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TOPIC: BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF?

BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 25 Sep 2017 03:07 #1

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Last year was really busy and the boat did not get much love come fall other than hauling it out of the water, a general pickup and put away, and the normal winterization. It had received a full cut and polish in the spring and looked like new when it went in the water. Also last year was the first time it spent any time in the water, in a slip, when it wasn't in use. Since new it has been stored on the trailer after every outing, whether a day trip or overnighter. I was sick and disgusted when I pulled it out and saw that from the waterline down it was covered in brown stuff that looked like organic growth, like varicose veins, although I had washed it and brushed the waterline down throughout the summer. And the zincs were absolutely covered in whatever it is that grows on them, they were obviously doing their job. I was concerned about the lake that billed itself as "the cleanest in Oklahoma" and also about the possibility of stray current based on the growth on the zincs. I asked the folks at the marina, but of course they didn't know what stray current is.

Come this spring we took the boat to a car wash to blow the crap off. Nope. The zincs came clean but the brown growth stuff hung tough. It took oxalic acid and lots of work to get it off. Then I went to spray CLR on the outdrive, and ... ahhh WTF? What I would call the cavitation plate is mostly gone with a gaping opening that goes up into the outdrive. I have a theory, but would like your thoughts on what going on here. First, I usually put the boat in the slip bow first. Once I backed in when someone else was in my slip and I went to the other side of the dock and took one I knew to be open. It was on the sun side so I backed in, but didn't get close to the structure or tie it up such that it could move back into the slip and hit the structure. And I was concerned most of the summer because for the first time the bilge had some water in it, and I couldn't find the source. I had the shop at the marina service the outdrive, replace all seals and bearings with an OEM kit that I sourced since they only used Sierra parts, not that there is anything wrong with that, just not my thing. Then afterwards it was no longer a minor leak but now a torrent stream running down the inside of the transom. So I went to the shop to talk with the mechanic and found out that the factory certified technician who ran the shop was not the wrench who worked on the boat, as we had discussed and agreed upon. And then I saw the box that the kit came in setting on the shop floor with a bag of o-ring seals still in it, which they said, "oh, we never replace those". Yeah, right. If I didn't want those changed out too I would have bought the kit that didn't have them. So we did it again, this time with me watching. Also at that time I noticed the little black plug up on the top of the drive that gets pulled to access a bolt to take the drive apart was missing. It looked like a monkey had used a pry bar to get it out, chipping the paint around the hole. Even though he said it wasn't necessary for proper operation, just for looks, I made him replace it. That service plus some RTV sealant at the thru transom penetrations for the trim tab controls fixed it.

So how this happened, or what happened has me stumped. There are no marks on the props, in fact they were changed out to a new spare set at the time of the service. They still look new. The props show no signs of impact. Is it possible that when taking it apart they pulled that plug and impacted the bolt/nut below hard enough to crack the cavitation plate, which later broke and fell off?

So your thoughts please. And any leads you may have on a used housing. If I have to buy a remanufactured or new lower unit its $3K to $4.5K installed. And any idea what happens to all the boats that were totaled in the TX and FL hurricanes? Seems like there could be a supply of parts from those events.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 25 Sep 2017 03:47 #2

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It seems like someone has tried to break the upper and lower unit apart without removing the hidden screw under the plug, and thereby damaging the lower unit.
As long as your zink is okay that broken off part will stay in place but if your zinks are eaten away then the part will fall off, the screw is holding a small round zink plate and by that holding the lower unit in place.
I'm not saying the workshop has done anything wrong but it can't break off by itself.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 25 Sep 2017 11:25 #3

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mr.bent wrote: It seems like someone has tried to break the upper and lower unit apart without removing the hidden screw under the plug, and thereby damaging the lower unit.
As long as your zink is okay that broken off part will stay in place but if your zinks are eaten away then the part will fall off, the screw is holding a small round zink plate and by that holding the lower unit in place.
I'm not saying the workshop has done anything wrong but it can't break off by itself.



