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35-3 transmission won't go into reverse

ChrisInMaine

Member II
Hello, I'm having some trouble with my original (1988) Hurth HBW-50. This spring it stopped going into reverse. I was hoping for a stretched cable but I fear it's a bigger deal than that.

What's odd about the behavior is that the shift positions have changed so it's not necessarily as simple as reverse is broken. Even when operating the shift mechanism manually, the reverse position now engages neutral, the neutral position engages foward, and the forward position still engages forward.

Seems these gearboxes get bad reviews in general I'm happy to have gotten 35 years out of this one and am fine to replace, but thought I'd check to see if there's any other diagnostic I can do before I start prying the thing out.

And for S's and G's - any thoughts on repowering this vessel? I've always felt the stock 21 HP 25XP was a little underpowered and might take the opportunity to upgrade as long as I'm going in there...
 
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Nick J

Sustaining Member
Moderator
Blogs Author
The previous owner of my boat repowered with a 20hp Yanmar and I wish they would have put a Beta 30 in. The Yanmar gets us up to hull speed in calm conditions and works flawlessly, but it does not have a lot of torque around the dock due to the small prop required for the low HP engine. If you needed to repower, going with a 30hp would be a great fit in the 35-3. However, there's nothing wrong with keeping your Universal running. The replacement transmission is relatively low cost when compared to Yanmar and Volvo and I've heard it's easier than it looks to replace.
 

ChrisInMaine

Member II
The previous owner of my boat repowered with a 20hp Yanmar and I wish they would have put a Beta 30 in. The Yanmar gets us up to hull speed in calm conditions and works flawlessly, but it does not have a lot of torque around the dock due to the small prop required for the low HP engine. If you needed to repower, going with a 30hp would be a great fit in the 35-3. However, there's nothing wrong with keeping your Universal running. The replacement transmission is relatively low cost when compared to Yanmar and Volvo and I've heard it's easier than it looks to replace.
That is good to know about ease of replacement but ho boy a new transmission is not cheap and yet rebuilding the old one doesn't seem cost effective neither!

Buy a boat, they said... :esad:
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hello, I'm having some trouble with my original (1988) Hurth HBW-50. This spring it stopped going into reverse. I was hoping for a stretched cable but I fear it's a bigger deal than that.

What's odd about the behavior is that the shift positions have changed so it's not necessarily as simple as reverse is broken. Even when operating the shift mechanism manually, the reverse position now engages neutral, the neutral position engages foward, and the forward position still engages forward.

Seems these gearboxes get bad reviews in general I'm happy to have gotten 35 years out of this one and am fine to replace, but thought I'd check to see if there's any other diagnostic I can do before I start prying the thing out.

And for S's and G's - any thoughts on repowering this vessel? I've never been happy with the 21 HP 25XP and might take the opportunity to upgrade as long as I'm going in there...
Have you tried shifting it at the transmission itself, rather than at the pedestal with the shift lever? Have you changed the transmission fluid, and if so, was the old fluid still pink and smelled ok, or was it dark and smelled burnt?
If it shifts normally at the transmission and the fluid is good, I would replace the gear shift cable next. I'm not a mechanic, so just my thoughts based on my experience. (I did eventually replace my Hurth with a Twin Disc tranny).
Frank
 

ChrisInMaine

Member II
Just curious as to what you don't like about that engine. I had an M25XP on a previous boat and thought it was a great engine. Maybe underpowered for your boat?

Sorry great engine but seems a little bit weak for the task. I do maybe 5kts at 3200? Updated the original post to clarify.
 

ChrisInMaine

Member II
Have you tried shifting it at the transmission itself, rather than at the pedestal with the shift lever? Have you changed the transmission fluid, and if so, was the old fluid still pink and smelled ok, or was it dark and smelled burnt?
If it shifts normally at the transmission and the fluid is good, I would replace the great shift cable next. I'm not a mechanic, so just my thoughts based on my experience. (I did eventually replace my Hurth with a Twin Disc tranny).
Frank
Yeah that's the thing I tried manually shifting at the transmission and experienced the same behavior. I am due to replace the fluid too but I can't see how that would help very much in this case but worth a try.
 

