Last Saturday I hit the road with my boat in tow for the Konrad facility in Hudson, Wisconsin. I arrived at the plant Monday morning for a week of testing and installation of the Konrad 540 drives on my '89 Top Gun.
Monday morning Ken Konrad gave me a tour of the plant. I was just blown away at the quality in workmanship at this facility! Nothing and I mean nothing is compromised in building the Konrad drive. Only the best materials and techniques are chosen for the components and it was obvious the employees take great pride in building the best stern drive possible. The US NAVY is Konrad's biggest customer and when you are selling to the NAVY, failure is not an option when peoples lives are at risk if a drive explodes. Also, I was very amazed at how happy the workforce is at the Konrad operation, a true sign of a good leader. Konrad sure has assembled a dream team of engineers for his designs and runs his business like a well-oiled machine.
I've had more fun than I could of ever imagined working with this crew all week and we got quite a bit accomplished over the past 5 days.
After we established baseline tests, we removed the TRS drives and prepared to install the 540 drive onto the Merc TRS transom assembly. The install went very smooth, consisting of removing the TRS drive and the Merc bellhousing. The Konrad drive bellhousing has an improved drive lube coupler and is a much stronger unit. Installation was very straightforward and can be done by most anyone with some mechanical know how.
The next step in this project was to remove the TRS transom assemblies and replace them with the Konrad transom unit. I was amazed at how smooth this swap actually went. Since my boat has solid motor mount plates, all we had to do was remove all the 3/4" transom assy nuts inside the boat and we were able to remove the assembly without pulling the engines. It did take a little effort but the old TRS units pulled right out with minimal hassle.
At this point we were ready to install the 540 transom assemblies. This process was very straightforward. On the Top Gun, drive trim pumps are mounted in front of the motors with long trim hoses. The existing hoses were installed in the new assembly and we were then ready to mount the new drives up the their matching, much stronger transom unit.
If you have ever removed your TRS drives yourself, you know how much of a headache installing a TRS can be. When we installed the new 540 drives, I was shocked to see the drive just fall into the splines with no swearing or wasted time. The Konrad drives are designed to be maintained. Removal and replacement is a breeze with the Konrad unit.
We were able to do the complete install in a day with minimal trouble and we are now ready to run the boat on the St Croix river this morning. I'm heading back to Maine tonight!
It sure has been a fun working with the crew at Konrad. I've had more fun than I could of ever imagined. I feel priveleged to have worked with such a great team all week.
I'll post pictures when I return,