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Thread: 2003 21i Transmission Slipping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay, TX
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    77
    Boat
    '03 Tige 21I

    2003 21i Transmission Slipping

    Wise Ones...

    I've been dealing with some tranny issues over the past few years on my 2003 21i. Had water get in the hull while in storage a few years ago. Reached out on the forum, and followed the very helpful advice of all that responded. Worked pretty well ever since, but I've had the same issue every now and again over the years. Got the boat out Monday to get it cleaned up for the summer, and ran into the same issue again. Even with the drain plug out, I think rainwater may have filled up the hull during a heavy downpour and gotten into the tranny again. When I pulled out of the boat slip, everything was fine, and when I accelerated or turned, the tranny would slip.

    Here is some more background info:

    -350 Mag MPI, Borg Warner Velvet Drive Transmission
    -In years past I've changed the transmission fluid 3 or 4 times when this happens, and it seems to take care of the issue, but not 100%. Always felt like it wasn't running as well as it should.
    -Every year I regularly change the impellar
    -Thanks to the board, I check the transmission cooler regulary for hydrilla, and impellar pieces. (oddly enough, the first year I checked it, the cooler was almost completely clogged, and the transmission alarm never sounded)


    After getting it all cleaned up, I took the boat to my local dealer yesterday. They told me the following:

    -Most shops aren't rebuilding they are just swapping out transmissions for rebuilt ones.
    -When they swap out on older boats like mine, they are putting in a different transmission, a bit more stout, with more pulling power for today's popular water sports.
    -According to them, the current transmission was designed more for water skiing, not wake boarding etc.

    Told me it would probably run about $2,500.00 if they determine it needs to be replaced.


    Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.


    -Chuck

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Boise, ID
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    1,500
    Quote Originally Posted by chuckhoenig View Post
    Wise Ones...

    I've been dealing with some tranny issues over the past few years on my 2003 21i. Had water get in the hull while in storage a few years ago. Reached out on the forum, and followed the very helpful advice of all that responded. Worked pretty well ever since, but I've had the same issue every now and again over the years. Got the boat out Monday to get it cleaned up for the summer, and ran into the same issue again. Even with the drain plug out, I think rainwater may have filled up the hull during a heavy downpour and gotten into the tranny again. When I pulled out of the boat slip, everything was fine, and when I accelerated or turned, the tranny would slip.

    Here is some more background info:

    -350 Mag MPI, Borg Warner Velvet Drive Transmission
    -In years past I've changed the transmission fluid 3 or 4 times when this happens, and it seems to take care of the issue, but not 100%. Always felt like it wasn't running as well as it should.
    -Every year I regularly change the impellar
    -Thanks to the board, I check the transmission cooler regulary for hydrilla, and impellar pieces. (oddly enough, the first year I checked it, the cooler was almost completely clogged, and the transmission alarm never sounded)


    After getting it all cleaned up, I took the boat to my local dealer yesterday. They told me the following:

    -Most shops aren't rebuilding they are just swapping out transmissions for rebuilt ones.
    -When they swap out on older boats like mine, they are putting in a different transmission, a bit more stout, with more pulling power for today's popular water sports.
    -According to them, the current transmission was designed more for water skiing, not wake boarding etc.

    Told me it would probably run about $2,500.00 if they determine it needs to be replaced.


    Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.


    -Chuck
    I'd be curious to find out what the other trans is. I have done a few velvet drives due to slippage. After rebuilding the first one on my bench I also will only do re-mans. You save on parts rebuilding, but it's not worth the labor. I can't remember the last DD boat I did at our shop but I do remeber the last V drive I did and I think it was about 2500. Would have to look it up to verify.
    Honestly if you are mechanically inclined, the job is far and away easier in a DD. Uncouple shaft. Pop water lines off trans cooler. Remove shift cable. Remove NSS wires. Unbolt from bell housing and tske it out.
    Then you just swap all the bits and pieces over to your new trans.

    If you are really mechanically inclined just split the case and change out all the friction and wear plates and do seals...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay, TX
    Posts
    77
    Boat
    '03 Tige 21I
    They didn't say what Transmission they would put on. I know mine is BW Velvet Drive, and I think it's model 71C.

    Anyone know what model they may potentially upgrade to?

  4. #4
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    Boise, ID
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    I would assume its still a velvet drive just with a different final gear ratio. If you find out please post what they want to change it to.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
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    43
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    2015 Z3, 1999 2100i
    It would be the same transmission, Borg Warner 71c 1:1 ratio. Otherwise a reduction gear or different brand will change the driveline length thus changing your propshaft length. Those gears can be built to hold 700+ HP for a couple hundred bucks. They're bulletproof as is though. FYI, YOU can remove and replace with a new one or send out for a rebuild, super easy job to pull it. Our BW guy down here does them for about $350. Also, if you're randomly getting water in the trans, replace the cooler when you install the new unit Mercruiser PN #808029T. One of many places that rebuilds these units http://www.halemarine.com/index.php?...bob20nukkaj732 $800.
    Fixing everyone elses boat just so I can use mine...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay, TX
    Posts
    77
    Boat
    '03 Tige 21I
    BW,

    Once again, thank you for the help with this. I ordered a rebuilt transmission from Hale Marine, pulled the old, installed the new transmission myself. Wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Saved me about $3,000.

