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Thread: Help, Stern-drive blew up

  1. #1
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    Default Help, Stern-drive blew up









    Here are the cracks I noticed on the top... is this cosmetic or actual cracks letting raw water in?? I would check for water by draining the gear lube... but you know.





    Here is the invoice of the work done.



    My sterndrive blew up!! Got a new SEI 1:64 ratio sterndrive 4 weeks ago. Broke it in my first trip out per the instructions. Replaced the gear lube as required and refilled as recommended. I did notice what looked like cracks on the upper unit,and I sent the pics to the person who installed and he stated it's a cosmetic thing (like the paint) and shouldn't be a problem (but he would send the pics to SEI). Went out for a long weekend last week,with no problems except I noticed toward the end of the trip it wasdifficult to get on step and it seemed to lose power, but was able to get on step. THEN, this weekend went out and my sterndrive blew up. Before this trip all levels were already full (including gear lube and gear lube reservoir). The entire time having the new sterndrive it only required a small amount of added gear lube. I noticed again that it was hard to get on step. I also noticed that my fuel economy was not as good. I was averaging 16-17 gph when I can usually get 13-14 gph. Set the shrimp pots and noticed that it was clunking much louder when putting it in gear. Tried to get it on step, and when I throttled up again it lost power.. enough where I throttled down and tried again. Got it up on step and my wife stated she could hear some thumping noises from below that didn't sound right. Then the alarm went off and we throttled down right away and turned it off. Open the engine hatch and gear lube is completely gone (so from full to empty in less than 20 minutes). Started up the engine and it sounded a little different, put it in gear with a loud clump feel and noise. Shut it off again, rechecked everything again... looks fine from what I can see. Tried to start her again, and it's seized and wouldn't turn over. Wasn't taking on any water and everything in engine compartment looked fine. Had to go back with my kicker. I'mthankful the seas were calm and the kicker is in good shape.


    SO, I'm pretty angry! Just the fact that I lost my main 2 times in two months is very frustrating and unsafe!! I was with my family (wife, 6yr old son and 4 yr old daughter). Because I was on the kicker anyway, we trolled all the way from Culross to Whittier.. and I only caught 3 pinks and saw 6 silvers under my boat at the harbor (the icing on the cake.. sorry had to laugh at something). Took it out of the water and I was shocked to see a blown out hole in the lower unit sterndrive. And it wasn't hit by anything either... as the metal is pushed outward. Also, ever since we brought in the boat to get fixed, the fuel economy has been much worse. I included the invoice of the work done,if that helps (feel free to comment on the work and cost and if the price seems right).


    So here are my questions:

    1. What happened??
    2. Was this a faulty sterndrive?
    3. Did the person not install my sterndrive correctly?
    4. Would a faulty sterndrive make it so I can't turn over the engine?
    5. Could this breakdown have caused me to start taking on water?
    6. Why is my fuel economy worse all of a sudden ?
    7. Was this why I was losing power?


    Thanks for you help!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emu View Post








    Here are the cracks I noticed on the top... is this cosmetic or actual cracks letting raw water in?? I would check for water by draining the gear lube... but you know.





    Here is the invoice of the work done.



    My sterndrive blew up!! Got a new SEI 1:64 ratio sterndrive 4 weeks ago. Broke it in my first trip out per the instructions. Replaced the gear lube as required and refilled as recommended. I did notice what looked like cracks on the upper unit,and I sent the pics to the person who installed and he stated it's a cosmetic thing (like the paint) and shouldn't be a problem (but he would send the pics to SEI). Went out for a long weekend last week,with no problems except I noticed toward the end of the trip it wasdifficult to get on step and it seemed to lose power, but was able to get on step. THEN, this weekend went out and my sterndrive blew up. Before this trip all levels were already full (including gear lube and gear lube reservoir). The entire time having the new sterndrive it only required a small amount of added gear lube. I noticed again that it was hard to get on step. I also noticed that my fuel economy was not as good. I was averaging 16-17 gph when I can usually get 13-14 gph. Set the shrimp pots and noticed that it was clunking much louder when putting it in gear. Tried to get it on step, and when I throttled up again it lost power.. enough where I throttled down and tried again. Got it up on step and my wife stated she could hear some thumping noises from below that didn't sound right. Then the alarm went off and we throttled down right away and turned it off. Open the engine hatch and gear lube is completely gone (so from full to empty in less than 20 minutes). Started up the engine and it sounded a little different, put it in gear with a loud clump feel and noise. Shut it off again, rechecked everything again... looks fine from what I can see. Tried to start her again, and it's seized and wouldn't turn over. Wasn't taking on any water and everything in engine compartment looked fine. Had to go back with my kicker. I'mthankful the seas were calm and the kicker is in good shape.


