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Change of Sail Drive Oil

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May 22, 2009
25
2003 Bavaria 36 Victoria BC
I always change the sail drive oil during the annual haulout. For various reasons, this year I will be unable to get a haulout before heading off on an extended trip(Pacific NW - Desolation Sound). I can get a diver to change the zinc and give the bottom a scrub, but am wondering if anyone has removed the sail drive oil via the filler hole? Any advice out there? (2003 Bav 36 with the Volvo MD20-30 engine.)
Thanks,
Bob
 
Sep 25, 2008
1,072
CS 30 Toronto
You can but why. There is no combustion contamination with the sail drive oil. Unless it turn milky (by water) it is still good.

You can use a oil extractor to suck most of it out. Just can't get the last little bit which doesn't matter anyway.
 
May 22, 2009
25
2003 Bavaria 36 Victoria BC
Saildrive Oil

You point out what is my main concern - possible water contamination. Undetected, it can lead to a very expensive replacement. I guess leaving the last bit or so of oil isn`t a big deal - one certainly can tell if there has been water contamination by the amount that one is able to suck out.
Thanks for your reply. Much appreciated.
 
Sep 25, 2008
1,072
CS 30 Toronto
Actually contaminated milky white stuff will totally mixed with the oil. Oil is cheap, relatively speaking. Just change the oil twice and put some old oil in a glass jar and let it sit overnight.
 
Sep 5, 2007
689
MacGregor 26X Rochester
Oil is cheap, relatively speaking. Just change the oil twice and put some old oil in a glass jar and let it sit overnight.
;) Yup. It's also how you change the oil in some vehicles with automatic transmissions, presumably because half of it remains inside the torque converter. I believe it's called purification by dilution - same principle as a bathroom fan (though that's a continuous process).

Do it a couple of times, and enough of the contamination is removed to where it's essentially clean. Just run the drive a bit to mix the new with the old before changing it again. Close enough, and a damn sight cheaper than a round trip in the slings of a Travelift.
 

cbsura

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Jun 7, 2004
27
Bavaria 32 Branford, CT
All good answers. It is better to change the oil from the top than not at all. The next time you haul out, however, it it best to change from bottom drain plug. You'll get that last half liter out, and get to inspect the magnet in the plug for metal bits (in case the bearings are wearing).
 
May 22, 2009
25
2003 Bavaria 36 Victoria BC
All good answers. It is better to change the oil from the top than not at all. The next time you haul out, however, it it best to change from bottom drain plug. You'll get that last half liter out, and get to inspect the magnet in the plug for metal bits (in case the bearings are wearing).
Yep, good point about the metal bits for sure! Up to this point, sail drive oil has been changed annually with the haul-out. This is a "one-of" situation.
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
i have had water contamination several times. it is not hard to spot - just check thelower unit oil after each use and you willl see the milk. it does not take much water to make it obvious.

Pumping out through the top is a pain in the but. You need to do it when it is warm so that you have the water really mixed with the oil so it is pretty gnarly.

if you have no milk - there is no point in doing it.
 
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