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Old 15-06-2021, 07:53   #31
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

I've been calling around all day yesterday to (1) Twin Disc HQ, (2) field mechanics authorized for Twin Disc service, and (3) fluid analysis labs. The upshot is: this level of lead is normal, in fact below average.

Some of these people said that lead does not even indicate clutch wear. This contradicts what the report said. I could not completely follow the technical parts of the conversation but my best summary is that this transmission has no lead components and lead is produced as an oxide (?) due to normal operation of the transmission, as was posted on this thread.

So, if anything, lead by itself is an indication that the transmission has been operated; high lead might be taken to mean the fluid has not been changed. This "lead = normal" situation may be specific to Twin Discs, a lab said they didn't see it elsewhere. Not sure how much weight to give any single report.

One mechanic opened his file of past transmission fluid analyses for this transmission for me. Lead numbers were all around 100-120 for routine checks of normal Twin Disc transmissions of the same or similar model. A lab that I reached stated their rolling average for this transmission is 86, they would probably mark a value above 172 as "elevated" in another marine transmission -- BUT they have a flag on their internal Twin Disc analysis instructions that says not to mark any level of lead as elevated. The oil analysis tech said that they developed this policy after consulting with Twin Disc about the normal operation of the transmission. Twin Disc HQ said that they would consider a value over 300 as "abnormal."

Also I learned that it is hard to get busy, experienced mechanics to talk on the phone!

Compass790 I don't think any apologies are necessary the whole thread was very helpful to give my head around the topic and give me what I needed to follow up on the phone.

Thanks again for all of your help on this. We are not going to consider this an issue in negotiation with the seller. A lesson might be that I wish the surveyor had used a different lab. If the lab had routine experience with marine transmission fluid testing this value would never have been marked as "critical" and the last few days of my life would be different.
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Old 15-06-2021, 09:06   #32
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

Thanks for that summary. Really good to know how this turned out.

I am happy it resolved successfully.

OTOH, it made me think about the blood work we get done for my annual physical.
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Old 15-06-2021, 10:02   #33
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

Quote:
Originally Posted by niftyc View Post
Hello Cruisers Forum friends, I am under contract to buy a 1999 boat with a single-screw, 300 HP Caterpillar 3208T engine with a V-Drive. As a part of the survey I asked for the transmission fluid to be tested during the oil analysis as I read that this is good practice.

Unfortunately, the seller replaced the fluid just before the test. I thought that this would invalidate the results, BUT with just ~4 hours of engine time on the transmission, the transmission fluid analysis has come back with a "critical" level of lead. Plus some silicon.

The report reads:
Silicon (D5185 method): 20.30 (Caution)
Lead (D5185 method): 31.60 (Critical)​
All other values are normal. I'm sure glad that I had the transmission fluid tested, but as a non-mechanical person I'm not sure what this means! Or what to do now! The report states "possible clutch wear. change oil, resample in 250 hours to monitor trends" but of course they just changed the fluid. There was no indication of clutch slippage or any other problem during the sea trial.

I've gotten so much fantastic information by lurking on this forum, I wonder if it would be possible to throw myself on the mercy of the readers and ask for help. I need to figure out how serious this is and what steps I should take now, as a potential buyer with days before the final acceptance deadline.

Also: if I go through with the purchase there is a long delivery voyage ahead as the next step. Obviously I don't want a breakdown to be part of that voyage.

Can anyone with more experience share how they would react to this report? I would be so, so grateful for your thoughts.

The high lead levels are an indication of the solder breaking down in your oil cooler (solder the copper passages separating raw water from oil). Not big deal...
I had the same issue and replaced both oil coolers with OEM; Yes relatively expensive but so is a new transmission if the solder joints fail and you get raw water seepage into the oil.
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Old 15-06-2021, 19:37   #34
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

Another thread watcher/poster glad you came out of it with a positive conclusion & thankfully for us you posted a well written summary

Hope the boat works out well.
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Old 18-06-2021, 07:30   #35
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

This is an interesting article on the subject from a very reliable marine mechanic.

https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/oil-analysis/
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Old 18-06-2021, 07:36   #36
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

I would drain the fluid completely, flush, then fill and then run if possible. Check woth a lab again. It is possible that not being on site new fluid wasnt used. This is a dark thought but Ive seen similar hi games before - especially with a pending sale.
Then Id call the manufacturer and hear what their thoughts are. You dont want to start a delivery without knowing. Delivery skippers bill by the hour and days as well as hired crew. This would be on you.
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Old 18-06-2021, 14:10   #37
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

I am surprised that the seller changed the oil. Does he know something?

