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ZF to Velvet drive conversion


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I have a slow trans fluid drip from my vdrive right where the shaft goes in.  I took in for service this spring to see if they could put in a new seal and they said possibly but they’d have to remove to see.  They said sometimes they can get it to seal back up and sometimes not.  If not it’s have to be replaced.  Here is the real kicker,  they said that this Vdrive (ZF 45IV) is discontinued and no longer available, so the only option is to convert it to a Velvet drive.  Worst yet those are 16-18 weeks out to order.  I’m obviously going to just use the boat this season and just keep an eye on the fluid, but I’m wondering if anyone here has run into this idea of a Velvet drive conversion from a ZF?  This is in a ‘13 VTX.  Appreciate some insight from anyone that has knowledge of this or has experienced this.

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On 6/4/2022 at 9:46 AM, lake4life said:

I have a slow trans fluid drip from my vdrive right where the shaft goes in.  I took in for service this spring to see if they could put in a new seal and they said possibly but they’d have to remove to see.  They said sometimes they can get it to seal back up and sometimes not.  If not it’s have to be replaced.  Here is the real kicker,  they said that this Vdrive (ZF 45IV) is discontinued and no longer available, so the only option is to convert it to a Velvet drive.  Worst yet those are 16-18 weeks out to order.  I’m obviously going to just use the boat this season and just keep an eye on the fluid, but I’m wondering if anyone here has run into this idea of a Velvet drive conversion from a ZF?  This is in a ‘13 VTX.  Appreciate some insight from anyone that has knowledge of this or has experienced this.

If the only problem is a shaft seal, I don't see why they can't replace the shaft seal.  Seals are generally commodity items; you measure what you have and buy a new one.  Can you post a photo of the leaking seal?

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Posted (edited)

Yeah as I understand it there isn’t any issue with sourcing a seal and the hope is that they can just push a new seal in but not know 100% what and why it is leaking, we are entertaining worst case because they will have the Vdrive out and if something comes up where they need to replace the VDrive/transmission I wanted to know that we could get one so it isn’t torn apart all summer waiting (cause I can still use it as is right now).  That is when it came to light that they no longer make it and would have to convert to a Velvet drive ( no one seemed to know what that meant). Anyway I’m going to just use it as is this summer and take it back to them in the fall so we have all winter to work this out.  I was just curious if anyone else has run into this ZF V/Trans discontinued issue.

Can’t see the seal, but here is where it is dripping from.

image.thumb.jpeg.bca71c41edc3d3f5ca2cbfa228d22ab7.jpeg

btw - if we are using it and it is warmed up it doesn’t seem to drip at all - so guessing when it’s warmed up it expands and seals back up and seems to stay that way as long as I don’t let it sit for like a week or something.

Edited by lake4life
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Skiwampus
49 minutes ago, lake4life said:

That is when it came to light that they no longer make it and would have to convert to a Velvet drive ( no one seemed to know what that meant)

Just in case you end up going the way of a replacement.  Here the info and spec sheet on the Velvet Drive brand:  https://velvetdrive.com/transmissions.php?t=liberty-watersports

The previous owner of our boat had to replace the vdrive and it was replaced with the Velvet Drive brand by the local Malibu dealer.  It did require a complete swap of the VDrive and Transmission from what he told me so I'm sure it wasn't cheap.  I can't speak to the swap out experience but the Velvet Drive performance has been great for us.  That being said I have posted another thread asking about fluids for the Velvet Drive as I'm trying to figure out which type of oil goes in the VDrive portion of the unit and can't find the info.

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I have run into the issue of not being able to get parts or replacements for ZF transmissions from Indmar.  We were able to get one a few months ago from Marine Engine Depot.

https://marineenginedepot.com/zf-45iv-1461-marine-boat-transmission-with-electric-shift-hurth-skivee

If it were my boat I would also have the drive plate replaced while the transmission is removed.  

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6 hours ago, lake4life said:

Yeah as I understand it there isn’t any issue with sourcing a seal and the hope is that they can just push a new seal in but not know 100% what and why it is leaking, we are entertaining worst case because they will have the Vdrive out and if something comes up where they need to replace the VDrive/transmission I wanted to know that we could get one so it isn’t torn apart all summer waiting (cause I can still use it as is right now).  That is when it came to light that they no longer make it and would have to convert to a Velvet drive ( no one seemed to know what that meant). Anyway I’m going to just use it as is this summer and take it back to them in the fall so we have all winter to work this out.  I was just curious if anyone else has run into this ZF V/Trans discontinued issue.

Can’t see the seal, but here is where it is dripping from.

image.thumb.jpeg.bca71c41edc3d3f5ca2cbfa228d22ab7.jpeg

btw - if we are using it and it is warmed up it doesn’t seem to drip at all - so guessing when it’s warmed up it expands and seals back up and seems to stay that way as long as I don’t let it sit for like a week or something.

Interesting.  The shaft seal is at the very left side of your photo.  It looks like the drip is coming from something above the coupler, so I suppose it could be the input shaft.

I think I would degrease everything under there and then watch to see what gets wet with oil first.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, justgary said:

Interesting.  The shaft seal is at the very left side of your photo.  It looks like the drip is coming from something above the coupler, so I suppose it could be the input shaft.

I think I would degrease everything under there and then watch to see what gets wet with oil first.

Yeah I did that and it looks to me like it’s coming from inside that couple where the shaft goes in.  The service guys pressure tested it and saw it was leaking from somewhere but claim they can’t tell exactly where.  Which is why they wanted to pull it out and bench test it. That’s where we ended up with saying I want to know worst case cause I want to be able to use the boat this summer - and you know the rest of the story.

Edit: btw, I realize it can’t be coming from the couple but just that is what it seems which makes it confusing.  Also this is when it is not running so it isn’t getting sprayed there.  Maybe somewhere above it?  Maybe I’ll take another crack at cleaning it up and trying to trace where it’s coming from.

Edited by lake4life
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Sure doesn't look like it's from the seal. Hm. The good news is you can use it till it's diagnosed correctly.

Steve B.

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17 hours ago, Skiwampus said:

It did require a complete swap of the VDrive and Transmission from what he told me so I'm sure it wasn't cheap.

Yeah, the same is/was true with ZF, you couldn’t buy just the VDrive, it was only sold as a V/trans single unit.

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