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Surface drives on Diesels

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Old 03-28-2004, 10:11 AM
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Default NEED ADVISE on Surface drives VS #6 on Diesels

Which surface drives are more reliable, say like in a 40-45' boat , this would be a triple 440 yanmar application, weight appr.14K. I'm looking for reliability, ease to work on, get parts, etc. The only one's that come to mind are Arneson, Weisman, and Tri-max, I'm looking for the pro's and con's vs a #6 drive. THANKS Jeff

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Old 03-28-2004, 01:12 PM
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Where is Super T.
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:50 PM
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Look out, Super T answering the call!

Seriously, as we all agreed many times, every drive system is a compromise of some sort.

In terms of reliability and ease of maintenance, you CANNOT beat Trimax. It is the simplest drive system out there, has fewest moving parts and thus, the smallest number of potential problems. It is all stainless and all integrated meaning that only stainless steel is in contact with water, all sensitive hydraulics and such being located inside the hull. This not only decreases the chance of a problem occuring but also makes solving that problem easier should it occur. Most things are accessible from inside the hull without having to pull the boat out of the water. The drives have virtually no required maintenance. The supporting strut bearings are water-lubricated so no worries there. Each drive has an oil tank for lubrication but you don't even have to change it yearly. I went for much longer than that, had water in the oil until it turned milky white and was advised by Trimax not to worry at all since the drives needed very, very little lubrication. In terms of pure strength, I'll just say that I went over a large log which probably fell off of a cargo ship at high speed and damaged props and had a small steering leak but my drives never missed a beat. So, in terms of peace of mind, reliability and even performance, you cannot go better than Trimax.

However, Trimax is not something that you can just bolt on to your boat as an after-market part. It requires a complete reconfiguration of the stern section of your boat. In addition, the drives are not trimmable on the go which means that if you want your boat to be perfectly balanced, it should really be a clean sheet designed intended for Trimax. Only then will this drive system reach its maximum potential. If for example you have a gas-powered stepped hull which you want to repower with some diesels, Trimax is probably not a good idea. Putting heavier diesels in the back will shift your CG meaning that your steps will not be as effective simply because they were intended to work best with lighter gas motors and with a more forward-placed CG. The inability to trim the drives will upset the boat even more since you will be unable to compensate with trim and this is why you would end up cursing Trimax and Super T pretty soon.

But, if you're looking to order a new boat, ask the manufacturer about Trimax drives by all means. Fabio Buzzi would like to see more of his drives on the U.S. market and if approached by a manufacturer, he will be glad to offer advice and show how to integrate Trimax effectively into an existing design. This would ensure that you would get a properly set-up boat which makes the most out of this drive system.

So, in all fairness, not a great idea as a retro-fit. Too much work for uncertain results. It is a great idea however for a clean-sheet project or a new boat made by a manufacturer who has some experience with Trimax. Number 1 are probably Hustler and Fountain, the problem with Fountain being the fact that they do not offer Trimax anymore and are not exactly flexible custom builders that will build a Trimax boat if you ask them nicely. Besides, Reggie and Fabio are not friends anymore so... I believe MTI and Nortech have some experience with Trimax, as well as Scarab...

As for parts, Trimax is made and distributed by ZF Marine so parts are not too much of a problem. You would not need them very often anyway...

As for others, they are more complicated, with a greater number of moving parts and thus less reliable in my opinion. From this it follows that maintenance is maybe not difficult but there is simply more to do. You'll be changing loads of rubber seals and that kinda stuff on Arnesons but nothing major. However, Arneson and Weismann are still very reliable and the great advantage of those systems is the fact that they work as an after-thought. If you're looking to re-power with diesels and change from Bravos to a drive which will live with diesel torque, it's either Arneson or Weismann. And at this point, it depends on your preference. If you are used to outdrives and don't want to change the way you drive your boat, Weismann is probably a better bet. If you want a cool rooster tail, then it's Arneson. But if you continue driving a boat with Arnesons like you did your old boat with outdrives, especially turning, my experience is that it could get a bit hairy at times...

As for #6, if you want to blend in, go for it. But my opinion is: too expensive for what it is, it takes too much power to turn it, and its performance in diesel applications will be inferior to the above three.

