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Old 23-02-2013, 13:02   #1
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Transmission fluid help, please.

Hi, all, I am a noobie when it comes to boats, I married a sailor and moved onto a Coronado 36 with him, figuring that over time I would learn, but he died of cancer, so here I am trying to figure things out on my own. My current problem is that I noticed small amounts of what looks like transmission fluid in the bilge. I poked at some of the hoses and they are clearly deteriorating. I figure the solution is to replace the hoses, the question is: how do you get the fluid out without making a huge mess? I have the manual which says to clean around the drain plug, but the drain plug itself is not featured in any of the illustrations and how would you get anything under e transmission to catch the fluid anyway? Also, the manual says the engine should be run before the fluid is changed, is it okay to run the engine under the circumstances? I don't know how much fluid has leaked, and I don't know if, as oil leaked out any water may have gotten in. Any help will be much appreciated.
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Old 23-02-2013, 13:09   #2
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Buy a suction pump oil extractor and suck the oil out the dipstick or fill puka.

AutoSport 48876000 6.5-Liter Hand Pump Oil Extractor : Amazon.com : Automotive

Look around the top or sides of the the transmission and you will see a plug or the dipstick. Warm the transmission by running the engine in gear till the oil is thoroughly warm and circulated before pumping it out. Some transmissions take auto trans fluid others just use various weights of dino oil. Make sure you get the right kind of oil.

My condolences on the loss of your mate. There are a number of women sailing their own boats on the list. Sure they'd lend a sympathetic ear if you needed it.
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Old 23-02-2013, 13:13   #3
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

you may have to pump the transmission fluid out of the fill hole. not uncommon in sailboat engines that you can't reach the drain plug and have to pump it out the fill tube or hole - and that goes for the engine as well. don't know what kind of transmission you have but mine (borg warner velvet drive) uses regular automatic transmission fluid.

you may as well check ALL of your hoses. if a few are deteriorating - probably due to age - the others may have also been neglected. i changed every hose on my boat eight years ago. the ones i can easily see still look good, but it's probably time to check the ones i can't see....
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Old 23-02-2013, 14:41   #4
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

What type engine do you have? Under normal circumstances transmission fluid is entirely confined to the transmission itself. No tubes or anything else involved. If what you're seeing is Red in color, you may be seeing fuel rather than transmission fluid.
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Old 23-02-2013, 16:43   #5
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please

Wow, thanks for all the help, the motor is a Mercedes om636, the transmission is a borgwarner velvet drive AS7-71C. I have an oil extractor we used to change the engine oil once, will the small amounts of residual motor oil cause any problems?

I'm pretty sure it is transmission fluid, I don't know much about boats, but I've worked on cars, and this stuff is too viscous and it doesn't smell like diesel. There is also a diagram in the manual of a hydraulic circuit, I'm not sure it applies to my boat, I'm still matching up pictures in the book with stuff in the engine compartment. Also I remember the fuel lines did get replaced recently, they should last a couple years at least, right? The boat hasn't been out much in that time.

Other than the fuel lines which I saw get changed I have a feeling the rest of the hoses are probably shot and should be changed, with my luck it's probably a good idea to start with the most inaccessible.

About running the engine, I suppose it makes sense that to heat up the transmission fluid, the transmission might need to be in gear, but having the boat in gear, tied up in the slip seems a bit alarming, I'd prefer not to crash into the dock, and I certainly don't want to back out of the slip by accident. So I guess throttle as low as possible, check all the dock lines and be ready to shift to neutral at the first sign of trouble, anything I've forgotten?
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Old 23-02-2013, 16:56   #6
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

The Borg Warner takes Automatic Transmission Fluid and is red in color and very thin. There should be a drain plug on the lower right hand side of the transmission. There may be lines on it leading to a cooler somewhere.
Running the engine in gear tied to the dock is not an issue provided the lines and cleats are sound.
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:13   #7
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

There is a big ol' hose running aft from the transmission it think it's 2 inches but it might be 3. I can't see where it goes to I guess that's the next thing for me to find out.

