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Arneson Surface Drives

Discussion in 'Props, Shafts & Seals' started by 993RSR, Oct 6, 2020.

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  1. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Curious of what the downside might be to a 20 year old boat with Arneson drives. Positive feature is speed and the maintenance in the manual is oil/zincs every 200 hours. Hell my ZF's require more care than that. Lots of stuff hanging out there in the salt water.
    Opinions?
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    More difficulty maneuvering at slow speed, over-reving, not as many service options.
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Your inboard clutches will still require maintenance.

    I am not a fan but others like the set up.
    I still think of it like a Z (I/O, Stern drive) requiring service. Later models are bronze and aluminum cased also.
    I still hate that bellows that barnacles, divers and fishhooks can damage undetected.
    TD still supports them well.

    Quick check found this, there should be other post.

    Starting around post #37.
    https://www.yachtforums.com/threads/sterndrives-in-salt.29534/page-2
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You either like them or you don't. We wanted speed but we're not fans of Surface Drives. Our criticism is their performance in close quarters but more their performance at moderate speeds. Often times the minimum RPM to maintain being on plane is higher.

    However, they are faster and more efficient than traditional drives and for high performance there are only two good options, Surface Drives and Jet Drives. Most people are fans of one or the other but not both. We are jet fans.

    As to being problematic service wise, well maintained Arneson drives should require less maintenance than traditional drives.

    If you like how the boat rides and performs, there is nothing that would make me discourage you from it. Now, Arneson has made many improvements in the last 20 years and offers a good many performance upgrades that may be worth considering too.
  5. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Boat size?
    Assuming the wish/need to go fast (otherwise there's absolutely no point), my personal answer would depend A LOT on the boat size.
    I'd rather NOT have surface drives on anything under 50' at the very least, in fact.
    But I wouldn't mind them on a 90'+ Pershing, for instance.
  6. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the info
    65'
    Years ago I handled one around the dock and it was tough but maybe it was me.
  7. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Not a Uniesse, I hope? I half recall CaptJ mentioning that he helmed one and it was a lemon.
    Unsurprisingly, since it probably was an oddball boat, because that hull was NOT designed for surface drives.

    Anyway, 65' is already a decent size for Arnesons, if that's your thing.
    Handling will always be harder than shafts regardless of size, anyway.
    But as always, three things help a lot: practice, practice, practice.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I would want them only on a brand of boat well known for surface drives, not on a one of a kind.
  9. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Agreed. Actually, I would be even more restrictive, should I be interested in an Arneson boat.
    I'd look at OTAM first, then Pershing and Magnum, and ...well... not much else, really! :cool:
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    My experience years ago; Can not draw a straight line. Attention will make you sweat around a dock.
    Others have told me I'm daft and they can drive very straight lines and work well around docks.
    If you looking to purchase, make provisions that you can operate it well and the boat has nice manners.
    No need to purchase a hard to operate boat. Supposed to be relaxing, these boat things.
  11. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    We just got a 7 year old 60 ft w surface drives. It drives like a center console as there is no rudder. But I find it very easy to dock. Pops up on plane easily. Still dialing in the trim. But generally can cruise 32kts at 30-32 gph per engine. Fun to go fast.
  12. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    A yacht club friend just bought a 2000 65 Pershing with Arnesons. I was concerned he was jumping off the deep end with maintenance and handling but maybe not. He is a recreational pilot so he will get up to speed on handling the boat. Fortunately the boat reads and looks (per photos) like she has been well loved over the years. 3412 Cat power which is rare in those boats.
  13. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    A bit rare on Pershing in general, but as I recall Cats were standard, on the 65 of that vintage.
    Possibly with MTUs as an option, but I think the large majority were Cat powered.
    MAN didn't yet have anything powerful enough, back then.
    Great boat, particularly if fitted with the optional sliding cockpit door.
  14. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    I would add Baia to the list and put it on top. Possibly the best and the first to have a hull fully designed for the propulsion in the early eighties.
    A Baia Azzurra is not much inferior for hull design and sea handling to a Magnum 63. Also 70 feet and up big Mangusta's are no slouches eighter and they run well.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I've only seen two Baia's in person and they were both horribly underpowered or had some other issue as both had an extremely difficult time planing with load and maintaining plane at anything under nearly full throttle.

    Based on my very limited experience, I'd be very comfortable with Pershing and Magnum and Otam with Pershing the best compromise for a high performing family boat and Otam slightly more toward speed and less toward family comfort while Magnum geared almost completely toward speed. I've heard good and bad on Mangusta and believe it's by size and year, but now they've left the under 100' market altogether.
  16. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Well W, we must agree to disagree on this one.
    'Fiuaskme, how Capasso and his boys managed to achieve some recognition in the nautical industry remains a mistery.
    Not that I disagree with you on hull design, but their consistency (lack of!) in build quality was appalling.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I wouldn't even put BAIA even close to the top of the list. It takes a hope, dream and a lot of skill to even get them ON PLANE. A little bit of extra weight effects their speed considerably. Build quality is well, interesting to say the least. I ran a BAIA that was seriously underpowered......Had a kevlar hull.....then the deck had LAYERS of marine plywood under the fiberglass everywhere......it was like Reggie Fountain built the hull, and Monk trawlers did the layup everywhere else. Access to things was poor, wiring was poor, etc. But all of the BAIA's really struggle to get up on plane. The 61' Azzure especially. This was common with a lot of the older Arneson boats.

    I like Arnesons when the hull is setup correctly for them. Some get on plane very easy. They do act like big outboard boats, little thrust in reverse, yet the boat jumps 20' forward when you bump it in forward. Props do have to be crystal clean to get on plane. Water inside the boots doesn't hurt anything. You do have to have the rams all of the way up and exercise the steering every 2 weeks or less, or a barnacle can cut one of the seals. They're very efficient and fun to run at speed. They're very efficient.
  18. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    They do have a ton of torque. I assume most newer ones ( like ours) has troll mode on electronic shifter which lets you go as slow and easy as you want. In normal model idle speed is 6.5kts
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    6.5kt idle must make maneuvering in a tight marina interesting. I can really only see one reason for going with surface piercing drive. That's a few extra kts. at the top end and there's a cost for that.
  20. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    As I said in troll mode I can take it down to 1-2kts. Last 62 sportfish was also a fast idle and threw a massive wake... but it had no troll mode