Anyone with Zeus Pods?

Discussion in 'Sport Yachts/Yachts' started by Dissapointed, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. Carver370

    Carver370 Active Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    New Buffalo Michigan
    1994 Carver 370 Motoryacht
    Twin Crusader 454 - 350 HP Each.
    I will refrain from posting the brand of the boat but I myself and a close friend / customer of mine have had complete nightmares with his Zeus boat.

    -Both pods replaced.
    -Both transmissions replaced at different intervals - NOT rebuildable.
    -Both steering actuators replaced - two times each since the pod replacement - also NOT rebuildable.
    -Both new pods have been rebuilt now as well since the replacement.
    -Both "rings" replaced now 4 times.

    Everything has been related to two different fluids mixing in the wrong locations. This is on a boat that has had way above average care and preventative maintenance its entire life. We take her on her own hull from Florida to Michigan and back each season, there has only been one trip we were able to continue the entire way without incident. NEVER have touched bottom with this boat either. Every single time, Cummins assumes zero responsibility, ZF assumes nothing, and Mercury will "gladly" pay for the parts after the word lawsuit starts being thrown around for some time. They have never paid for any of the labor associated with this.

    Can you image having one of these with three Zues drives like an L590 has? No thank you.
     
  2. Carbo

    Carbo Member

    176
    Nov 15, 2011
    AZ
    2014 48Cantius
    Volvo Penta D6 IPS
    As an owner of a boat with Volvo Penta Pods, I just want to remind everyone that Zeus Pods are the issue, not VP Pods.
    Before you completely rule out pods, I suggest looking at boats with IPS propulsion.
     
  3. Todd320

    Todd320 Active Member

    501
    Jul 21, 2016
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2007 Sea Ray 320DA
    Twin V-drive 5.7L 350 Horizon
    So just curious, What’s the maintenance like for the Volvo pods? Once a year change fluids? Does the boat need to be hauled out each year? Any other routine maintenance, at 2-5 year intervals, seals, overhauls, etc? Approximate cost? Trying to determine how rough maintenance is for Volvo pods.
     
  4. Carbo

    Carbo Member

    176
    Nov 15, 2011
    AZ
    2014 48Cantius
    Volvo Penta D6 IPS
    It's the typical routine based upon type of water you're in, the hours you rack up and time itself. I think the maintenance schedule for IPS is similar to Zeus. In fresh water and only 60 hours on my drives per year I hope to get 4 years before haul out, and then I'll get the bottom paint done again. Haul out is necessary to change the gear fluid. The real difference is the engineering. I get the impression that Zeus was poorly designed. Prior to purchasing my boat I looked online for pod issues and consistently found the Mercury product had issues. Try googling IPS and see for yourself what the reviews are. It's surprising how few issues there are. Another point I would make is look at how many different builders use IPS. Far as I know only SeaRay used Zeus. That says something imho.
     
  5. douglee25

    douglee25 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    NJ
    Boatless
    Big ones!
    Great read here.

    Speaking of fluid crossing paths, any opportunity to run positive pressure on one side or the other that could help minimize damage?

    I wish the best of luck to you guys with issues. From a technology standpoint, pods are pretty incredible what they're able to accomplish with the aid of electronics.
     
  6. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 Express
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin GSD 22 Sounder
    Garm
    454 Crusaders
    FWIW I've seen Sabres at the boat shows with Zeus pods. I love the Sabres but would only consider one if it had straight shaft drives. The high initial cost of pod drives and the follow up high repair maintenance cost as well as poor reliability make them a poor choice. If you learn how to drive a straight shaft drive boat you don't need pods.
     
    Todd320 likes this.
  7. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Newport, RI
    300 Sundancer
    5.0MPI Bravo III
    pods are more about efficincy and handeling at speed - a straight shaft boat with a bow and stern thruster is just as "user friendly" around the dock at a fraction of the cost - I agree on the simplicity and reliability of shafts though.
     
  8. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Have always have shaft drives.

    Last year we did a bare boat charter in the NW - had a boat with the volvo pods.

    OMG -the ease with which you moved the boat with pod drives - I totally understand why they are attractive.

    But, don't think I want to own a boat with pods. Just my thoughts.
     
