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Old 25 October 2019, 14:54   #1
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Redbay gearboxes

I was having thoughts on buying a redbay but after been discussing with mates about the large amount of gearbox failures and redbays inability to do anything about it brings the question up of what fails on these drives are they unwilling to do anything as they make so much out of selling spares or is it just plain incompetence a bigger boat like a redbay would be ideal but the thought of emptying my bank account into buying gearboxes fills me with dread what’s your thoughts
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Old 25 October 2019, 16:15   #2
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Outboard or inboard??
Presumably inboard ("on a bigger boat like a Redbay")?
If so, what engine? If not inboard, please ignore this post.
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Old 25 October 2019, 18:27   #3
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Redbay gearboxes

Redbay don’t make gearboxes...
what makes you sure Redbay are unwilling to do anything to help clients with Yamaha or Yanmar products they supplied?
With many of these boats being used commercially have the failures been at high hours?

But I would say don’t buy any boat out of warranty if the possibility of a major mechanical failure (onboard or outboard) would be unbearable to deal with.
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Old 26 October 2019, 01:56   #4
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Seemed an opportune location to put a pic I snapped yesterday.

A Redbay rescue boat at Benbecula Airport in the Outer Hebrides - a good ribbing location although not in the current weather.

I'd agree with Poly in that Redbay don't make engines or gearboxes although I suppose they may spec them. I think there are a few posts on here of people having mechanical woes and the RIB manufacturer struggling to support them due to the RIB manufacturers location in the pecking order of engine supplier's customers
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Old 26 October 2019, 02:24   #5
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Inboard with yanmar and Yamaha I’ve heard the horror stories from the bloke on Skye brand new boat coming back home on its first trip bang gearbox gone first trip out to st Kilda other one went the one that went up on the rocks on the top side of mull gearbox failure a good friend of mine going on holiday pop another one if this was a piece of plant that was failing at such low hours the manufacturer would have went bust I’ve only seen one picture of a failed gear and I was guessing what the failure was caused by
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Old 26 October 2019, 03:05   #6
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Not just redbay who suffer drive failures.
Plenty of people with sterndrive boats in general have horror stories of broken drives.
Yamaha havent made a sterndrive for about 10 years so if its a yamaha drive thats failed then its probably old age anyway.
Yanmar used to use bravo drives which could be destroyed by big horsepower & a heavy throttle hand in short time. The only drives that will be in warranty now on redbays will likely be yanmar ZT drives which are supposed to be stronger but anything can fail however I doubt they refuse legitimate warranty claims. Not sure if redbay use volvo at all but again their not indestructible & can and do fail. I'm sure they have supplied some boats with konrad drives which are reportedly the best of the best but nothings indestructible.

The fact is any boat with drives has a complex piece of engineering hanging out the back relying on a few orings and seals to keep the oil in the right place. You either accept sterndrive boats are high maintenance & need carefull use of the throttle or buy a shaft or outboard powered boat.

Sterndrives and zeus & Ips drives can all be a source of great expense for a lot of owners & many move onto shafts and retain a great loathing of drives

certainly not a redbay specific issue
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Old 26 October 2019, 04:18   #7
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I seem to remember there were a spate of out drive failures on Yanmar installations a few years back because they couldn't handle the torque of the 8lp engines. This was a Yanmar issue but I seem to remember RB had a few boats with persistent problems with out drives. My dad did a fair bit of research because he was speccing a new boat (not a Redbay) at the time and wanted to move away from Volvo due to a lack of decent service support on the Clyde. He went for it in the end but has had persistent problems with the trim sender, though this seems now to be sorted thankfully.

I think that what's been said above regarding outdrives is true regarding them being high maintenance, but Yanmar i think had a pretty bad patch even by those standards.

Tony Hall who runs Seafari at Easdale told me that the reason all his boats have big outboards is due to out drive reliability and the difficulty with servicing them. Also as a commercial operator with outboards you can just have a couple of hot spares which can be easily swapped in in the event of engine problems thus minimising downtime. The problem with this for a leisure user is the scarcity of petrol at the pontoon and I'm not sure I fancy filling up a boat with a couple of 300s on using Jerry cans. So then you back to big diesels and its out drives or shafts (which have their own shortcomings).

Probably best to steer clear of boats altogether.
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Old 26 October 2019, 04:26   #8
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Outboards seem to be the way forward the reliability now seems to be in a different league compared to stern drives you wouldn’t think a fairly simple gearbox idea would be so problematic I bet the Chinese could come up with something better
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Old 26 October 2019, 05:04   #9
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Dan gurney has probably came up with the best reply ever just steer clear of boats
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Old 26 October 2019, 05:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breezeblock View Post
I was having thoughts on buying a redbay but after been discussing with mates about the large amount of gearbox failures and redbays inability to do anything about it brings the question up of what fails on these drives are they unwilling to do anything as they make so much out of selling spares or is it just plain incompetence a bigger boat like a redbay would be ideal but the thought of emptying my bank account into buying gearboxes fills me with dread what’s your thoughts
I think you're on to something. Clearly unsatisfied with building £1.5m boats and running up an 18 month waiting list for new boat slots, Redbay Boats have placed undercover operatives on the assembly lines of several of the world's most prestigious marine engine builders, there to introduce small flaws into the units destined for Redbay Boats - thus assuring a solid market for spares sales over the coming years. The units destined for other boat builders are thereby spared gearbox failures, explaining your singling out of Redbay in your OP.

