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MalibuMikeVLX

Walter V-Drive - Water ingress

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MalibuMikeVLX

Hi All,

New to the forum - this is my first post.  Just bought a 99 Wakesetter VLX with a plethora of issues due to the previous owners lack of mechanical knowledge / failure to properly winterize etc.  I am a multiple boat owner - this is my first v-drive boat. My teenage kids wanted something to try wakeboarding with and before I spend 100K for something to look pretty on my boat lift for our 8 week season (feels like 4 weeks) in Washington, I agreed to buy a cheap project boat that my boys and I can fix up together and they (and I :0) can learn something in the process.  All this background info (sorry if it is making you yawn already) to say that, yes, I knew a bit of what I was getting into with this project, I am far from a mechanic but have been maintaining my own boats for the past 20 years but have no experience with this type of boat.

So, here is the issue.  I have Walter RV26D v-drive.  The lubricant is the dreaded milkshake.  Lots of water going into the intake (fake a lake) and comparative little leaving except through the vent valve thoroughly mixed with lubricant.  Other posts that I could find suggested that they got water into their "walter" probably through the unit being submerged due to bilge pump failure.  My issue is that raw water is going straight from the inlet and into the v-drive.  I phone Walter and they said the the housing will be cracked due to improper winterization and that it is a common problem and I will have to purchase a new unit to the tune of $2500 plus dollars which is a heck of a lot less that the $4000 that the dealer wants but still far more than can be justified on this sorry vessel.

There are no visible cracks externally on the case so I am guessing that there is a crack internally between the water chamber and the rest of the drive.  I am wondering if anyone has had this issue and successfully resolved it? The gears look to be in reasonable shape so if I could seal the water chamber to keep water escaping I might be in business.  Even wondering if I could weld a plate at the bottom of the water chamber to seal it (no idea the metallic composition of the cast housing so please chime in if someone knows).  Walter isn't overly interested in providing me much information other than how to order a new one - I asked for a schematic so I could understand where the water might be going but they were not too keen on offering me that as they said I simply need to buy a new one.

In the alternative, does anyone have any idea where one might come across a used or rebuilt v-drive?  Zippo on Ebay anywhere or Craigslist within 200 miles.  It is a 1:1.46 ratio that I need.

Thanks to you all for taking the time to read this!

 

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boardjnky4

The oil cooler is internal on the vdrive. I'd look for a used on eBay or something.

not much you can do other than that.

in the meantime, you can run the engine off the hose that goes from the vdrive to the water pump so you can run the engine. 

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MalibuMikeVLX
44 minutes ago, boardjnky4 said:

The oil cooler is internal on the vdrive. I'd look for a used on eBay or something.

not much you can do other than that.

in the meantime, you can run the engine off the hose that goes from the vdrive to the water pump so you can run the engine. 

Yes, the "oil cooler" appears to simply be a 1/2" W shaped pipe that is in the water chamber.  I am looking for a reasonable way to seal that chamber.  As mentioned in my original post there are none of these v-drives with this gear ratio currently for sale on Ebay or Craigslist.

 

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boardjnky4
27 minutes ago, MalibuMikeVLX said:

Yes, the "oil cooler" appears to simply be a 1/2" W shaped pipe that is in the water chamber.  I am looking for a reasonable way to seal that chamber.  As mentioned in my original post there are none of these v-drives with this gear ratio currently for sale on Ebay or Craigslist.

 

IF you can expose the crack, I'm sure a radiator repair shop can fix it

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wdr

On the Walter, at least on my '06 when I pulled the dip stick and then removed the 6x top bolts and pulled that plate I could see the culprit! IIWM and I had the skills and the tools, I would close the ruptured line as well as I could and solder that thing closed. Lacking the fore mentioned skills and tools anyone with any plumbing skills and tools could do the job for you in under 5 mins if the line is exposed and ready for repair and hasn't exploded. I would go far as to say that if it has completely exploded to have someone remove the affected section leaving some working ends and splice in a replacement copper pipe section with flared ends and then solder that section closed. So long as you don't have a water leak, looks be damned because that thing is definately out of sight. No way I would pay good money on a new VD before I exhausted other cheaper and mechanically sound fixes. But I am cheap! Good luck, Bill.

