Tranny Time

“Look at this,” I said to Windy, “I think we have a problem.”

Del Viento, transmission

Tranny out. The job was surprisingly simple, just bolts around the bell housing. The challenge was separating the coupling.Michael Robertson

I sometimes vacuum my engine room. Sounds odd, I know, but the 25-year-old Yanmar and her surroundings aren’t made up of broad, smooth areas to wipe down; the surfaces are intricate and difficult to reach. So after gradual wearing of the belt has left a coat of rubber dust everywhere, I pull out our (excellent) 120V vacuum cleaner. They say it’s good for the engine to keep it clean.

I share this anecdote to say that I know this space. Anything new stands out.

“Look at this,” I said to Windy, “I think we have a problem.”

It was faint, but a fine pink mist had discolored the clean, white oil absorbing mats I keep under the engine and transmission. The pink mist had made a radial spray pattern, one line of pink just below where the shaft exits the transmission.

“That’s transmission fluid. I think it’s coming from the seal and spinning off the shaft when we’re under power.”

I opened our manual to see the seal in the breakdown diagram and then small-framed Windy contorted herself and used a headlamp and a mirror to explore underneath the transmission to find more evidence to support the bad seal theory.

I flipped the pads over and watched a new spray pattern form after about ten hours of engine run time. I checked the fluid and added two ounces.

“Good timing for this to happen, since we’re hauling out in Guaymas this week.” Windy said.

I emailed the Mexican boat yard for their mailing address and permission to receive a package. Then I emailed a Yanmar parts supplier in San Diego to have a new seal shipped down.

“You should replace the nut too.”

“How much are those?”

“Forty-five dollars.”

A week after we hauled, the parts arrived. I disconnected the transmission, realized there was no way I would be able to change out the seal with the transmission in the boat, and removed the transmission. Once out, I realized there was no way I would be able to remove the nut that attached the coupling to the back.

Then Omar appeared, a local mechanic who dropped by to coordinate the removal of the engine from our neighbor’s boat. Omar clearly knew our transmission and said he could remove and replace the nut and both seals in his shop and bring it back Monday morning. Sold.

Omar brought it back as promised and I went to work reinstalling the transmission and coupling inside a boat sitting on the hot earth. It was over 100 degrees inside.

So that’s it for the mast and transmission work. In the next post, I’ll write about the biggest job of all, the one that consumed almost half our time in the yard…

--MR
In our twenties, we traded our boat for a house and our freedom for careers. In our thirties, we slumbered through the American dream. In our forties, we woke and traded our house for a boat and our careers for freedom. And here we are. Follow along at http://www.logofdelviento.blogspot.com/

Frances with one of the sheep at the far end of the yard.

Father's Day in the yard. I woke to receive the larger
citrus squeezer I'd coveted, wrapped by the girls
to make it impossible to guess what was inside.

Eleanor and Bean with one of the friendly yard security guards.
As we go to press, his name is on the tip of all our tongues...

Frances and Eleanor out to lunch downtown with Windy.
They are no doubt keeping out of my way for 26 days
while I transform Del Viento to the extent possible.