No man should lie awake needlessly worrying about his bank account, so you're probably best holding out for the Chinese to come up with something like you suggested.

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Old 26 October 2019, 05:22   #11
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You either accept sterndrive boats are high maintenance & need carefull use of the throttle or buy a shaft or outboard powered boat.
Amen.

I fitted mine new (6 troublefree years ago) and I've been particularly obsessive (even for me) about maintenance and driving technique. I've noticed that helms coming from outboard backgrounds can be very heavy on the throttle - really not recommended. The OP also completely ignores the question of how engines and legs are maintained once in play - I've heard some horror stories about specific boats that I can't repeat on here but I can share the one about a boat that showed up in the yard with a leg full of chip shop oil...
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Old 26 October 2019, 05:46   #12
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Just from listening to people’s gripes the bloke in Skye had a new boat on its maiden journey from Ireland is he supposed to service it mid channel after say 7-8 hrs I wasn’t singling out redbay but they do sell there selves as the premium product to buy as a rib but obviously money doesn’t buy common sense when it comes to boats if it were me I would have serious doubts about them as a manufacturer
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Old 26 October 2019, 06:43   #13
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+1 on what Beamishken and Willk has written

If you google ZT370, you'll find there are a number of websites with horror stories of broken drives.

Yanmar are a reputable company that sell decent products which is why people like Redbay use them. If they do have a problem with their stern drive that can't be traced to incorrect use / servicing, then you would hope that Yanmar will do something about it. There is a lot of money / reputation at stake so you can understand their reluctance to hold their hands up if indeed there is anything to hold their hands up for.

I doubt Redbay and others would be willing to jump the gun and hold their hands up on behalf of Yanmar so they are stuck in the middle somewhat.

Maybe getting the gearbox, bevel drive and all the other malarkey associated with getting the power from the engine to the prop into a single unit is a big ask with the power and torque that diesels produce.

I think, for me, if money was no object I'd have a separate gearbox, shaft and Konrad stern drive but until that point I'll keep the above set up but with a 28 year young SternPowr stern drive.

That's hopefully not the kiss of death.
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Old 26 October 2019, 07:04   #14
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I seem to remember there were a spate of out drive failures on Yanmar installations a few years back because they couldn't handle the torque of the 8lp engines. This was a Yanmar issue but I seem to remember RB had a few boats with persistent problems with out drives. ......
I think that what's been said above regarding outdrives is true regarding them being high maintenance, but Yanmar i think had a pretty bad patch even by those standards.
Curiously, I've only heard of one Yanmar outdrive that failed on a Redbay. I say heard, but in truth I saw donegaldan break it (he's very sore on kit). The drive was the ZT-350, an earlier iteration of the current ZT-370 models. The issue was the clutch which was unable to cope with the exuberance of RIB drivers. This was dealt with in a service upgrade (new clutch pack). The older Yamaha drives were prone to overheating and cooking and it was Redbay (IIRC) that popularised the use of passive drive showers to mitigate against this issue.

Your memory of Yanmar drive issues may be influenced by the well documented problem with Mercury legs commonly fitted to Yanmar 6LPs back in the day dot. Even these behaved better when redesigned as the Bravo 3.

TBH, I'm not sure what has motivated the OP to open this thread. A thread about stern drive concerns, sure - but to suggest avarice or incompetence on the part of Redbay Boats as a reason for an unspecified number of outdrives failing seems, well, a bit unfocused. I dunno.
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Old 26 October 2019, 07:11   #15
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Outboards seem to be the way forward the reliability now seems to be in a different league compared to stern drives you wouldn’t think a fairly simple gearbox idea would be so problematic I bet the Chinese could come up with something better
+1

I've always run outboards and a couple of mates running inboards on hard boats and a RIB are either looking at re-engineering outboards on their rigs or selling-up and buying something with outboard/s already on the back.
Also interesting that some manufacturers that used to solely offer inboards on their fleet are now offering the option of outboards..................times are a changing! (not forgetting the new diesel outboards on the market...).

