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Old 02-12-2020, 07:55 PM   #1
Sam603
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Default Stern drive maintenance

After 3 seasons and roughly 160 hours +\- is it necessary to have the $460 service done that the dealer recommends for the outdrive? Iím comfortable changing fluids and doing basic maintenance but not sure Iím ready to remove the outdrive which they claim they will do.


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Old 02-12-2020, 08:16 PM   #2
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You should be pulling the drive every year to check the alignment, u-joints, gimbal bearing and bellows. If you are not comfortable with that, it would be worth paying to have it done, especially after 3 seasons.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:23 PM   #3
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You should be pulling the drive every year to check the alignment, u-joints, gimbal bearing and bellows. If you are not comfortable with that, it would be worth paying to have it done, especially after 3 seasons.
I concur and will add that the calamity that this maintenance prevents is VERY expensive!
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:49 PM   #4
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B-O-A-T = Break Out Another Hundred $$$$$$$$$$$
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
You should be pulling the drive every year to check the alignment, u-joints, gimbal bearing and bellows. If you are not comfortable with that, it would be worth paying to have it done, especially after 3 seasons.
I have them pull mine every other year. its a must do in my opinion. keeps the coupling from grenading. I may shop the price seems a little high.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:19 AM   #6
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B-O-A-T = Break Out Another Hundred $$$$$$$$$$$
The T stands for THOUSAND!
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:57 AM   #7
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Kinda depends on usage. I pull mine every other but my Volvo Penta also has a grease fitting on the outside that puts grease right to the bearing so I grease that periodically. Your averaging just over 50 hrs a season. IMO you would be fine pulling it every other year. But with 160 hr on it I would definately pull it if u havenít.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:08 AM   #8
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The marina that hauls and stores my boats recommends every other year for both the I/O outdrive & the outboard lower unit. I do both but question that the charge is the same for both.


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Old 02-13-2020, 09:25 AM   #9
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FWIW, drives are super easy to remove for the maintenance I described; it would be worth learning how to do it once to see if it's something you won't mind doing, assuming you have the means to work on the boat while it's ashore. For $460, you could buy all the tools you would ever need to do the work they will be doing. It ain't rocket surgery and the skills you learn could end up saving a vacation.

For example:

I had a gimbal bearing fail 4 days into a 16 day vacation on Lake Champlain, in Summer 2017. I put the boat on the trailer around 1 PM, pulled the drive off in the boat ramp parking lot to confirm the bearing was shot, drove 3 hours back to my house (and special tools) in NH to drop off the boat, drove to West Marine and back to get a new bearing, pulled the old bearing out that night (mosquitoes ended that evening earlier than planned), installed the new bearing early the next morning, put the drive back on, and was back on Mallets Bay on Champlain by noon. Did it suck? Yeah it did, but I only lost 24 hours and the rest of the vacation was awesome. If I'd had to wait for someone else to do the work in peak season, I could have lost the whole vacation.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:37 AM   #10
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The T stands for THOUSAND!
Lol...just realized I blew that as I saw your correction post!
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:11 AM   #11
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Default I thought...

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Lol...just realized I blew that as I saw your correction post!
I thought you had 10 $'s, which 10 x 1000 would have been a thousand. Yeah that's a stretch, but... .

After TiltonBB posted I went back and counted... there were 11. So much for the stretch. Hey, I tried.

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Old 02-13-2020, 05:25 PM   #12
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Minimizing in-season down time is a strong incentive to do your own repairs!
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:06 PM   #13
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DaveR is spot on. Itís not hard to do. Plenty of YouTube videos to walk you thru. If someone was charging me $460 to do it I would laugh. You can pulll it inspect and grease it all and be back together in a couple hours. But I stand behind my comment, every other year is fine.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:30 PM   #14
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I appreciate the advice and plan to do more of the preventative maintenance going forward. Thanks again


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Old 02-13-2020, 09:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAB1 View Post
DaveR is spot on. Itís not hard to do. Plenty of YouTube videos to walk you thru. If someone was charging me $460 to do it I would laugh. You can pulll it inspect and grease it all and be back together in a couple hours. But I stand behind my comment, every other year is fine.
I wonder if his marina is proactively replacing some parts regardless of their condition.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:49 AM   #16
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I wonder if his marina is proactively replacing some parts regardless of their condition.
That is one of the decisions boat owners and marinas must make. Some people maintain their boat with an open check book. Other people just want the minimum amount of necessary work done.

If money was not a factor many people would tell the marina to do whatever they see fit and leave the decision to the marina. Their instructions are "if you see anything wrong please fix it". Other people want to be consulted and given a price quote before any work beyond what is already agreed to is done.

It helps to have a relationship with a marina that will know your boat and know you and your expectations. A comfort level and no surprises are both good things!
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:12 AM   #17
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That is one of the decisions boat owners and marinas must make. Some people maintain their boat with an open check book.
These are the folks I like to buy used boats from. That said, comprehensive spare parts inventory on a boat is also a good indicator of loving care by someone that might be a DIYer with a dusty checkbook.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:23 AM   #18
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I appreciate the advice and plan to do more of the preventative maintenance going forward. Thanks again


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Feel free to ping me if you have any questions when you get into it.

Couple of tips:

If you buy any rubber parts or shift cables, buy only OEM stuff. The aftermarket bellows, impellers, and cables are typically sub-par. Local dealers often have decent prices on OEM stuff, BTW.

If you halve the coupler greasing interval, you can save yourself a ton of money. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time going slow with a stern drive. I know it's counter-intuitive, but low-speed operation really beats up the aluminum splines in the coupler. Drive has to come off and engine has to come out to replace the $400ish coupler... FWIW, you can't go wrong with these three rules on greasing splines: not enough grease is not enough grease, the right amount of grease is not enough grease, too much grease is the right amount of grease. Just wipe of the ooze with a rag. I like to hit both zerks, but that's probably over-kill.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
Feel free to ping me if you have any questions when you get into it.

Couple of tips:

If you buy any rubber parts or shift cables, buy only OEM stuff. The aftermarket bellows, impellers, and cables are typically sub-par. Local dealers often have decent prices on OEM stuff, BTW.

If you halve the coupler greasing interval, you can save yourself a ton of money. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time going slow with a stern drive. I know it's counter-intuitive, but low-speed operation really beats up the aluminum splines in the coupler. Drive has to come off and engine has to come out to replace the $400ish coupler... FWIW, you can't go wrong with these three rules on greasing splines: not enough grease is not enough grease, the right amount of grease is not enough grease, too much grease is the right amount of grease. Just wipe of the ooze with a rag. I like to hit both zerks, but that's probably over-kill.
And make sure you use marine grease not automotive grease. There is a difference! Automotive grease will mix with water and become milky where marine grease won't.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:41 PM   #20
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And make sure you use marine grease not automotive grease. There is a difference! Automotive grease will mix with water and become milky where marine grease won't.
If you have water diluting grease on your coupler, you have bigger worries than what grease you used...
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:10 PM   #21
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If you have water diluting grease on your coupler, you have bigger worries than what grease you used...
When you're greasing the joints that are on the outside and under water you need marine grease so you might as well use it inside too.
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:05 AM   #22
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Default Schedule.

Look at you engine maintenance schedule. Keep track of the number of hours you use your boat each season. That will give you an idea of maintenance schedule.
In may case, I average 70 hrs a year. I scheduled with my mechanic that I replace the water pump one year, full drive maintenance the second year, and full tune up the third year. Then repeat. I have over 2000 hrs on my '88 454 and stern drive without any major repairs.
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