Zeus Pods or V-Drive - 510 Sundancer need Advice!

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by Bradley B, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. Bradley B

    Bradley B New Member

    May 30, 2011
    San Francisco / Sacramento Delta
    2003 380 Sundancer & Chris Craft Catalina 23
    Gas 8.1s
    Hi everyone. Looking to upgrade to a 2013 -2016 510 Sundancer. Question I have is and would like some input on is should I go with the Zeus Drives or V-Drives? I've been boating for many years and comfortable with V-drives as I've had boats up to 50+ ft in the past. The pods are interesting and I have read many, many articles reg pros & con's. Seems like the yearly maintenance is not cheap. I use my boat mainly in SF Bay and the Sacramento Delta.

    Any input in this would be greatly appreciated.


    Bradley B
  2. LG111

    LG111 Active Member

    Jan 4, 2015
    I love the idea and performance of the pod drives. However, I am old school and like the lower cost of maintenance on vdives or direct drives. Besides, if you hit something hard which is very possible, I can't imagine the cost, insurance or not. So for me. I am out.
  3. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    i saw a video of a guy who had a soft grounding in the bahamas in a triple pod azimut. It ripped 2 of the 3 pods off, I understand they're designed to shear so as to not damage the hull (but then of course you have to go get those expensive hunks of metal)

    The efficiency and handling of pods is pretty cool, but I've read a lot of stories around the maintenance nightmares as well as hydraulic leaks. In a boat that size I think I'd prefer the shafts and thrusters
  4. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    I wouldn't touch a Zues powered 510DA.

    I think this is yet another example of Mercruiser letting me and you, their customers, do the prototyping and product development by releasing product before it is ready for general use. This power package uses the Cummins QSC engine cpoupled to the Mercruiser Zues drive. The connection in the drive unit where the exhaust from the engine is connected is made from FRP (fiberglass). When you lose a water pump while underway, that fiberglass connection will melt/burn up and since it is below the waterline, you are in trouble and looking for a sandbar to beach your boat if you don't hear the waterpump failure. There have been more than one $1.0mil + yacht sunk because iof this design issue. MErcruiser and Cummins are pointing fingers at each other now, but this is a definite safety issue and it should be recalled by the USCG.

    The other issue is are there any Zues trained mechanics in your area? There better be because Mercruiser requires a Zues certification to do amlost any repair other then routine service. And routine service does get pricey.

    On the other hand, I got the chance to run 510DA Hull #1 at the open house Sea Ray held in Knoxville a few years ago. It had v-drives and QSC engines. The boat was constantly loaded with 10-12 people and it was a great performer. I loved the way it handles and I am one of those old school hard heads that won't use a bow thruster until I get in trouble....we never even switched the thruster breaker to the on position.

    This isn't even a close call for me............
    rcknecht likes this.
  5. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Frank, Just an FYI--I wasn't going to even open this thread until I saw you had responded to it.

    Thanks for your intelligent insights that gave us information that likely would not have been readily available.

    Frank, YOU DA MAN!!!!
  6. Bradley B

    Bradley B New Member

    May 30, 2011
    San Francisco / Sacramento Delta
    2003 380 Sundancer & Chris Craft Catalina 23
    Gas 8.1s
    Hi Guy's,

    Thanks for the input! I agree with you Frank and had no ideas of those issues! At the Ft Lauderdale boat show this year a 2016 / 510 Sundancer had New Engines & Pods installed due to a fire in the engine room. My understanding was that a cooling hose failed on one of the drives and caused the fire?
  7. Rocket

    Rocket Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jan 14, 2008
    Long Island NY
    2007 48 Sundancer
    Previous: 2004 420DA, 2007 320DA, 2006 240DA
    Cummins QSC 540 8.3
    I recently ran a 510 da with Pods on the QSC600 package. The ride and performance at cruise speed is insane. It handled like a 20 foot Center Console, almost to the point of being overpowered on turns. The lean on sharp 90 degree turns was incredible, and scary. I liked it but it was too responsive to the wheel if that made sense. Very Different feeling than my V drive 48. The Vdrive feels more planted and heavy, Pod drive light and nimble.
    I have no experience on costs to maintain and issues, however while docking the boat, an alarm came up on the vessel view and I was told its fine keep docking! My local cummins guy advises that the Gen 2 pods are better but not perfect, and to stick with Vdrive from a service and reliability standpoint.
    BTW, I love the 510 DA, wife wont buy in because the forward state room is not split berth, which is a problem for the kids....Ask me if I care!!
  8. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    That can be fixed with minimal effort!
  9. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    Bradley, first, hello from a fellow Bay Area resident. Second, I would verify that there is a qualified tech in the Bay Area to service pods prior to buying a 510DA with them. There should be since there are actually other brands selling them in the Bay Area even though Sea Ray still has no dealer up here!
  10. kysearay

    kysearay Active Member

    Jun 15, 2017
    42 Sundancer
    8.1's gassers
    I do not own nor operated a pod boat, but a good friend has a 510 with pods and has nothing but problems with it and we are in KY where there are not pod techs so they have to fly in - not cheap! Also the computers are having continued problems communicating.... Just what I have heard and been involved in.

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