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Thread: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

  1. #21

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    I did the first oil change on 250 hrs from new and immediately had problems on forward with one engine. Linkages fine. The original oil looked and smelled like std EP90 gear oil. The Yanmar book recomends standard EP90 gear oil, but at the bottom of the oils list recommends Mercruiser leg oil, so I used that. In orger to get my cones working again I had to take the Mercruiser oil out and put EP90 oil back in!!! Seriously!!
    The last mercruiser I had used dog clutches - crash box. Cone clutches rely on friction. The Mercruiser oil is a high additive boundary lubricant oil.
    My wet clutch motorbikes warn against high additive oils, Limited slip diff oils have 'special friction properties'. Cone clutches need grip!
    If you have a problem please advise what oil you used.
    Someone in an earlier post said use the correct oil, please advise, what is it!!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Ft. lauderdale
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    The danger is using regular gear oil is that its co-efficient of expansion is more than the Mercruiser drive oil, this is important as the drives are non-vented, and undue internal pressure will possibly cause lower seal failure.

    As an FYI, on new drives, Yanmar will not warranty a drive if they find regular gear oil in there, same goes for using the incorrect coolant in the engines.
    Kent - Just Catamarans, Inc

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cape Cod
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    The Yanmar book calls for SAE90 GL-4 API whick is exactly what QuickSilver Gear Oil is. I have used it exclusively for 6 years and have had no problems with slippage after I cleaned the cones after 1000 hours of operation. The book calls for GL-4 or GL-5 and the QuickSilver is GL-4, SAE90 gear oil. You can buy it at any West Marine.

    I never used Merccruiser oil.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Mercury, Mercruiser and quicksilver, as far as I know, are one of the same company.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Big Pine Key Fl
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Quote Originally Posted by RobV440 View Post
    The Yanmar book calls for SAE90 GL-4 API whick is exactly what QuickSilver Gear Oil is. I have used it exclusively for 6 years and have had no problems with slippage after I cleaned the cones after 1000 hours of operation. The book calls for GL-4 or GL-5 and the QuickSilver is GL-4, SAE90 gear oil. You can buy it at any West Marine.

    I never used Merccruiser oil.
    Rob,

    What did you find on the cones after 1000 hours that requires one to clean them?

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cape Cod
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    They would slip when put in forward, when I checked them they were just glazed over a bit but were not worn. Cleaned them then used oil based valve compound and place them together and spun by hand 5-7 times. Then cleaned them and put them back in and they worked perfect and still working after another 200 hours of use.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Apparently Quicksilver / mercruiser / Mercury spec oil has an emulsifier in it. This is to mix any water in the event seals fail. Somehow this justifies the extremely high price. GL4 /5 are the most common auto grade of gear oil, but, without an emulsifier - super cheap.
    Thermal expansion is taken up in the air space - so long as it's not overfilled the SD 50 is fine.
    Glazing on the cones will occur if there is slippage e.g. a rope caught on the prop (picking up crayfish pots at sea in Western Australia is the classic). Also heavy props can cause glazing as would oversize props. anything that causes inertia slip causes glazing.
    A yanmar agent in NZ tried to tell me the cone had to be reshimmed after lapping!! huh? The amount of wear and or material loss associated with glazing is unmeasurable - I've got no idea what that was all about. Any ideas???
    The nut holding the gear cluster together is tightened 'off the scale'. To undo it first requires a small 'dremel' bit to cut out the deform tab, they deform this nut without regard for the undoing. A 27?mm socket and a big vice with soft jaws is required, you won't get this baby undone on the jetty. To reuse the nut simply get a NEW 3mm angle grinder disk and slot the end of the shaft completely accross the top (nice and squarely cut), When retightening the nut you've got a new locking location 180 degrees over and the possibility of getting it undone without a 'dremel next time.
    Withdrawing the pinion gear requires unscrewing the 4 nuts to the end (but not completely off). Tapping the studs in with a plastic hammer withdraws the pinion bearing housing completely without any need for further increasing it by splitting the bell housing from the engine. lifting out the gear cluster is simple. That really is the easy part of the job, undoing the cluster was the hard part, ridiculously tight, the torque wrench was off the scale to get the 'deform tab' back to the original spot.
    These were all the things that I found in the process of getting sorted.
    done now!
    cheers mike

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cape Cod
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    You are correct on the oil statement but the GL4/5 info comes right from the owners manual Yanmar gave me with the motors. I still us the Quick Silver instead. I also bought the spline tool for $100 or so along with new nuts. The spline too sits in the vice and makes it easy to remove the main nut. The part number for the tool is in the owners manual for the saildrive. I also bought the repair manual which has step by step instructions from Yanmar.

