View Full Version : Grounded boat, now transmission problems...I think.
09-24-2007, 01:11 AM
Hi all. First post because I just found this site tonight. I have a '90 Maristar 210 with the ford 351. I just bought it last weekend from a guy in Maryland (only 226 o.g. hours). Saltwater boat, yup. Anyways, we took it out for its maiden voyage with the whole family today. I am not familiar with the lakes so we ran around for few minutes. I headed off in one direction around 25 mph. Boat all of a sudden started feeling like it had an anchor thrown out. Yup, we grounded on a sand bar. Got a pretty good distance in before I could shut it off (how does this oem hummingbird 400 depthfinder work? Another question for another day.) No damage to prop or rudder or shaft. Had someone pull us off very carefully. Regardless, we headed off in another direction after an hour of being stranded. We headed off at around 1500 rpms. Drove just fine. Kicked it up a bit to make sure no vibrations. No problems. We only stayed out for another 20 min with a few runs up to around 35 mph all the way back to slow cruise. As i returned to the dock in idle, clicking it in and out of gear, i noticed it wouldn't catch immediately. I had to kick it up a bit in rpms (1600 ish) before it would catch. This happened in reverse and forward. We got to the dock, hauled it out and had the same problems while trying to get it up the trailer. By this time, the baby was crying, wife is mad and ready to go. I have time to lift the doghouse and see *gasp* :mad: chocolate milk fluid with the small amount of water in bilge (didn't have this problem when I test drove the boat). I pulled the tranny dip, couldn't determine level really (i was on an angle) but didn't see frothy pepto. Any ideas as to what the problem may be? My last boat was a '86 Supra Bowrider with a 440c.i. and a velvet drive and that has been 7 years ago. I am familiar with inboards, but brand new to mastercraft. Hoping for an easy fix!:D yeah, right. Thanks in advance for any help.
03 35th Anniversary
09-24-2007, 04:55 AM
Easy fix and your problem don't go together............
09-24-2007, 07:14 AM
First of all, welcome!
If you're saying milky fluid in the bilge, my quess would be:
Rear seal on trans. is now leaking since your little sandbar incident. Check all around trans for leaks, incl. trans hoses.
You most likely sucked-up sand in the oil cooler too, possibly even causing that to leak oil into bilge. At the very least, take oil cooler off and inspect it, then flush it out with water. I bet it's clogged.
I think www.skidim.com sells oil coolers if you need one, or your local MC dealer of course.
09-24-2007, 07:16 AM
did you check the fluid level in your transmission?
if you don't have an owners manual you can download one here
09-24-2007, 09:59 AM
OK, I had some time to go take a closer look this morning. It is a velvet drive 1:1 tranny. I yanked the dip stick and noticed that the fluid is an oily color, almost like a heavy gear oil from a differential. the boat is at an angle in the driveway (tilting forward) and the fluid level is just a couple notches up the stick. I looked around the raw water intake where the cooling hoses attach, no leaks. No sign of leaks around the dip stick, the shift linkage, or any evidence of leaks around the seals (I didn't run my hand under the housing though, in work clothes). I pulled the oil dip stick to make sure that isn't the culprit. The level looked fine an no water in there either. SO, any thoughts as to where to look next? Where is the oil cooler located (haven't checked that). Thanks again fellas... and any ladies.
Unless they have changed things by the year your boat was built, the cooler should be between the Thru-hull fitting (inlet) and the raw water pump.
09-24-2007, 11:31 AM
I think the transmission cooler back then was between the raw water pump and circulating pump, just as it is today.
09-24-2007, 11:40 AM
Ok, that clears things up. There is a tubular metal piece about the size of a coors light beer can between the raw water intake and the water pump with a pair of lines coming off the top that run to the transmission. I assumed these were the transmission cooler lines. Again, there was no wet stuff around this item and no presence of oil around them either. Any ideas where my next step to look would be? How about the strange oil that seems to be in my transmission. There isn't supposed to be any special transmission fluid for a velvet tranny that I can recall or have read about. Thanks.