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MalibuMikeVLX
2 hours ago, wdr said:

On the Walter, at least on my '06 when I pulled the dip stick and then removed the 6x top bolts and pulled that plate I could see the culprit! IIWM and I had the skills and the tools, I would close the ruptured line as well as I could and solder that thing closed. Lacking the fore mentioned skills and tools anyone with any plumbing skills and tools could do the job for you in under 5 mins if the line is exposed and ready for repair and hasn't exploded. I would go far as to say that if it has completely exploded to have someone remove the affected section leaving some working ends and splice in a replacement copper pipe section with flared ends and then solder that section closed. So long as you don't have a water leak, looks be damned because that thing is definately out of sight. No way I would pay good money on a new VD before I exhausted other cheaper and mechanically sound fixes. But I am cheap! Good luck, Bill.

Thanks for the info. Removed the 6 bolts and 2 fittings that connect to the copper pipe and then removed the copper pipe itself.  It looks totally fine - no apparent degradation.  The compartment that the water passes through has some corrosion inside but I scraped the whole thing to pretty much bare metal and I do not see any holes or cracks. With the drain plugs in and the inlet / outlets plugged I poured it full of water and after half an hour none of it had drained out. I do understand that under pressure is a little different that just standing water but I would have thought if there was a crack that I couldn't see at least something would be coming out.  I am a little stumped as the amount of water going into the main housing while running (idle) was significant.  

I am just kind of grasping at straws now, but has anyone had water work its way from this top compartment back into the main housing through the dipstick? There is an o-ring on the dipstick so I don't see how water would easily get passed it but who knows. Also, the previous owner had an impeller fail just before I bought the boat and he had it replaced by a "mechanic" . He installed it incorrectly so I do not have any confidence that he recovered the all pieces of the previous impeller so maybe there is a blockage somewhere that is causing excessive back pressure in the raw water system.

Thanks for any other feedback that anyone might have.

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winddawg

Some time back I had to replace my v-drive. The replacement I bought "new" has an external cooler on the v-drive. Below is a link to a pic of what it looks like. It will require you to re route your oil cooling lines for the unit but that's it.

HERE

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04 VLX WINDERMERE UK

The cooling "W" pipe is available from Bakes

https://www.bakesonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=2420

$194 

I would suggest pressure testing the water side of the case, with the W pipe removed to confirm if its the case or pipe.

Edited by 04 VLX WINDERMERE UK

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MadMan
13 hours ago, MalibuMikeVLX said:

Hi All,

So, here is the issue.  I have Walter RV26D v-drive.  The lubricant is the dreaded milkshake.  Lots of water going into the intake (fake a lake) and comparative little leaving except through the vent valve thoroughly mixed with lubricant.  Other posts that I could find suggested that they got water into their "walter" probably through the unit being submerged due to bilge pump failure.  My issue is that raw water is going straight from the inlet and into the v-drive.  I phone Walter and they said the the housing will be cracked due to improper winterization and that it is a common problem and I will have to purchase a new unit to the tune of $2500 plus dollars which is a heck of a lot less

Just for clarification, during this test, was the engine running? trans in gear? Where are you checking water leaving the v-drive?

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wdr

I would pull off the input/inlet side hose elbow on the VD and have a look and feel inside to see if the housing got cracked near the inlet elbow. You said a significant amount was coming in at idle. I my mind that means there is pressure involved which would be higher on the inlet side vice the outlet side. Discounting that I would pull the other side and check that also. Last ditch effort for checking would be to drop the sump pan, 4x 9/16" nuts and have a look under there with a mirror. Good luck.

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minnmarker

@MalibuMikeVLX I have an owners manual with an exploded view of the V drive as well as parts list, engineering drawings, etc.  If you don't already have it PM me and I'll shoot you a copy.

