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Bad Gimbal? Link to video of sound

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I put my 2003 200SSI (Alpha One gen2) away last fall with a possible issue. I took a video with the boat in the water as it doesn't seem to make the sound when on the ears.

It is a light knocking noise, you can just hear it behind the bubbling noise...maybe a little better at the end when I moved away from the outdrive. The boat performed  just fine, no grinding, just a light knocking or clacking noise. It's more audible when I'm filming from above but this is the last video I had before I put her away for the winter.

Do any of you geniuses know what could be causing this knocking sound?

You tube video of knocking noise



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Mine started making the exact same noise my last run of the season. Im thinking its the gimbal as well. Come spring I will find out for sure. Hopefully the experts will chime in and let us know.

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Some simple test to do with ear muffs first then in water tests. Is it only in F>>R>>   Or N also ?  from idle turn wheel left & Right. Land & water either way louder or less ?  

Faster speeds like 1500 rpm same tests.  Then at 1500 trim the drive up & down in to each limit better or worse ?.  stop.  I would ALSO try on land Engine stopped in Neutral. YANK very hard each way. clunky ?  Same thing in F & R   purpose is to prove a drive shaft /  sterndrive part / sound.  Or a engine part sound.

Need to first determine what group of parts is making a new noise. Having a load noise could be a bearing anywhere. Testing needed.

Find it now & a much cheaper repair.

I listened again.......... Sounds almost too fast for each revolution. More like several clicks per revolution. Run with hatch open. Be carefull of the spinning belts grabbing any part of you.


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The odd thing is, I can't really hear it with the muffs on. I'll check on muffs again as soon as we are out of any freeze danger. It's a very subtle noise, clacking sound is best way to describe it.

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13 hours ago, ccvirginia said:

Chappy275ssi - I'll let you know if I find anything else out, if you could do same please. 

I think Cyclops is right on here. I personally can't get much from the video. Suspect the gimbal bearing is starting to go on you.

Do recommend pulling the drive ASAP to feel and spin the gimbal bearing with your fingers, as well as doing a visual inspection of the u-joints, transom bellows, trim senders, oil hose and water hose for signs of wear or cracking. When was the drive last off, and the transom bellows last replaced?

Lastly, I would check the shift for feel and effort as well as engine alignment and condition of splines on the long drive yoke and engine coupler for signs of wear.

Should you find the only the gimbal bearing is in need of replacement and wish to do it yourself, here are a few videos to help. Unless you're mechanically inclined, I'd just leave this job to your local marine shop.

If you find the bellows are all cracked, etc. than I would do the following work:

- replace transom bellows, , oil hose, water hose, mounting gasket and gimbal bearing - Mercury part # 803099T1   NOTE: for quieter cruising, I do NOT recommend having the exhaust tube installed, but rather go with the harder to install accordion shaped exhaust bellows. This will provide a quieter ride at cruising to allow for conversation vs. the tube.

- replace rear shift cable - Mercury part # 865436A03 (you'll get a spare mounting gasket and shift bellows for essentially same price as rear shift cable part # 865436A02

- replace trim senders - Mercury part # 805320A03

- replace shift and throttle cables from your remote control - if original, they should be Teleflex Gen I Mercury style cables - look for a stamped part # on cables or call Cecil Marine or local dealer to get correct numbers. Personally I would replace with latest style Mercury platinum cables, which are probably around 13' long.  Older Mercury Platinum 13' Gen 1 cable part # 877773a13 supersedes up to 8M0082486. Cables get stiff over the years, and the better the cables, the nicer they feel when shifting or throttling, and longer they last.






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Hey Shepherd1

Thanks for response and details. Hope all is well with you. My video was actually filmed last fall out in the Lake Fleet Island group across from Gan. I can't believe the Marina is gone now. I trust you are doing well though.

1. I took the lower unit  off 3 seasons ago to replace the impeller but I have never pulled the upper since I purchased the boat 8 years ago.

2. The bellows look good. I always store in down position and she sits on the trailer most of the year when we aren't out on the island.

3. I do all of my own work ( i like to know the boat) so will probably have a crack at it as soon as we are out of freeze threat.

4. When I pull the drive, I will probably take care of all of above since I like to do preventative maintenance.

Question: What does a bad gimbal feel like? Hard to spin? Loose?

The boat runs great, shifts very smooth, no loud obnoxious noises...just that subtle clacking noise at idle.

Thanks again.



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