    SO, I'm pretty angry! Just the fact that I lost my main 2 times in two months is very frustrating and unsafe!! I was with my family (wife, 6yr old son and 4 yr old daughter). Because I was on the kicker anyway, we trolled all the way from Culross to Whittier.. and I only caught 3 pinks and saw 6 silvers under my boat at the harbor (the icing on the cake.. sorry had to laugh at something). Took it out of the water and I was shocked to see a blown out hole in the lower unit sterndrive. And it wasn't hit by anything either... as the metal is pushed outward. Also, ever since we brought in the boat to get fixed, the fuel economy has been much worse. I included the invoice of the work done,if that helps (feel free to comment on the work and cost and if the price seems right).


    So here are my questions:

    1. What happened??
    2. Was this a faulty sterndrive?
    3. Did the person not install my sterndrive correctly?
    4. Would a faulty sterndrive make it so I can't turn over the engine?
    5. Could this breakdown have caused me to start taking on water?
    6. Why is my fuel economy worse all of a sudden ?
    7. Was this why I was losing power?


    Thanks for you help!
    1. piece of old metal filing/broken gear tooth jammed in gears and seized/blew up drive.
    2. yes not cleaned/flushed during rebuild
    3. maybe
    4. yes if the gears were jammed
    5. probably not as hole is in the gearcase
    6. different gear ratio of drive or wrong prop size.
    7. yes and no but i'd bet it was due to the drive starting to seize or slipping before the blow up.

    that haz mat fee sucks !! never heard of that before ??

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  3. #3
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    I wonder if the "assembly" of the unit by the shop that installed included the lower gear case?
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Not sure if this is what you are asking, but they installed a brand new upper and lower, so the entire sterndrive. Would that include a lower gear case? I'm taking to the shop that installed it tomorrow. I just want to make sure I educate myself on it before I talk with him... As to not get taken advantage of.

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    The work order says assemble new sterndrive as it comes in disassembled. That could mean several things, wondering if that includes installing the gears in the lower case, which is where it broke.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Only two possibilities I see; one) it was assembled/installed incorrectly, two) it is a defective unit from the manufacturer, or both. As for the lower fuel economy, I would address that after the lower unit issue is corrected, there was obviously some excessive friction occurring in the gear case. As to running the engine with the sterndrive removed, that is not much of a test, running an engine without a load attached is far different than a real world condition.

    I hope whoever did the work stands behind it and makes it right. Glad to hear you and your family came out of it safe!

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    A real full 7.5 hours of shop time on the invoice and a gimbal bearing? My dad hit a rock once and for the next few years he was always blowing up out drives and gimbal bearings (when the gimbal goes you get a loud squeal and a loss of power). We did a lot of commercial fishing out of Elfin Cove at the time and ran to and from Juneau a lot. We would replace outdrives and gimbal bearings while on the grid. It took my dad a huge pry bar to remove the out drive and a sledge hammer to reinstall it. Well one time I asked him about the alignment and he said he never checked it after hitting the rock. Well after using a 2x4 and a 40lb cannon ball dad "adjusted" one of the engine mounts about 3" back into position. And wouldn't you know the out drive slid on with no force necessary, I think the out drive lasted much much longer too.

    So ever hit a rock or log?

    Sobie2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobie2 View Post
    A real full 7.5 hours of shop time on the invoice and a gimbal bearing? My dad hit a rock once and for the next few years he was always blowing up out drives and gimbal bearings (when the gimbal goes you get a loud squeal and a loss of power). We did a lot of commercial fishing out of Elfin Cove at the time and ran to and from Juneau a lot. We would replace outdrives and gimbal bearings while on the grid. It took my dad a huge pry bar to remove the out drive and a sledge hammer to reinstall it. Well one time I asked him about the alignment and he said he never checked it after hitting the rock. Well after using a 2x4 and a 40lb cannon ball dad "adjusted" one of the engine mounts about 3" back into position. And wouldn't you know the out drive slid on with no force necessary, I think the out drive lasted much much longer too.

