Outdrive noise and metal

69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
edited September 2015 in Engine Discussions
Due to some some things in life, I had to go ahead and pull my boat out and winterize it. It's a '03 Captiva 232, 350 MAG, Bravo III with 235 hours, and I used it a bunch this year with basically no issues. I had started a thread earlier this year about a squeaking sound that I would hear intermittently on a cold start, but aside from that, the boat worked well, and made no noises. last winter, the boat had the entire transom assembly replaced, so gimbal ring/bearing, and all bellows are new. 

I had the boat running out of the water, with the muffs on, and noticed a noise from the outdrive. It wasn't even loud enough to hear from inside the boat, which is likely why I've never heard it, but standing at the back of the boat it was making what I'd call a clattering noise from the outdrive. Something I'd equate to as a bearing noise, and I could put my hand on the outdrive and actually feel it. 

I drained the oil through a white tee shirt, and surprisingly didn't see any metal shavings. The magnetic plugs had a very small amount on them, around a normal amount. When I filled the outdrive back up, I noticed it started pushing shavings out the top hole when it filled up. No "chunks" or anything, but shavings larger than I like to see. 

I don't know much about what's inside these outdrives, but I do know the shaft spins in neutral, and there has to be bearings up there, so what kind of damage can I expect there to be inside there? I'm sure this isn't going to be an inexpensive repair. 


  • howardramshowardrams Fairport Harbor, OHPosts: 220Member ✭✭✭
    Small shavings can be gear wear some of which is to be expected, but with the noise and vibration you can feel you should have a Merc dealer you trust take it apart and fix it before it gets worse and cracks a housing or damages a shaft which would drive the cost up.  It could be just a wobbly universal joint if you're lucky?
  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
    Oh, it's going to a shop. I'm about half way through getting my house built, so after we get that deal closed, and get moved in, I'm taking it in, because the noise isn't normal, and something in there is unhappy. Like I said, the metal on the magnetic drain plugs I'd call normal, but the shavings it pushed out the top are a little more than I like to see. 
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 4,450Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    It is common to have a bit of 'dust' on the magnetic plug.  Shavings: bad.

    Depending where you are, if close to Indiana - call AlSwagg
    Another good one: http://www.allamericandriveservice.com/  ask for George.  2-year warranty too.  I personally used him for my drive overhauls.

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", 350 MAG MPI, 20P 4x4 Props, PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
    I'm in the Dallas area
  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
    Well, dragging this back up, I got my boat to the shop to have the outdrive checked. As it turns out, the vertical shaft in the drive is bent, which basically damaged many components in the upper and lower unit, and the recommendation is a new outdrive. 

    The mechanic says impact damage is really the only thing that can cause this, but I know that I haven't hit anything in the 4 years that I've owned the boat, and the drive and props show no signs of impact damage, so I'm not too sure what to make of it. I find it unusual that I've never felt any vibrations, or heard any noise while driving the boat, but he said since it's the vertical shaft, that could be the reason for not feeling it. Regardless, I guess I get some new parts this year. 
  • Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Holland, MichiganPosts: 4,450Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Be hard to bend that piece, twist yes. I suspect that is secondary damage and a failed/failing gear or bearings are the true culprit. 

    2003 342FV "Black Diamond", 350 MAG MPI, 20P 4x4 Props, PC BYC, Holland, MI
  • rasburyrasbury Sanford, FLPosts: 4,844Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    yes, you would think if something hit it and caused it to twist, you would see that. Some other gremlin sounds like your issue!
  • MarkBMarkB OntarioPosts: 3,191Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Did you hit a floating log, by any chance?

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
    No, I haven't hit anything that I'm aware of. 

    Whether it was some other gremlin, or who knows what, I just got off the phone with my insurance, and they're covering it, so I get a new complete outdrive. I hate to see what this is going to do to my rates, but it is what it is. 
  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 6,554Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    While the drive is off you may wish to have the marina check your engine alignment, bellows, shift cables etc.
  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
    I told them to check it all. I replaced the entire transom assembly last year, so most things are new, although that doesn't always mean everything is okay. 
  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 6,554Member ✭✭✭✭✭

    Way to go. I particularly would like to have the engine alignment checked, which is, at most a 5 minute job start to finish - actually once the tool is in your hand it's about a 30 second job. Also if they are using the old props - which would make sense - I'd expect them to clean the prop splines and properly grease the new drive shaft. Sounds obvious right? I once found a shop had installed my prop with no cleaning or greasing of the splines - not good!

  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXPosts: 345Member ✭✭✭
    With a whopping 240 hours on the boat, it now has a complete new mercruiser transom assembly, and now a complete new outdrive. I did the transom assembly because it had the Bravo 3 steering slop, and rather than install the kit to fix it, I figured the boat was 12 years old, so it needed bellows and other maintenance items, so I just replaced it all. It should be good to go. 
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