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difficult to engage in forward when cold

Oct 17, 2011
226
Catalina 310 Chesapeake (Middle River, MD)
I have noticed that it is difficult to engage the transmission into forward when it is initially cold, but not reverse. Reverse engages right away. Forward takes a considerable amount of time. I found that if the revs are as low as possible (lower than my normal idle of 1,100 or so rpms) it eventually goes in but the engine is not happy at those low rpms.

However, after the transmission / fluid is warmed up from motoring around, then seems to engage in forward normally.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,366
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
When was the last time your changed the transmission fluid?

I shift at 900 RPM. 1,100 RPM is high and you are fighting the engine when going into gear.
 
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Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,600
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
I have noticed that it is difficult to engage the transmission into forward when it is initially cold, but not reverse. Reverse engages right away. Forward takes a considerable amount of time. I found that if the revs are as low as possible (lower than my normal idle of 1,100 or so rpms) it eventually goes in but the engine is not happy at those low rpms.

However, after the transmission / fluid is warmed up from motoring around, then seems to engage in forward normally.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
This is an ongoing issue with Hurth transmissions. A friend on Cape Cod has had his Hurth transmission replaced twice in the last few years for the same issue you described. Initially, he would start the engine, release the mooring, and end up drifting for a minute or two, until the tranny engaged. Reverse worked fine right from the start. Hurth replaced the tranny, and the new one did the same thing from day one. He used that tranny for the season, since it worked fine once it was warmed up. Last summer, Hurth replaced the tranny again, and as far as I know, it was ok.
I had gone out to the boat with the owner to check out the second tranny. I disconnected the shifter cable, and shifted the tranny by hand right after start up. Sure enough, the engine revved, but the prop shaft only turned at idle rpm's, until everything warmed up for a couple of minutes. Reverse worked fine right away.
I asked the owner to request a reason for failure from Hurth, and he said they promised to, but then never replied.
The only anomaly I noticed between this defective tranny, and my own Hurth tranny is that the oil in the defective tranny was clear, and mine has red ATF fluid.
At least Hurth replaced the trannies at no cost to the owner.
 
Nov 16, 2012
897
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
This is very interesting. Ours has a similar problem. At the dock I normally shift into forward against a mid ship spring line. Remove all dock lines, then shift into reverse. Back out of the dock, and then shift into forward. The last several times the second shift into forward has not happened right away. But the initial shift at the dock always goes fine. I played with the shift cable adjustment to be sure that the lever was moving enough (the lever at the pedestal has much more travel in reverse than forward), but it didn’t seem to make much difference.

I have changed the fluid twice, it was red coming out, and I put red in (Dextron ATF2).

I’ll play more with the shift cable adjustment, but I. Interested to hear more about this.
 
Oct 17, 2011
226
Catalina 310 Chesapeake (Middle River, MD)
It sounds like I am not the only one with this issue unfortunately. I think I will start with changing the transmission fluid (been 5+ years) and see if there is any improvement.

Cheers,
 
Feb 2, 2013
31
Catalina 310 282 Bluewater Bay
When I purchased my 2004 Cat 310 #282 the prior owner had installed newer shift arms that interfered with the stainless steel binnacle tubing. I.E. the transmission was not shifting completely in gear. That ate up the shift plates in the hurst transmission requiring a rebuild. Make sure handles, cable routing, etc. allow complete shifting and engagement. Also change fluids annually. 5 yrs is way too long no matter how much you use the engine. Oils deteriorate over time and with use. Transmission should go into gear immediately, no delay.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,366
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
It sounds like I am not the only one with this issue unfortunately. I think I will start with changing the transmission fluid (been 5+ years) and see if there is any improvement.

Cheers,
Eeek! That is very likely what started this issue then. That is way too long. When I sailed seasonally I did the trany fluid every spring before launching. Now I do it every 100 hours or 6 months, which ever comes first.
 
Oct 4, 2014
9
Catalina 310 73 Monterey
I just saw this forum thread, I haven't been on here for a few years, since we started looking for a 310. We did purchase hull #73 four or five years ago. I rejoined while chasing an injector pump problem on our M25-XPB, but that's another story.
We had the same issue when we got our boat- reverse engaged fine, but forward took several seconds.
When I looked at the transmission fluid, it was black. I drained it, filled with fresh, ran for a while, drained and refilled again. Now it engages fwd pretty quickly after a five minute warm up, and shifts consistently after that. Now that I think about it, it's been maybe two years, time to do it again. Easy enough.
One thing I noticed in the Hurth manual- in section 3.3 there is a caution note to never put the gear lever in the same direction of travel as the boat when sailing. If sailing or being towed forward- put it in reverse or neutral. They don't go into more detail, but I wonder if this affects the life of those clutches.
I'll try to get as much as I can out of this box before repair/ replacement is needed.
Now all I need to do is get the engine to start- last weekend it was running fine, but as I backed out of the slip it shut down quickly- almost like the shutdown handle was pulled. Cranks fine but not even a sputter. I've done all the easy external stuff- lift pump, filters, etc. Verified good clean flow to the injector pump. But when I crank it with the injector lines off the pump there is no output. I found a local shop that says they should be able to test and repair the pump, so I'll pull it this weekend and take it in.
 
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Oct 17, 2011
226
Catalina 310 Chesapeake (Middle River, MD)
This is very interesting. Ours has a similar problem. At the dock I normally shift into forward against a mid ship spring line. Remove all dock lines, then shift into reverse. Back out of the dock, and then shift into forward. The last several times the second shift into forward has not happened right away. But the initial shift at the dock always goes fine. I played with the shift cable adjustment to be sure that the lever was moving enough (the lever at the pedestal has much more travel in reverse than forward), but it didn’t seem to make much difference.

