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Help - major grinding noise when outdrive is up and now water is coming into my boat

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Help - major grinding noise when outdrive is up and now water is coming into my boat

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Old 06-09-2018, 03:47 PM
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dna
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Default Help - major grinding noise when outdrive is up and now water is coming into my boat

Just launched my 26' Sleekcraft Enforcer yesterday for the first time this year - I drove it for about 10 mins and everything seemed good. So today I took it out again and after about 20 mins I started to hear vibration and grinding noises so I decided to get it back to my dock. As I raised the outdrive the noise became much louder. Got it to my dock and looked at the engine area - I couldn't easily see from where but water was coming in from the middle lower area where the outdrive connects to the transom - is wasn't pouring in but a constantly flow - basically towed it back to the launch and brought it home.

At home I hooked up a hose and fired it up. Even in neutral you hear grinding when the outdrive is even partially up - it gets worse as you lift it and goes fully away is at bottom. I'm 99% sure it is the gimbal bearing, being I had similar issues 3 years ago and replaced it back then. But I'm concerned where and why water was coming in - any suggestions? I did look closely at the bellows and can't see any tears or damage. But just curious - if the bellow does have a tear or not sealed tight, would water enter the boat from that?

Thanks
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dna View Post
Just launched my 26' Sleekcraft Enforcer yesterday for the first time this year - I drove it for about 10 mins and everything seemed good. So today I took it out again and after about 20 mins I started to hear vibration and grinding noises so I decided to get it back to my dock. As I raised the outdrive the noise became much louder. Got it to my dock and looked at the engine area - I couldn't easily see from where but water was coming in from the middle lower area where the outdrive connects to the transom - is wasn't pouring in but a constantly flow - basically towed it back to the launch and brought it home.

At home I hooked up a hose and fired it up. Even in neutral you hear grinding when the outdrive is even partially up - it gets worse as you lift it and goes fully away is at bottom. I'm 99% sure it is the gimbal bearing, being I had similar issues 3 years ago and replaced it back then. But I'm concerned where and why water was coming in - any suggestions? I did look closely at the bellows and can't see any tears or damage. But just curious - if the bellow does have a tear or not sealed tight, would water enter the boat from that?

Thanks
You are in the correct area, drive needs to come off, bearing and or u-joints. If the bellows is not cracked/torn, look carefully @ the transom housing where the bellows attaches (possible corrosion if salt water boat) $ .02
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Nice Pair View Post
You are in the correct area, drive needs to come off, bearing and or u-joints. If the bellows is not cracked/torn, look carefully @ the transom housing where the bellows attaches (possible corrosion if salt water boat) $ .02
Not a salt water boat. But I'll take a close look anyway. If there is a crack in the bellows, would that cause water to constantly pour into the boat? If so, that is definately a weakness and poor design cause it was flowing enough that after a day or two it could have sunk my boat - if a crack of the bellow can sink a boat that is poor design
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:35 PM
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U joints and cracked bellows more than likely.
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:16 PM
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Had a similar issue last year, the "grinding" noises in mine were more of a banging sound that got faster with revs. I didn't see water coming in to the boat but it was in the bellows, along with the ball bearings from the gimbal bearing, it had fallen apart.

I don't do my own work so I posted here and OSO guys identified the problem then the Merc dealer pulled the drive. Pretty straight forward, parts in stock (gimbal bearing and bellows) and not too expensive.

RR





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Last edited by rak rua; 06-09-2018 at 07:47 PM. Reason: Spellnig
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:38 PM
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You need to understand how these outdrives work.
The input shaft from the drive to the engine/coupler is always spinning when the engine is running on Bravo set up.
DO NOT run the engine with the drive up, any more than 4 marks above neutral drive trim. You are severely binding the U-joints with it trimmed up. I CRINGE when I see this, akin to nails on a chalkboard.
(There is a spec for this, measure by the trim ram extended length. I do not have it handy, but it has been mentioned here in the past.)

You likely have a bad U-joint or gimbal bearing.
If you do not know when the last time the gimbal bearing was replaced, go ahead and replace it anyway when you pull the drive; even if the problem is in the u-joint. And yes, inspect the bellows.

You our will need some special tools to complete everything.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:13 PM
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a tear in the bellows and the shift cable bellows can allow more water to enter in the boat/ thru the transom because it has the accordian effect. trim the drive up the tear opens up more ---- trim drive down - the tears somewhatt becomes alot smaller and sometimes allows no water to enter. .Again the accordian effect. Also It depends where the tear is on the bellows that will dictate how much water to enter especially when trimming the drive.

A tear or tears across the pleat(s) or especially in between the pleat(s) can completely seal up when the drive is totally trimmed down. Also going forward with the hull on plane will not let water to enter.most of the time.. In reverse backing up with drive trimmed up slightly will allow water to enter. A rotted transom and or transom seal . will let water to enter as well.

A recommend Mercruiser shop would be solid advice here to get it completely looked at for the fix.

Special tools will be needed as well.and proper service manuals to not wing it..

Last edited by BUP; 06-09-2018 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dna View Post
Not a salt water boat. But I'll take a close look anyway. If there is a crack in the bellows, would that cause water to constantly pour into the boat? If so, that is definately a weakness and poor design cause it was flowing enough that after a day or two it could have sunk my boat - if a crack of the bellow can sink a boat that is poor design
You cant have the ability to trim your motor without bellows. The placement of the bellows has to be low enough to get you engine in and out of water and to trim while underway. Bellows should last a long time but require periodic inspections. Most times you have some warning before it is catastrophic.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:41 PM
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bellows longevity depends on how and where the boat is stored. Leaving the drive full up 365 days cuts bellows life in half bare min.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:08 PM
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OK. I will be removing the outdrive tomorrow to check on the u joints and bearing. In the meantime I took another close look at the bellows. I have 3 bellows - one about 2.5" diameter along the bottom middle, one above that which looks a little bigger (in diameter) and then the small shift bellows. I looked close and can't seem to find anything wrong, but then again I can't really see much of the upper one since the lower is in the way. So a few questions:

1) what is the upper bellows for - is this the exhaust bellows or perhaps the ujoint bellows?
2) what is the lower middle bellows?
3) again if the bellows visually appear OK, what would you recommend? Should I remove them to take a real close look? Can either of the 3 bellows cause a leak into the boat if bad or just perhaps one or two of them? Just wanting to narrow what I need to look at.

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