JSM

Member III
We have a 1987 34-2 with an M25xp and also nursed the Hurth HBW 50 till the end. I replaced the Hurth with a Twin Disc MG 340 as well as a new damper plate ( Sachs 3306316001). Total cost for was the trans and damper was $1650.00 as well as $80.00 for a new shift cable bracket from Beta Marine.
Once the engine was out of its compartment installing the new trans and damper took about an hour. I have been very pleased with the MG, most noise and vibration problems disappeared.
 

ChrisInMaine

Member II
We have a 1987 34-2 with an M25xp and also nursed the Hurth HBW 50 till the end. I replaced the Hurth with a Twin Disc MG 340 as well as a new damper plate ( Sachs 3306316001). Total cost for was the trans and damper was $1650.00 as well as $80.00 for a new shift cable bracket from Beta Marine.
Once the engine was out of its compartment installing the new trans and damper took about an hour. I have been very pleased with the MG, most noise and vibration problems disappeared.
Thanks!

Perhaps this is a silly question but is there any way at all to replace the trans without pulling the engine?
 

JSM

Member III
Thanks!

Perhaps this is a silly question but is there any way at all to replace the trans without pulling the engine?
Don't know about your boat but on mine no. The bell housing has to be removed from the engine as the trans is bolted to the housing from the inside. I have read some owners have been able to move the engine forward to do this however I found it easier to lift the engine with a chain hoist, move it forward and lower it onto a furniture dolly. I then turned the engine sideways removed the bell housing and swapped out the parts.
I was able to do the job by my self working slowly while the boat was on the hard for the winter. Probably the hardest part of the job was convincing myself that I could pull it off :)

Here's a shot of the engine on the dolly and the new trans painted up and bolted to the bell housing.
 

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ChrisInMaine

Member II
Don't know about your boat but on mine no. The bell housing has to be removed from the engine as the trans is bolted to the housing from the inside. I have read some owners have been able to move the engine forward to do this however I found it easier to lift the engine with a chain hoist, move it forward and lower it onto a furniture dolly. I then turned the engine sideways removed the bell housing and swapped out the parts.
I was able to do the job by my self working slowly while the boat was on the hard for the winter. Probably the hardest part of the job was convincing myself that I could pull it off :)

Here's a shot of the engine on the dolly and the new trans painted up and bolted to the bell housing.
"the bell housing has to be removed from the engine" - yeah that's what I was afraid of :(
 

dhill

Member III
Seems like it could be a prop pitch issue rather than a problem with the engine.
Sorry great engine but seems a little bit weak for the task. I do maybe 5kts at 3200? Updated the original post to clarify.
Hi Chris,

I agree with Pete - I would check your propeller. I have a 25XP in my Ericson 35-3 and it does about 6 knots at 2100, 6.5 knots at 2400 in reasonably calm water. I have a 15" RH x 11" 2-blade fixed prop on my boat.

IMG_0688.jpg
0E22E315-CD35-40A9-BC40-393464F5CFE7_1_105_c.jpeg

Last weekend, I was heading north into Broad Sound in Casco Bay towards the mouth of the Harraseeket River. I was bucking a chop from a stiff North breeze, a 1 knot current, and towing a garden-encrusted dinghy, and was doing about 5 knots over ground at 2300 rpm.

I hope you find out what is going on with the transmission. Reverse is important.

Dave
 
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ChrisInMaine

Member II
I created a new post to follow up on this one: https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/35-3-transmission-wont-go-into-reverse.21067/#post-169355 for those interested.

TLDR: it's the cable after all. Looks like a bracket let go. The reason I wasn't able to manually shift into reverse was that the cable in its new bracketless position was preventing the shift lever from moving into the reverse position - when I disconnected the lever it worked just fine.

Thanks all for the advice!
 
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