Lead is an unusual contaminant in modern gearboxes. White metal bearings have not been used for a long time.

The survey report does give you the right to cancel your offer and that is the way to start a renegotiation of the sale conditions. Another idea is that you could proceed on condition that the current owner has the boat delivered to your port and it arrives there in good condition.
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Old 18-06-2021, 19:33   #38
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

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Originally Posted by Evenstar View Post
I would argue you have a misconception about what the survey is for. It is NOT "acceptable to renegotiate the original offer" with a single survey report.

Most contracts are worded so that the survey is intended to find undisclosed defects and flaws. And most are worded so the buyer can then request that the seller remedy said flaws, if they are serious in nature or obvious defects that render the boat unsafe, unusable, or in other ways not as advertised. Or the buyer can walk.

Under most contracts the seller has the option to repair it to the buyer's satisfaction, offer a cash adjustment to price, or refuse to address it if they feel the request is not "seriously defective or unsound."

The buyer can negotiate the proposed amount or reject the proposed solution (or lack there of), and the boat along with it. Or they can move forward on the deal and accept the seller won't deal with those issues.

But most contracts are not written so the buyer can just renegotiate the sale terms if they "don't like" the survey. Most of them do not have room for a buyer to demand money off the price at all, though the buyer is certainly within rights to suggest a new price, that the seller is within rights to reject it out of hand without more detail.

Asking for large sums off on a boat based on a survey without specific demands from line items found in the survey and a rationale for why they are "seriously defective or unsound" instead of normal wear and tear is a recipe for blowing up the deal.

--

Now back to the OP, this does sound like it might a serious thing, but I don't know enough about fluid analysis to say. If I were your seller, I'd ask for a re-test before agreeing to any major repairs or dollar adjustments.

A re-test may be wise, and if the results are bad again seek info on what that really means form the lab or the surveyor. It may not be as bad as it looks or sounds. Also, see if there was any corroborating suggestions in the he sea trial, e.g. rough shifting, noises and grniding, etc.

Armed with that information, you're then prepared to say something like "The survey and oil analysis indicates the transmission is almost certainly worn out, and may need a serious repair. This is a deal breaker if you can not address it. My research indicates replacing that transmission will cost about $X,XXX with parts and labor in your area."

That's put it in the seller's hands to look at the problem or come back with a proposed adjustment.
I disagree with this opinion. Most if not all purchase sell agreements have, or should have, a provision that the sale is subject to survey and sea trials. I have rejected 3 boats, on which I put down a deposit, based on the survey and sea trial. The owner does not have the right to simply "fix" the alleged problem. If the survey turns up a problem which the buyer does not want to be saddled with, he can void the sale. Based on what you've said so far, it sounds to me like you might want to look for another boat.

Jack Hulse, New Orleans.
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Old 19-06-2021, 05:14   #39
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Re: "critical" lead level in transmission fluid for boat under contract

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Originally Posted by Jackhulse View Post
I disagree with this opinion. Most if not all purchase sell agreements have, or should have, a provision that the sale is subject to survey and sea trials. I have rejected 3 boats, on which I put down a deposit, based on the survey and sea trial. The owner does not have the right to simply "fix" the alleged problem. If the survey turns up a problem which the buyer does not want to be saddled with, he can void the sale. Based on what you've said so far, it sounds to me like you might want to look for another boat.

Jack Hulse, New Orleans.

Jack,


Good point, but a sell agreement can say anything you want it to, and most do contain a "subject to" clause where the buyer can easily back out 100%. I use to put in my agreements, "If wife doesn't like it, I can cancel and get all my money back".... which is my escape clause for ANY reason.


As for the OP... from the beginning of this thread, it would be valuable to know the year, and the manufacturers of the transmission, boat and engine. Hard to comment without this.
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