So Jeff, the real question is what do you want to do? Are you looking at a repower? Or are you looking at a new boat? And if the latter is the case, which manufactuer is building it also becomes a factor in the choice of drives. And besides, how fast do you want to go? Because in a 12 to 13 000 lbs. 40-footer, twin Yanmars may be enough to make you cruise at 65 mph.
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Old 03-28-2004, 10:01 PM
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Super T. This is for a new boat, another 4300. Twin 440 Yany's will run out at better than 70-72 plus mph and Tripps will be 77-79 plus mph. I looked at the new 500hp Yany's but the weight was 1800 pounds, so twin application would be at 3600 pounds, where the 440's are at 1186 pounds each. So even tripps would be less weight and more hp, and the 440's rev a little more, 3300rpm's. Im trying to stay around the same top end, 80-85 mph, thats the goal. What other diesels will give me the same amount of reliability and close to in weight. Thanks For Your Help Super T., Jeff Jassby
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Old 03-28-2004, 10:21 PM
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Jeff, what about Pulse drives? I don't know much about them, but it might be another one to consider.

I know of someone who might be working on a turbo application for the Yanmar 440s. That could get you more power than the 500s but for less weight while keeping the reliability. If that happens, it could be an interesting alternative to the 500s.
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Old 03-28-2004, 10:27 PM
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Miller, that I would be interested in, more power less weight. I was also wondering about Whipple charging a Diesel. As to the Pulse drives, No Thanks, I will reserve my comments on that one, thanks Jeff
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Old 03-28-2004, 11:53 PM
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Jassman, I am gearing towards running the asd8's on my trip 40 hustler that I am re powering. I looked at the weismanns real close as well, just thought I would try to be different. And the price difference between weismanns and sixes is quite abit if you decided to run an outdrive and arent to worried about it saying merc. Just my .02
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Old 03-29-2004, 02:29 AM
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Jeff, that's what I tought. A twin 440 boat will run over 70 which means that you can cruise at 63 to 65 at between 3100 and 3200 rpm. BTW, Yanmars are perfectly happy at 3400 rpm and even the factory advises 3400 to 3450 rpm as max revolutions when propping the boat.

However, as we all agreed in previous threads, a diesel boat topping out at 70 mph is equivalent in normal pleasure use to a gas boat with an 80 mph capability. In both you will cruise at approx. 60 to 65.

I actually believe a triple 4300 with Trimax should run over 80 mph. A Hustler "Esprit de Soleil" with triple Yanmars runs a touch over 70 but that boat is something like 17000 lbs. Forget the Yanmar 500s. It's not the same engine at all. A 440 is a much smaller block (5.8 liter) and its power-to-weight ratio is much better. Note however that 440s are scheduled to go electronic next year and produce approx. 480hp. I also know that Innovation Marine used to push them over 550hp with no ill effects. Last time I checked, they did not do that anymore but I did too by simply running more fuel through them so it's not a complicated operation and the engine will take it.

As for other diesels, I cannot see anyone being close to Yanmar in that power range. You could look at Seatek but they are 660 to 820hp in their pleasure versions. A twin application would be a rocket but at over 1900 lbs. apiece, it would probably be too much for the 4300. You would probably have to step up to the 5000 for best results. Do use ZF 2-speeds though. Those trannies will bring a smile to your face...
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:01 AM
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Hard On, I don't mind being different, I like to think outside the box, that is the Merc box To me it's a monopoly, and I think there are other co. out there that provide a service in a more affordable package, and I believe if set up right from the get go with Nortech and the right surface drive, I will see more speed and reliability will be the same. I do understand that it will limit my resale, but I believe in time that will change once customers are educated. Quite a few Nortech Cats go out with Arnesons, but I will do my reserch with Weismann (SHIFTER) and this Trimax drive as well. thanks and good luck with your project, keep us up to date. Thanks Jeff Jassby
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Old 03-29-2004, 08:18 AM
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Super T, how does the 2 speed tranny work. And are these diesels easy to modify like our diesels on our trucks, like with modules, that advance diesel flow and adjusts timing and so on. If I could get away with a dual set up vs tripps I would prefer that, and still get a top end of 80. thanks again for the help. Jeff
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