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xav8rdtc

Not that this will help you any, however it may fill-in some color on your experience with Walter Machine Co and help others who research and/or read this thread.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to go by the Walter Machine Co in New Jersey, and have a quick visit with the handful of hard-working people who work there.   Let's just say Hoboken, and the surrounding area, is full of hard working blue-color types who are passionate and have lots of edge.   After walking through the shop area and finally finding somebody to introduce myself to and explain my interest and the purpose of my visit, I was taken upstairs, literally, by "the floor foreman", and got to shake hands with "the boss" and "the secretary" (I'm pretty sure my "factory tour" caused operations to cease for the 15-30 minutes I was there).   It was like I had walked into the scene of a 70s movie, complete with the piles of paperwork, the simple ringing telephone and lone non-networked computer, and all that goes along with these images.

Overall, I was happy to have seen firsthand where our units are manufactured.   The people, somewhere between 3-10 if my memory is correct, were all friendly in a New Jersey way, and it was impressive to see how they produce the drives.

I share all this to say, it doesn't surprise me at all that their answer to your questions is, "buy a new unit".   Their company is far from a European-style or image based operation, who would have a silicon valley style computer/telephone/IT/network department or system.  Undoubtedly they have a record keeping system that works for their requirements, but I am certain it would take a lifetime to understand and learn to operate.  Next time I have the  chance to pass through that area, I am going to drop by with a morale improving meal and/or gift certificates for a local restaurant to give to the folks at Walter Machine Co.

Edited by xav8rdtc

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MalibuMikeVLX
3 hours ago, MadMan said:

Just for clarification, during this test, was the engine running? trans in gear? Where are you checking water leaving the v-drive?

This has been a "peel back the layers of the onion" process. As mentioned before, the previous owner had an impeller fail. He told me that his "mechanic" told him that it was because it was old which seemed reasonable to me as I would not be surprised if they get brittle over time. When I first ran the engine on fake a lake there was NO water coming out of the exhaust.  Immediately pulled the cover off the impeller housing to find that it was installed incorrectly (fins going every which way).  Fixed that and fired it up again -  very little water coming out of the exhaust in my opinion.  I did put in and out of gear just to see if it would engage OK which it did.

Next I pressurized the fake a lake with the engine off and the impeller cover removed - water was definitely coming out of the water pump but hard to gauge the exact volume.

The previous owner had a funky homemade dual valve setup between the vdrive and engine which I could connect a hose directly to (ie I could run water to the vdrive and engine at the same time or close the valve to vdrive and have water going just to the engine).  With the hose turned on and the engine off water flowed freely in reverse through the vdrive and out the raw water intake. I then closed the one valve to the vdrive so water was only going to the engine and fired it up and now finally I was getting the expected water out the exhaust.  OK - now I am puzzled - water flows unrestricted in reverse through the vdrive but not the other way around.   I pull the hose between the raw water intake and the vdrive and also make sure that there isn't any crud in the intake through hull - it is clear.  I pull the top of the vdrive housing - there is corrosion but no visible cracks or damage to the w shaped cooling pipe (I pulled the cooling pipe which looks great and scraped the corrosion off the inside of the housing to bare metal). 

I put it all back together and fire it up again using the fake a lake.  In all this, when I say I run the engine - it is only for 30-60 seconds at a time due to a cracked muffler issue caused by overheating when the impeller failed - I have a very temporary Macgyver fix simply so I can run the engine but do not want to get it hot. Now, with the boat running (in neutral) the vdrive has enough water going into the oil that it is coming out the breather cap.  This is the first confirmation that water in the vdrive was not from sitting in a bilge full of water but is from pressurized water running through it.  Bear in mind, I don't think the pressure from a fake a lake is enough to open up a hidden crack in the cast vdrive housing so this leaves me pretty much stumped.  The only point of failure that I could speculate on would be the dipstick seal (which is intact) or where the cooling pipe attaches to the ports.

If Malibu had been kind enough to move the gas tank 2 inches closer to the bow I could easily remove it and strip it down in my workshop to better understand how it works and if I am missing something.