    Cheers

  9. #29

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Hi RobV,
    I would have been so happy if the Yanmar agent had the tool and a manual - and done the job. Having already waited a week to get the Yanmar agent to even have a look, I gave in. With only the advice from you guys . I did it myself, the whole job cost nothing and was done quickly and our sailing holiday in NZ continued. Thanks greatly to you all!!
    PS - when the agent contacted Yanmar (Australian and NZ distributor), the advice was 'don't use the boat it's not safe, the nearest parts (nut and cone) are 2 weeks ex singapore'.. No mention about lapping the cone surfaces!!
    ciao
    mike

  10. #30

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Quote Originally Posted by RobV440 View Post
    Hello Craig,

    I will be rebuilding the starboard cone clutch in about 2 weeks or so. I will take pictures when I have it apart and send them to you. It was not hard to do except for laying on top of the motor for a while.

    Cheers
    Rob

    Hi Rob
    I have the same problem with cluch slipping on my yanmar 50's
    Would you be able to send me the same info/pics that you indicated.
    thanks
    Mulett

  11. #31

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping


  12. #32

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Quote Originally Posted by biochemist View Post
    Hi Bas
    Thanks for the lead i will check them out
    mulett

  13. #33

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Hi All,
    I am new to the forum and have owned a 2002 Voyage 440 Owners Version for over two years and have had the displeasure of replacing the cone bearing unnecessarily when I was in Grenada. When I lost my port engine they checked my boat while in the water and because it was slipping they replaced the bearing however the problem was the bushings in the Varifold prop that were slipping. Despite me diving down and feeling play in the prop I was told the cone bearing was the most likely problem. Had to get a new hub from Denmark at a price of $1000.00.
    Expensive mistake and educational allowing me to be less of an idiot today.
    But I have a question about all these cone bearnings going bad. Coming from racing type monohulls I have always kept my gear shifter in reverse while sailing to lock the prop however apparently that is a big no no in the world of Yanmar Saildrives! Many so called boat mechanics have told me it is ok to keep the shifter in reverse however I have personally spoken to one of Yanmar's Factory Guru's who stated it is not ok and actually sent me a factory memo stating that the shifter must be kept in neutral while sailing. He went on to say that most people do not do this and it is an ongoing problem.
    Maybe this is causing premature cone bearing failure???
    Sorry to waste your time if everybody already knows this.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Stratford upon Avon
    Posts
    3,394

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Hello roques, and welcome. You will have seen the good stuff above, and if you check past threads with the search facility I think you will find quite a few postings on this subject. But I can't remember any definitive answer!

    Can you post the actual statement from Yanmar that says leave it in neutral?

    It does sound like you got ripped off horribly by whoever it was in Grenada.

    Mike
    Nothing works on an old boat, except the skipper.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    Hi Mike,
    Sorry I do not have the memo but after over a year of keeping it in my e-mail it has disappeared. However all you have to do is to log on to the Yanmar Web site and scroll down to a screen that allows you to ask technical questions to their factory staff. They answered my question in less than 24 hours and supplied me with the actual Yanmar numbered reference document that very emphatically stated not to keep the saildrives in gear while sailing. They go on to state that it does not matter whether you have folding props or not, "they are to be kept in the neutral position". It is acceptable to gently shift into reverse with sailing speeds less than 5 knots in order for the props to fold then you simply put the shifter back in neutral. I have discussed this with several mechanics here in the states as well as the Caribbean and they have been clueless regarding this issue. Very strange that more people do not know this. I do think Yanmar needs to do a better job in getting the word out.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    In reading the discussion on gear oil for SD40/50s I had a recent experience that owners of these drives should be aware of. Do not use a saildrive at high power settings if there is any sign of water in your gear oil. Last december on my way south from NC I noticed a bit of cloudyness in my starboard saildrive gear oil. In an attempt to make a bridge opening I used max continious RPM for about 20 minutes. As I passed through the bridge I smelled the distinct smell of Quicksilver gear lube and shut down the engine. When I looked in the engine room it was covered with gear lube, most of which was in the catchment under the engine. Unfortunately it was a week before I managed to get a haulout appointment. Cat capable lifts are hard to come by. In any case What had happened is that the saildrive got very hot at the high rpm and the water in the oil flashed to steam This blew out every seal in the drive. The pressure got so high that the oil seals actually inverted. As a result of sitting for a week in salt water with blown out oil seals was that I needed a total rebuild to the tune of $3500 plus $1000 in lift and yard fees. I could have bought a new SD50 for about $4000, but the earliest delivery I could get was in 2 months and even that was not guarenteed. Apparently Yanmar doesn't stock saildrives in the US without an engine attached. The mechanic that rebuilt the drive was really concerned about proper shimming. He said that a common failure of these drives was the front main seal and that most mechanics simply replaced the seal without reshimming the gear. He said when that is done the seal will hold for a while but it starts to leak again fairly soon. I had in fact had this exact problem for 3 seasons running on this drive unit. I had 3 front seals replaced in 3 years, the last one just 3 months before the failure. This seal of course had nothing to do with water in the drive, which was caused by a failed propshaft seal, but it might be useful information. The upper seals do not require you to have the boat hauled for repair, but the prop shaft seals do of course. By the way they lapped my cone clutches for me on the rebuild.