+1, someone tried to remove the lower unit with the aft bolt still installed.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 25 Sep 2017 15:37 #4

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Yep, clean break there, stray current etc. didn't cause that.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 25 Sep 2017 22:43 #5

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Did the shop pull the boat out and service it and then put it back in?

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 26 Sep 2017 19:46 #6

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Well you know you didn't hire the right mechanic but that is hindsight.
My thought is take it to a well known mechanic and get his thoughts on any possible cause.
If it points to the work performed, confront the people who did the work asking, then demanding they make it right.
If that fails, you have small claims court.
Doug

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 26 Sep 2017 21:07 #7

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dmcb wrote: Well you know you didn't hire the right mechanic but that is hindsight.
My thought is take it to a well known mechanic and get his thoughts on any possible cause.
If it points to the work performed, confront the people who did the work asking, then demanding they make it right.
If that fails, you have small claims court.
Doug


I would hire a real mechanic to do what it needs, then sue the previous company for what he charged, using the second mechanic as your expert. Even though you may have only paid the first company $XXX and the new mechanic cost $XXXX, the court can grant the entire bill of the second mechanic because the first company damaged it.

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"B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 26 Sep 2017 22:01 #8

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Well having split the lower and upper units of a salt water used outdrive, I can say that sometimes even when you remove every single bolt, it does not want to come apart. I had this with the Cobra, no amount of prying or pulling was going to make it come apart. So I had to figure a way to get it apart, without causing damage. What I did was figure out how to apply force to the 2 strongest parts of the drive, the holes for the trim ram cross bar and the front mounts. I put a piece of all thread in the cross bar hole and 2 big bolts in two of the front mount holes. Then I put one scissor jack under those bolts and one on each side under the all thread. I jacked them each carefully and gradually and it popped right off. Salt deposits on one of the o rings was what was holding it. I've had to do this 2x in the past 6 years to clean out the water passage and this way works well. If someone put force on that piece of aluminum I could see how it could fracture like that. I'd confront them with this, unless something got stuck in the props and put force on that part of the cav plate, I can't think of any other way that could happen.


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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 27 Sep 2017 00:29 #9

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Or hook back up the Rams after double checking every bolt is removed.

Let the Rams do the work, have some ready to catch the drive cause it drops fast.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 27 Sep 2017 23:43 #10

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builderdude wrote: Yep, clean break there, stray current etc. didn't cause that.


Yeah, I wasn't saying stray current caused the break, just sayin that the zincs have more growth than I have ever seen on any fresh water set. And the break off happened long enough ago that you can see growth on the exposed non painted metal at the break. Since I don't know when it happened I can't tell you if it changed anything in the boat performance. It don't remember it handling any different or a change in engine temp.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 28 Sep 2017 00:01 #11

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CptCrunchie wrote:

dmcb wrote: Well you know you didn't hire the right mechanic but that is hindsight.
My thought is take it to a well known mechanic and get his thoughts on any possible cause.
If it points to the work performed, confront the people who did the work asking, then demanding they make it right.
If that fails, you have small claims court.
Doug


I would hire a real mechanic to do what it needs, then sue the previous company for what he charged, using the second mechanic as your expert. Even though you may have only paid the first company $XXX and the new mechanic cost $XXXX, the court can grant the entire bill of the second mechanic because the first company damaged it.


Thought about that. I moved to Tulsa, OK a few years ago and I really don't know any reputable marine mechanics here, and I have looked around but never got a good feeling when I spoke with a couple of shops. That's why I thought I was going to the lesser evil and choose to not brave the skinny crappy streets here and haul it 45 minutes to Tulsa. Trying to get one mechanic to give a deposition against another mechanic, or show up in court, sounds like trying to get one dr to testify against another. Also I don't think small claims court goes as high $ as this is going to cost. The boat is at Skiatook Lake and Cross Timbers Marina shop did the work. Hank Spencer ran the shop then. The marina sold last fall. Hank now is the General Manager of the marina, I am told. I will go there this weekend to talk with him and see if I get a reasonable response that I can work with.

