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SEI Drives failed

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Old 05-04-2006, 05:39 PM
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Default SEI Drives failed

Sorry I don't have good news. I bought two brand new Alphas late last year. Both have failed within a few hours of one another. The starboard drive sheared a shaft at 40knots and 3500 rpm. The port drive stopped going into reverse. They both failed within 10 hours of one another. Neither was abused or pushed hard.

The starboard drive had to go back to SEI twice before it was repaired. The port drive is on its way back now.

I am not optimistic that these drives will have much of a lifespan. Undoubtedly they will fail again...moments after the warranty expires.
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

Interesting. We have installed several of these drives with no failures at all. One is on a workboat that is run hard everyday.Maybe we have just been lucky,but I have had good experiences with SEI drives. Sorry for your problems. We have been pleased to offer a brand new Alpha replacement at $1195. If we start having failures I will rethink it,but good success so far.
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

I have never heard of SEI
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

Sterndrive Engineering Inc.They make new replacement Alpha drives,brand new,not rebuilt,they sell them cheap. The key here is,as I was told,is they are made overseas? China maybe? But if you have an older boat with a bad drive,you can't rebuild it for $1195,and you sure can't buy a new Merc drve for that.Sounds too good to be true,and maybe it is,but if I trade in a $5000 boat with a bad drive,it seems like a good way to go.Warranty seems strong,but never had to use it,so who knows?
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

For me, both new drives were defective. It's possible that I was the one in 10,000 that just happened to get 2 bad drives...but it doesn't smell right. So far they have warranted the drives. The starboard drive took 2 returns to SEI to get fixed. I thought that they should have replaced my brand new drive with another brand new drive, but they made a repair instead. I still think that it is making too much noise. Just as a kicker, when the starboard drive let go, my brand new engine over-revved. I think I may have floated a valve.....

The 2nd drive is probably back at SEI by now, so I don't know if there will be a problem with the warrant yet or how many tries it will take to get it right.

The bigger issue is that these failures have cost me a ton of money and time lost on the boat. Additionally have been the safety issues of of being stranded offshore with only one drive that goes only in forward. At one point it would only go into reverse and I had to circle outside a crowded boat launch in reverse trying to load surrounded by drunken rednecks threatening me if I didn't get out of their way. So much for giving consideration for a disabled boat. I bought these drives last November and have been plagued by them ever since.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclinden
For me, both new drives were defective. It's possible that I was the one in 10,000 that just happened to get 2 bad drives...but it doesn't smell right. So far they have warranted the drives. The starboard drive took 2 returns to SEI to get fixed. I thought that they should have replaced my brand new drive with another brand new drive, but they made a repair instead. I still think that it is making too much noise. Just as a kicker, when the starboard drive let go, my brand new engine over-revved. I think I may have floated a valve.....

The 2nd drive is probably back at SEI by now, so I don't know if there will be a problem with the warrant yet or how many tries it will take to get it right.

The bigger issue is that these failures have cost me a ton of money and time lost on the boat. Additionally have been the safety issues of of being stranded offshore with only one drive that goes only in forward. At one point it would only go into reverse and I had to circle outside a crowded boat launch in reverse trying to load surrounded by drunken rednecks threatening me if I didn't get out of their way. So much for giving consideration for a disabled boat. I bought these drives last November and have been plagued by them ever since.
Did you check the shift cable adjustment on the drive that doesn't go into reverse? Also, it could be stretched and you wore out the clutch dog pre-maturely.
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

Actually replaced the shift cable with the outdrive. The work has been, and is, being done by a local shop so I couldn't say if they did the adjustments correctly. I had repeated problems where they would adjust it, it would work for an hour then go out again. Finally it couldn't be adjusted anymore. I disconnected and pulled on the shift cable going out to the drive myself to confirm that the drive would engage in forward but would not in reverse.

Don't know exactly what the shop learned after they pulled the drive off but they decided that it needed to go back to SEI.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

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Originally Posted by eclinden
Actually replaced the shift cable with the outdrive. The work has been, and is, being done by a local shop so I couldn't say if they did the adjustments correctly. I had repeated problems where they would adjust it, it would work for an hour then go out again. Finally it couldn't be adjusted anymore. I disconnected and pulled on the shift cable going out to the drive myself to confirm that the drive would engage in forward but would not in reverse.

Don't know exactly what the shop learned after they pulled the drive off but they decided that it needed to go back to SEI.
Is this the counter rotating drive or the std. drive.

One of two things I can think of. 1. Clutch Dog and Gear wore out pre-maturely. 2. The reverse gear was improperly shimmed making the distance the clutch dog had to travel much further.

Last edited by Panther; 05-05-2006 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

This is the std rotation. The only other thing I noticed that was different about the two drives was that the starboard drive shifted very positively once it was repaired. There is a definate clunk when you engage the drive. The port drive seemed very soft and without a detectable engagement. It was often hard to tell when it engaged, forward or reverse. I figured that one of them wasn't right but didn't know why they would engage so differently.
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Old 05-05-2006, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: SEI Drives failed

I had read on the SEI site about one other guy having shift problems and another who had to do some grinding on the outdrive to make it fit properly.

I am betting that there are problems with the casting and machining of the case, causing parts(like shafts) not to align properly and also problems in surface hardening of shafts and gears.

There could be multiple suppliers overseas for the parts and some may have lax quality control or may be taking shortcuts.

The original alphas on this boat were twenty years old when I replaced them. One was probably still ok as I found I had a bad shift cable. I hope that once I can get past these issues with the SEI drives that they will last as long asthe original Alphas.
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