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Sunesta 220 Mercruiser Alpha Gen2 Alignment issue


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I've got a 1995 Sunesta 220 I just bought used. Previous owner had it since '09 and was a car/motor guy so kept the engine in good shape in terms of maintenance. 

I pulled the sterndrive and replaced the fresh water hose with a formed hose as it looks like the previous owner had it worked on at some point and they used a straight hose that kinked. 

First red flag, the sterndrive was a huge pain to get off. Alignment was fubar. When I went to align it the alignment tool wouldn't even seat into the splines!

I used the 1" dowel rod trick to see which direction I was off and it looks like I need to lower the front end. When I checked the front mounts they were nearly bottomed out but also were completely rusted through and had to be replaced. That tells me that the alignment wasn't adjusted much (if at all) when the previous owner had the bellows swapped. He had and extensive repair history as well and noted that he had the sterndrive replaced a couple years ago. I'm at a loss at how they'd have been able to get the sterdrive in with the alignment so far off.

So now I have the new mounts installed and they're bottomed out. Doesn't seem like I'm any better off. Transom seems solid. Pulled the drain plug fitting and checked the plywood for damage but it's dry as a bone. The tap test seems to confirm that the transom is in good shape.

I'm at a loss for what to do next. I've confirmed that if I pull the front mounts and lower the engine a bit more I can get to something resembling alignment. The trouble is the base of the mounts is thicker than the gap between the stringers and the engine mounts this way.


How do you recon it got this far out of alignment? Is this common?

Would the rear mount bushings make that big of a difference?
I've read that some will loosen the inside transom plate and adjust it to do something with the rear height. Is this a possibility?

Are there slimmer front mounts I can swap to that will give me the clearance I need?

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14 minutes ago, Attrezzo said:

I've got a 1995 Sunesta 220 I just bought used. Previous owner had it since '09 and was a car/motor guy so kept the engine in good shape in terms of maintenance. 

I pulled the sterndrive and replaced the fresh water hose with a formed hose as it looks like the previous owner had it worked on at some point and they used a straight hose that kinked. 

First red flag, the sterndrive was a huge pain to get off. Alignment was fubar. When I went to align it the alignment tool wouldn't even seat into the splines!

I used the 1" dowel rod trick to see which direction I was off and it looks like I need to lower the front end. When I checked the front mounts they were nearly bottomed out but also were completely rusted through and had to be replaced. That tells me that the alignment wasn't adjusted much (if at all) when the previous owner had the bellows swapped. He had and extensive repair history as well and noted that he had the sterndrive replaced a couple years ago. I'm at a loss at how they'd have been able to get the sterdrive in with the alignment so far off.

So now I have the new mounts installed and they're bottomed out. Doesn't seem like I'm any better off. Transom seems solid. Pulled the drain plug fitting and checked the plywood for damage but it's dry as a bone. The tap test seems to confirm that the transom is in good shape.

I'm at a loss for what to do next. I've confirmed that if I pull the front mounts and lower the engine a bit more I can get to something resembling alignment. The trouble is the base of the mounts is thicker than the gap between the stringers and the engine mounts this way.


How do you recon it got this far out of alignment? Is this common?

Would the rear mount bushings make that big of a difference?
I've read that some will loosen the inside transom plate and adjust it to do something with the rear height. Is this a possibility?

Are there slimmer front mounts I can swap to that will give me the clearance I need?

In 1995 Merc used both a stamped or cast engine bracket, and the assembled heights were different. If your boat had an engine swap from a donor engine, perhaps the wrong bracket was carried over. Or, perhaps the rubber isolation mounts at the rear of engine attachment points have degraded and allowed the rear of the engine to drop.  W

https://www.marinepartsplus.com/catalog/mercruiser/serialize(value)/5.0LX_4_BBL._GM_305_V-8_1988-1995/816596/1014-350

https://www.marinepartsplus.com/catalog/mercruiser/serialize(value)/5.0LX_4_BBL._GM_305_V-8_1988-1995/816596/1014-340

https://www.marinepartsplus.com/catalog/mercruiser/serialize(value)/5.0LX_4_BBL._GM_305_V-8_1988-1995/816596/1014-360

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