose, I really don't like the position of the strainer. Close the valve and remove the hose. Salt water all over my newly painted engine room and new engine! Hey!!! What gives?? One valve is an annomoly, two valves is a PROBLEM. Checked the new Saildrives. They have the same type of valve. Not happy.

I'll contact Yanmar and see if they have a solution/recommendation. But, everyone should be aware this is a potiential issue. You really want to make sure your valve works, and you have an alternative for stopping the water in case you lose that hose.


Fair sailing,

Keith
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Old 19-03-2005, 12:32   #2
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In regards to the SD20. Can you plumb a pipe from the oil drain to somewhere you can easily gain access and place a small valve on the end. Then when it comes time for an oil change, you simply attach a hose to suck all the old oil out. This is what I and I know several do, where the engine oil drain is in a difficult position to get to. Wheich is 95% of all engine installations. I recon all marine engine manufacturers should think of this an supply a means of doing this as a standard part of the marinisation.
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Old 19-03-2005, 17:20   #3
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Alan;

The sail drive is basically the transmission and a unit that extends through the bottom of the boat and you attach the prop to. The drain is at that bottom of this leg. You would have to attach a fitting to the bottom, route the tube up and i imagine put a hole in the bottom of your boat to route the tube up where you could get to it. I'd have several issues with this, but I don't think that is what you meant. In the SD40 Yanmar put a tube internally within the leg. You pressurize the leg this forces the gear lube out.

What I am doing is just doing partial changes ever 50 hours. I suck as much as I can out, run a little bit, suck more out. So I get a partial change. When I have the boat hauled for painting, I'd do a full change then.

Silly but

Keith
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Old 19-03-2005, 20:17   #4
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Since you have a catamaran, why not just park on the beach and wait for the tide to go out and then change the oil?
I realize that Florida has very little tide, but how much is needed to leave the sail drive unit out of the water, 2 feet??
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Old 19-03-2005, 21:17   #5
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Arrrr we are talking about the leg part. But You don't need to change gear oil, unless water is in it, which means you have another problem and the boat still needs to come out of the water. 100 hrs is way to little for gear oil. I wouldn't worry about it for at least 1000Hrs. It just pays to regularly check the oil for water contamination. This should be OK between every yearly haulout for anti-foul and anode replacement.
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Old 20-03-2005, 07:23   #6
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Wheels;

There are a couple of issues here. The manufactures maintenance manual specs 100 hours. Why in the world would they make it so difficult to change when it has to be changed that often. It is what I think of as a design/utilization fault. The second issue is when/if you develop a leak in the seals down there, being able to remove the contaminated oil might at least minimize the damage until you can haul the boat. There are not many places that can haul a boat that is 22 feet wide, it might take a bit of sailing until you find one.

I don't plan to haul the boat every year, more likely ever other year. Zinc's I'd replace with the boat in the water. I also will keep the bottom clean by regularly cleaning it. (Epoxied Trinidad SR bottom paint)

Now that is indeed something I don't see very often. a 40 foot 17,000 pound catamaran on the beach in Florida, or North Carolina. My draft is 45 inches, probably need a little bit more than that to get to the plug. I'll have to give that some thought.

In anycase I wasn't really looking for a workaround, I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the issue. Especially with not being able stope water coming into their boat.
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Old 20-03-2005, 11:14   #7
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hey keith are you sure your manual says 100 hrs not 1000hrs? i dont have my manual with me but i thought it said 1000 and boot change every 2yrs jt
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Old 20-03-2005, 13:04   #8
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Hmmmm, 100hrs is waaay to often. As Captjohn also stated.
If the maintanance like boot replacement is done every two years, you should not have any issues. So I would oil change and boot change every two years upon haul out.
Make sure you use a good gear oil when you do get to change it. Even look for a pure synthetic. Don't panic about what the manufacturer says to put into it (unless under warranty). Just make sure it is a better oil than they say. A good oil like a synthetic is good at protecting parts should water ever get in. It maintain as good EP strength, when a poor grade oil breaks down with water contamination. The EP strength is what keeps the metal to metal contact apart betweeen gear surfaces. Water breaks this ability down very quickly in poor grade oils. Plus the corrosion damage is stopped by a good oil. The film left on parts when at rest stop corrosion. A poor grade oil has a poor ability at protecting parts. It is good to regularly run the sail drive (incase you don't). Even a boat in a marina should have the motor and gearbox turned over once every two weeks or at the very minimum, once a month. Water contamination in oil can be safe'ish, providing the oil is run around the internals. Water conamination in oil is NOT something you leave in there though. It needs removing as soon as you possibly can.
I do extreme 4WDing and deep river crossings are the norm. I mean DEEP. Water contamination is common in all gear compartments. Giving everything an oil change upon exit from a crossing is rediculouse for us. So after a lot of R&D, we learn't a lot about oil, water and gears. After a trip, I may have had to do a couple of thousand K's with water contmination before we can do a change. I have still yet to change a bearing in 6 years.
Just to clarify a possible faulse interpretation of the cabove comments however. I am NOT saying to go for long periods before changing water contaminated oil. Change as soon as you know and can. Remember, water in boat gears is Salt water, not fresh.
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Old 20-03-2005, 16:44   #9
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Page 15 of the Yanmar Sail-Drive SD20 & 40 manual (Great Britan section) Table 6, periodic Inspections and Maintenance. Row 1, Column 4, title heading Every 100 hrs. Change-lube oil, SD20. No publishing year, but the drive is brand new and the manual came with it.

