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Bravo 3 Failing? Oil Analysis Results

Old 08-13-2018, 09:47 AM
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Default Bravo 3 Failing? Oil Analysis Results

Hi Everyone, I am hoping you guys can help me out.
I have a 6.2 with Bravo 3 with roughly 750 hours of use. Using Mercruiser 90W High performance gear oil.
In all my years of boating my outdrive oil comes out looking the same it went in. During an oil swap I noticed my outdrive oil was darker than normal so I sent it off for analysis. Results came back with higher than normal iron and it was suggested to monitor the situation.
I took my boat into a local Mercruiser service center, they removed the upper cap to inspect and said everything looks normal (from what they could see). The service center said without complete teardown they couldn't really tell me much more.They advised to install a drive shower and monitor.
12 hours of hard operation later, the oil is not as black but still darker than I would like. I sent in another sample for analysis. results were even worse, iron content higher than the first sample with elevated levels of bronze.
The outdrive operates flawless with no noise. No metal on the drain plug except the normal graphite slurry.
My question is, does anyone really know what the normal range is for Iron in the outdrive oil? Should I be taking my boat out of service for the season to get it inspected or am I creating my own problems.
What does dark outdrive oil indicate to you?
Does anyone have outdrive analysis results to share for comparison?


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Old 08-13-2018, 10:01 AM
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Are you in to Motocross ? Just a guess by your name.

What I would do is test the company that doing your oil analysis.

Take a oil sample same day -- same source but have your buddy send one in and then you send yours in like a 3 days later. If the results do not come back exactly same find another service. I have done this many of times and can not tell you how many times they come with different results. Important the person doing the testing and the calibration of the testing equipment along with age of equipment IMO seems to be the issue for some of these companies.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:43 AM
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750 hrs on an outdrive seem very reasonable, have the drive taken apart and inspected. Some people like myself are happy to get 50 hrs on an XR! High performance is not Mercurys best oil. High Performance is actually Mercury's standard, everyday drive oil. Step up to Quicksilver Extreme Performance (which is the same as Mercury Racing just a different package) and run your drive shower. I called last year and got the correct info straight from Mercury Racing. But there isn't an oil in the world that will make up for worn out parts in your outdrive.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BUP View Post
Are you in to Motocross ? Just a guess by your name.

What I would do is test the company that doing your oil analysis.

Take a oil sample same day -- same source but have your buddy send one in and then you send yours in like a 3 days later. If the results do not come back exactly same find another service. I have done this many of times and can not tell you how many times they come with different results. Important the person doing the testing and the calibration of the testing equipment along with age of equipment IMO seems to be the issue for some of these companies.
I used to be in Motocross to old and out of shape now, well I still ride quads with the kids but have started the search for an old KX250. Love the smell of burning castor 2 stroke oil!

Good idea on spot checking the analysis company. I have also considered sending them a fresh sample for comparison. I have heard Mercruiser changed the base stock in all their oils.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by VoodooRob View Post
750 hrs on an outdrive seem very reasonable, have the drive taken apart and inspected. Some people like myself are happy to get 50 hrs on an XR! High performance is not Mercurys best oil. High Performance is actually Mercury's standard, everyday drive oil. Step up to Quicksilver Extreme Performance (which is the same as Mercury Racing just a different package) and run your drive shower. I called last year and got the correct info straight from Mercury Racing. But there isn't an oil in the world that will make up for worn out parts in your outdrive.
Thanks for feedback, Yes I misspoke, I have been using the Mercury Racing oil.
If I can't find someone I trust, I will tear the drive apart myself this winter. I am fairly competent when it comes to mechanical things.
I have one big trip planned yet this year and I am worried it wont make it. I don't have the time to get it taken care of before labor day weekend.
What symptoms do you have when an out drive is about to fail?
Thanks
Dave
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mtocrs1 View Post
Hi Everyone, I am hoping you guys can help me out.
I have a 6.2 with Bravo 3 with roughly 750 hours of use. Using Mercruiser 90W High performance gear oil.
In all my years of boating my outdrive oil comes out looking the same it went in. During an oil swap I noticed my outdrive oil was darker than normal so I sent it off for analysis. Results came back with higher than normal iron and it was suggested to monitor the situation.
I took my boat into a local Mercruiser service center, they removed the upper cap to inspect and said everything looks normal (from what they could see). The service center said without complete teardown they couldn't really tell me much more.They advised to install a drive shower and monitor.
12 hours of hard operation later, the oil is not as black but still darker than I would like. I sent in another sample for analysis. results were even worse, iron content higher than the first sample with elevated levels of bronze.
The outdrive operates flawless with no noise. No metal on the drain plug except the normal graphite slurry.
My question is, does anyone really know what the normal range is for Iron in the outdrive oil? Should I be taking my boat out of service for the season to get it inspected or am I creating my own problems.
What does dark outdrive oil indicate to you?
Does anyone have outdrive analysis results to share for comparison?


My '04 Bravo III behind a 496 MAG at 400 hours began doing what your drive is doing now. Here was the culprit.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:06 PM
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Knot 4 Me has the perfect example right there. You only find that out from inspection or the bang, bang, bang noise tells you its too late. I haven't done the oil analysis thing just for the reason Bup has indicated, your results may vary. Nothing beats a tear down and inspection.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Knot 4 Me View Post
My '04 Bravo III behind a 496 MAG at 400 hours began doing what your drive is doing now. Here was the culprit.
Thanks for the post, I sent you a PM.
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:31 PM
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My post # 2 was my point as for not putting 100 percent faith in oil analysis. The real point was upclose eye / hand inspection. Your hours alone ---- feel lucky you made it that far with a Bravo drive. I will say this as I have said in the past. The older Bravo's seem to better for holding up than the current offerings thru Merc.

Next --- the Bravo 3 is the hottest outdrive running on the market. Fro many years --- I always prove this to customers with Bravo 3s to step up to higher quality gear oils and drive showers. I run side by side comparisons of the Volvo Duo Prop and right next to it a Bravo 3 --- both running on the water hose side by side and have the boat owner touch the upper of each drive especially the top cap, The Volvo DP is cool as could be and the bravo 3 you could freaking fry eggs on the upper especially the top cap. The difference is unreal.
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Old 08-13-2018, 02:02 PM
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I've ran a drive shower since the boat was new (Simrek Halo) and after the warranty was up switched to Amsoil Marine gear lube. Bravo gears just suck. You got almost twice the life I did so you did well!
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