With all the new technology on the horizon and the environmental pressures on engine manufactures and end users it'll be interesting in ten years to see where we are
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Old 26 October 2019, 07:11   #16
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Redbay gearboxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by breezeblock View Post
I was having thoughts on buying a redbay but after been discussing with mates about the large amount of gearbox failures and redbays inability to do anything about it brings the question up of what fails on these drives are they unwilling to do anything as they make so much out of selling spares or is it just plain incompetence a bigger boat like a redbay would be ideal but the thought of emptying my bank account into buying gearboxes fills me with dread what’s your thoughts
Quote:
Originally Posted by breezeblock View Post
.... I wasn’t singling out redbay but...
...but you fooled me!
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Old 26 October 2019, 07:41   #17
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It may depend on what era of boat you are considering. The Yanmar/bravo drive was once a common combination and the drives were not up to the job. Also there were Yanmar engine failures associated with a lack of engine block strength.

Is Redbay guilty? Well yes to some extent because they continued to fit this combination knowing its weakness. However, other manufacturers did likewise and also had failures. I consider them all guilty once the issues were known.

I've heard stories about other engine and drive combinations which regularly failed too and which were fairly frequent fitment into ribs. I have to say that this is only hearsay since I have no actual experience of them.

To some extent the engine drive manufactures were the first guilty parties because I'm sure they were well aware of the failures and there causes.

I guess the boat manufacturers were, initially at least, fitting the engine packages in good faith so in that respect I'll let them off the hook.

I think things have improved and, as in willk's case, reliability seems to be OK in many of the installations.

Personally, I built my boat at the Yanmar/bravo era and chose the Volvo engine/drive combination largely because of the known Yanmar/bravo issues.

So, I guess if you're considering an inboard boat you should carefully consider the engine/drive combination.

To widen the discussion but also be on track, I've been on-board a diesel Redbay boat of the same size and type as my own which I wouldn't have wanted to own. There was poor consideration of how the boat was to be used IMHO. One especially notable issue was the fuelling arrangement which was so poor it made it almost impossible not to carry diesel into the living quarters on one's feet, consequently the whole boat became diesel smelling. It may seem trivial but would you want to smell like a diesel engineer, full time?
My point here is that, though Redbay is a major player, they are not necessarily immune from poor design decisions.

Plainly this will apply to other manufacturers too...but you did single out Redbay.
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Old 26 October 2019, 13:41   #18
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Your memory of Yanmar drive issues may be influenced by the well documented problem with Mercury legs commonly fitted to Yanmar 6LPs back in the day dot. Even these behaved better when redesigned as the Bravo 3.
I think you are right. It was the bravo drives. Dad spoke to the guy who runs the Kintyre Express, but I dont think he'd had a 'failure' as such, I think it was needing servicing more often or something. I can't remember really.

I do find this whole thread a bit odd though. If a RIB builder were to fit a particular brand of outboard whixh had reliability issues, would one start a thread entitled "Ribcraft Outboard problems"?
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Old 26 October 2019, 14:42   #19
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It may depend on what era of boat you are considering. The Yanmar/bravo drive was once a common combination and the drives were not up to the job. Also there were Yanmar engine failures associated with a lack of engine block strength.

Is Redbay guilty? Well yes to some extent because they continued to fit this combination knowing its weakness. However, other manufacturers did likewise and also had failures. I consider them all guilty once the issues were known.

I've heard stories about other engine and drive combinations which regularly failed too and which were fairly frequent fitment into ribs. I have to say that this is only hearsay since I have no actual experience of them.

To some extent the engine drive manufactures were the first guilty parties because I'm sure they were well aware of the failures and there causes.

I guess the boat manufacturers were, initially at least, fitting the engine packages in good faith so in that respect I'll let them off the hook.

I think things have improved and, as in willk's case, reliability seems to be OK in many of the installations.

Personally, I built my boat at the Yanmar/bravo era and chose the Volvo engine/drive combination largely because of the known Yanmar/bravo issues.

So, I guess if you're considering an inboard boat you should carefully consider the engine/drive combination.

To widen the discussion but also be on track, I've been on-board a diesel Redbay boat of the same size and type as my own which I wouldn't have wanted to own. There was poor consideration of how the boat was to be used IMHO. One especially notable issue was the fuelling arrangement which was so poor it made it almost impossible not to carry diesel into the living quarters on one's feet, consequently the whole boat became diesel smelling. It may seem trivial but would you want to smell like a diesel engineer, full time?
My point here is that, though Redbay is a major player, they are not necessarily immune from poor design decisions.

Plainly this will apply to other manufacturers too...but you did single out Redbay.
petrol outboards are pretty good in that respect the fuel evaporates pretty cleanly and only hangs about for a short time I spend quite a bit of time around diesel and its pretty foul smelling stuff I did single out redbay as an older one was the most likely candidate for a new boat and they have sold in large numbers and being an enclosed boat would be particularly suitable for the west coast of Scotland I know that humber done some larger inboard stuff but they seem a pretty rare beast and to get one with a cabin is rarer still
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Old 26 October 2019, 15:03   #20
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Sounds a much more likely cause of your symptoms than “dodgy fuel”...
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