Volvo Penta D2-40 with 130S saildrive

Ian_Edwards

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Hi,

We have problem with vibration on our Volvo Penta D2-40 engine saildrive combination. The boat is three seasons old and we have manage to “hit” two large submerged objects, one in the Inner Sound of Raasay and the second in the Caledonian Canal, both where enough to stall the engine at a 1,800 rpm and 1,400 rpm respectively. These impacts left the boat with a vibration which wasn’t there before.

My initial thoughts where that the prop had been damaged, so I returned the Autoprop to Bruntons for rebalancing, Burntons water tested it and couldn’t find anything wrong.

Next thought was that the output shaft of the sail drive had been bent, so I got the yard to put a dial gauge on the shaft, no serious misalignment was measure.

When the saildrive/gearbox oil was changed it was black and metal fragments were evident (I have sample of the oil), which probably indicates some internal damage to the bevel gears/bearings. The oil was last changed 2 years ago.

The boat is out of the water, but the engine has been run with appropriate cooling water and the mechanic can feel the vibration and thinks it’s probably damage to the gearbox, which is in the upper gear unit of the sail drive.

So some question I’m currently wrestling with:
1. The yard have suggested that we put the boat back in the water to test sail it with the engineer on board to see if we can better refine the diagnosis, but the this will cost over £500, so is it better to just “bite the bullet” and get on with the repair, given the vibration, metal in the oil and the engineers gut feel?
2. Looking ahead, there are 3 possible ways to repair the saildrive, buy a new unit (expensive but fairly sure of a reliable fix), find a service replacement (exchange unit) less expensive but should be OK, or get the yard to strip and repair, probably cheaper but potentially less reliable. Any views or experience on the options?
3. Does anyone know of a good source of a service replacement (exchange) upper gear unit for a S130 saildrive?
4. Has anyone had this problem ..... and if so, what solution did you come up with.

Any words of wisdom greatly received.
 

itspaul

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Hi There we have a had a few problems with our saildrive but clutch related not vibration issues. The oil i think is the biggest pointer it should be filled with dextron atf which is usally red in colour and if its black then there is something definately being ground away or a bearing collapsed from our experience the upper gears can be stripped in situ and if the propeller shaft is ok and true the upper gears is probably where the problem is .
 

Quandary

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I have a 130s drive but I am afraid I can not help the OP much. The chances of hitting something with the drive leg or prop on a fin keel yacht once are hopefully remote, to do it twice in a year is most unfortunate. I think you may have to involve a Volvo specialist, the 130 has not been on the market long enough yet to generate a lot of attention from alternative parts suppliers. I think I would be inclined to get it to a workshop rather than launch just to listen to the vibration, unless you get it rigged to run the engine ashore but then without drive resistance it may not vibrate anyway. I am on the west coast and if I had the problem I would involve D A MacDonald in Glasgow because of the number of VP engines and drives they deal with may mean they are more likely to have encountered the problem than a smaller workshop.
Like itsPaul I have ATF in the leg but I was advised on a thread here that Volvo Penta have just decided to recommend using engine oil for these. They do not seem to regard it as important enough to advise owners directly though.
 

Tranona

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This sounds like damage to the clutch pack. Don't like the bits of swarf in the oil!. My 120 drive seized (after 3000 hours!) and the general consensus from Volvo "experts" is that it is not worth trying to repair it. A complete new unit is less than you think (although still a lot of money) at about £3200 fitted. Do not buy at the spare parts price, but find a dealer who will take one of a new unit. Takes 2 fitters a day to fit it. My total bill (last August) was £3300 inc Vat for drive, new prop and nut and change of coolant.

Hope this helps
 

Ian_Edwards

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Thanks for the help

The engine bearings have been checked whilst the engine was running, but whilst the boat is out of the water and the mechanic thinks they are OK.

The mechanic also thinks he can feel vibration from the gearbox in the same no load situation.

The prop shaft runs true, as measured by a dial gauge.

I’ve talked to the man at Ropewalk (Volvo Penta agents) this morning, he was very helpful and suggested that a replacement gearbox/saildrive leg was the way to go, not worth repairing the gearbox and I’ve got a very reasonable quote from him, (although still expensive) in the same ball park as Tranona suggest, with the saildrive leg taken from a new unit.

So I’ve decided not to launch, but to take the unit out and replace with either a new one or an exchange unit. It seems to me that if there have been bits of metal floating around in the oil the unit will likely fail prematurely anyway, so it’s better in the long run to go for something that is more reliable.

Does anyone know if the saildrive leg and gearbox unit will come out (drop down) through the “hole” in the hull and whether a new diaphragm will be require, or will the old one be OK to refit since it is only 3 years old.

I’ll phone D A MacDonald in the morning, I’ve used them before, they did the first service for me at Kip Marina.

Once again, thanks for the help.
 

bigwow

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Saildrive comes out through the top I'm afraid. If it was me for the extra £120 I'd fit a new diaphragm while it was in bits.
 

Quandary

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Silly error on my post,
D.A. MacDonald is a local civil engineering contractor, (a good one, helped us with the community slipway)
J. N. MacDonald are Volvo Penta Marine Engineers in Kip and Glasgow.
Apologies.

I could list another few hundred MacDonalds if you like and then there is the fast food business.
 

Tranona

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Wise move. The leg will come with a new diaphragm. The engine has to be moved forward and the leg comes out of the top. On some (like my Bavaria) the prop shaft and bearing housing has to come off. However an experienced fitter will know how to do it. My local Volvo dealer did it and the fitters arrived at 9.30 and had it complete and running by 4pm and you would not known they had been there. Very pleased with the outcome.

There is a firm in Lancashire that reconditions legs. Don't know whether they do 130s. A 120 leg was £1500 plus VAT so not hugely cheaper.
 

Ian_Edwards

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Epilogue

Just to feed back the outcome to the forum.
I fitted a new saildrive leg, purchased from Ropewalk, who were very helpful and efficient, they also offered a very competitive price, because they buy compete engine/sail drives and split them for resale, they seem to get a better discount from Volvo Penta this way. The unit was dispatch on time and arrived as promised.
Caley Marina, where less effective, I know I hit them with an unscheduled additional work, which they had to resource at a very busy time of the year, but it took them over week to get round to fitting it and where still doing the engine service the day we sailed, 10days after the saildrive had been delivered.
The engineer had a struggle to get the saildrive out to the aft cabin, really the layout of the Dufour 40 is the problem and it took one experienced engineers 11hours to replace the saildrive.
The saildrive came with a new diaphragm and the “glue” bits needed to fit it. The only extra was a new fairing (outer rubber cover).
The engineer commented that the sail drive hadn’t be installed properly (the unit is only 3 years old) the gear shift cable had not be adjusted correctly, so that when the leaver in the cockpit was vertical (i.e. neutral) the gear selector on the top of the gear box was not in quite in neutral, but part way to selecting reverse. His view was that this could have contributed to the problem. The engineer fitted a spacer (extension?) to the end of the cable to allow it to fit properly.
We’ve since completed a transit of the Caladonian Canal, 60 miles all under power (light westerly head winds) and a 5 days cruising around Loch Linnhe and Sound of Mull without a problem.
Many thanks to all who contributed my original post, it really helped me make the (expensive) decision to replace the saildrive, which I hope will give us many years of reliable service.
 
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