Page 38 of the Installation and Operation Manual. SD20 & 31. Table 4, Periodical Inspactions and maintenance. Row 1, Column 4 Every 100 hrs. Change lube oil. The installation manual does not have a date that I could find either.

They are very consistent about it, and I am VERY certain it says 100 hrs. The SD40 is rated at 250 hr intervals. Wish that had been an option, I certainly would have paid a bit more for it.

On the rubber diagram, I guess that is the boot, it says "Every 2 years", " Inspect and replace if there is cracking". I guess since it is double sealed and there is a sensor and warning if the first seal is breached that it only needs to be replaced if there is a problem.

1000 hours is like 4 years of normal operations isn't it. Don't most marine engines get about 250 a year? I certainly wouldn't go that long any lubricated device without changing it. The issue is not one of break down of the lubricant, it is normally contaminations. To remove the contaminates you change the fluid. I am a fan of synthetics, in normal usage I am even willing to go twice as long as dino. But that would put the "manufacturers" recommended change interval at 200 hours. STILL a pain (It is still $700 to haul my boat) to haul the boat that often!!!



Keith
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Old 20-03-2005, 21:35   #10
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Is there any other means of inspecting the oil, like a dipstick??? You are right, the frequent oil change is for contamination only. But you should NOT be able to get it contaminated if all seals are OK. So a quick check is all that should be needed.
Lets look at this another way. How often to you change the oil in you car gearbox and Diff? Certainly not every time you change the engine oil. The sail drive should be no different apart from if it ever got contaminated with water. And as I said above in my last thread, even then, it is no major "Chernobel" type calamity. It just needs changing ASAP.
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Old 21-03-2005, 06:48   #11
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Third issue?

I believe both Alan and CaptJohn's assertion that 100 hours is way too short is correct. But, that is what Yanmar gives as a change interval! This logically leads me to believe there is another issue at hand. If we assume that Yanmar knows the metellurgy of their device, they understand the life and lubrication properties of the lubricant they approved, and they understand the operation conditions under which their equipment is to be placed, then there is perhaps something we haven't concidered. Well perhaps we have. Assume that the 100 hr interval Yanmar states is correct. Maybe they know their seals will allow water to enter the drive. Remember packing glands? Remember how a couple of drops a day was perfectly acceptable? Remember how hard it is/was to get them to not leak at all? Well, I imagine there are similar issues in the sail drive. How do they get the thing not to leak over time. From a manufacturing perspective I think to create a perfect seal in every drive for the life of the drive would make the unit VERY expensive. I bet they don't. I bet they specify the change interval to cope with this ingress of "contaminate".

I inspected the oil of both old drives, it is "milky". That I believe is an indicator of water contamination. I know nothing of the maintenance cycle on the old drives, so I don't know how many hours of operation it took to get that way. I do know I will monitor it pretty closely.

Keith
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Old 21-03-2005, 12:37   #12
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Yes Milky oil means water contamination.
Just a thought, Does Yanmar have a website??? Do they have a contact Email?? If yes, maybe you could Email for there comments and invite there tech to maybe post a comment here on the why's and wherefor's. You are certainly very right, these guy's know there products and they don't suggest a change at X hrs just for the fun of it. Yanmar is a good reputable product, and I doubt that there are issues with seals etc that mean you have to change the oil in short periods just because they can't keep the water out. But I don't know. so I would love to hear from a Yanmar Tech as to what the reasoning is.
Failing contact with Yanmar themselves, I do have a mate here in NZ that is the NZ supplier of Yanmar. Although he is a salesman, maybe he can help, if we don't here from Yanmar themselves.
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Old 21-03-2005, 14:26   #13
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I normally post questions like this on Yanmarhelp.com, but it is very messed up at the moment. Yanmar does have a website, but it is just marketing, no product support. I asked my dealer about changing the oil, he said yes, it is a bit of an issue. He said the 30 hp 3yms were targeted for smaller monohulls that received relatively low hours and that yanmar did not think it an issue. I asked about catamarans, he shrugged. I asked him about a different Sail drive. He was pretty sure the SD40 would not fit the 3YM30's.

Anyway, that is minor, I think. I am far more upset about the valves not stopping the water from coming in!!!!

Keith
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Old 21-03-2005, 19:58   #14
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yanmarhelp.com

I have posted this B4.
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Old 17-04-2005, 20:14   #15
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Oilchange not SOOO bad

more than the SD20 oil change I always hated the engine oilchange as the filter is mounted sideways and there is no way to avoid the mess.

Since 10 years I have a SD20, beside beaching a cat there is an easy way to do it in the water, but it needs a little preparation.

Get a spare oil drain screw, good if you find a plastic one, or have one made from nylon or pvc, drill a hole inside and attach a hose.

When you want to change oil, be sure youre oil fill screw is really tight, dive, take out the original screw, as oil is lighter than water no oil will come out, as the top of the sail drive is closed, almost nothing will go in. screw in your nylon crew with the hose.

now you may suck all oil through your hose with one of those small manual pumps after opening the top screw.

Do not change the screw now, fill up with fresh oil, totally full, you will pump out that little overfilled later. This will prevent seawater coming in when you change the bottom screw. Do not forget to close the fill screw before ;-)

After removing the hose take out the excess oil from top, it is only a little bit, still clean enough for other applications on board.

Viola, so easy - at least when the sea is warm ;-))
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