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      Has anyone replaced their saildrive gaiter recently and what was the rough cost? A couple of VP main dealers have looked at me with surprise that I should even be considering doing so and another could not remember doing one in the last 18 months!


        Hi Brian

        Volvo (to cover themselves no doubt) state 7 years. Popular opinion seems to be 10 years plus and no-one has ever heard of a catastrophic failure. (There have been several threads on this issue in the PBO Forum). However, like many of these preventative maintenance items, if it failed, what position would your insurance company take? I think I can guess!

        Mine is 11 seasons old and replacement is scheduled next week so I can tell you (unless the estimate is wildly out) the likely cost –

        Diaphragm kit (mail order from Keypart) – £200

        Oil (Halfords) – £30 (synthetic for my 120 S-E; Volvo price £60!)

        Labour 10 hours total at £42 per hour (Hayling Yacht Services).

        To help matters, I have removed the prop (and will replace) and will replace the outside flap – saving a couple of hours.

        The job is pretty straight forward on Playtime as there is plenty of space around the engine/saildrive to work and sufficient room to move the engine forward to release the gearbox/saildrive (at least 4″ required). However, this is slightly offset by the weight of the engine (50hp).

        Although the diaphragm looks pretty good, I figured that I am unlikely to have the boat for another 10 years so I might as well bite the bullet now and get the peace of mind for the next few years. It’s not the sort of item to wait until after it has actually failed!

        Let me know if you want more info.



          I think Jim McGuiness (SY Avalon) replaced his in the last year or so, as a DIY job. It might be worth contacting him.



            I did mine with the help of Ted Holmes (Storm Dragaon) Not a difficult job but like most things on a boat there’s not a lot of space to work. While I was carrying out the work I got talking with a boat owner who said he’d looked at changing his. He asked his insurance company who basically said if the gaiter looked in good order and he inspected it on a regular basis then they were happy for him to leave well alone. I wished I’d asked the question as the gaiter when it was taken out looked as good as the one I put on. Cheers Jim


              I am thinking of changing the Saildrive Gaitor on my Bav36 2002 although it looks perfectly okay but is over the 7 year recommended by Volvo.

              I will probably do this myself but have a few queries:-
              1. In all the articles I have seen in PBO etc. the saildrive is removed upwards. Can you get the saildrive out of the hole downwards after lifting the clamping ring over the top of the gearbox? There is not a lot of room above the back of the saildrive because of the rear cabin.
              2. If it has to come out upwards a/ will it come out aftwards through the floor opening in the rear cabin or does it have to be lifted forwards over the engine? b/ Is it absolutely necessary to remove the lower drive shaft? (Most of the articles seem to show this happening.)
              3. The articles say not to use any sealing compound between the rubber gaiter/boat and the rubber gaiter/saildrive. Is this okay?

              Obviously only someone that has actually seen or done this job will have the answers, but it would greatly help me to plan how to go about it.



                The hole in the boat isn’t big enough for the saildrive to be lowered through the hull. I’m going from memory as is was a couple of years ago. While draining the oil from the gerabox we disconnected all the bits from the engine eg. fuel lines throttle etc, we then de-coupled the saildrive from the engine. We then moved the whole engine as far forward as we could, not the couple of inches suggested in the manual. We then removed the drive at the bottom of the saildrive (it will not fit through the hole if you don’t) You then remove all the bolts from the drive, then lift the saildrive out, swearing helps at this point. I think we pulled the drive through the cabin. Once on the deck you replace the gaiter using a replacement kit which should have all the instructions. Then you just put everything back. Sounds simple which it is but like I said in an earlier post the problems you face are lack of space.

                Hope this helps

                Cheers Jim


                  I have just replaced mine on my B32 Volvo 2020(Thursday 28th April) and it is a straight forward job but you do need a second pair of hands. I am going to writeup the procedure step by step including a list of tools and swear words and will make it available to who ever wants it. As Avalon said the whole in the bottom is not big enough to lower the drive through so it has to come upwards and across the engine, this is easier than through the side access hatch. You need to disconnect everything including the exhaust, which is better removed completely. This allows uninterupted access from the side and by clearing the rear berth of its cushions and lifting the cover on the engine bay you can access the rear support bracket and ring bolts easier. The instructions that come with the kit tell you to move the engine forward by 30 mm, forget it you have to move the engine at least 100mm to clear the ring bolts. You need to support the engine underneath to be able to slide it forward when you have undone the saildrive bolts, I found it easier to move the engine forward until the engine mounts were just forward of the engine bed plinth. Once clear of the saildrive ring it is a matter of lifting (bring a truss or a friend) the saildrive straight up and forward. Note ; If you do not remove the propshaft you will struggle to get the unit through the hole, so remove the shaft before you start.

                  You will need a torque wrench with a range covering 10nm to 40nm. The recent article in PBO helps but it is not on a Bavaria. This job is one which any able bodied sailor should be capable of doing as it is not a complicated process just an awkward one.

                  Good luck and feel free to contact me if you need any further guidance.


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