41 posts in this topic

We just ended our Lake Powell vacation 4 days early due to boat failure of epic proportions.  We are however very very lucky our failure occurred 500 yards out of the Wahweep marina...or we would have had a potential life threatening situation on our hands.  The day before we were 45.5 miles up lake in steep canyons with no radio coverage so we are truly blessed.  That emphasized, can anyone explain to me how a mechanical drive system failure could fully compromise my boats integrity?  When the drive system "exploded " I was driving straight at 16.5 mph...my daughter fell off the skurfer and I lifted on the throttle and BANG GRIND CRUNCH BANG shutdown...WTF...lift the engine cover and see water pouring into the stern of the boat thru the outdrive.  From later inspection when safe on the dock the entire drive houing that mounts to the transom was shredded internally....will know more when they get it apart next month...I suspect the U Joint exploded...no noise. No warning. No real load...what a bummer.  

 

Whats most disturbing was the catastrophic damage created.  We were going down...30 min tops...thankfully National Park Service saved the day...special thanks to Nick and his team up there at Lake Powell.  

 

Anyone ever heard of such a thing?

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This is the 1 only big fear I have of sterndrives. BIG leaks possible when that big hole starts to leak like yours.

Glad you where lucky.  :)

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Sounds pretty typical with what happens should a u-joint explode. Takes out the bellows, and in comes the water. Not limited to VP. How many hours on your drive system? Glad it wasn't worse.

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Omg. How on earth is this possible? I frequently boat in very deep waters. The thought of water getting in during a failure is beyond scary. I get hitting a rock or something like that but a good old mechanical breakdown? #%^$&%$

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2 minutes ago, Toddavid said:

Sounds pretty typical with what happens should a u-joint explode. Takes out the bellows, and in comes the water. Not limited to VP. How many hours on your drive system? Glad it wasn't worse.

How can you prevent that? Some proactive maintenance? 

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Not all are serviceable from what I've learned.

Periodic inspection of the joint itself, ensuring there is no water instrusion into the bellows area (dry rotting rubber, missing clamps), and ensuring proper engine alignment are the key factors to consider, all maintenance related, hence my question on hours.

Oh, and don't run with the drive trimmed up too much.

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Tell us a little more about your set up. Which year, model and drive. Any way to post some pictures? I`d like to see what it looks like.

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Man that sucks. Glad you guys got back in before the boat sank. Hearing these stories makes me glad I got an outboard. 

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1 hour ago, yogi799 said:

How can you prevent that? Some proactive maintenance? 

Grease your u joints and pull your drive to inspect. U joints usually don't just go, they give plenty of warning. If they are going, you can usually hear them rumbling in turns or when the drive is trimmed up.

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Yeah, wee need to know more about the power package and the history of maintenance..... Typically outdrives don't go BANG unless neglected.

 

We need history.

 

I agree the crash crew when called are A1 on Powell!!!

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A good dealer has available a listing of which years of Mercruiser have rubber parts that sink boats. Mine does. 2002 was a great year for the 5.0 L carb motors.

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The service factor is imperative with U joints.Removing the drive is required for inspection and to check for water intrusion.They will make some noise going bad.

But if you were equipped with bilge pumps of 1500 gph or better shredding a bellow would not sink you .On a mercruiser there are 2 vent holes 12:00 and 6:00 about a 1/4 inch in diameter so the water dosent "pour in"

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Good Morning Everyone!  Sorry for the delay in responding...been digging out from being away.

 

I have a 2002 Chaparral 274 Sunesta Custom...8.1L with the VP DP.  320 Hours.  Annual maintenance...but only 12 hours since last full service maintenance 7/16 so nothing done recently this year...much to my regret...not sure it would have mattered.  Last service included full fluid changes, gimble service, steering adjust, shift cables checked and lubed.  I put 650 hours on my Sea Ray and then bought this boat in 2006 with 50 hours on it.  I may not know as much as many of you, but not a complete ignorant #$%^ either.  No warning, no noises...possible SLIGHT vibration at just above idle the day before.  But did not repeat itself.  Never drive above 1/4 trim...1/3 max when beaching.  The metal casing is ripped/shredded...looks really expensive to repair but she's a great boat...well worth it.

 

Attached are some pics that I finally figured out how to make smaller so they could be uploaded.  

 

Breach 1.JPG

Breach draining.PNG

Breach Zoom.JPG

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That looks like the classic U joint explosion that took out the transom assembly. You`ll know better when the drive is removed to see if the U joints are rusted..

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That's what I figured.  Ever seen one do that much damage?  I was literally only gong 16MPH on my GPS and lifted off the throttle and BANG she went.  Hopefully can be repaired / replaced...going to be a costly one I am sure.  OUCH...but cost of having fun.  Wish it was a bit more preventable...

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Seen it on mercruiser when the aft joint goes and the center section whips around at 3000 rpm. grab the bellow,and shift cable .Losing a front joint just spins the inputshaft and gimbal bearing.

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18 hours ago, yogi799 said:

How can you prevent that? Some proactive maintenance? 

 

Glad your OK!!!!!!!!!

Yes maintenance!! But I would have extra bilge pumps installed too. Its cheap Ins.and can buy you time or keep you afloat. 

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That's really scary and expensive mechanical failure. Maybe could be spotted if drive was removed yearly, sound like it was in 7/16, maybe not ... materials and parts fail for many reasons. Glad all are okay and boat was saved.

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We went over the records and it had been at least 2 years since the drive was off....only 18 hours of use since but that doesn't matter...what a shame.  If caused by water damage it is on me...what a bummer but lesson learned.  Need a new Volvo transom assembly to get started.  Prices I've seen are north of $5200...and that just for starters before whatever else is broken and then the labor to pull the motor and do the work etc etc...Best local boat shop I know with heavy mechanical capability has been Bergeron Marine for nearly 50 years. 

Any ideas on where to source the parts most economically would be hugely appreciated.

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Bergeron is one of the best for major builds...If you need a maintenance mechanic for your annual service let me know. I have a great one. 

 

What part of Scottsdale are you in? I'm Shea and FLW.

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