Volva Penta Outdrive or engine issue?
Boat is a 2005 SeaSport with a VP duoprop outdrive and the 8.1 engine with ONLY 50 hours on it and those are easy hours where I have only run 2,700-3,200 rpms.
Lets start at the beginning. After returning to Alaska with the boat the local dealer (Alaska Mining and Diving) installed the outdrive. First couple of times out we noticed the engine compartment filling up with water while we were anchored and fishing. After a couple of times back to the dealer they failed to find the problem. Next trip out it happened again and I raised the engine doghouse lid and heard the water gurgling in thru bolt holes on the top of the outdrive. Back to the dealer it went where they informed me that the builder, SeaSport failed to install these bolts. Bolts were special ordered and installed and the problem seemed cured although every outing we did pick up about a gallon of water in the engine compartment.
During 2005 and 2006 we never had any problems with the outdrive or the motor but for some reason it seemed to grow louder. No other problems at all untill today.
We launched the boat and started it up and I claimed it sure sounded loud but my wife and son said it was fine. We headed out to the end of Res Bay cruising about 24 mph enjoying the view and watching my newly installed Floscan show us the fuel consumption. About 10 miles out I first heard a sound like something almost like cavitation or slipping allowing the motor to speed up once or twice. I stopped and raised the outdrive looking at it and found nothing out of place. We headed back out and noticed the OD/motor was beginning to vibrate and shudder. Next we heard a few clunks. Stopped and put it in neutral and still heard a clunking sound now and again. Noticed the bilge pump had come on and lifted the doghouse and found a fair amount of water inside.
At this time I turned off the main motor and started the kicker and motored in at 5 mph. It was windy and I knew it would be difficult to dock the boat with just the kicker so I started the main motor and used it again. Reverse worked but it still clunked and vibrated but it helped us dock. We continued to take on water because we were only traveling 5 mph and I suspect, but can't prove there is a connection between the problems we had today and the previous missing bolts.
Now the sick part. The VP warranty is only two years and expired the first of May.
The props and gearbox seem fine as I moved them forward and then in reverse with no binding or gear noise, very fluid.
Any suggestions on where to go from here?
Anyone know of a good VP mechanic around Anchorage? Any chance this may be covered under warranty? Could this be something as simple as adjusting a cable or linkage? Or our we out some serious money for a repair?
Sorry to hear about your troubles, glad you made it back safely.
Just off the top of my head...
I'd lean towards a bad output shaft bellows, which is leaking and allowing saltwater to get to the gimbal (2 u-joints, connected together, which act much like a CV joint and allow the outdrive to tilt and turn) and cause it to fail. Pretty much the saltwater washes away the grease, causes corrosion, and then the bearings wear out just like on a old truck or car.
If I'm not mistaken, even in neutral, the output shaft is turning from the engine to the outdrive, as the actual gear for forward, reverse, and neutral are in the outdrive, not right behind the engine. That would explain why you could still hear noises while in neutral, but not as bad, as the engine was at idle.
And, of course, the water coming through the bellows will eventual leak out of the bellhousing area, and into your bilge, which explains the water.
If I'm right, the outdrive should be just fine, as well as the engine, you just need some new 'inbetween' parts.
Hope it all works out for you. Let me know if ya need to sell any stainless 'lefty' Winchesters to pay for it. I'm here for ya buddy.
Engine coupler (clunk)? Did you check the bellows (water)? Just some guesses. I hope you find the answer and get it fixed soon. Based on my limit experience with engine repairs at Ak M and D, I'd take it elsewhere unless you can take it back to them and they can fix what they probably screwed up at no cost to you.
Thanks guys. I really do not want to take it back to Alaska Mining and Diving but have to give it a go to see if they will cover there mistake.
Any suggestions for a good VP mechanic for other issues?
Sorry to hear about your outdrive problems, there's nothing worse than having propulsion problems out at sea. The water leaking into your boat is a real bad sign that something wasn't installed correctly and like Brian said, has very likely caused even more problems. Hope you can get it fixed soon. So how fast does that 24' go with an 8.1? I would guess close to 50 mph.
Try Noah's Marine. He's not cheap but knows his VPs. It's over near where Dimond turns into Abbott.
Take it to Jerry @ Seward Heavy Industrial he's the Sea sport ( Dealer and warranty work for sea Sport) guy in alaska now and does all the work on our sea sport (907- 224-3854). We had a 24' Sea sport explorer before this new one and Noah marine used to to service it he was a pain in the butt to deal with and forgot to hook up our raw water cooling one summer and filled the whole engine compartment with salt water ( but it wasn't his fault of course). Good luck.
I dropped it off at Noahs. He seemed to know what he was talking about and immediately detected there was a rip in the bellows which encloses the U joints. He suspects at least the U joints are bad, possibly more.
I thought about dropping it off to the guys at Seward but since neither VP or SeaSport will warrant Alaska Mining and Divings mistakes there is no sense dealing with a dealer 130 miles away.
Bellows are known trouble spots, and do develop tears or holes, and then leak. Was the tear on the bottom part of the bellows? I think that section gets stressed the most, due to the outdrive being tilted up when trailered. I guess what I'm getting at, is that it probably wasn't covered under warranty anyhow. But I don't know that for fact.
Proper placement of the clamps is critical, in order to prevent them from rubbing through the bellows. The manual is pretty clear on that point. So if the clamps were improperly installed, you may have a case.
It's a good item for all I/O owner to check every season. Same for the exhaust bellows.
I've pulled V/P outdrives before, and changed out the u-joints. It's not fun, but certainly within the ability of most shade tree mechanics.
There was a tear at the bottom that the mechanic found easily just by feeling around with the outdrive up.
