Boating season is just around the corner, and I can't wait to get my boat back up and running for some fishing action. I need some advice regarding de-winterizing my boat. This year will be my first full season with my new-to-me boat, it is a 17.5ft with a mercruiser 3.0LX inboard/outboard engine. I've winterized it myself with antifreeze, fogging oil and fuel stabilizer. Now I've been searching up too many horror stories with these engines, and now I am trying to decide if I will be better off bringing it in to a mechanic for a spring maintenance. I am looking to do the following things myself in the spring: 1. Oil change, both leg and engine 2. new spark plugs 3. new impeller 4. oil filter change I've read somewhere that I should check my exhaust flappers, but I am a bit confused on how I could go about doing that, and I may also need to grease my gimbal bearing and check my u-joints. I've read many stories where people pulled their outdrives and have a very difficult time putting it back in.. I've personally had this problem while repairing an outboard motor, and I know this can be extremely stressful. I also heard a rumbling noise when I would drive the engine at a slightly higher rpm than idle (1500+) while turning to either side. Straight forward or slightly turned position makes no noise at all. My research tells me this may be a bad gimbal bearing, which apparently has been replaced by a mechanic right before I bought it last season along with u-joints. Is it possible for it to go bad in such a short time? I did have one accident where I forgot to raise the outdrive on the boat ramp (newbie mistake), but it was discovered quickly and only made minor scratches on the skeg. Will this possibly be a reason for gimbal bearings to go bad? One more thing, when I checked my power steering fluid it was very low. Could this be a cause for the rumbling when turning to each side? The more I raise the rpm while steered to one side, the louder the sound will get... This has me stumped even with hours of research. Now I am thinking all these inspections and/or repairs would run me hundreds maybe thousands with a mechanic.. and I haven't got the highest budget. If I DIY these things, it seems it will run me anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on the parts I need. So, what are your suggestions? I appreciate any input!!