  9. juggernaut1

    juggernaut1 Active Member

    795
    Apr 19, 2015
    Perth, Western Australia
    2006 38 Sundancer
    8.1S / ZF 63V Drives
    Back in 2009 when the Riviera 5000 Sports Yacht was released, Zeus pods were the choice of propulsion. History shows Riviera is now an avid user of the Volvo IPS throughout their line up except their very largest boats.
     
  10. Richie89

    Richie89 Active Member

    550
    Aug 20, 2012
    Miami Beach, FL
    450 Sundancer
    Twin Cummins 480 Zeus
    I have pods in a 2015 boat. In my fairly extensive research, I was completely against pods at first. The problems are with the early generation pods in all my research. I drove a boat with pods one time, and was completely sold. Yes, they require some additional maintenance, but I have more control of my 45' boat than I do in a 12' dinghy. And the performance is off the charts. I boat in soft, sandy South FL. If I boated somewhere rocky, I would rethink, but I have no worries knocking a pod off. Plus, with the Zeus, unlike the Volvo, if one is knocked off, no water intrusion. Is there anyone on here with a new version that's had any troubles? Mine have worked flawlessly so far.
     
  11. gerryb

    gerryb Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    Raymarine E125 & HD Radar + Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    For all yacht builders starting a new build in 2019, which brands will be using ZEUS?
     
  12. Carbo

    Carbo Member

    176
    Nov 15, 2011
    AZ
    2014 48Cantius
    Volvo Penta D6 IPS
    IPS pods also shear without water intrusion.
     
  13. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    New Grand Banks 60 has optional Volvo pods. Haven't seen any new boats with Zeus. Not saying they are not out there, just haven't run into them.

    Could driven by engines. If a mfg wants pods and Cummins power, would be Zeus.
     
  14. juggernaut1

    juggernaut1 Active Member

    795
    Apr 19, 2015
    Perth, Western Australia
    2006 38 Sundancer
    8.1S / ZF 63V Drives
    Dockmate ran aground with the forward facing Volvo pods in his Mustang 430 sports coupe (which is closer to 50ft). This was in our river system in an area where i suspect was sand/mud/silt bottom. Anyway he must have put it in good because he said it stalled one of the motors. Restarted put it in gear and stalled again. He ended up getting it off, noticed nothing untoward afterward, but had it lifted to be sure no problems which turned out to be the case. I suspect the bottom would have helped in this situation compared a harder bottom though.

    He's had no issues with the pods over the 3 or so years I've know him. His main concern is wrapping a pot rope around props. Although I see now that the Volvo pods now come with rope cutters.
     
  15. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    I can't find a single builder that is advertising Zeus pods for their boats. Sea Ray's decision not build boats over 40' feet may be a bellwether for the end of the Zeus line. While the technology is compelling, the reliability and operational cost is not. Add to that the risk of breakdowns and ability to get them repaired and it just doesn't seem to be headed in the right direction. If they are at the end of line, boats equipped with that technology will suffer in the resale market as parts and skilled repair labor becomes problematic.

    I agree that docking is easier but if they are required.....bow and stern thrusters accomplish the same task for a fraction of the cost and none of the risk or operational costs.
     
  16. DieselDogg

    DieselDogg Member

    89
    Dec 18, 2013
    Boatless
    Diesel
    My thoughts exactly. I bet Brunswick discontinues Zeus right along the Sea Ray 40'+ boats. I dont understand how they thought it was a good idea to put this power package on almost every boat starting 2008. It added something like 130K to cost and made many boats too expensive, which probably had a lot to do with their ability to sell them. Epic fail!
     
  17. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    I agree. Brunswick has been challenged to make the right calls for quite some time. Zeus pods were their answer to Volvo's IPS propulsion system. Had someone bothered to do the math.......they would have been far better off adapting Cummins to a Volvo drive train than producing their own. Why? Because they could never sell enough units of their Cummins/Zeus drive combinations to make it successful unless they got a lot more manufactures on board. I'm sure pride had something to do with it.....after all they have had great success in the traditional outboard and inboard markets.

    It is those same markets that refuse to use anything that is less reliable ..........which Zeus is by any measure. When you are 60 miles off-shore do you really want to rely on a Zeus drive to get you home?

    In this particular case they designed and produced a flawed product. That by itself didn't doom it but without spending a lot more money on fixing customer issues and rapidly improving the product ......it just ends up in a bad place in a very small market.
     
    gerryb likes this.

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