I have changed the fluid twice, it was red coming out, and I put red in (Dextron ATF2).

I’ll play more with the shift cable adjustment, but I. Interested to hear more about this.
Any update on your transmission issue?

I am still dealing with the slow forward engagement. Today I ruled out shift cable as a problem. I manually shifted at the transmission (not in the cockpit) and noticed the prop shaft starts to spin, but then after 30 seconds or so, there is a "clunk" and it seems to fully engage and the prop shaft spins much faster.
 
Nov 16, 2012
897
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
Any update on your transmission issue?

I am still dealing with the slow forward engagement. Today I ruled out shift cable as a problem. I manually shifted at the transmission (not in the cockpit) and noticed the prop shaft starts to spin, but then after 30 seconds or so, there is a "clunk" and it seems to fully engage and the prop shaft spins much faster.
I haven’t played with this yet. I need to do what you did, and manually shift it at the tranny, and see what happens.
 

paulj

.
Mar 16, 2007
1,356
Catalina 310 Anacortes,Wa
For about 15 years now, I used per the owners note in the my 310 manual...start engine and keep the RPM at 950 to 1,000.
Put the transmission into forward and idle out to break water and by that time everything should be warmed up .....transmission and engine...then increse to desired speed.
Never had a problem.

Some do not wait and increase to 2000 RPM and then the varius transmission stories begin.

My story..... just recently someone else, who wanted to buy my boat, was at the helm of my boat and increased the rpm's to 2450 without waiting and, and, and it sliped out of gear or the prop shaft quit turning :confused:.
I mentioned to the captain if you keep the rpm around 1,000 untill you get to the breakwater you will not have this problem.



paulj :hook2:
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,600
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
For about 15 years now, I used per the owners note in the my 310 manual...start engine and keep the RPM at 950 to 1,000.
Put the transmission into forward and idle out to break water and by that time everything should be warmed up .....transmission and engine...then increse to desired speed.
Never had a problem.

Some do not wait and increase to 2000 RPM and then the varius transmission stories begin.

My story..... just recently someone else, who wanted to buy my boat, was at the helm of my boat and increased the rpm's to 2450 without waiting and, and, and it sliped out of gear or the prop shaft quit turning :confused:.
I mentioned to the captain if you keep the rpm around 1,000 untill you get to the breakwater you will not have this problem.



paulj :hook2:
Do you have the Universal M25-XPB with the Hurth tranny, Paul? My Universal manual calls for 1250 RPM at idle. My 2003 Hurth works fine, shifts right away, doesn't slip. I think the slipping in gear when cold issue with the Hurth trannies is showing up in the newer units.
 

DaveJ

.
Apr 2, 2013
343
Catalina 310 Niagara-on-the-Lake
This issue has been talked about a few times, my 2001 C310 with the same engine/trannie had these symptoms. A transmission rebuild fixed it, the plates were polished and worn out at about 500 hours. I think the PO may have sailed with the transmission in forward.
I start the engine and increase the RPM to about 1250, anything below that and the engine rattles and shakes the whole boat. Before I engage into gear I decrease the RPM to minimum, about 1000 on my boat.
Cheers
dj
 
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Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,600
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
This issue has been talked about a few times, my 2001 C310 with the same engine/trannie had these symptoms. A transmission rebuild fixed it, the plates were polished and worn out at about 500 hours. I think the PO may have sailed with the transmission in forward.
I start the engine and increase the RPM to about 1250, anything below that and the engine rattles and shakes the whole boat. Before I engage into gear I decrease the RPM to minimum, about 1000 on my boat.
Cheers
dj
Good point, Dave. It makes sense that sailing with the tranny in forward would wear on the plates, etc. The issue about idle RPM's has been discussed several times in this forum. When I bought my boat, the surveyor remarked that 1200 RPM was way too high for idle, and that 900 to 1000 RPM was correct. I did as he suggested and adjusted the idle to 950 RPM. The engine vibrated excessively, to the point the brackets on the heat exchanger broke. I readjusted the idle to 1250 RPM, and the engine idles smoothly, and shifts well, with no issues in 1,700 hours.
I think the fact that the M25-XPB is a three cylinder engine has something to do with the idle needing to be higher than other engines.
 
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DaveJ

.
Apr 2, 2013
343
Catalina 310 Niagara-on-the-Lake
I would worry about shifting at 1250 RPM, I've done it and all is good, but I'd rather not do it repeatedly. That is why I have set the idle lower.
Maybe I worry too much....

cheers
dj
 
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paulj

.
Mar 16, 2007
1,356
Catalina 310 Anacortes,Wa
The RPM's on the tachometer on each boat differs alot.
Years ago, I discovered this deference when I was an adventurist.....You use the altenator and a external tach to adjust a more accurte RPM on the boat's tach, one that I could see and verify my self.
My original Hurth 50 trans which came with the boat was rebuilt 2 months ago by Mike Vote and his top drawer trans group....thanks Mike. I took the boat out and did my usual routine and let warm up than took it thru some maneuvers, such that when I got back to the dock, people came up to me and said what was that all about.
Any way no problems.....but I did not take the boat out with new tran and increase the rpm to 2400 when trans was cold, to see what would happen.
Mabe next week :clap:

paulj
:hook2: