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Makolab

Serious leak from transom area

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So I went to splash my boat and this is what I was greeted with when I opened the hatch on my 2000 Signature 260.  Boat goes into the shop on Monday and I would like to have some opinions before I talk price with my repair guy.

https://youtu.be/Tzaiew3ZZ7g

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bellows is most likely, or one of the hoses for cooling.  If not your swivel pin is shot and is leaking.  Dry looking from the top to see. 

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12 minutes ago, BajaDriver said:

bellows!

Plus 1

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Im hoping its the bellows.  Just had them done about 4 years ago but mechanic said we did not change the boot for the shift cable.  I inspected it the best I could and the only one that looks more worn out than the rest is the one for the exhaust but water wont enter from there.

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The video that you saw was without the motor running.  I did rule out the leak coming from the motor itself.  At home, she is on a trailer, I put the muffs on and let her run for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Bone dry bilge.   

My wife and I wanted to splash her so the video is of the boat sitting at the bock without the motor running.  No need to start it when the flow is so much.  Obviously, we had to pull her out and head back home.  

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One way to check when in water, raise / lower drive and see if flow changes. If yes, definitely the bellows. If no, need to look at shifter boot, Y-pipe, steering/gimbal pin.

Or, pull drive and see if any water sitting in bellows. Bravo drives come off in about 30-45 minutes (using air tools and a drive dolly-too heavy to lift). I pull mine off every fall for winter layup.

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#1 Reason why boats with Mercruiser motors sink is the bellows.  That is what is happening to your vessel.  Replace all including shifter bellow.  Hopefully you caught is quickly if not throw in a new gimble bearing and possible U-joint replacement. 

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Thanks for all of the replies.  She goes in on Monday morning and I will post the outcome when I get it.  Minimally, the manifolds are getting changed out. 

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Update:  It appears that the leak is coming from the transom assembly.  They had to take out the engine and they took the assembly off from the inside and the outside.  There appears to be lots of superficial corrosion, heavier on the lower corners, and the steering mechanism has a lot of rust but my boat guy says it looks worse then it really is.  It  appears that there has been a slow leak from the steering rod that has worked its way down both sides of the assembly thus causing the corrosion issue.  There is also a water inlet hose that the corrosion caused to collapse but I never had an overheat issue since water was still coming through but restricted.  He will be cleaning it up to see if he can salvage it or if  he ca  rebuild it.    

Here is my next question.  At what point would you fork out the money for a new assembly?  Off the top of his head, my boat guy said that a new (not reconditioned) assembly could cost around 2700.00.  He will give me an estimate for the reconditioning of the old one as soon as he checks it out.  If a new one cost 2700.00 and the fixing up of the old one cost 1500.00, which would you do?

My wife and I agreed that if there is only a 500 difference then we go for new.  If there is an 800 difference then we are border line and if there is a 1000 difference then we would stick with the old one being reconditioned.

What would you do and at what price difference do you walk away from the old one?

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1 hour ago, Makolab said:

It  appears that there has been a slow leak from the steering rod that has worked its way down both sides of the assembly thus causing the corrosion issue.  There is also a water inlet hose that the corrosion caused to collapse but I never had an overheat issue since water was still coming through but restricted.  He will be cleaning it up to see if he can salvage it or if  he ca  rebuild it. 

I'm guessing by "steering rod" he means the steering arm and not the pivot pin? 

1 hour ago, Makolab said:

Here is my next question.  At what point would you fork out the money for a new assembly?  Off the top of his head, my boat guy said that a new (not reconditioned) assembly could cost around 2700.00.  He will give me an estimate for the reconditioning of the old one as soon as he checks it out.  If a new one cost 2700.00 and the fixing up of the old one cost 1500.00, which would you do?

My wife and I agreed that if there is only a 500 difference then we go for new.  If there is an 800 difference then we are border line and if there is a 1000 difference then we would stick with the old one being reconditioned.

What would you do and at what price difference do you walk away from the old one?

If he still has to give you an estimate for restoring the old transom assembly, where did you get the $1,500 figure from?  Just curious.

It is an 18 year-old boat going on to 19, and depending on how good of a job the mechanic is going to do on the transom assembly and how long you plan on keeping the boat will factor.  Find out first what he's including in his reconditioning quote since if he strips the transom assembly clean of all corrosion and fills it all up and sands and paints it etc., he's going to have to put a new steering arm, pivot pin, seals and all new connections for the gear oil tube, water inlet hose, speedo and a new transom seal/gasket and whatever else, is all that included in the $1,500 or is that just for restoring the metal transom assembly?  If the new transom assembly comes with all that stuff, might be worth getting it rather than have him restore it if he's going to be adding all that other stuff to it.  Need accurate numbers and what they include first before deciding how to spend your money.

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The $1500 is a guesstimate.  I am shooting high due to the labor cost.  Parts also have to be ordered although I have no idea how or what that entails.  I see from your post that the items you have listed are similar to what he was saying needed to be replaced. 

The new assembly includes EVERYTHING from shift cables, bellows, the arms to the outdrive, Im drawing a blank at the moment as to what those are called.  He even said it comes with the anodes.

I'll see if I can upload a picture or 2.

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Most important question is.......... How much longer do you want / plan on keeping the boat ?    1...3...5...10 years ?

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Did you bump anything recently?  I had corroded transom shields on my last boat (twin engine, sat in the water not lifted and previous owner didn't maintain the drives adequately for that environment).  Didn't pose a problem until I hit a dead head.  It didn't break anything, but it did compromise the 15 year-old transom shield seals (big log that hit both drives) and I ended up with leaks just like in your video.  When the shop went to try to re-seal, that's when they said the transom shields were too corroded to confidently reuse them.  I went on Ebay and found used ones that were like new, I think I paid about $3K shipped for a pair if I remember correctly.  In my case to do both sides (inner and outer) the motors had to come out.  I figured if I was going to pay all that labor, the parts had to be pretty much just like new, the ones I found on Ebay were just like new.

I paid $6,500 bucks to repair a $25K boat I was selling.  Ouch.  I used to only carry liability insurance on "toys" with that low of a value.  They say the best learned lessons usually involve the word "ouch".  I carry full coverage on my boats now.  :-)

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3 hours ago, Makolab said:

The $1500 is a guesstimate.  I am shooting high due to the labor cost.  Parts also have to be ordered although I have no idea how or what that entails.  I see from your post that the items you have listed are similar to what he was saying needed to be replaced. 

In that case I think it's a no-brainer TBH, go with the new.  If your guesstimate of $1,500 is close to what he comes up with just to restore the old transom plate, then he's adding all the other parts to that, then it'll end up being pretty close to the $2,700.  Might as well get a whole new transom assembly then.  Quick search and those are in fact somewhere  between $2,600  & 2,900 just like he said. 

3 hours ago, Makolab said:

The new assembly includes EVERYTHING from shift cables, bellows, the arms to the outdrive, Im drawing a blank at the moment as to what those are called. 

Trim cylinders or pistons.  Anodes too?  Yep, that's what I would do unless his restoration of the transom assembly comes in at $500, and then with all the parts it's around $1,500, that might be worth it.  But then I would take a look at how bad the corrosion is and how comfortable he is about restoring it back to good condition and if he will guarantee his work.  I wouldn't want to save $1,200 knowing I'll be dealing with a leaky transom again and have to go through the whole process in a year or two.  Some things to think about.

3 hours ago, Makolab said:

I'll see if I can upload a picture or 2.

This one on ebay is going for $2,700 lol!  Complete set. https://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-MerCruiser-Bravo-1-2-3-Magnum-Gimbal-Housing-Transom-Assembly-6-6311002nz/121010377848?hash=item1c2cc7d478:g:n7gAAOSwhrRajael:sc:FedExHomeDelivery!01960!US!-1

s-l1600.jpg

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I have not fixed the boat yet.  It turns out that he gave me time to pick up the boat and to take it home so I could work on the generator and other small issues.  Its definitely easier to work on anything down below without the engine or outdrive in.  I told him that I was in no rush but I would like to fix everything before the install and he is cool with holding my parts until I am ready.

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UPDATE:

So the engine and the outdrive are still off of the boat and my boat guy is cool about it.  Said I could take my time fixing the genny.  That's another issue.

Here are my 3 options with his round about prices.  Does not include installation since the cost for that will be the same for all 3 choices.

Choice 1-  Keep the old outdrive, clean it up of all of the corrosion, (does not appear to be pitted from the corrosion), will replace the water hose, spray paint with corrosion inhibitor and paint it.  Does not address the small leak from the steering arm. Cost 500.  Also includes the new gasket.

Choice 2- Everything from choice one but will address the leak.  Will replace the steering arm, seals and the shaft as well.  Cost 1500.  Mostly labor.

Choice 3- Buy a whole new outdrive.  Cost 3000.

Wife and I rule out number one. We plan on keeping the boat for a long time.  No plans to get rid of her in the future.

BTW-  It is a BRAVO 3 outdrive.

Thanks for your input.

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Boy this is a toughie.  The life spans of ALL things made today is terrible. I can not say NEW spare parts are equal to a complete new unit. 

But I will say the paint on MOST underwater parts is going to last longer than a repaint job.  Corrosion is not stoppable in most cases. Patch it up as needed ? Salt water warm .

If affordable in WARM seawater ?  Brand new every time.  Enjoy the boat & running gear.   :)

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Since you plan to keep the boat for a long time... Make everything New!

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I should have added that the boat is kept on a trailer in Miami Florida.  Maybe that will help with decisions.  Yes, it is a tough one.  3 g's is a ton of mullah but we all know what BOAT stands for.....

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What does your mechanic recommend. He makes the same amount of money with option 2 and 3.  If 1500 is the tipping point go #2.

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