Replacing bravo 3 out drive.

Discussion in 'Gas Engines/Drives/Transmissions/Props' started by WelikeithereonShuswap, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. WelikeithereonShuswap

    WelikeithereonShuswap Member

    34
    Oct 14, 2018
    260 Sundancer 2002, 5Kw Gen, Standard-horizon CPN700i GPS/Plotter cw FF525 sounder
    Merc 5.0 MPI, w Bravo III Drive
    A month ago or so while towing grandkids around for an hour or so I noticed a slight change in vibration/ noise while in gear up at 2500 + rpms, this along with an oil in bilge issue, which I did solve( seperate thread ) has kept our boat close to our marina. Before I haul her out, I ran in neutral at various rpms, turning wheel lock to lock, definitely a jumping, bumping
    Marraca sound when at rpms above 1k , progressively worsening through 3k rpm while in a full port or starboard steering position. Almost zero rumble or vibration at idle or below 1k rpm. This was all in nuters, Local marina mechanic says gimble bearing for Sure...so I haul her out, our vacation trip is up coming.
    We managed a week's trip to the BC coast but we didn't haul our boat down to coast.
    We stayed aboard my father's 58ft Navigator in the beautiful Desolation Sound area. You know the kind of trip, days of 100 prawn sets, 12 Dungeness crab in each trap, oh did I mention buckets of fresh oysters picked off the shore, a few ling cod, saw some sea otters..gotta love it...bit of Coastal heaven.

    Once home after work days I have been figuring out how I can solve the rumble/ vibration noticed previously. Going to teach myself how to Replace the gimble bearing, mechanics I talk with, ( I am a DYS kinda guy) they suggest checking the upper and lower leg while I'm out too..so I do.
    I had taken boat out of her slip and put onto trailer while away on the west coast trip so I pulled props to check output prop shafts.
    Notice Quite a bit of chatter when spinning prop shafts by hand, so I dropped an ounce of gear oil, found metal fillings. Drained entire leg gear oil...definitely metal..drain magnet was covered as was a separate magnet I dropped into the oil bucket... next step..curse..next step.... get quote on outdrive from mechanic merc dealer, lower unit $6700.00, complete unit $10890.00 plus taxes and 100 to 400 in misc parts depending on how my bellows, shift boot, shift cable etc then labour.. 2- 3 hrs estimated ... no one rebuilds they say.. it's a 17 yr old drive they say....next step.. curse some more..
    Then I start looking for reman unit in same drive ratio that is in 150 km radius from home so I can go pick it up.
    Finally a bit of luck, 100 Kim away, freshly rebuilt, complete upper and lower unit done with OEM parts in the correct gear ratio, with a 10 month warranty. They will give me 1k off for my old core..so $4500 vs $10890
    Local shop mechanic is going to arms length assist me and lend me the specialty tools I will need to do it right....by Sept 10th if all goes as planned I should be ready to relaunch her and get a month or so of boating enjoyment in...will keep you posted..wish me luck.
     
  2. radscoot

    radscoot Member

    33
    Nov 8, 2016
    Georgian Bay, Canada
    260 Sundancer, 2006,
    5.7 Merc/Bravo 111
    I’m Curious.
    How many hours on your 260?
     
  3. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass, cape coral fl
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    Those B3's run hot as hell, they can easily turn the oil black in a 100 hours. Drive shower and frequent oil changes will keep them alive.
     
  4. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Active Member

    253
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    My oil would be black when I changed it at the end of the season. I added a drive shower. Now the oil looks like new when I change it out.
     
  5. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    I wouldn't be too quick to run out and get a new drive just yet:

    • A change in the sound or even a knocking sound is normal when when you turn the wheel hard over. The sound of the u-joints spinning changes in frequency as they are turned in any direction. It's not a good idea to turn hard over at an speed above idle.
    • Bad gimbal bearings make a growling sound that will increase with RPM - it's just like a bad wheel bearing in a car. And unless they have been wet or run totally dry they can last the life of the engine. My 20yr old boat still has the original gimbal bearing.
    • Some amount of metal is normal in the gear oil - looks like a "fuzz" on the magnetic plug. Sounds like you might have a little more than normal though.
    • Turning the props or running the engine on muffs produces a lot of noice that you don't hear when the boat is in the water. Outdrives are noisy things.

