I'm sharing here and looking for an answer other than the "too bad, too sad" I'm getting from Yanmar - don't get me wrong, I think they make a great engine! I just hate the saildrive cone clutch not being reliable
I have a SD40
on my 55' Kernan custom sailboat - I bought this fabulous boat
from the builder
in "as new" condition in July 2007. The boat
came with a feathering, 3 - blade, Sea Hawk SS prop. The engine and drive had only 180 hrs on them at the time of purchase
. I pulled the boat and changed out the prop to a 3 - bladed Sea Hawk SS folding prop. (personally I prefer the folding prop as they are hydrodynamically more efficent, less vibration, have less drag, are less likely to pick up anything under sail and give better control of speed in reverse) Both props have rubber "shock absorbers" around the female splines as is reccommended in a recent Yanmar publication.(which we wern't told about)
My first cone clutch was replaced after 520 hrs, it started slipping and "thunking" about 20 hrs prior.
I am now faced with another replacement after only 180 hrs. I had the linkage checked and it seems fine. In sort of a defense for Yanmar, my boat is used frequently, mostly day sails
or trips across the San Pedro channel to Catalina
. I rarely motor
more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time just to get the boat out and back into the slip (ergo I shift gears more frequently per hour then someone that might motor
for hours at a time).
When I spoke to the local Yanmar distributor they, not unlike Yanmar, looked to blame the problem on the prop or me. I've owned boats for 53 years and always maintained them well. Frankly, I think the saildrive is just poorly engineered, unfortunately like many things today, Yanmar is not taking any responsibility for their inherent design problem. Luckily for them, many boats sit in their slips 90+% of the time so the owners are not faced with this expense/aggravation, cronologically, very often!
What I think I have learned in reading this collection of comments re the SD40
and other Yanmar saildrives is that "banging" the engine into gear may add life to the cone clutch; I am however concerned as to what that might do to the gears and/or bearings.
Mechanical things don't like
The cone clutch repair has become part of regular maintenance
that many buyers were unaware of at the time of purchase
, and, it ain't cheap! I think Yanmar needs to 1. Make it clear to the new buyer what they are faced with in terms of frequency of repair and cost 2. set up a remuneration program for current
owners which should include, at least, free replacement of the cone clutch itself if it lasts less than 500 hours; we owners are still are burdened with the labor COST to replace it which is generally over $1500.
If anyone out there has a better solution or suggestion I'd like to hear it.
Thanks - Capt Bob