Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-02-2017, 20:51   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 24
Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

Yesterday morning, I went to refuel and take on freshwater at a marina 500m away. Luckily, I asked some friends for assistance to come and help pick up the mooring as there was a bit of wind.
Normally I would test forward and reverse before throwing the mooring line, however it was let go before I had a chance.
Calamity! we are off the mooring and I couldn't engage reverse, nor forward. So before things got too manic we hoisted the headsail and did a few laps but the wind was driving us towards the shore. Fortunately a friend came to the rescue and towed us back to the mooring.
I had no revs on the engine when I selected reverse and later through neutral to forward. The lever on the pedestal is stuck and it appears that the selector on the gearbox is unjammed in reverse.
This problem developed after an incident sailing from Adelaide to Sydney. The helmsman took his eyes of things and we jibbed, which caused the mainsheet to wrap around the gear lever, and slam the motor into reverse whist motor sailing.
I've only had trouble once before, whilst in sydney. the lever was stuck so a mechanic disconnected the cable and freed the selector on the gearbox by using a hammer and cold chisel. It freed it up and has bee without incident since, that is until yesterday. I haven't looked at it yet, thinking I'd post this first and see if anyone has some good advice.
When this happened yesterday and I realised there was no chance of find a gear I switched the engine off. The gear box was hot and when I took the dipstick out to make sure there was enough oil again, there was some pressure releasing the dip stick. Oil was fine and I only use 15/40W as recommended.
Not sure what has caused this as I've had the boat motoring around the harbour without drama on many occasions.
Any advice?
Thank you

Duncanson40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-02-2017, 21:27   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Planet Earth
Boat: 2001 Bavaria 37
Posts: 83
Re: Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

The Volvo saildrive transmission on our Bavaria locked up last summer due to a similar situation- switching into reverse before idling down completely (can't blame the boat for that one). It was totally frozen. I was expecting the worse (being out of commission for weeks while waiting for a new transmission). We were able to remove the tranny without hauling out the boat. We (the tech mainly) disconnected the engine from the tranny. This allowed us to slide the engine forward a few inches so the spindle could clear the tranny (easier than I thought it would be). After disassembling the transmission it turned out nothing was even broken- it was just jammed. We were back together and on our way later that afternoon. I hope your fix is as easy as ours was. Good luck!

Jim Krause is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2017, 01:43   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Slidell, La.
Boat: Morgan Classic 33
Posts: 2,106
Re: Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

Have you tried disconnecting the cable and shifting by hand at the transmission?
jimbunyard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2017, 02:35   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Gulf Harbour, New Zealand
Boat: Farr Phase 4, 12.8m
Posts: 1,156
Re: Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

What model saildrive? Freeing a stuck shift with a hammer is NEVER a good idea. Something has jammed in the mechanism and forcing it may crush it, or break something else. However, some Volvo units have a couple of collets on the top of the selector shaft. If they come out, the shaft can fall down into the box and no gears will be selectable.
As above, remove the cables. Try to shift by hand, it should click in and out of both fwd and reverse. If it does not, take off the oil fill cap and look into the box. You should be able to see (depending on model) if the shaft is still engaged to the top gear...
If you are not confident with this, find a decent mechanic!
Matt Paulin
Neptune's Gear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2017, 11:01   #5
Registered User
Cadence's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SC
Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
Posts: 8,691
Re: Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

A SWAG would be the gears didn't mesh because of the RPM, I believe they are helical gears. You might have some luck by trying to rotate the prop by hand in reverse. It is probably jammed spline to spline? Good luck, beating the hell out of the linkage?
Cadence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2017, 11:58   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Re: Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

I had a similar problem. Transmission locked up when I did a panic shift from forward to reverse. Froze and killed the engine. I freed it by taking a big wrench and rotating the crankshaft backward a half turn. Counted myself very lucky. You might try this on yours. You may be as lucky. Otherwise you will have to get into the tranny. Best of luck!
maxlynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2017, 13:14   #7
Registered User

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Whangarei
Boat: Bavaria 38 Cruiser, 12meters, 2004
Posts: 179
Re: Volvo Saildrive not engaging into forward or reverse

Having a Volvo saildrive, and doing the occasional hasty gear change this post is of interest.

It also reminds me of a very lucky break (speaking euphemistically) I had in our car the other day. I was driving in an unfamiliar area towing an empty trailer. We were using my son's cell phone as our GPS. Having no holder, it was simply jammed between the dashboard and windscreen. As I accelerated from a set of lights the phone fell back towards the floor, instinctively I shoved out my left hand to break the fall. Inadvertently I connnected with the shift- but not only the shift, also the button on the side of the shifter which locks it into whatever position the transmission is in. Consequently the vehicle shunted into reverse at about 15 km/hr. There was a big bang such that I thought I'd hit something, as the tyres squealed in reverse,and I braked at the same moment. Coming to an abrupt halt and not realizing quite what had happened I took stock all around to see what I'd hit or who hit me. Lucky no cars behind at this point. Only then did I realize what had happened.

The result? No more harm than bruising my ego- apparently. I looked sheepishly around once more and carried on... We drove straight to a store and picked up a cellphone windscreen mount.

Your story also reminds me of our first boat- a Herreschoff 28 which we kept on a swing mooring. I arrived by dinghy running late as I had people we were taking out for the day waiting on the jetty to be picked up. I hastily prepared the boat to cast off. Oil checked, bilge checked, seacock open, warm up engine, engage forward and reverse, check for traffic, cast off. Only at that point did I remember the tiller helm was lashed- and of course being the one who lashed it as I left the boat the previous outing- I only had myself to blame when I couldn't undo the lashing quick enough to avoid the ebb tide getting a good grip and slamming the boat into the next boat moored downstream. Fortunately no damage so the situation improved as I got control again. The hurrier I go, the slower I get.

Kerry1 is offline   Reply With Quote

sail, saildrive, volvo

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Volvo Saildrive Problem: not engaging forward nor in reverse Mandala5 Propellers & Drive Systems 50 06-07-2020 07:43
Perkins Starter (Delco Remy) Not Engaging morgan3 Engines and Propulsion Systems 7 12-09-2016 07:41
KBW20 marine gear not engaging mhansen Propellers & Drive Systems 14 27-08-2016 16:21
KBW20 marine gear not engaging mhansen Monohull Sailboats 14 08-08-2016 07:42
Volvo Penta with Sail Drive - Forward, Neutral or Reverse when Under Sail ? Bell Propellers & Drive Systems 5 18-11-2010 07:20

Advertise Here

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:30.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.