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Swivel pin replacement...

Old 12-27-2013, 01:37 PM
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Default Swivel pin replacement...

Thought I might start a thread on replacing the swivel pin on a Bravo 1. I have a 1993 Baja 290-OS with HP-500's. For the past 3 years I have had a very tiny leak with water coming in. When I say tiny, I mean the bilge put will kick on about every 1-1/2 hours. The leak only happens when people are on the back mashing the boat alittle lower in the water. When it is sitting normally in the water, there is no leak. Last December, I pulled the motors and everything else on the back leaving me with a complete bare transom. I did alittle repair work on the starboard side of the transom, then resealed the gimbles and all the holes as I put the stuff back on. Floated the boat for 3 hours and no water came in. I thought I had found and fixed it. After I put the motors back in, I floated it for another 3 hours and still no water. I thought I had hit a home run, but when we went out and everyone was on the back swim platform...I was in the water and after a while, the pump kicked on. Pissed off it not the politically correct term for me at the time. I was ready for a fire, but friends talked me out of it. Since then, I have talked to some other people about it and they all mentioned the same thing...that since I replaced and resealed everything else, the only thing left was the swivel (steering) pin. They told me that the standard Mercruiser pin was carbon steel and that it must be rusty and messed up the seal allowing water to get thru it. I have ordered the parts that I need to replace and repair this thing, but I am not going to pull the motors out and the gimbles off the back again. I am not going to do this the way Mercruiser says either when replacing the pins with everything still in and on the transom. I bought a "fix-it" kit from Ron at JR Maine in Ohio... WWW.JRMARINE.COM . I have stainless pins now along with all the bushing and new seals. I am going to start on this project right after the first and will post pics of the progress. Ron also has 2 videos that go into great detail of exactly what to do. I had an old gimble that was trash and I cut the hole out on it for practice before I start on mine. You dont want to screw up on this as there are no do-overs, so if you do screw up, you get to replace the gimble...bummer. My practice that I did yesterday came out perfect for the cut and I was able to get the lower and upper bushing out fairly easy after heating an old worthless flay screw driver up and bending the end over 90*, then grinding the end down to sort-of a point. I was able to get it wedged in there so that the point could get a bite on the bushing and then pry it out...worked pretty good. After I got the upper bushing out I also took a drill and drilled from the inside up thru the top of the gimble so that I can install a grease zert. I remember on my old 1989 Baja with a Bravo 1, I had a grease zert at the top to grease the upper bushing. I never had a leak in that boat. For whatever reason, Mercruiser does not put a zert there anymore, so there is no way to grease the bushing or the pin which helps promote the rust. I will post pics as I go along on this project as I think some of you with older boats might be doing the same thing someday. So far, the project looks harder than I think it really is, but I am saying this based on my practice cuts yesterday. Any questions...just ask and I will try to answer them for you. I will also be taking lots of pics and video of this project, and I will be happy to send you pics or links for the video.

Last edited by pslonaker; 12-27-2013 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:46 PM
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These are pics of my test hole on a worthless Bravo 1. This will give you an idea of what is involved. You have to be careful drilling the holes as the window is going to be right up next to the inside walls. When the drill goes thru, do not let it go very deep as it will bend at an angle and you will break your drill. The cover plate kit comes with 3 drills that you will need. You will need to drill 66 holes at 3/32 and 4 holes with a #3 drill. The 4 holes with the #3 drill are to be 7/16 deep ONLY and then you will use a 1/4-28 tap to hold the stainless steel plate on the back to cover and seal up the hole. Once you get the hole cut out, you can take a rotary file to smooth it out some if you want. It really doesnt matter as the hole will be covered up, but if you want it pretty and smooth...file it. Also dont have any bumps on the surface where you drilled all the holes. Smooth this out if necessary with a flat file to eliminate any burrs or decal boo-boos. You do not have to remove the decal on the back unless you want to, but if you do, all of it must come off so that you do not have two levels to seal back up later.
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:56 PM
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These are pics of the new stainless swivel pins, nuts, washers and bushings that all come in the repair kit.
Attached Thumbnails Swivel pin replacement...-dsc00894.jpg   Swivel pin replacement...-dsc00892.jpg   Swivel pin replacement...-dsc00893.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2013, 03:45 PM
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http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/g...pair-merc.html


did it to my old boat and worked great
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:21 PM
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Back in the day we had some wellcrafts we sold that also took on water with weight in the back. The joint between the deck and hull was not sealed properly under the rub rail around the swim platform.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:36 PM
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And a few builders in the past 6 years had that same problems with the hull to deck joint using Plexus. I have worked on some of them, Also a lot of joints back hull side leaking water in at certain slow speeds showering the boat wake under the rub rail. Very hard leaks to find at first as some of the builders it only happened at a certain getting on plane speeds with the water spray hitting under the rub rail & seem..

Last edited by BUP; 12-27-2013 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by boatnt View Post
http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/g...pair-merc.html

J+r Marine Gimbal Repair Or Merc???

did it to my old boat and worked great

This is the J&R Marine repair. The Mercruiser wants you to drill two 1-3/16 diameter holes...one on each side. I had several people tell me that the Mercruiser way was a serious pain in the butt and that you cant see what you are doing.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:41 PM
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I used the jr marine parts for mine. Except I pulled the gimbles, already had motors out. Consider installing grease fittings for the swivel pin. It will help parts last a little longer but I guess I can't complain I had over 1000 hrs on mine.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:44 PM
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My first thoughts on my leak was the seal between the top and the bottom at the swim platform. I pulled the rub rail off and I could see a sealant that had been used either when they built the boat or added later. I got a couple of tubes of 5200 and added it where the joint to the top and bottom met applying a pretty good bead of the stuff, then I put the rub rail back on and parked the boat so that the sun would do the rest to cure it out. Waited 3 days and tried again and still had the tiny leak.

I will know for certain when I get the old swivel pin out along with the seal and have a look. I am expecting it to be pretty crusty.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:51 PM
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Went through this on mine and ended up having to replace the whole thing. It never leaked bad, kind of like you were describing, but had eroded the aluminum pretty bad. I have 2 JR cover plates and screws if anyone needs them.
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