    Of course, anytime I work on the boat other issues pop up that need attention.

    In this case, the throttle doesn't seem to be moving in and out of gear as easily as it should be. Is there a way to lubricate the shifter and shift cable? Should I just loosen the nut on bracket the shift cable is attached to minimize the resistance?

    Thank You!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Long Beach, CA
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    43
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    2015 Z3, 1999 2100i
    Resistance is in the cable itself and cannot be greased. Buy a new cable and replace from the shifter assembly to the transmission. Its a standard teleflex 33c cable and the length is the last numbers stamped on the cable itself, near the end. I would guess to be around 12-14'. Tape the new cable to the old and cut all interfering zip ties and pull the old out. Good luck!
    Fixing everyone elses boat just so I can use mine...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay, TX
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    '03 Tige 21I
    Update, not a happy one.

    We used the boat on Sunday with the throttle and cables unchanged. Transmission worked great, with no issues, although the cables were still hard to engage. Even still, we got my youngest (6) up on skis for the first time after about 10 attempts. Then my 10 year old skied 4 or 5 times for about 20 minutes.

    Tonight I changed the shift cable, and the throttle cable. Ran the boat nice and easy for a bit with no issues, then I decided to mimic pulling a skier up. As soon as I did, I felt a lag. No chattering, no grinding, but no power.

    I'm at a loss. Could I possibly need to align the cables to where they are actuating exactly at the same time? Could the opening of the throttle be out of sync with the shift cable?


    Please help. This is maddening.

    Chuck

  9. #9
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    Feb 2016
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    Boise, ID
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    I'm wondering if all this work and headache comes down to a prop?? What prop do you have on the boat right now??

  10. #10
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    '03 Tige 21I
    I know it’s a 3 blade. Not sure make. I’m sure it’s proabbly standard for whatever Tige was putting on boats in that year model. I never upgraded. I also know it’s brass. Not so sure it’s the prop though, we never had problems with it before we started having transmission issues.

  11. #11
    You described a lag, so when you felt the lag did you hear the engine rev up?

    Freeheel I believe those direct drive 71c are either in gear or not? If so and if you heard the engine rev up as you felt the lag, it would suggest the transmission, or prop/broken key way. Please let us know.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Nashville
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    2000 21v Riders
    Not sure about the timing thing.because it not. Make sure it is going in gear all the way. what I mean is take the cable off at the transmission put it in gear by hand. Then go to the lever at the helm. Put it just off idle, (boat is not running) Go back to tranny look at the pin alignment. Are they lined up? If not they need to be. Then repeat for reverse. I know what to do but it is just hard to explain. There should be a way to adjust the cable so you get the pin to line up with out moving the leaver on the tranny to much out of gear.

    Wow I read this back to my self and it might be confusing. So what I am trying to check is if the boat is all the way in gear at idle because it should be. It shouldn't ramp in like the throttle. The tranny should be fully engaged at idle forward and reverse. I am sure my dumb a$$ might be confusing you. If so just PM me your phone # I will try to walk you what I am trying to say.
    Last edited by gumby; 07-18-2018 at 03:01 PM.

  13. #13
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    '03 Tige 21I
    Racked my brain on my drive to work this morning. I’m going to check trans fluid level, and the torque on my transmission shift lever. My have it too loose, or too tight.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckhoenig View Post
    I know it’s a 3 blade. Not sure make. I’m sure it’s proabbly standard for whatever Tige was putting on boats in that year model. I never upgraded. I also know it’s brass. Not so sure it’s the prop though, we never had problems with it before we started having transmission issues.
    Disregard prop suggestion then. Maybe a sheared key as others mentioned. The trans is pretty simple as others have said. To not have it "fully engaged" would be an odd scenario as the shift valve tolerances are pretty tight and it's a simple system. Pump to move fluid. Valve that when shifted allows that pressurized fluid to act upon the piston. Piston pushes either the forward clutch pack together or if shifted in rev fluid is routed to the other side of the piston and pushes the reverse clutch pack. So unless the valve wasnt fully opened causing less pressure on the piston I dont see how the friction and wear plates could be slipping in a new/rebuilt trans that is full of fluid.

    That's why I was thinking prop pr as bait28 suggested a shared key. Just odd that you are still having issues so looking to eliminate all the other variables in the equation.
    Last edited by freeheel4life; 07-18-2018 at 04:02 PM.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2008
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    '03 Tige 21I
    Gumby,

    I understand what you are saying. I’ll put the shift lever in forward and check the alignment of the throttle cable, and the same for reverse. The transmission may not have been going completely into gear not as RPMs we’re increasing.

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