    You could very well have a problem, but BIII issues usually start with shifting problems - ie the cone clutch going bad. The gears in those things are beefy, they don't just break unless there is some other issue - water in the gearlube etc.

    If it were me, I would check the gimbal bearing and replace it if needed, change the gear lube and run it another 10-20hrs and check it again. Then asses if you really have a problem. If the drive is going south, you don't have anything to loose.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
    Chris-380 likes this.
  6. Chris-380

    Chris-380 Active Member

    277
    Jan 20, 2019
    Pontoon Beach IL
    380 Sundancer 2000
    454 Horizon w/V drives
    I agree with BillK

    Had issues with ujoints several years ago, thought the whole drive was bad.....
     
  7. WelikeithereonShuswap

    WelikeithereonShuswap Member

    34
    Oct 14, 2018
    260 Sundancer 2002, 5Kw Gen, Standard-horizon CPN700i GPS/Plotter cw FF525 sounder
    Merc 5.0 MPI, w Bravo III Drive
    Bought boat at 680 hrs last September, all checked out ok currently 725 hrs on her.
     
  8. WelikeithereonShuswap

    WelikeithereonShuswap Member

    34
    Oct 14, 2018
    260 Sundancer 2002, 5Kw Gen, Standard-horizon CPN700i GPS/Plotter cw FF525 sounder
    Merc 5.0 MPI, w Bravo III Drive
    Drive shower? I'll have to Google/ YouTube that one, wouldn't that be more for a racing drive, high rpm systems.
     
  9. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass, cape coral fl
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    Not at all, what color is your oil at the end of the season ? If it's not the color of fresh oil it's running hot.

    I mention this because your drive is failing. There should be no metal in your oil or fuzz on the magnet if you properly maintain it and the props should turn with no noise in neutral.
     
  10. WelikeithereonShuswap

    WelikeithereonShuswap Member

    34
    Oct 14, 2018
    260 Sundancer 2002, 5Kw Gen, Standard-horizon CPN700i GPS/Plotter cw FF525 sounder
    Merc 5.0 MPI, w Bravo III Drive
    Up date to the Bravo III saga, I pulled the drive late last week to replace the Gimble bearing with a new one, local merc service shop sold me an OEM non greasable unit, said thats all they sell now. Once drive unbolted and removed I found out where the 900 ml of Gear oil I had added since May splash day ( 30 hrs running )..Ive never saw any oil in water around boat during that time. Gear oil was all in the drive shaft bellows and poured out on drive removal, the upper drive drive shaft seal and bearing have failed, pieces migrated in oil down into lower unit and scored the lower bearings ( chatter while spinning in neutral) ...totally toasted...rough day finding all that. With the upper and lower unit off the boat, I checked out all bellow water rubber parts, they are in excellent shape, I know the Po had said they redid the steering pins 3 years ago so that all looked as expected.. I then drained all the gear oil from my drive again,( I had done this a week ago following BillK s advice and added 5 hours of low and mid throttle running time , the oil was still very dark ) found loads of metal flakes attached to both upper and lower drain /fill magnetic plugs. the drive shaft universals where all smooth as silk on removal. I replaced my old greasable gimble unit and inner grease seal with the new ones and plugged the grease passage off with the supplied plug, the old bearing is also smooth as silk so it definitely was NOT causing any additional rear drive noise. ( may have wasted the $$ on that one, but at least I KNOW its new)
    Heading to shop tomorrow, to pickup a newer 2006 BIII upper and lower reman unit ..then the install and back into the lake for what I hope is 6-8 more weeks of use before the winterization begins. Shop is willing to give me 10 months warrenty on the reman drive, so we will run the bejesus out of it till warrenty expires and then get many years use going forward, I hope... Also I am Seriously looking into installing a drive shower onto the reman drive unit.
     
  11. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    Well, at least you now know you didn't jump the gun, you have the evidence that it was at the end of the road. Just not worth putting any $$ into it and you couldn't continue running it with it spewing oil out of the upper seals. Look at it this way - it was 18yrs old, it really didn't owe you anything - we would like things to last forever, but they just don't. Plus, the newer units have additional anodes, so you did get somewhat of an upgrade. Swallow the pill and go boating!
     
  12. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass, cape coral fl
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    And don't give it away. You could part it out and get some of your $ back
     

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