    One other note is that I own the parts lists for all the SD40/SD50 saildrives and except for the case and the dipstick all the other parts are exactly the same. Actually there is one spacer in the drive that is different from the factory, but the original sd40 spacer is no longer available and the book says to use the SD50 one in the SD40. This would seem to indicate that whatever problems and solutions applyto the SD40 also would apply to the SD50.

    The bottom line is that even though one uses a Quicksilver HP gear lube with an emulsifying agent it will not protect your drive if you get it hot enough to boil the water.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    on the boat
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    I have a VOYAGE 500 and had similar slipping/partial engagement in FWD on the Stb drive at +-900Hrs.
    After spending a lot of effort and time making sure that it was not an cable or selector adjustment problem, I opened the Top Cover on the drive, and by manually turning the propeller and selecting Fwd/Rev, realised that the problem is caused by too much vertical (Up-Down) free play of the splined Centre Shaft.
    I can spend alot of time here explaining the workings of the vertical movement of the Cone when selecting fwd /Rev in relation to the Cone Cups, as well as the limited up-down stroke of the Gear Selector, trust me this is the area where the problem originates.
    The solution is to replace the vertical shaft Thrust Washers, Cup and Nut with the correct thickness Trust washers.
    This solves the problem!!
    NOTE. VOLVO has thrust bearings in place of the thrust washers that Yanmar uses which are prone to wear! I also investgated the replacement of the Thrust washers with Thrust bearings.

  18. #38

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    hi Brett,
    I had a look at the exploded diagram, but, never as good as looking at the real thing! Interesting!!
    However, you made me think about a little noise I get.
    My SD50's started to make a ticking noise at about 250 hrs, Port and Stb. This ticking noise is heard at the helm, coming up thru the sfift cable!!! All I can think is that the selector fork wears a little loose in the cone slot??
    Has anyone else got this noise?? Theory?

  19. #39

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    My Beneteau Oceanis 41 is just over 9 month old with less than 200hrs on the engine and the Yanmar SD50 saildrive is slipping in forward. Need to get the boat hauled out for repair. Not happy at all Anyone knows what is the standard warranty on Yanmar?

  20. #40

    Default Re: Yanmar SD50 Sail Drive Slipping

    So, here is the latest on my SD-50 saildrive slipping in FWD. Prop and prop hub were replaced and that did not fix it. As I initially expected, the Yanmar SD-50 cone clutch was glazed and needed to be serviced. That is with just over 200 hrs on the engine.... I talked to Yanmar guys at the Annapolis Boat Show yesterday and when I mentioned SD-50, they all looked up in dismay... They say Yanmar maintenance schedule recommends that SD-50s cone clutches be inspected every 250hrs. In reading the maintenance manual, I actually see that this comes at every 500hrs, not 250hrs. In any case, there is obviously major flows with the SD-50s clutch design and reliability and Yanmar's own people acknowledge it. I think Yanmar owes all SD-50 owners a clear explanation of what the weakness are and a fair settlement in either retrofitting those sail drives or providing regular checks and service free of charge. I found it unacceptable that I am asked to get my clutch taken apart every 250 hrs for inspection, don't you?

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