09-24-2007, 11:55 AM
I have an 88 TriStar and I sometimes take a little different approach to problems than many - especially those with newer boats (or cars for that matter - following is basically the approach I took with my 8 year old 112k mile Durango in December).
The transmission fluid should not be this dark or viscous - at the very least, it needs to be changed. This is cheap and easy and I would do this right after checking the transmission cooling parts.
Get an oil vacuumer and suck out all the transmission fluid you can through the filler hole. Add the appropriate amount of new Transmission Fluid (see the manual referenced above). Put it in the water and drive it. After it has warmed up, take a look at the fluid. Will be some darker but should still have an appreciable red color. Check for leaks.
If everything seems to be working, have fun, just checking before and after (and occasionally during) each outing. Good luck.
09-24-2007, 12:14 PM
Ok, that clears things up. There is a tubular metal piece about the size of a coors light beer can between the raw water intake and the water pump with a pair of lines coming off the top that run to the transmission. I assumed these were the transmission cooler lines. Again, there was no wet stuff around this item and no presence of oil around them either. Any ideas where my next step to look would be? How about the strange oil that seems to be in my transmission. There isn't supposed to be any special transmission fluid for a velvet tranny that I can recall or have read about. Thanks.The transmission cooler is actually a heat exchanger. Tranny oil circulates around in it to get cooled before it's pumped back into the transmission. They CAN break, with resultant water in the transmission oil.
Your Velvet drive is likely to have ATF in it, not actual oil, in which case a transmission leak should be strawberry milk shake rather than milky brown. If you can't find an obvious leak, I'd change the engine oil, change the transmission oil, and see what happens next.
09-25-2007, 07:35 PM
You should take off the water hoses to the cooler and look for blockage.
09-25-2007, 07:56 PM
Oil changes in any inboard can be kind of eventful & spilling a little oil in the bilge is not unusual. The previous owner may have left some oil in the bilge from the last oil change & mixed with a little water from your outing it would be a chocolate milk mess.
Like the others suggested, change the engine & trans oil, check for leaks, clean things up, and go for a test drive. Check for leaks frequently, with the engine running, stopped, in gear, out of gear, etc.
Also, check the prop packing where the prop shaft exits the hull. It should leak very slowly, like 2 or 3 drips per minute. This might one of the first things I'd suspect if there was an abundance of water in the bilge after a short outing on the water. And check the engine's water pump for a leaky weep hole.
09-26-2007, 11:50 AM
Thanks to everyone who has responded. I really do appreciate it. Now for an update.
I took the advice and checked out all the possible hoses, strainers and filters possible. I was getting ready to flush the tranny when I decided to run the boat (water hooked up of course) and take a look. To my dismay, there is an oil leak back where the transmission mounts to the engine. I guess it is where the damper plate is housed (I don't know the proper terminology and engine parts as of yet, that will soon change). It is leaking by one of the bolts that was hidden from my view by the starter. I don't know if this is the equivalent of the rear main seal (it has the Ford 351 in it). Is this likely to be coming from the torque converter (is there one or does the damper take its place?) or is it oil from the engine block? The problem is that the tranmission is filled with gear oil, not tranny fluid, so I can't tell for certain which is which. I am inclined to believe that it is actually coming from the tranny because the oil color is just not the same as the engine oil, more of a caramel color, similar to what is in the tranny. Can anyone tell me if there is fluid in that area where a torque converter would be or is? Looks like I'll be yanking the tranny to rebuild it. If it is leaking from that area, I suspect I'll be replacing the rear main seal as well as the oil pan seal as well, right? Anyone who has done this before, please chime in. I am lucky enough to have a mechanic who just moved in next door who I have become fast buddies with. He hasn't worked on too many boats, and no direct drives for that matter, but he has been building hotrod engines his whole life. So we have a nice weekend ahead of us after I find out what I need to buy (repair manuals, gaskets, rebuild kits, etc.) Thanks fellas, I appreciate any insight.