De-winterizing boat

Discussion in 'Boats, Motors, Trailers and Towing Rigs Forum' started by Mike1266, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. Mike1266

    Mike1266 Member

    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 My research tells me this may be a bad gimbal bearing, which apparently has been replaced by a mechanic right before I bought it last season along with u-joints.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!!
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  2. oguard

    oguard Active Member

    Youtube is your friend with this, lots of great videos on the subject. Amazon carries most of the parts. If you are somewhat mechanically inclined, this work is all doable.

    Mike1266 and willydw like this.
  3. rich

    rich Active Member

    I agree with youtube depending on your mechanical ability. Regarding leg oil and oil change do at end of the boating season, don't wait till spring. better for the engine block when sitting for long period to have clean oil in it plus if any moisture in leg (whether saltwater or freshwater entry from seal leak ) may limit damage. Just my own experience from owning boats for 40 plus years ( bring out another thousand ) Enjoy :)
    Mike1266 likes this.
  4. Captain PartyMarty

    Captain PartyMarty Well-Known Member

    That growling sounds is more likely your u-joints. I agree you tube is your friend. None of the work you list is difficult just take your time. Invest in the shop manual for your leg and engine. Buy your parts online
    Mike1266 and agentaqua like this.
  5. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    What CaptainPartyMarty says X2...
  6. Mike1266

    Mike1266 Member

    I agree youtube has some great info. I've actually already learned how to do the things I've listed, but my main concern is the growling noise and checking the "flappers". I've searched youtube many times but was not able to find good videos on flappers, as well as the growling noise. I do agree it may be the u-joints, but the fact that they have been changed to brand new last season tells me it may not be the u-joints. I've also searched up videos on faulty u-joints, and the sound does not seem similar to what I've got. Mine's more of a growling noise, while faulty u-joints seem to make more of a ticking/knocking noise. I may be wrong on this. There's still lots more to learn!!

    Thanks for the inputs
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
  7. Reel Gone

    Reel Gone Active Member

    Flappers are in the y pipe below the below after the riser. Take the hose off and see if they are still intact, they are there to prevent water flowing backwards during launch or in a heavy following sea. Essentially a check valve
    Mike1266 likes this.
  8. Captain PartyMarty

    Captain PartyMarty Well-Known Member

    U-joints definitely growl. You mentioned it only happens when you turn. If that’s the case definitely u-joints. Maybe the bellows let some water in that could kill the ujoints pretty quickly
    Mike1266 likes this.
  9. Mike1266

    Mike1266 Member

    It could definitely be the u-joints for sure. I think what I will end up doing is pulling the drive to check both the gimbal bearing and the u-joints. From what I understand the gimbal bearings can be checked by rotating them with your fingers and seeing if it makes any noise and check for smoothness. I am not sure how to check the u-joints however. What specifically should I be looking for on the u-joints that could possibly be causing the growling? It seems like changing the u-joints require some special tools to do it. Is it worth DIYing?

    Thank you
  10. oguard

    oguard Active Member

    If you have any water inside the belows, chances are the u-joints will be compromised. I ordered the manual off Amazon, alot of good info

    Mike1266 likes this.
  11. Rayvon

    Rayvon Well-Known Member

    If your gimbal bearing is shot you will hear it when you turn your steering side to side while running.Been there,no IO's for me ever again.
    Mike1266 likes this.
  12. Rayvon

    Rayvon Well-Known Member

    If your in Victoria,I have a new gimbal bearing for an Alpha one you can have if it works for you.
    Mike1266 likes this.
  13. Corey_lax

    Corey_lax Well-Known Member

    Just check for play in u joints. Hold one shaft and see if you can rotate the other shaft
    Mike1266 likes this.
  14. Mike1266

    Mike1266 Member

    Thank you for the offer, I really appreciate it but unfortunately I'm stuck on the mainland until the summer! I would definitely opt for outboards over I/O's as well.. so much easier to access and maintain.

    Thank you, I will check for that. I'm going to be doing all this maybe mid april. I'll post my results :)
  15. rockdog

    rockdog Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't be too afraid of that setup. 3.0 merc with the Alpha 1 gen II is a pretty solid setup. Main thing is to keep water out of the bilge, especially salt water. It tends to create a humid environment and will cause corrosion. The 3.0 is very user friendly and so is that drive. The work isn't hard, just like others have said follow the lead on youtube or in the manual. You'll be doing all your own work in no time. I'm a fan of the I/O setup.
    Mike1266 likes this.

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