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Old 09-12-2016, 23:09   #1
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Yanmar Sail Drive Service


Had some water enter my Yanmar Sail drives and brought my catamaran to be serviced. Was quoted about $1000 for a complete sail drive service on both engines excluding all haul out fees, etc. Below is an email from the yard. My questions are:
1) Is this reasonable?
2) What questions should I ask?
3) Should I somehow get a second opinion?
4) Do I really need to do this?

Here is the exact email I received:

Friday 12/9/2016 status:
The mechanics doing the engine/drive service report that the starboard drive seal is definitely leaking badly, the port shows some salt around it but not bad yet.
Unfortunately, to pull the drive, the engine must be removed – just no room. They think that probably the hull at the seal is warped or uneven – they have seen this before. They would probably have us fair and glass that area to get a good mate when they re-install. The best estimate is 1 ˝ days out, 2 days back and 1 day f’glass work = +/-$4,000.
A side benefit of this, if there is one, is that to repair the rudder tube would have been difficult or worse with the engine there. The tube appears to be a metal tube, threaded to the hull – which has been leaking for some time, evidenced from the caulking around it. We’ll cut the caulk away to see how it is assembled. I’ll give you an estimate when we get there, but I wouldn’t be surprised at 2 days = $1,00 - $1,600.
Please confirm – though I don’t think you have a viable choice. I’d suggest maybe just doing the full repairs on the starboard side, and basic service on the port side. Then, schedule the port side along with the full bottom job in 2 years.
BTW, the bottom paint came out pretty nice – a bit of good news!

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Old 10-12-2016, 03:07   #2
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

Not clear on what seals are bad, if the lower unit seals and O rings are bad then to haul block, replace seals replace gear lube etc, yes 1000 is a Great price. If talking about the upper bellows between the saildrive and the engine room that keeps the water out of the boat those seals upper and lower are about $ 800 a side so with labor and haulout out yes still not bad probably 10 hours or so per side. If you mean the useless lip seal that glues to the hull,, No remove it and forget about it. It only keeps marine growth out of the cavity and half the time they fall off
If the mechanic thinks the hull lip seal is allowing seawater into the drive itself, you need another mechanic,,,

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Old 10-12-2016, 05:42   #3
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

To clarify here is the quote:
- 2495 for haul, block paint
- 4000 to remove starboard engine and SD and replace SD seals at the hull (one side only)
- 660 to service both sail drives
- 330 to flush and fill both sail drives
- 1600 to rebed a leaking tiller tube

Total quote: $9,085
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:08   #4
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

9 times out of 10, water in the sail drive leg is due to a bad drain screw o-ring. What needs to be done before ripping anything apart is a pressure and vacuum test to look for the leaks. That will confirm or deny the presence of bad seals.
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Old 11-12-2016, 08:18   #5
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

Yes, you need to confirm to us where this salt water is.

Inside the leg or between the seals surrounding the leg.

And those drain plug orings do sometimes fail to seat.
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Old 11-12-2016, 09:24   #6
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

What you are saying doesn't seem to make sense to me. From your description there seems to be water in the oil. Is that correct? The hull seals do not have anything to do with water in the oil. There are basically four places water can get into the sail drive oil, the oil drain screw, the prop shaft seals, the bearing carrier O-rings, and the O-rings between the lower housing and upper housing. The screw O-ring, prop shaft seals and bearing carrier O-rings can be easily serviced without removing the sail drive assuming the boat is out of the water.

If I have misunderstood and you are talking about water between the hull seals then the drives do have to be removed. Keep in mind that the hull seals do not typically seal to the hull, but to the engine bed. This is typically a pretty robust piece of structure not typically subject to warping and is typically located a couple of inches above the exterior hull opening. As Dulcesuenos pointed out the outer lip seal is simply to reduce hull drag from the sail drive opening and keep marine growth out of the cavity between the sail drive bed and the outer hull. It is not water tight. The dual hull seals located at the bed are meant to be water tight and may have in fact failed, but they have no connection to the inside of the sail drive and will not cause water to enter the oil. If the primary hull seal fails you will get water between the primary and secondary hull seals and the seal failure alarm will go off. Do you test this detector as recommended in the user manual? If you don't it may have failed and not go off if the primary seal has failed. If you remove the sensor it will be apparent if the primary has failed as there will be water between the primary and secondary seals.

If there is water in the oil and no water between the primary and secondary seals then run, don't walk away from this mechanic, as he seems to be diagnosing your bank account rather than your sail drives.
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Old 12-12-2016, 18:31   #7
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

I'm not qualified to comment on saildrives,but I am curious to know what make/model of boat you have, and who and where is the boatyard you're dealing with?
Sail Fast Live Slow
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Old 13-12-2016, 08:16   #8
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

As Captain Bill points out, we appear to be talking about two separate issues here. Have the yard quoted you without seeing the problem themselves? Did you tell them that water is coming in the saildrive and they mistakenly believed that the water is coming into the boat rather than into the drive itself. Leaking oil seals are easy and cheap to replace; I did it myself for the first time earlier this year. It is all done from outside the boat and can be done, even without prior experience in an hour or two at the very most.
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Old 13-12-2016, 08:21   #9
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Re: Yanmar Sail Drive Service

Do the lot. Sounds like an opportunity to fix some real issues.

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