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Old 11-13-2014, 11:43 PM   #1
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Vee-drive coolers

We have an accepted offer on a Canoe Cove 41. Oil analysis of the transmission/drives reveals that there is > 1% H2O in the drive oil, along with 23ppm sodium. The mechanic who conducted the inspection told me it appears that the oil coolers in the transmission/coolers have been de-activated at some point, possibly after a failure, and probably not completely cleaned out properly. Does anybody know anything about running Walther Velvet drive/transmissions in a 24,000 lb boat without coolers? Estimated replacement cost of coolers is about $1000, but I figure the vendor should be on the hook for that as the O.E. has been modified. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:55 AM   #2
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Fully expect that the cooler core is leaking and that is why you have water and sodium in the oil. High sodium content in oil is an indication of antifreeze in the oil. About the only place transmission oil and coolant from the engine could mix would be the cooler.
Just water could be from other causes but the sodium is a give away that the water is from coolant. So they bypassed the cooler to save on the cost of repair.
How does the oil smell? If it is burned smelling then I would be thinking time to pull the boxes down and check them out. I don't have an idea how long velvet drives will run without a cooler. But I know for sure that oil coolers extend the service life of components. And >1% water makes me wonder how long the boxes have been run that way. I don't think anything inside the drives will like having water/antifreeze as a lubricant. time for covers off and a good look at the internals maybe?
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:01 AM   #3
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www.waltergear.com/

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Old 11-14-2014, 09:56 AM   #4
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I did not crawl right down around the drives to have a look at the configuration, but from talking to the mechanic it sounds like a separate heat exchanger for the drives. To me, that would mean a previous internal raw water leak. Instead of replacing the heat exchangers, they were just blocked off.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:09 AM   #5
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Estimated replacement cost of coolers is about $1000, Any thoughts?
You will spend very big dollars if the transmissions are shot or suffer an early death due to water. A transmission failure in the hinterlands of BC or Alaska would not be fun. Assuming all is correct in analysis and findings to date, if it were me Id keep looking at boats.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:10 AM   #6
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Will the seller tell you when the coolers were disabled and how many hours since then? Will he agree to paying to have the transmissions/drives removed and checked? (this will give you a chance to replace hoses & damper plates at your expense for more reliability) You can also install good CU-NI coolers at the same time.
So you stand to get something out of the deal too. He was foolish to run w/o the coolers but it is not the end of the world depending on how long and how hard he ran it. I made a crossing to Nantucket and trolled all day only to find there was NOTHING but seawater in my Velvet Drive when I got back. I flushed it well, replaced the cooler and have run that transmission ever since (6yrs)
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:32 AM   #7
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Will the seller tell you when the coolers were disabled and how many hours since then?
If you believe him of course. Given the Owner's penchant for doing something as silly as bypassing the transmission/drive coolers, no telling how many other silly things were not found during the survey that will crop up at a later date.

Walter V drive gear cases can certainly be opened up to assess any damage, but the labor to do this would be quite steep unless access were good and examinations could be done in place.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:33 AM   #8
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23ppm sodium is not very high. If sea water had been getting in the lube, Na would be in the hundreds.

If run under low power or short trips, the vdrive probably can run without cooling. True test is to shoot it with an IR gun.

I think the Walther sp?? cooler is just a patch cooler, no bundle. Not 100% on that.
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Old 11-14-2014, 02:49 PM   #9
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Walter makes a lot of V drives. There is a brass plate likely on the port side of the unit containing SN, MN etc. Call Walter and they could give you some very good advice as to issues to look for. 201 656 5654 in New Jersey.

With water in the oil, any chance of freeze up given you are in cooler climate? Bearings and gears don't like moisture and freezing temps.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:13 PM   #10
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Turns out I was only getting part of the information. Yes the internal oil coolers are blocked off. But... the transmission and v-drive have been fitted with external heat exchangers. Both v-drives had almost exactly the same ppm of sodium. The boat has 5 hours since spring of 2013. Part of the problem likely comes from dis-use.
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Old 11-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #11
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Saltcod-still not exactly understanding what you are saying. Although I have no personal experience with a Canoe Cove 41, my CC53 was fitted with Capital transmissions, and separate Walter Vee-drives, behind Detroit 6-71s. I expect your installation is similar, as CC used this configuration on many, many boats. Neither my transmissions nor my vee-drives were fitted with internal oil coolers. Mine have external shell-and-tube water-to-oil heat exchangers on each trans and vee-drive. These are plumbed to the raw water side of the cooling system on each main engine.