I figured someone may have had a similar experience and could point out what I am obviously missing.  I am heading out of town until Monday but will probably put a layer of JB weld in the bottom of the water housing to seal any potential invisible cracks and then make a permatex seal for between the cooling pipe and associated fittings on the off chance that water could be getting in there.

Thanks to every one who has chimed in.

 

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MalibuMikeVLX
6 hours ago, winddawg said:

Some time back I had to replace my v-drive. The replacement I bought "new" has an external cooler on the v-drive. Below is a link to a pic of what it looks like. It will require you to re route your oil cooling lines for the unit but that's it.

HERE

Thanks!  Just curious, did you go from a 1:1.46 to a 1:1.21 or did you already have a 1:121? 

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MalibuMikeVLX
2 hours ago, minnmarker said:

@MalibuMikeVLX I have an owners manual with an exploded view of the V drive as well as parts list, engineering drawings, etc.  If you don't already have it PM me and I'll shoot you a copy.

That would be awesome! Thanks.  I will PM you.

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MalibuMikeVLX
2 hours ago, xav8rdtc said:

Not that this will help you any, however it may fill-in some color on your experience with Walter Machine Co and help others who research and/or read this thread.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to go by the Walter Machine Co in New Jersey, and have a quick visit with the handful of hard-working people who work there.   Let's just say Hoboken, and the surrounding area, is full of hard working blue-color types who are passionate and have lots of edge.   After walking through the shop area and finally finding somebody to introduce myself to and explain my interest and the purpose of my visit, I was taken upstairs, literally, by "the floor foreman", and got to shake hands with "the boss" and "the secretary" (I'm pretty sure my "factory tour" caused operations to cease for the 15-30 minutes I was there).   It was like I had walked into the scene of a 70s movie, complete with the piles of paperwork, the simple ringing telephone and lone non-networked computer, and all that goes along with these images.

Overall, I was happy to have seen firsthand where our units are manufactured.   The people, somewhere between 3-10 if my memory is correct, were all friendly in a New Jersey way, and it was impressive to see how they produce the drives.

I share all this to say, it doesn't surprise me at all that their answer to your questions is, "buy a new unit".   Their company is far from a European-style or image based operation, who would have a silicon valley style computer/telephone/IT/network department or system.  Undoubtedly they have a record keeping system that works for their requirements, but I am certain it would take a lifetime to understand and learn to operate.  Next time I have the  chance to pass through that area, I am going to drop by with a morale improving meal and/or gift certificates for a local restaurant to give to the folks at Walter Machine Co.

Thanks.  Cool that a place like that still exists.  Even though my boat is a 99 this unit looks like it was designed in the 50's and built to last which makes me all the more reluctant to scrap it if I can resurrect it.

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MalibuMikeVLX
2 hours ago, xav8rdtc said:

Not that this will help you any, however it may fill-in some color on your experience with Walter Machine Co and help others who research and/or read this thread.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to go by the Walter Machine Co in New Jersey, and have a quick visit with the handful of hard-working people who work there.   Let's just say Hoboken, and the surrounding area, is full of hard working blue-color types who are passionate and have lots of edge.   After walking through the shop area and finally finding somebody to introduce myself to and explain my interest and the purpose of my visit, I was taken upstairs, literally, by "the floor foreman", and got to shake hands with "the boss" and "the secretary" (I'm pretty sure my "factory tour" caused operations to cease for the 15-30 minutes I was there).   It was like I had walked into the scene of a 70s movie, complete with the piles of paperwork, the simple ringing telephone and lone non-networked computer, and all that goes along with these images.

Overall, I was happy to have seen firsthand where our units are manufactured.   The people, somewhere between 3-10 if my memory is correct, were all friendly in a New Jersey way, and it was impressive to see how they produce the drives.

I share all this to say, it doesn't surprise me at all that their answer to your questions is, "buy a new unit".   Their company is far from a European-style or image based operation, who would have a silicon valley style computer/telephone/IT/network department or system.  Undoubtedly they have a record keeping system that works for their requirements, but I am certain it would take a lifetime to understand and learn to operate.  Next time I have the  chance to pass through that area, I am going to drop by with a morale improving meal and/or gift certificates for a local restaurant to give to the folks at Walter Machine Co.