What is the pressure like in the transmission system? This hose is really goey, something has been dissolving it and I don't want to risk it rupturing and spraying hot transmission fluid about.

Am I starting to sound like a scaredy cat?
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Old 23-02-2013, 17:46   #8
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
the transmission by running the engine in gear till the oil is thoroughly warm and circulated before pumping it out.
My condolences, too, on the loss of your mate.

If your engine uses ATF unless someone has specific info on your particular transmission, there is no need to run the engine to warm it up.

Our Hurth uses Dexron (one of the two types of ATF, the other being Ford) and we don't need to run the engine. Other transmissions use oil, same as used in the engine. I do not know if one has to run the engine in gear to warm that up, but some Yanmar skippers should know.

Because of impossible access below our transmission, I suck it out using a syringe thru the dipstick hole.

Good luck.
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Old 23-02-2013, 19:08   #9
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Awwww, man, okay I feel okay taking the transmission fluid out, but now I need to find out where it's leaking from before I can put it back. The hose I suspected can't be the problem since it disappears off under the bunk in the stern and doesn't come back. Where might the leak be? The book has a schematic with a cooler, a sump, a pump and a regulator valve, attached in a circuit to the transmission. Is mine like that? The caption is for a 72c, mine is a 71c. Fuel, oil, water, exhaust :-/ there are a whole bunch of hoses here.
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Old 23-02-2013, 19:23   #10
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

are you sure that "big ol' hose running aft from the transmission i think it's 2 inches but it might be 3" is actually connected to the transmission? a hose that big in an engine that small sounds more like the engine exhaust hose, and not part of the transmission oil cooling system.

your borg warner velvet drive (same as mine and a good generally trouble free transmission) uses automatic transmission fluid. the transmission has it's own built in pump that is activated by the engine turning the shaft, so when the transmission is not being used there is no pressure in the hoses/lines. not to worry.

if i recall correctly, your particular boat has pretty good engine access, which should make a massive hose renewal project a bit easier. be sure to replace the old hose with the same or better hose; most marine hose is marked to show what kind and size it is....
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Old 23-02-2013, 19:54   #11
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Megan condolences on your recent loss. As others have said the Borg Warner drain is on the bottom r/h side of the g/box (looking forward) Fluid is ATF fluid (from any car dealer/motor factor). You can get new hydraulic pipes made up at any farm tractor/excavator/truck dealers for a much cheaper price than marine shops. When you refill with oil, top it up to the mark, replace the dipstick and run the motor for 5 minutes, have a coffee and let it stand for 10 minutes then recheck the oil level. Remember to screw down the dipstick when you return it ! Put a good squirt of washing up liquid into your bilge before you start to remove pipes etc, this will help to 'break up' any oily deposits, if you have a spill slosh in some soapy water, turn off your automatic bilge pump, let it slop around for a day and it will clean your bilges before you pump it out. If you have trouble finding spares for the OM 636 there's a guy who has a full range in UK who will ship to you.
Contact me by reply if you need his name.
Good Luck and best wishes.
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Old 23-02-2013, 22:04   #12
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Thanks to everyone for the help and the sympathy. I guess I know what to do with my free time until the next while. The only question I have left is for Irish Rambler, are your pipes the same as my tubes? To me a pipe is metal, a tube is flexible. I wasn't thinking I would have to replace metal parts.
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Old 23-02-2013, 23:55   #13
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Hi Megan. Here's a long shot, if there is some smoke coming out the exhaust you could be losing transmission fluid through a corroded hole in the raw water cooler.
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Old 24-02-2013, 00:23   #14
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Clean up bilge area where you noticed oil and place a clean absorbent pad there run engine in gear for a while and keep an eye on it to determine where leak is and how much it is, check transmission oil level first just in case
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Old 24-02-2013, 06:56   #15
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Re: Transmission fluid help, please.

Velvet Drive Manuals:

Installationhttp://www.kp44.org/ftp/VelvetDriveI...tionManual.pdf

Servicehttp://www.marineryachts.com/borg_manual.pdf
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