    So ever hit a rock or log?

    Sobie2
    You make a valid point, but whoever did the repairs should have checked the alignment as a matter of course, per the repair.

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    Here is the update. I called SEI (the actual company that made the sterndrive) this week and told them about the unit. He pulled the information up on the computer and knew what lower and upper unit I was talking about. Before the new sterndrive broke, and when I was in the process of getting the original sterndrive fixed, I questioned the shop when they told me that they wouldn't be able to get the boat back to me the time they promised because SEI had sent the wrong unit. So I brought this up on the phone with the guy at SEI and he says, "No, says here that he ordered the wrong part... in fact we can prove it because he paid for the shipping back to us and if it were our fault we would have paid for shipping". So the mechanic lied. SEI told me that he ordered a generation one and he needed a generation two. BUT, he questioned if the gear ratio was right because gen 1 and gen 2 are different, but he didn't change the gear ratio on the "correct" order. So, SEI requested we get it right and go to the shop and request our old sterndrive back. SEI told me that they would help me ship it back to them and send out a replacement and that "I could do it.. it's not too hard" and that they have a 3 part video on how to do it. At this point, 3,000 in the hole, I decided I'm going to do it and decided I was going to demand my old sterndrive back.

    I go in the shop with my wife planning on just playing it cool and asking for it back. He questions "why don't you trust me", then my wife says "no we know you lied about ordering the wrong part and blaming them for it." We spot our old unit on the rack and it still has our boat name on it. Angry now, he gives me the upper unit but refuses to give me my lower unit. In all the delays to get my sterndrive fixed he says he "did me the favor" of putting something together while I waited for the new sterndrive. When he did that temporary fix, I noticed that it was my old lower unit sterndrive. He said he redid it. He lied once, did he really "redo it" or was nothing wrong with it?? Anyway, he said if I want that lower unit back "I would have to pay for it." At that point I said "whatever, I'm outta here".

    I'm sorry, but you lie once.. how can I trust anything else you did on my boat (unless SEI isn't being straight, but why would they not admit it).

    When I looked over the upper unit he gave back to me, SEI requested that he count the gears. When I took off the top upper unit compartment I could see that the gears were all chewed up. SO, at least I saw that it truly was broken. BUT, is that possible the only thing that was wrong was my upper unit and not my lower unit. I know I sound paranoid, but is that why he didn't give me back the lower unit because it was fine. Basically, what I'm asking is if the gears get chewed up on the upper part of the sterndrive, does that make the lower sterndrive shot?

    I wonder what rights I have to get the lower unit back. He said he "rebuilt it", but is it my property still? Pay him for it, I will not!!

    I will let you know what SEI says about the upper and lower sterndrive. I plan on mailing it out tomorrow. I have to pay shipping and I think I have to pay to get the new ones also. Oh, I should say on the new one you can see the lower unit shot. But the new upper unit I can turn the spinal (or whatever it's called) that goes into the boat, so I didn't open to look, but it seems to turn just fine (unlike my other broken unit where I could see the gears chewed up)

  10. #10
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    Sorry that happened to you. Sure would be nice to know what shop did that to you, but were not supposed to post names on here. Rhymes with? He will sell your old lower unit for a pretty penny to some other guy in need, and keep making more off the deal. Bad business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sobie2 View Post
    A real full 7.5 hours of shop time on the invoice and a gimbal bearing? My dad hit a rock once and for the next few years he was always blowing up out drives and gimbal bearings (when the gimbal goes you get a loud squeal and a loss of power). We did a lot of commercial fishing out of Elfin Cove at the time and ran to and from Juneau a lot. We would replace outdrives and gimbal bearings while on the grid. It took my dad a huge pry bar to remove the out drive and a sledge hammer to reinstall it. Well one time I asked him about the alignment and he said he never checked it after hitting the rock. Well after using a 2x4 and a 40lb cannon ball dad "adjusted" one of the engine mounts about 3" back into position. And wouldn't you know the out drive slid on with no force necessary, I think the out drive lasted much much longer too.