If anyone knows a good mechanic in metro Tulsa please chime in. Many thanks for your time and input. JTM

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 28 Sep 2017 00:16 #12

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green650 wrote: Did the shop pull the boat out and service it and then put it back in?


I hauled the boat and dropped it in the shop parking lot. They did the work, said the put it in the water and tested it, then hauled it and put it back in their lot. That whole deal was a comedy of errors. They wanted me to remove both tongue locks but I said not happening, not leaving the boat in an open, accessable lot without protection. Yep, you guessed it. They lost all the locks, but had the keys. And they lost the two yellow chalk blocks. Hank suggested that I go out in the lot and find them cause they were probably in use with another boat. I suggested that he do that. He came back with one, but it wasn't mine, or even the same. I got new locks, and the new blocks have my boat name on them. What a PITA and wallet. I get PO'd just thinking about it.

Anyone got any contacts at Mercury that I could that with?

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 28 Sep 2017 01:25 #13

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88fourwinns wrote: Well having split the lower and upper units of a salt water used outdrive, I can say that sometimes even when you remove every single bolt, it does not want to come apart. I had this with the Cobra, no amount of prying or pulling was going to make it come apart. So I had to figure a way to get it apart, without causing damage. What I did was figure out how to apply force to the 2 strongest parts of the drive, the holes for the trim ram cross bar and the front mounts. I put a piece of all thread in the cross bar hole and 2 big bolts in two of the front mount holes. Then I put one scissor jack under those bolts and one on each side under the all thread. I jacked them each carefully and gradually and it popped right off. Salt deposits on one of the o rings was what was holding it. I've had to do this 2x in the past 6 years to clean out the water passage and this way works well. If someone put force on that piece of aluminum I could see how it could fracture like that. I'd confront them with this, unless something got stuck in the props and put force on that part of the cav plate, I can't think of any other way that could happen.



Props still look like new with no indication of impact.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 28 Sep 2017 01:45 #14

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And the story gets better ...so when I picked up the boat after the work was done I went directly to the ramp to launch it. By myself. Took of the mooring cover and backed down the ramp, floated the boat, and pulled up a bit. Unhooked the strap and climbed in. While doing the pre-flight check list I noted that the key was left on. Tried the horn but nothing. Which is ok because everybody knows to turn off the battery switch. Opened the locker - nope. It was on, and on both. Both dead as they could be. And I thanked them for putting however many hours on the engine clock it took to drain the batteries. Then I called them and it took a while but they found someone from the shop, who drove a golf cart over the 15 minutes it took to get to the Tall Chief ramp. It took so long that I cleared the ramp while I waited. He showed up with a jump pack and dropped it off, saying he couldn't wait for my turn at the ramp. Finally got my turn, backed down the ramp, jumped in a raised the engine compartment hatch, hooked up the jump box, climbed out, and turned the key. Nope. Jump box was dead too called the marina, who said everyone in the shop had left for the day. Yep, smoke was coming out of my ears and explicatives out of my mouth.

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 28 Sep 2017 02:12 #15

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With the kind of experience you've described with that particular shop I'd guess they were the cause of the break in the cavitation plate :whistle:

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Dave
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.030 over-Vortec top end-part closed cooled
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www.baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/for...ansom-repair-my-2556

BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 30 Sep 2017 00:40 #16

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WOW. What a bunch of crap. Might be worth calling and speaking with the owner/ manager and filling them in. If things don't work out sue. Seems like they need to be taught a lesson. I bought a boat a few years ago. Went to pick it up, the long and short, they dropped it off the lift. I had to sue them for the value. Fair is not always the way others see things. Best of luck!

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 30 Sep 2017 13:46 #17

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Even worst, a completely dead battery is usually the death of them. Maybe not today but soon.
Doug

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BRAVO 3 LOWER UNIT - WTF? 30 Sep 2017 13:49 #18

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Oklahoma has a $7500 limit for small claims court.
Doug

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Started boating 1955
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