Couple more pics.
Sorry to be long winded. I appreciate everyone's input, but please don't tell me I hit something. I know I did not.
2003 37 Active Thunder AVH
Twin Bravo 1 XZ drives
A little over 200 Hours on entire package
For the past few weeks Iíve had a problem with the SB side outdrive wanting to trim DOWN, back to the tucked in position. I had it checked out by two Mercury Certified techs, and a couple other folks did a once over on the drive/trim system as well. The only thing they could find wrong was my trim cylinders needed to be tightened at the mounts closest the transom. Both drives had the same about of very slight and normal play in the bell housing/gimble hinge assembly. Problem somewhat cleared, but was still occasionally present.
On a Sunday last month:
Drove 20 miles basically straight at 60-70 mph back from little beach/restaurant area where we had spent the day.
1/2 mile from marina/ramp/trailer; I felt steering to be sluggish as I was turning in toward the marina.
Brought boat off plane.
Took a very quick look off the transom, to check if anything was blatantly wrong. i.e. both drives still there.
Tried to bring boat back up on plane.
SB motor just revs up. (Same side as where I had the trim problem before.)
Took closer look at drives, and entire SB drive is moved back, and bellows is showing. Outer Bell Housing/Helmet is broken across the top.
I had full power, the drive shaft was still in the bell housing, drive still tucked onto the transom assembly, until I came off plane as mentioned above. At this time, the outdrive and drive shaft slipped back and out of the coupler and down. The drive was being held on by the trim cylinders and Marine Machine steering system. The bellows was not compromised. I did not take on water. There is NO IMPACT DAMAGE to the drive. I did NOT feel any impact. In other words, I did not hit anything that would have broken the bell housing/gimble. If I had, it would have mangled the drive. The force of the prop turning forward pushing the drive up and forward, by the drive shaft being in the coupler held the drive attached and operational with full power, until I came off plane, and began to come on plane again.
My Mercury Mechanic and I believe that the gimble/bell housing was cracked, or abnormally wearing, over the past couple weeks, which is why you can see that the lower portion of the gimble/bell housing has been grinding back and forth under the trim ram for a while. The wear pad on the gimble/bell housing is significantly worn, and now the wear pad on the drive on that side is completely missing. It had this half-circle grinding damage for a while, and I had noticed it before, but everyone told me its normal, as the wear pads come in contact when turning.
I have a broken XZ upper housing, Broken Bell Housing/Gimble, bent trim ram and hydraulic line, and damaged female coupler splines (very end of splines are rounded off and bind on insertion of new drive shaft). The shift cable and lube tube to reservoir were also replaced.
I temporarily have the boat fixed with borrowed, used, and new parts. The coupler will need to be replaced at the end of the season, as well as all my other damaged parts. I spent a LOT of money on my Mercury Q-Guard 5-year Extended Warranty for both engines and drives. I have consulted my insurance company, and they in good faith cannot cover this damage without a point of impact damage, nor do I really want to coax them into being responsible since it will jack up my insurance rates.
My Mercury Certified Mechanic firmly believes this is a Mercury Equipment Failure. Mercury has denied my warranty claim, and I have been instructed to begin the appeal process via written letter. Neither he nor I have had any luck with Mercury Customer Service or the Warranty Technicians. They are categorically denying this claim, and no one has even laid eyes on the damage, other than pictures I took and forwarded to Mercury. I am already out a couple thousand dollars on this. I am borrowing another couple thousand in parts, and I still have to have the coupler replaced involving removing the engine. This is cleary product failure.
(At the same time, a friend of mine with a 496HO with 25 hours on it, OUT OF WARRANTY, disintegrated a piston into the oil pan. Baja/Mercury sent him a new engine the NEXT day with no charge for anything including install.)
Again, big thanks to those the helped me get back on the water within 5 days after all this happened, in the middle of boating season.
Anyone that can help me gain some ground or a new path with positive results will be thanked graciously and taken care of.
Last edited by Sydwayz; 08-17-2005 at 12:30 PM.
Couple more pics.
What you need to do is find a Merc premier dealer that will go to bat for you. Merc holds a muh higher opinion of theor premier level dealers. I used to work for one and when a situation like this arose we always managed to get Merc to send the regional rep out and every time he sided with the customer. Sometimes it took some convicning on our part but the customer always left happy. Give me a call if you awnt, I have been down this road many times with Merc.