I guess I should purchase the service manual for this and learn more about it because I am not expecting to get out of this one cheap. I have no doubt the outdrive was improperly installed by Alaska Mining and Diving because every thip out we always took on a gallon or water or so in the engine compartment. I am glad I decided to break away from there service department. They really are clueless when it comes to working on boats.
Get the outdrive shop manual
Randy: I'm really suprised you had bellows failure develop so soon. I believe this is a more common with a 4-5 year old part. After a few trips in for Seasport warranty work at your's and mine favorite VP service department with miserable results, I decided it was time to do as much work as I could myself. I'm not a gearhead, and the VP shop manual provides pretty good step by step instructions on how to do this. Servicing the outdrive does require seperating the outdrive at the bellows. I use a portable engine hoist with a threaded I-bolt in the dipstick hole to accomplish the support and separation of the outdrive. It works pretty slick. U-joint bellows failure is such a common problem I pull the outdrive at the end of every season for bellows and inspection of the u-joint. So far so good.
Another common problem with this outdrive is the inner prop becoming fused to the prop shaft. Keep the shaft well greased at least once or twice a season. OMC Triple Guard seems to last longer than the anti-sieze stuff.
As others have pointed out, I try and keep the outdrive lowered as much as possible when its stored on the trailer so the bellows isn't stretched.
Good luck and sorry about your unfortunate mechanical. I would be interested in a follow-up on the extent of damage in your case. Rod
I have done well changing the lower gear lube and regreasing the prop shafts once or twice a year. The props come off rather easily so I must be doing ok with that.
To be honest I had no idea there were U-joints in the outdrive to watch out for. But with the water always going into the bilge while we were boating I know the problem was related to AMDS not installing the bellows correct in the first place.
Maybe I will be lucky and that is all the problem is. I need to come over and help you pull your outdrive when you do it again so I can learn more about this.
Why would you suggest lowering the outdrive while the boat is on the trailer while it is parked?
What postion should the outdrive be in while parked or long term storage? Just off the ground? Resting on the ground?
Thanks for the feedback.
(God, Please give me the wisdom to make sure I raise it before pulling out of the driveway!)
Andy at Noahs called today and informed me the bellows was shot, need new U joints, and the gimball bearing was in pieces. Bill will be about $1,300. He told me he has never replaced a gimball bearing before on a newer VP outdrive and that this was all related to water leaking into the outdrive.
I stopped in at Alaska Mining and Diving and presented my case to them in a professional manner with no yelling, screaming, or threatening (unusual for me,lol). They just nodded there heads and looked at me. I asked them to foot the bill but they never called back.
Kudo's to Andy so far. He did what he said when he said. Hopefully it will be ready to pick up tomorrow.
When the boat is parked and on the trailer, the outdrive should be as far down as possible (without hitting the ground). It doesn't need to rest on the ground. With the outdrive down, the bellows is in the condition (i.e. shape or form) that it was formed in. With the outdrive up, the bellows is in a stressed position. The little time that the outdrive is in the up position when you trailer your boat won't hurt the bellows and I don't think could be avoided anyway. In my gravel driveway, I can lower mine all the way down after I kick out a little depression in the gravel to make room for the skeg. The reason I only have to kick out only a little depression is because my skeg is shorter than it used to be because I once broke off part of my skeg when I FORGOT TO RAISE THE DRIVE BEFORE I PULLED MY BOAT OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY. Lesson learned. Now raising the outdrive is part of my pre-tow check.
Originally Posted by Snowwolfe
Glad to hear that Andy treated you well. Fortunetly, I have had the same experiance. My Seasport is a bit dated (1990) and he's really been helpfull with the many mechanical issues I had. Yes, had. So far this year, We've put nearly 40 hours of running time on her without a hitch. Whew! See ya out there!
Picked up the boat today. Andy did what he said he would when he would. He showed me the toasted gimble bearing and the U joints and yolk fittings. U joints were rusty but were still useable but they did need to be changed. The tear in the bellows about 1 inch long.
Andy mentioned that Alaska Mining and Diving did call them to discuss the issue but I never heard back from them as far as them footing the bill.
I asked him about storing the outdrive in the down position and he said it would not hurt anything but he is not convinced that it is required to do so.
Going to Seward tonight and hitting the water tomorrow. Tired of sitting home watching fishing shows! Good luck everyone and thanks for the tips and about taking the boat to Noahs. I hope this is the end of my problems with this outdrive.
Glad everything is fixed now, and you've found a good mechanic. Let's see some pics from your trip this weekend.
BTW, is it now safe to rehash the outboard vs inboard/outdrive debate?
No picture's from Seward and the fishing was spotty. A few chickens and some silvers and small kings from Johnstones bay.
Boat ran great.
My instints that something wasnt correct due to the increased "noise" from the motor should of been followed. When I started it up it purred like a kitten instead of hearing a loud roar. It must of been the gimble bearing making the loud noise. Lesson learned, trust your instints!
A visit back to AMDS today earned me nothing. They told me this problem was entirely my fault or that someone came through when I was not looking and stuck a knife up into the bellows and cut it while I was not around. And no, I am not joking. I thanked them for their time and walked out. I'll never buy anything from them again that requires any sort of maintence.
OB vs IO/OD? Well I still think an IO/OD is the best choice for a boat this size. I would need twin 200 OB's to give me the same amount of power I have now with the 496. And I know twins would cost more, offer no cabin heat or defrost, have worse economy to boot, and give me 4 feet of motors hanging off the transom to fish around. We cruised yesterday with full fuel tanks and three adults and gear and managed 2.3 mpg running 28-30 mph.
Now, if someone would send me a PM with a good halibut hole around Seward I would be extremely thankful!
Have fun on the water and we are heading out again on Monday.