Re: Bowman DC60-XCC Transmission Oil Cooler Failure; ZF Hurth ZF 25; Yanmar 4JH3-HTE #lessons
Colin - ex SV Island Pearl
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Mark, congrats on a great post as the transmission oil cooler is particularly important learning for all new or existing SM and/or 54 owners. We had a similar experience on SM Island Pearl II (2001 build with Yanmar 75HP) when she had only approx 1400 engine hours, but was aged approx.10 years old from new. In our case, we had just completed a gentle 12nm motor sail and on coming into a safe anchorage after dropping anchor we noticed she would not engage reverse (or later fwd either) gear to pull back on the anchor. Fortunately, we noticed it just when it occurred so were able to immediately replace the part, and also immediate do 5-6 oil changes back-to-back, each with new transmission oil to be totally sure that absolutely all moisture was drained out ... and ..... for years later ... that transmission was absolutely perfect for a circumnavigation, and many more motoring years ahead. Remember the cost of oil is cheap compared to the hassel and expense of replacing that transmission.
Based on our experience, and what we saw on other Amels during our circumnavigation, I would personally always carry a spare oil cooler and replace this part every 7 years or 2000 hours, and also immediately if ever purchasing a 2nd hand 53 or 54 where the prior owner was not certain (with receipts) about when it was last replaced.
Losing your engine drive power can be extremely dangerous, and here is just one example ...
In 2018 we were buddy sailing in the Indian Ocean with friends on a beautifully maintained late 2014 SM and, just 9 hours out to sea after leaving the very remote "Bally Bay" on the mid western horn of Madagascar to cross the notorious Mozambique Channel for Mozambique and Richards Bay, South Africa, they hailed us looking for an urgent boat to boat transfer of most of our spare transmission oil supply. After devising a cunning plan we successfully did the ship to ship transfer of oil at sea but the other captain was still sure his oil was just too low as his 100HP Yanmar was in excellent condition (still looked like new!) and so was intent on still proceeding down to South Africa with us despite our urgent suggestion that this could in fact be a failed oil cooler, and for them to rather turn immediately north, and safely down wind, directly for French based Mayotte Island where they could potentially safely sail almost all the way in to a large safe harbour without engine, and where a tow boat could be possible too, plus where that part could be freighted relatively quickly from Amel in France.
After adding more oil and immediately losing it again, they eventually realised the gravity of their situation took our advice to head for Mayorette where two days later they did infact manage to sail safely in and have the part air freighted in from Amel too.
As per Murphey's Law when at sea, this decision did indeed become a life-saver as there are absolutely no safe "sail in" anchorages along this section of the Mozambique coast before Maputo, and despite some very fast sailing on the latter third part of this leg, sometimes sitting on 10.5kts SOG pretty much for many hours on end with many peaks over 12kts!, we were still later faced with extreme conditions which our South African weather expert was repetitively calling "extreme life-threatening survival conditions ... divert immediately for Maputo!!..." with a huge unexpected SW gale coming up fast against the very fast moving southerly Augulas currents. In the end we decided to motor sail hard direct for Richards Bay with the last 150nm being extremely heavy going as the wind against current conditions immediately lifted up what appeared to be huge mountainous waves and really nasty angry seas with winds shreeking through the rigging (I hope we will never see again!) and it was only thanks to having a good reliable motor pushing hard for many hours that we eventually safely got in safely behind the big concrete walls of the Richards Bay harbour just one hour before the real storm conditions really hit creating havoc and destruction along the coastline. We certainly could not have got back to safety without that engine and were so pleased that our friends decided not to press on direct for South Africa.
Moral of the story ... check your oil coolers ... and proactively replace them (they are not that expensive) as you never want to have this fail at the wrong time when you may really need it.
ex - Island Pearl II
On Thu, Aug 26, 2021 at 7:27 PM Mohammad Shirloo <mshirloo@...> wrote:
0411 016 445