• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

I Hate My Sail Drive

Status
Not open for further replies.
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
My first boat with a saildrive was my bavaria. I cant say enough bad things about the design. While i am sure it is less expensive/more efficient for the manufacturers....the ongoing maintenance is a real pain in the ****.

Basicly you have to pull the boat every year to avoid water incursions in my experience which is a costly nuissance - I should be able to get away with pulling it every other year.

I am now on my second round of milky gear oil. So whiile i wait to pull it I wasted a hundred or so dollars pumping the milk out (by hand) and filling with fresh clean gear oil to minimize water impact. I also get to worry about potential damage and $$$$ if something more is wrong.

Im sure it is replace the seals or some other (hopefully) relatively minor problem but the only way to avoid it is to pull the boat every year. Plus all the parts down there just make me plain nervous...way too much stuff under there that can break/malfunction with NO WAY to access/fix etc. without pulling it. The practical issues of that are terrible.

Please pile on if you agree since Bavaria is actively reading this forum.
 

caguy

.
Sep 22, 2006
4,003
Catalina, Luger C-27, Adventure 30 Marina del Rey
What kind of motor do you have with your sail drive. I have the Zephyr on a OMC saildrive. The motor was underwater and is toast. I am looking for a new motor.
I replaced it with a 15 hp Johnson ob.
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
that is terrible....sorry to hear it. I have a Volvo....experience has been ok (if you exclude the saildrive). my prior boat motor was a yanmar - never one problem.
 

cbsura

.
Jun 7, 2004
27
Bavaria 32 Branford, CT
I am new to saildrives myself, as I just upgraded to a 2005 Bavaria 32 with a Volvo MD2030D diesel and saildrive. (My prior boat was a 1981 Hunter 33 with a Yanmar 2QM15 diesel and traditional propeller shaft.) Saildrives are different and there's a steeper learning curve, but I won't say I hate it. While the maintenance is more involved it is much quieter and more maneuverable than my old rig.

We should really be addressing your specific problem, though. Water intrusion is definitely bad -- you should not delay getting those seals replaced or you will pay much more later. I have heard that seal failure occurs more often wihen using heavy feathering props. I have the lightweight 2-blade aluminum prop, and the oil still looked clean & new when I replaced it. The only thing that had me cursing was the stainless steel drain plug on the aluminum leg -- it is seized so I had to pump the oil from above.
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
thanks...i do have experience cleaning out the bad lube while floating and have done that while i wait to haul which should help alot and i know to check it just about every day since my first incursion - i recommend that to you. Ill look at the prop when we pull it and investigate a lighter option thanks for the idea.

I had a similar setup previously (yanmar non sail drive)...five years of ownership - not one single problem in the engine or drive shaft....and that was a relatively old boat with lots of hours on the engine.

five years of ownership of volvo with saildrive - 2 water incursions - seals done twice - exhaust elbow -heat exchanger etc etc etc....im sure my saildrive will be cooked here eventually costing who knows how much? 10Gs. Sorry - Bavaria but you wont be selling me any more boats with Volvo engines and saildrives....and i will never buy another volvo product (auto marine etc.).

Hopefully your experiences with your volvo and saildrive are better than mine.




I am new to saildrives myself, as I just upgraded to a 2005 Bavaria 32 with a Volvo MD2030D diesel and saildrive. (My prior boat was a 1981 Hunter 33 with a Yanmar 2QM15 diesel and traditional propeller shaft.) Saildrives are different and there's a steeper learning curve, but I won't say I hate it. While the maintenance is more involved it is much quieter and more maneuverable than my old rig.

We should really be addressing your specific problem, though. Water intrusion is definitely bad -- you should not delay getting those seals replaced or you will pay much more later. I have heard that seal failure occurs more often wihen using heavy feathering props. I have the lightweight 2-blade aluminum prop, and the oil still looked clean & new when I replaced it. The only thing that had me cursing was the stainless steel drain plug on the aluminum leg -- it is seized so I had to pump the oil from above.
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
Plus volvo service where i am is non-existent. When i need work done by volvo - i call the local repair shop, talk about the issue, they commit to coming to look at it, i wait two weeks and then give up.

