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  #1   IP: 64.32.196.134
Old 06-21-2008, 11:18 AM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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Reversing Gear Slippage Issues?

Hi All,

We have a 1976 Pearson P30. A4 is original (we assume). She has a Martek folding prop.

Coming back from our first, and, so far, only , sail this year, a couple weeks ago, we experienced a problem that felt like the prop was fouled, and we couldn't seem to clear it. Would've found a place to pull over and dive on her, but had no goggles and the water was all of about 51 degrees F. Too cold for that. So instead we proceeded back to her slip as gently as possible. By the time we got back to the slip, and after a couple more gentle attempts to clear the prop, she was actually feeling normal again.

The following Sunday we took her down the canal a bit to check her out. She seemed to behave properly, sounded and felt right, gradually going up to 4 kts in the canal. Got to an open spot with a bit of maneuvering room and tried to accelerate. Engine revved-up suddenly. She wasn't popping out-of-gear. Did some more experiments. We can get her up to 6 kts (comfortable cruising speed in quiet water with no head wind), but it has to be done quite gradually.

Already had the Moyer manual. Bought the reversing gear DVD. (Highly recommended, btw.) Last Sunday: Went through it. She is clicking into forward firmly. Trying to tighten one notch results in shifting so stiff that my wife can barely get her out of forward with all her might. (It took all my strength to get it out of foward, from below, while working on it from the quarter berth.)

The neutral zone seems about right. We've had occasional problems with slippage in reverse, but I'm pretty sure that's because one of the overly-long plug wires keeps getting looped around the shift lever, preventing its full travel to reverse. (I'm going to order new wires from Moyer to fix that problem.)

I'm going to dive on the bottom this weekend to make sure the prop and shaft are clear, but she feels good, other than the slippage, so I'm guessing I'll find nothing there.

I suspect the problem is insufficiently fine adjustment in the forward forcing cone adjustment "nut." Assuming that's the case: It looks like our choices are live with the slippage or... not use the boat, as she's unusable tighter.

So, assuming a rebuilt reversing gear is in our boat's future, I have a couple questions:
  1. Can we trust this thing the rest of the season to not leave us stranded, or should we locate a mechanic and order a rebuilt reversing gear ASAP?
  2. Can the reversing gear be replaced with the engine in-place, by simply disconnecting the prop shaft and moving it back? If it can, can this be done with the boat in the water, or will she have to be hauled?
Thanks for bearing with me through the story. Sorry it's so long, but I felt y'all needed the whole story.

Jim
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  #2   IP: 38.102.16.123
Old 06-22-2008, 05:27 PM
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Jim,

If you're using multi-viscosity oil (10W-30) I suggest switching to single viscosity 30 weight, and if you're already using single viscosity, you might try non-detergent oil. Non-detergent oil won't hurt your engine for a season or two and will allow you to put off any heavier maintenance until a more convenient time.

As an option, we have had reports of people using a motorcycle oil that was designed for engines with integrated clutches to cure slippage in forward. I can't recall hearing of any particular brands, but a call to your local cycle dealership should get a recommendation.

Don
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:07 PM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Moyer View Post
Jim,

If you're using multi-viscosity oil (10W-30) I suggest switching to single viscosity 30 weight,
I bet I am. I changed it at haul-out, so I no longer recall for sure, but I have a case of Quaker State 10W-30 out in the garage (just checked), and there are three quarts missing from it, so it's probably a pretty safe bet that's what I put in it last fall . Very well: I'll try the straight-30.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Moyer View Post
and if you're already using single viscosity, you might try non-detergent oil. Non-detergent oil won't hurt your engine for a season or two and will allow you to put off any heavier maintenance until a more convenient time.
"More convenient time," Don? I'm kind of thinking there is no such thing as a "convenient" time to pull the engine . (Got a description from a fellow P30 owner of what it would take to [try to] swap-out the reversing gear in-place. *shudder* I don't think so.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Moyer View Post
As an option, we have had reports of people using a motorcycle oil that was designed for engines with integrated clutches to cure slippage in forward. I can't recall hearing of any particular brands, but a call to your local cycle dealership should get a recommendation.
Which do you think would be kinder to the rest of the engine: Non-detergent oil or motorcycle oil?