That would also explain why they were not jumping up and down to email me a copy of the drawings :)

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winddawg
1 hour ago, MalibuMikeVLX said:

Thanks!  Just curious, did you go from a 1:1.46 to a 1:1.21 or did you already have a 1:121? 

I have the 8.1L engine so mine came stock with a 1:1.21 ratio. When I changed the v-drive out I went to a 1:1.46 for two reasons. The units are easier to find and I carry a lot of weight and wanted to run a larger diameter prop. 

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95echelon

Ah man one just sold near me: https://grandrapids.craigslist.org/bpo/6057704286.html

Where are you by Chance? There is a place in Chicago that rebuilds them and might help you.

http://federalmarinetransmissions.com/137012.html

Also the manual if you need it: https://www.bakesonline.com/images/MediaLibrary/TransmissionManual_WalterRV10-50.pdf

 

Edit: looks like there is one in middleport for 600 bucks too this is a good search for you: https://www.google.com/search?q=walter+v+drive+site%3Acraigslist.org&oq=walter+v+drive+site%3Acraigslist.org&aqs=chrome..69i57.7198j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

 

 

Edited by 95echelon

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MalibuMikeVLX
12 minutes ago, 95echelon said:

Ah man one just sold near me: https://grandrapids.craigslist.org/bpo/6057704286.html

Where are you by Chance? There is a place in Chicago that rebuilds them and might help you.

http://federalmarinetransmissions.com/137012.html

Also the manual if you need it: https://www.bakesonline.com/images/MediaLibrary/TransmissionManual_WalterRV10-50.pdf

 

Edit: looks like there is one in middleport for 600 bucks too this is a good search for you: https://www.google.com/search?q=walter+v+drive+site%3Acraigslist.org&oq=walter+v+drive+site%3Acraigslist.org&aqs=chrome..69i57.7198j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

 

 

Thanks for all the info.  I am in Vancouver Canada, but have my Lake House in WA State about 60 miles north of Seattle.  That one listed on CL would have been perfect - exact replacement. I guess I will have to do "global" searches of CL sites and see what I can find if mine cannot be repaired.

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BlindSquirrel
On 4/13/2017 at 0:23 PM, MalibuMikeVLX said:

  Immediately pulled the cover off the impeller housing to find that it was installed incorrectly (fins going every which way). 

 

I have read on here and other sites that the impeller "rights itself" after the first use of install. Maybe the previous owner put a new impeller on there and didn't use it yet. After changing mine on my 98 vlx it would be near impossible for me to get the new one in with the fins going the same way since you can't see the dang thing. Not your problem, but still thought I would mention it. Good luck.

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COnfused

Hi Guys.  I have oil leaking from the sump gasket on my 2004 VLX Walters 26 V-drive.  Can I replace that gasket without pulling out the engine?  I know there are 4 9/16 bolts that hold it on, but there is also an oil line going into it that look impossible to remove. 

Can I just remove the bolts and drop the bottom of the v-drive down enough to slide out the old gasket and clean the area and slide in a new gasket with sealant?  Or are there mechanical parts/gears hanging down into the sum area that would prevent me from getting the gasket in out and in??

Thanks  for any help I can get.

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wdr

If you have room under the VD to drop the sump pan you can leave the pump pick up line attached to the sump when you drop it. IIWM and I did remove the line where it attaches to the pump. 5/8 brass nut fitting IIRC and I used a flare nut wrench. It will be a stupid messy PITA to work on under the VD when you go to peel off the gasket from both surfaces if it is still attached. I decked the face of my sump pan due to a really bad casting job on it. It had some real low spots that probably helped to increase my drip rate. I bought some gasket material that would handle oil and made my own new one. Permatex to taste which probably wasn't really needed and reinstalled it. Never an issue afterward. The 4 studs are screwed into the bottom of the VD so I pulled and cleaned those as well. There was so much oil on both ends of the studs that I didn't bother with thread lock on it for the reinstall.

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