Should survey reveal the presence of water in the transmission or vee-drive lubricating oil, this is definitely not healthy, and should be dealt with promptly. Typically, water in the oil means a leaky oil cooler. How much water, when, how long ago, how much damage has already been done, etc. are moot issues-there's simply no way to tell. Find the leak(s), and fix 'em. If you are still in the pre-purchase phase, make it a condition of sale. If you suspect the vee-drives or transmissions have suffered damage due to water in the oil, I'd run for the hills, as repair/replacement of either is REAL spendy. Ditto if some moron bypassed the coolers, as they do require cooling for proper long-term function. As I'm sure Walter will tell you.

Personally, If I was OK with function of the running gear, I would require a cost reduction on the purchase price commensurate with material and labor costs required to remove, pressure check, repair/replace, and re-install any cooler that was suspect. I would NOT ask the seller to fix, as who knows what he/she might do to "fix" the leaky cooler(s). Than, immediately after completion of sale, I'd change the lube oil in the running gear, continue to take periodic oil samples, and watch the condition like a hawk for some time to make myself happy that no permanent damage was done to the running gear.

Hope all turns out in your favor. Canoe Cove built wonderful boats, with first-class installations, and unless a previous owner has been terminally stupid with maintenance, should last a long, long time.

Regards,

Pete
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:48 PM   #12
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vee-drive coolers

Hello Pete,
I am not going to panic about a bit of saltwater found in the v-drive oil. I am involved in the marine industry and can access the services required to test and possibly repair the heat exchangers on the v-drives. I can probably get it done for a favor/ trade. The boat has been professionally maintained since built, for many years, by the chief mechanic at Canoe cove. The rest of the boat is in incredible condition. Oil tests done by Finning recommend an oil change and monitor, so that is my plan.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:02 AM   #13
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Fair enough Saltcod, but why not tell all this up front rather than revealing bits and pieces in each post. BTW, you reported greater than 1% water, how much greater? Water in gears can indeed be damaging especially to bearings which the V drives have.

I've some knowledge of Walter V drives and am aware of some models that had a standard steel cooler that rusted away allowing flakes to get into and damage the bearings. Even though newer external coolers were installed, the previous coolers are no saints if they failed.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:11 AM   #14
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vee-drive coolers

Sunchaser, I'm unable to tell you what % of water was contained in the vee-drive oil. The analysis was done by Finning and that is all it says " > 1% H2O. There was not enough water to change the color of the oil, so I am assuming there is not much. I'm sorry you are getting irritated, but I'm not finding out everything all at once. I'm a 3-1/2 hour drive from the boat, so I have to rely on information supplied by people I've hired to do inspections. I suspect that the coolers were internal at one time and have been changed out to the external type. There were no other red flags on the vee-drive oil analysis that I can see. Sodium 21 ppm, potassium 330ppm iron 79ppm, copper 238ppm, zinc 94ppm calcium 54ppm. Those are the numbers from one drive. The other drive is almost the same.Thanks for the info, everything I can find out is helpful. As I said, Finning's recommendation was to replace the oil and monitor.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:57 AM   #15
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I'm sorry you are getting irritated, but I'm not finding out everything all at once. I'm a 3-1/2 hour drive from the boat, so I have to rely on information supplied by people I've hired to do inspections. .
Irritated, now I really am because you are so close to the vessel in question and I'm so far from mine. Is the CC in the Sidney area?
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Old 11-16-2014, 01:44 PM   #16
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Yes Sunchaser, the boat is at Canoe Cove Marina, just a stone's throw from where it was manufactured. While it is only 3-1/2 hours away, it does take up most of a day to go down to Sydney, spend an hour or two with the boat looking at stuff, and return home. The mechanic did not seem too alarmed at the results of the oil tests, other than that the oil needs to be changed now to get a baseline. I'm not sure if there are deactivated coolers inside the drives or whether they were removed. I think it is important to find out one way or the other. It would not be good to have a corroded cooler shedding bits of metal into the oil inside the drive.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:07 PM   #17
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O.K., an update. I was able to get in touch with Canoe Cove Manufacturing today. I sent them photos of the external coolers installed on the V-drives. Despite the fact that Walter Machine Co. insists that external coolers should never be installed on Walter v-drives, Canoe Cove said they produced many boats with external coolers, offering it as an option. I'm feeling better now, as everything was a bit up in the air not knowing the origin of the drive configuration. After seeing the photos, the manufacturer said that the configuration appears to be factory O.E.M.
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