    So ever hit a rock or log?

    Sobie2
    I didn't respond back. The day the original sterndrive broke, we did hit something about an 2 hours before... but not sure if that was the sound of actually hitting something or the drive starting to go out. Wasn't sure if it was a small log or something or ice?? Not sure it it hit the boat or drive. Then again, don't we all have a hit or two every season on something small in the water. Or maybe it's just me.

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    geez, after spending 3K and have to buy your old lower back...........I can say I would be more than a little upset............!
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    once you get metal filing/chips/parts of gear teeth broken and in the oil of the drive they keep "floating" around till they get between something get it jammed and KAPOW my drive just blew up.

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    If the manufacturer said that the gear ratios are different between Gen 1 and Gen 2 and they need to be the same, then they are incompatible, that is cause for failure. I see no mention of a core exchange or core $$$ on the invoice, if that is correct and no agreement for an exchange of core value, the original parts are yours, you own them outright - the "shop" has no right to them, no right to rebuild them without your permission. I would go back and demand he hand them over if I were you. Likely the lower unit was fine in the original circumstance if there was no way for oil to exchange between the upper and lower ends - no seal failure between the halves.

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    I'm thinking the same way you guys are. Do I need to go with the police to get my part back. Would they even do that? Maybe I have to go through the BBB. This thing may need to go legal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emu View Post
    I'm thinking the same way you guys are. Do I need to go with the police to get my part back. Would they even do that? Maybe I have to go through the BBB. This thing may need to go legal.
    It sounds to me like this person doesn't know what they are doing on a whole lot of fronts. About the only thing that can cause a gear case to do what you show in the picture is something running between the gears. With soft cast aluminum cases and hardened steel gears, they do exactly what is shown in your photos. Without tearing it apart, nobody knows what went through those gears. However, something surely did. The gear in the picture looks fine - not shiney at all and isn't missing teeth. Not even a nick or a scratch. Just a WAG but I'd bet on a stray cotter key, check ball, or a bearing/gear part that didn't get cleaned up ran between the teeth. Who knows...I wonder what the other side of the gear looks like. I hope this works out for you.....this sucks and why I almost never let anyone work on any part of my truck or boat. It is just super expensive, and let somebody with a 5th grade education work on it. I feel for you.

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    Well, I'm looking forward to SEI looking it over and I'm going to request in writing what their findings are.

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    The shop I use in Homer has always saved my old parts and offered them to me for inspection or to keep if I actually wanted them.
    They once replaced my entire outdrive because they had one in stock and I didn't want to wait for parts that would have to be ordered as they were out of stock.
    My lower was good so they saved it and gave it to me. I still have it for next time just in case.
    I would find another place to have outdrive work done.
    Is this a factory shop or someone else?
    I only trust the Mercury shop with my Mercury as they are factory certified for repairs and maintenance and do it all the time.
    That or my dad but nobody else.
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    Unfortunately this guy is a Mercury Certified repair guy. To be honest, I like to trust people and at times I have been thinking "ok, he lied to me, but maybe that's the end of it and everything else was honest that he did". BUT, just today I realized something when I was looking at the pictures of my sterndrive (the old one and the new one). I realized today by looking at all my pictures they didn't install something (so now I know they didn't install at least one thing right). Nothing that would make the sterndrive break like it did, but something that would damage the unit in time... that's all the clues I'll give, let's make this a game. What do you notice that is on my old sterndrive upper unit and NOT installed on the new unit he install.

    Here is the new unit (it might be hard to see but look hard)



    Here is the my original unit (off the boat)




    One more clue that you can't see on the first picture that well. On the new sterndrive there are two empty screw holes that should have something installed on it (that was left on the old sterndrive).

    Well, if he didn't install that... now I'm getting more concerned that he didn't install other things correctly or AT ALL.

    Once I get all the info gathered, I figured
    1) I'm going to ask for all the money back that I spent on labor
    2) I'm going to ask for ALL the money back, parts and labor
    3) I'm going to get all my money back WITH damages, as it left me without a main out with my family in prince william sound

    Really depends on what comes out of the inspection from SEI. I'll keep you guys up to day.

  20. #20
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    Looks like your zinc anode is missing

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