Friday, October 14, 2011

Yanmar SD20 Saildrive

I`ll take you back to the beginning of the problems with the port side Saildrive of Catlyn. We started to notice a little bit of salt water in our saildrive oil end November 2009 on our way to Namibia. The oil was not milky but we noticed a difference in the oil when comparing with the star board saildrive. We contacted IMS Yanmar Cape Town who adviced us to monitor the oil closely and agree on my suggestion to change about 600 ml at a time from the top with new oil every 30 hours which we started to do immediately. The 600 ml is about all we managed to suck out with a household hand pump we have aboard. 
The rest of our voyage did not show any increase in the salt water and the fact that we replaced the old oil regulary helped a lot. We started using the port engine only for charging the batteries, just to take the work load from the port engine, because we knew we still had a long way ahead of us! However during our Atlantic crossing, close to Salvador Brasil end of March, we noticed an increase and the oil turned milky and as soon as you open the oil cap the oil level is pushed upwards from underneath.. We arrived at Itaparica, Salvador end of March and contacted IMS Yanmar Cape Town again and notified them that we are in Brasil. We were now able to change the oil seals on the saildrive which we (Yanmar CT and me)  thought would solve the problem. We beached Catlyn in April 2011, changed the oil seal, we even made a youtube video of the event for future guys to follow, and posted the video during May after editing. Attached below :

You can clearly see in the video that the saildrive is without any external damage that can indicate an accident.
After we changed the oil seal, within a few days the oil was milky again and I thought that maybe I did not change them properly. I contacted IMS Yanmar Cape Town again and they adviced me to beach again and to check the O-ring between the lower casing and upper casing. That meant that I had to order another rubber boot as well as the correct new O-ring from Yanmar in Salvador. We waited almost 6 weeks for the parts. We beached  again in June and when removing the rubber boot we noticed a fine hairline crack ( by pure co-incidence) in the lower casing of the saildrive on the port side therof.

New filled oil running down the leg after we replaced the oilseals and made the youtube video, it was then that we realised it is not the oil seals

The scratch marks you see below the crack is above the rubber boot and caused by the rubber boot moving up and down in the water. See photo above to establish the waterline.
It was only then that we started with the Yanmar Guarantee department, on the advice of IMS Yanmar Cape Town. We also started to communicate with Gittens Marine in Trinidad because we planned to haul out the boat to attend to the replacement of the Yanmar SD20 Saildrive. Gittens Marine immediately reported the Guarantee Claim with Yanmar and between us we decided to beach again and sand the hairline crack and fill it with Steel Pratly Patty. So we beached again in August and filled up the crack. When we refilled the Yanmar SD 20 Saildrive, oil was running out somewhere from behind. We realised that the crack was really very deep. We fastened the saildrive with rope unto the deck to prevent the dropping of the lower case, if it might crack any further while sailing to Trinidad. We did not use the engine at any time other than for charging the batteries. We arrived in Trinidad during September and hauled out at Peakes in Chaguaramas as soon as they could accommodate us :

We were out on the hard, and the very efficient Gittens Marine arrived about an hour later to investigate the Yanmar SD20 saildrive, took photos, apparently checked for electrolysis (which we didn`t even think about) and probably a lot more etc. They also came to the conclusion (as we already knew) that no bump or external force created the crack as no marks were on the outside of the Yanmar SD 20 saildrive. Also the Maverick 400 Catamaran is designed  that the Yanmar SD20 saildrive is totally protected. He forwarded the photos to the Yanmar Agent who came a week later to take more photos. They fetched the lower leg a couple of days later. We immediately noticed the difference in casting thickness just looking at it. Refer to photo.
Gittens Marine and the agent took the part of the leg with them, with no further word. Today (3 weeks later)  I received an email from Gittens Marine which informed me that Yanmar requested the complete Yanmar SD 20 saildrive to be shipped, " on my costs" to there facility in the USA for inspection to determine if it is a casting error or not. If it is, they will refund me the shipping costs. Gittens Marine asked me what they must do. I don`t does not sound fair, I have already all the cost of hauling out and paying the cost on the hard for nearly a many months until they make their decision on my fate ?
We are transiting the Panama Canal tomorrow with a delivery of Andando to New Zealand and  I will send an email to IMS Yanmar Cape Town and seek advice. I do get the feeling of being messed around Yanmar Sd 20 saildrive and me. I would like any reader to contact me via my email with any advice or recommendations...even sympathy will do!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am from Spain, and I was looking for information about this engine, because I saw a sail to buy...but now I can tell you that thanks to you I don´t will buy it,thank you for complete information, videos and pictures.
I prefer outboard engine for small sail boats.
I want sail to enjoy it...not for work.
Thank you again and good job.
PD: I am marine engineer...pls next time make works outside sea water fight against pollution ;)