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Thread: Water in lower unit

  1. #1

    Default Water in lower unit

    Winterizing the boat and found emulsion (water) in the lower unit of an engine. The port side looked normal so I have a good comparison. My thought is that water got in there somehow and I should change the seals, not just change the oil. With this being the case what is the harm in draining the lower unit for the winter and replacing the seals in the Spring? Would I be better off putting oil in it for the winter or would it store fine drained? It is always easier to do the maintenance in early Spring when I'm excited about boating rather than the end of the season.

    Question is how would the lower unit store empty with only the residual oil in place?

  2. #2
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Not sure what kinda lower unit you have, but if you are not going to work on it til spring, I would fill it with oil and drain it in the spring.

    Keep putting the oil to it til you get most of the water out, same goes for a jet unit, keep pumping the grease to her til there is no more water.

    Just my 2 cents

  3. #3
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Western View Post
    Winterizing the boat and found emulsion (water) in the lower unit of an engine. The port side looked normal so I have a good comparison. My thought is that water got in there somehow and I should change the seals, not just change the oil. With this being the case what is the harm in draining the lower unit for the winter and replacing the seals in the Spring? Would I be better off putting oil in it for the winter or would it store fine drained? It is always easier to do the maintenance in early Spring when I'm excited about boating rather than the end of the season.

    Question is how would the lower unit store empty with only the residual oil in place?

    Stored outside.....fill it with something real cheap(cheaper the better here as you are just going to dump it come spring) just to keep the condensation/possible corrosion buildup to a minimum.

    I would drop that leg and get it to a shop and let them fix it at their leisure as you may find a little discount on the labor. Then come spring put it back on and you are ready for the season.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    I definitely agree. Don't leave her empty to just to end up rusting. If you don't have alot of water in it, just some milky oil on the bottom, I would just drain the milky oil off and top it up with fresh for the winter. Then come summer you can replace the seals.

    That being said, alot of motors get a little water in the lower unit over time. Are you sure your seals are bad? Sometimes its just the bolt on the top or bottom that isn't sealing up perfect.

  5. #5

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    Not sure if a seal is bad. The oil looked fine last fall. I'll swap out the oil this week and maybe keep an eye on it throughout next summer. The unit is a 130 HP Honda.

  6. #6
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Was it completely white thru out the drain or just some as you started to drain the oil? About how much did you see?

    If completely white or more then a couple of tablespoons then look at doing seals. More then likely the one below the water pump is almost always the culprit, unless you have line around the prop shaft.

    I am guessing since you mentioned twins your using it in the salt pretty regular.....word of advice change the seals. Salt water ingestion even minor can be pretty injurious to bearings and casings as the interiors are not painted to protect against galvanic corrision. In this case an ounce of prevention maybe worth a few extra years. Seal kit is probable less then 50 bucks

  7. #7

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    Yup, fill it up to reduce condensates over the winter then reseal the unit in the spring. A few dollars in gear lube is nothing compared to what rust can do over the off season.

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