805 732 8375 Jake
Yes....I agree ...... Mercury is pretty good about owning up to design flaws, bad castings, outsourced parts etc. They will go back past the warranty dates and help for good customer service provided they do not find abuse, driver error or a mis application of product. I do hope you are the original owner since '03........your registered data will be in Mercs computers and they will do something....if you are not I am afraid to say they will be very very hesitant to do anything period. If you are the original owner seek out a PLATINUM STATUS SERVICE CENTER "SYDWAYZ" is correct. They do more volume, have been around longer and will have greater clout with Mercury Warranty Division Reps then a STD DEALER.
First of all not only is he dealing with a merc dealer but he is also dealing with the area fountain,active,cigarette and sonic dealer!!!\ndo we carry alittle weight with mercury I would think so!!!! second the rep will come out for anyone not just platinum dealers(not premier)
third 9 times out of ten when the appeal process starts the customer usually wins!!!! and fith I dont know who your rep is but they can not over ride merc tech dept all they can do is suggest what they should do!
Originally Posted by GOODT
OK if you say so.....BTW if you are the dealer that sold this man the boat....well you know the rest as far as good customer service goes.... "I would think so!!!"
I'm not saying that other dealers won't be able to do anything for him, all I was saying is that the rep is more willing to listen to the premier level dealers (and it is PREMIER you can check mercs website, they did away with the whole gold, platinum rating thing a while ago you are now either a premeir dealer or just a dealer) the premair level dealers have proven to Merc that they take care of their customers and at the same time look out for Merc's interest by not contacting them when it is a situation that the customer cuased. And your right the rep can't overrule tech support but he can persuade them to change their mind. Bottom line is that in every way a premeir level dealer is able to provide better support for their customer. You don't gain premeir status by doing a certain volume of buissnes or selling enough boats. You become a premeir dealer by certain shop equipment on hand and by constantly keeping up to date with Merc certifacations and annual attendance of Merc tech education classes. I didn't mean any offense to any non Merc premeir dealers and I no longer even work in the buissnes myself. There are just some situations when a customer is better served by a Merc premeir dealer and quite frankly I think the Premeir dealers work harder for their customers in general and have a proven track record of doing so.Originally Posted by GOODT
Last edited by hillbilly24; 08-17-2005 at 04:11 PM.
GOODT, can we work on your appearance here a little bit?
Kindly copy and paste this with your posts as well.....
GOODT, What happened to frth((or 4th))??? (sorry Brian )Originally Posted by GOODT
Hopefully the appeal process will result in positive actions from Merc. From your story Brian and from all I've read and heard re: you, no customer abuse issues here ... seems then conclusion is a simple and obvious one ... product failure Good luck.
These are my observations, from
what I can see from the pictures.
I too, don't think you "hit" something.
I do not profess to be an "expert",
these are my views based on common
sense and a basic mechanical understanding
( I know how things work)
I would be questioning them
( the mercury people) on
what caused the breakage on the
upper, where the thrust strip mounts ?
( the area that mates with the gimbal
Without this area to dissapate engine
torque, the hinge pins and bell housing
take the full load.
Prop rotation can amplify, or cancel
some of the load, r/h will amplify.
The missing piece of the upper
( IMO) is what caused the breakage
of the bell housing,
just look at the area of breakage on the
bell housing ( l/h- top, r/h bottom),
it just happens to be where it would
break if it were to be twisted c.c.w.,
which is the same direction the engine
rotates ( as viewed from the rear)
(Without the side support from the
gimbal ring flanges, that's the way
she's going to twist.)
The wear on the inside of the gimbal ring
flange looks as if the thrust strip was missing
for a while.
Even if it was, I can't imagine that "sawing"
through the area on the upper, (where the
wear strip mounts) in such a short period.
( the older stuff didn't even use the wear strips,
and I've never seen the upper break there )
The only other way I could think of breaking
the upper in that area, was, If you had launched
and came down funny, and side loaded the
drives on re-entry, or a spin out.
Neither which you mention, and it only happened to one.
( not both)
The trim drift problem, however, I don't
know if I can link it to the other damage.
Hope this helps your fight.
Last edited by JaayTeee; 08-17-2005 at 05:49 PM.
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