Thanks for the help, Don, it's sorely appreciated! Maybe we'll actually get a chance to sail again this season!

Jim
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:32 AM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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Hi Don (and others),

Got another question. Brother-in-law, who's been wrenching on engines of all kinds since about forever, suggests
  1. Warm up engine 10-15 minutes
  2. Drain oil
  3. Fill with automatic transmission fluid
  4. Run engine for 5 minutes at idle, no more than 10 minutes
  5. Drain
  6. Fill with straight-30W
I've never heard of flushing an engine oil system with automatic transmission fluid, but, on researching it, it's apparently a fairly common practice. (Tho 10 minutes is longer than I've seen recommended. Most say "a couple minutes.") My brother-in-law's reasoning is to make sure to get the last bits of the 10W-30 out.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Jim

Last edited by SEMIJim; 06-23-2008 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Correction on running with transmission fluid in
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:52 PM
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Your brother-in-law's advice is probably OK, but I'd be sure to not put the engine under load and I wouldn't run it longer than 10 minutes.

Don
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:58 PM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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Thanks, Don.

I'll be giving it a go this weekend or next (my 1st mate may still be out of commission next week--and neither of us is quite up the the skill level needed to get the boat in and out of the slip single-handedly), and follow-up to this thread to let everybody know how it went.

Jim
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:01 PM
tenders tenders is online now
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> Fill with automatic transmission fluid
> Run engine for 10 minutes

This sounds like one of those things that people will reminisce about for years, saying, "It seemed like such a good idea...at the time."

Nevertheless, if it goes well, please be sure to update this post.

If this goes poorly, please have someone handling your estate update this post.

To that end, perhaps you could write this website, your login id, and password on a yellow sticky and leave it on your dashboard at the marina?
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:30 PM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenders View Post
> Fill with automatic transmission fluid
> Run engine for 10 minutes

This sounds like one of those things that people will reminisce about for years, saying, "It seemed like such a good idea...at the time."

Nevertheless, if it goes well, please be sure to update this post.

If this goes poorly, please have someone handling your estate update this post.

To that end, perhaps you could write this website, your login id, and password on a yellow sticky and leave it on your dashboard at the marina?
LOL!

I'm sure all will be well--at least in that I doubt I'll blow anything up. But thanks for the kind thoughts .

As I noted earlier: This seems to be a fairly common procedure. There's nothing all that esoteric about transmission fluid--it's basically just very light oil (5W or so?) with about 4 times the detergent of motor oil. Or so I've read and been told.

Jim
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:39 PM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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The good news is the flush and oil change went well. Oil pressure is normal (around 35 lbs. at idle and about 40 lbs. at anything much above that) and the engine sounds happy. The bad news is the problem remains.

I am not confident the "slippage" issue is necessarily the reversing gear or that, even if it is, it isn't being provoked by something going on with the prop. Here's the thing: Under anything much above about dead slow, and operating in reverse, we're not getting the power we should, there's excess vibration, and it just doesn't feel or sound right.

I dove on the bottom today, and there's nothing wrapped around prop or shaft, and the prop blades feel like they're free to move in and out. I detected no nicks or anything in the blades.

Here's another odd thing: As we were making a "U-turn" to head back in, under moderate power, during the entire turn we heard an unusual noise. It sounded kind of like a high-pitched buzz or low-pitched whine. The Admiral thought it sounded like the kind of sound we used to hear occasionally, running under power, when we'd cross large wakes.

I'm wondering if what we're experiencing isn't cavitation. That maybe there's something seriously wrong with the prop.

So I guess we're going to have to find somebody locally to take a look at things.

Jim
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:48 PM
SEMIJim SEMIJim is offline
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She's Fixed!

Thought I'd give y'all an update:

She's fixed! Had her hauled today, and had the Martec folding prop replaced with the boat's original, 2-blade fixed prop. Now she's back to motoring smoothly. The problem with the engine running free under load/acceleration is gone. Even stress-tested it. (Bumped the throttle up higher and harder than we normally would, a couple times.) And we again have reverse that actually does something!

So, moral of the story: If you think you have reversing gear slipping issues, it might just be your prop.

Jim
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