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Old 08-09-2007, 21:10   #1
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A new problem detected

I was doing maintenance on my Hurth tranny and noticed that it was quite overfilled. I drained it to find that the fliud was contaminated with a lot of water. On a small diesel like my Universal M18, would the transmission be equipped with some type of water jacket? I'm assuming not. How else would water get in the tranny? I assume it must have got in the through a vent but that implies the boat has been filled with an awful lot of water at some point. The engine was not contaminated...

I can't find any details on the Hurth tranny on the net. The owner's manual says virtually nothing about it. Can anyone help me out here?

Thanks.
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Old 08-09-2007, 21:42   #2
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I did find some useful info... it seems the water must have gotten in through the breather... The boat would had to have had at least a foot of water in it for that to happen...

UGH!
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:18   #3
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OK, so I am assuming this does not have an external tranny oil cooler?? If you are not sure, you will find two hoses going to a small cylinder unit that also has two hoses from the water cooling pump connected to it. This is the usual place water gets in. If you don't have, then yes through the breather would be the only other way. But are you saying the engine room may have been that full and you never new??
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:11   #4
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If there had been much water in the boat then there will be a visible waterline mark. If the water was in the boat for only a few hours it may be hard to find, especially if someone did a good job of cleaning it. But there will still be some record either inside the laz or a locker. Are you experiencing performance problems? Is the water emmulsified with the oil?
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:19   #5
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OK, so I am assuming this does not have an external tranny oil cooler?? If you are not sure, you will find two hoses going to a small cylinder unit that also has two hoses from the water cooling pump connected to it. This is the usual place water gets in. If you don't have, then yes through the breather would be the only other way. But are you saying the engine room may have been that full and you never new??
Its a Hurth HBW 50 and I didn't see a cooler or any water lines plumbed to it. I've only owned the boat for a month or so but its hard to say what happened to it before...
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:30   #6
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If there had been much water in the boat then there will be a visible waterline mark. If the water was in the boat for only a few hours it may be hard to find, especially if someone did a good job of cleaning it. But there will still be some record either inside the laz or a locker. Are you experiencing performance problems? Is the water emmulsified with the oil?
I did see what might have been a line on the bulkheads. The very bottom 5 inches of teak were faded.

I haven't really pushed the boat as yet so I don't know whether the tranny will present problems. I've been handling all the systems that have been neglected. The water was emulsified with the tranny oil. Reminded me of what we used to see in our 4-wheel drive club after crawling through creeks. I suspect the tranny will be problematic as it will have had to have had the water in there for years.

The motor oil was ok. Although the previous owner had been using Castrol Gasoline engine oil (ugh!).

I'm starting to feel a little queezy about this boat
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Old 09-09-2007, 09:21   #7
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A couple of thoughts. I used to have an old Jeepster Commando that took me all over Texas and the rockies. When I first bought it the front end shimmied at speeds over sixty, something I learned after I had sealed the deal. I really wished then that I had bought for a different jeep and I wasted a lot of energy worrying about it. But the fix ended up not being too expensive and not near as troublesome as some of the things I damaged four wheeling. I miss that jeep.

I suspect that you will be bay sailing for the next few months, learning the boat. Consider getting a deal with Sea Tow or BoatUS towing in the rare event that you can't sail back into the slip. Your insurance may have a towing component. Be prepared for the eventuality that you will have problems with the boat, you will, if not the trans then something else. It is the nature of the beast, a friend of ours just had his new Scarrab towed in from the ship channel. Just don't let it keep you from enjoying the boat. If you have done much four wheeling, you won't come across anything you can't fix here.
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Old 09-09-2007, 13:41   #8
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It is likely that your box has been under water, although it could also have be caused by condensation with the box going through heating / cooling cycles. your gearbox can only have a bolt on cooler that doesn't connect with its internals and transfers heat through the side it attached to. The high level could just have been the previous owner over filling it.
I had a similar experience as prior to buying a boat, the stern gland let go and managed to fill the hull to the floor boards, over both the gearbox and starter motor.
It showed up as the engine and any surounding steel components became a lump of rust in a very short time and there was a tide line as well.
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Old 09-09-2007, 13:46   #9
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Don't fret drh. Trannies are pretty robust. If you are not experiancing problems now, you most likely won't in the future. Did you ever 4wding??? You just need to ensure the tranny is well flushed clean. Do that with a few oil only. Pour in new oil, run it for say 15mins to get warm and then drain again. Fill and then operate and continue to watch for signs of water over time. If you see any signs of water, repeat the flush step until the oil remains clean and clear.
The main issue salt water in the trany will cause, is bearing problems. This will result in a change of noise. Loud strange whines will appear over time. If it isn't doing that now, you should be OK.
Next point is to check everthing around the engine room, at that suspect water level and below. The starter on the engine is usually the next suspect. It would be well worth removing and checking the internals are not damp. Check all electrical connections around the water level and below. Look for signs of rust on any metals and treat.
As I said, if this has been a slight while ago, you would ahve some major tell tale signs by now, so I think you will be sweet.
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Old 09-09-2007, 17:00   #10
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Thanks guys... it was a long day. It was obvious that water had reached up over the tranny when I looked carefully. I drained the tranny again, and refilled. I also wire brushed the entire engine and used phosphoric acid on it. The bottom parts were quite rusty under the flaking paint. I'll be painting the block soon I think. I removed the starter and it looked fine (perhaps replaced). The alternator was undamaged and is producing its rated 100A.