Then i go to my local guy - not Volvo - and he does it. I know that is the marine business (inconsistent service), but i have called the local volvo guy at least 3-4 times to do stuff and every time never hear back.

I want to replace the gasket between the engine and the saildrive (whatever that thing is called)...but cant get anyone at Volvo (who should be theoretically the only person i trust with that work) to pay attention....

hear me volvo? this is me giving you the VIRTUAL FINGER




thanks...i do have experience cleaning out the bad lube while floating and have done that while i wait to haul which should help alot and i know to check it just about every day since my first incursion - i recommend that to you. Ill look at the prop when we pull it and investigate a lighter option thanks for the idea.

I had a similar setup previously (yanmar non sail drive)...five years of ownership - not one single problem in the engine or drive shaft....and that was a relatively old boat with lots of hours on the engine.

five years of ownership of volvo with saildrive - 2 water incursions - seals done twice - exhaust elbow -heat exchanger etc etc etc....im sure my saildrive will be cooked here eventually costing who knows how much? 10Gs. Sorry - Bavaria but you wont be selling me any more boats with Volvo engines and saildrives....and i will never buy another volvo product (auto marine etc.).

Hopefully your experiences with your volvo and saildrive are better than mine.
 
Jul 13, 2011
1
Bavaria 42 Gosport
You should stop moaning and change the seals, your saildrive will be fine for years because they hardly ever leak.
 

robgs

.
May 24, 2004
26
Bavaria Vision 40 Rock Hall MD
Water intrusion into a saildrive is not normal and very serious. It should be fixed immediately to avoid more damage to the internal gears, etc.

The Volvo-Penta D2-40 with S130 saildrive on my Bavaria Vision 40 runs like a dream.
 

caguy

.
Sep 22, 2006
4,003
Catalina, Luger C-27, Adventure 30 Marina del Rey
I spoke to a Volvo Penta dealer/mechanic in San Pedro earlier this week and asked him about Sailfdrives leaking. He said it really isn't a problem with periodically replacing the seal. Depending on use they last several years.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,143
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
My Saildrive is a Yamaha SD31

I bought the boat when it was 4 yr old with 125 hr on the Yanmar 3-cylinder diesel (39 hp), and as far as I can tell, there has been seawater leaking into the lower unit for the entire time over which I've put more than 1100 hr on it. I had the gear oil tested at one point, and yes, there was a lot of seawater in there. Diagnosing how it's getting in there is not so straightforward, however. The technicians have said I need a pressure test to find the leak. To do this, the boat has to be out of the water and those guys have to charge an hour's travel each way to do the test = about $400 before I find out anything at all. Then another $100 to replace the seals if that's the problem, not counting the cost of the seals, etc. I could get a whole new lower unit for about $2000.

So, I've been suctioning out the gear oil from above and replacing it every few months for quite sometime. Two years ago at my last haul out, I decided to change the o-ring at the drain plug and noticed for the first time that the smooth rim around the hole that the o-ring seats on was damaged. I, of course, wondered if water was getting in there, so after replacing the drain plug, I sealed the area around it with silicon which was still in place when I hauled the boat last month. The gear oil was not as nearly as milky as previously; I'm going to have it tested again.

Everyone from the official world of lower-drive units has gasped and choked over the idea that I suffer seawater in my lower unit. As far as I can tell, however, nothing bad is happening, although I cannot deny that some damage may be occurring. In spite of all of the maintenance, I think sail drives are really great devices. But, has anyone out there ever seen one fail from gear damage due to seawater intrusion?
 
Sep 24, 2009
8
Bavaria 38 France
2 things to look at:-
The plug bolt needs a new fibre washer and loctite
The shaft has 2 lip seal bearing and they may need changing, both easy to do and cheap a chips.
Odysseus
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
your lucky

Water intrusion into a saildrive is not normal and very serious. It should be fixed immediately to avoid more damage to the internal gears, etc.

The Volvo-Penta D2-40 with S130 saildrive on my Bavaria Vision 40 runs like a dream.
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
thanks - i replaced all the seals on a haul out. we checked the shaft for problems: none. no other signs of damage to unit.


2 things to look at:-
The plug bolt needs a new fibre washer and loctite
The shaft has 2 lip seal bearing and they may need changing, both easy to do and cheap a chips.
Odysseus
 
Status
Not open for further replies.