You would not believe what I found when I opened up the racor 500. I truly cringed... There was black gunk everywhere. It amazes me that anything could get through the filter element as bad as it was. Unfortunately, the new element I bought does not fit without a spacer (that I now have to wait for). After cleaning the element and racor as best I could, I tried to restart the engine but it was not getting fuel. The fuel pump was clicking faster than normal as well. I didn't have any diesel on hand to refill the racor so I believe that is the problem. The fuel pumped sucked in air. I got no fuel out of the bleed screws.

I hope that is the problem....

UGH!!!
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Old 09-09-2007, 22:30   #11
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Once you have the filter replaced, and if by some chance it still will not bleed, take the cover off the engine lift pump. A fine brass filter mesh is in there. Take it out and throw it over your shoulder. It can get gunked up. The primary filters do the same job, so you don't need nor want that one.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:18   #12
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Thanks Wheels. I'll look for that screen. BTW, how does one avoid having the raw water backflow from the exhaust in to the exhaust valves when cranking the engine to figure out fuel flow issues? I think there might be a drain on the muffler water tank but it looks impossible to reach!
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:22   #13
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A couple of thoughts. I used to have an old Jeepster Commando that took me all over Texas and the rockies. When I first bought it the front end shimmied at speeds over sixty, something I learned after I had sealed the deal. I really wished then that I had bought for a different jeep and I wasted a lot of energy worrying about it. But the fix ended up not being too expensive and not near as troublesome as some of the things I damaged four wheeling. I miss that jeep.

I suspect that you will be bay sailing for the next few months, learning the boat. Consider getting a deal with Sea Tow or BoatUS towing in the rare event that you can't sail back into the slip. Your insurance may have a towing component. Be prepared for the eventuality that you will have problems with the boat, you will, if not the trans then something else. It is the nature of the beast, a friend of ours just had his new Scarrab towed in from the ship channel. Just don't let it keep you from enjoying the boat. If you have done much four wheeling, you won't come across anything you can't fix here.
Oh, I have many stories 4-wheeling stories. We tortured our Jeeps and they always came back for more. A little weld there, some new fluids, an occasional U-joint... back in business. Fun hobby!

BTW, we did get unlimited towing. I'm hoping that eventually I won't feel quite so paranoid
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:24   #14
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It is likely that your box has been under water, although it could also have be caused by condensation with the box going through heating / cooling cycles. your gearbox can only have a bolt on cooler that doesn't connect with its internals and transfers heat through the side it attached to. The high level could just have been the previous owner over filling it.
I had a similar experience as prior to buying a boat, the stern gland let go and managed to fill the hull to the floor boards, over both the gearbox and starter motor.
It showed up as the engine and any surounding steel components became a lump of rust in a very short time and there was a tide line as well.
I suspect something similar happened to our boat but it was at least 3 years ago. I see evidence of the water damage but I think it must have been detected quickly and/or the bilge pumps handled it.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:45   #15
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Thanks Wheels. I'll look for that screen. BTW, how does one avoid having the raw water backflow from the exhaust in to the exhaust valves when cranking the engine to figure out fuel flow issues? I think there might be a drain on the muffler water tank but it looks impossible to reach!
keep the raw water seacock closed till the engine starts.
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