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Old 02-13-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
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Default Gimbal bearing replacement

Hi All , Having only recently got into boats , I have a Maxum 180 SR, the gimbal bearing , bellows etc were all replaced prior to purchase, I would estimate it has only run 50 hours , and last time out it was a bit noisy and a lot of smoke coming from back of engine ( no flame) more a hot metal type thing , got the company I bought it from to give it the once over , they came back with gimbal bearing faulty, my response at best was Hmm !! I suspect maybe was not done , or fitted incorrectly, either way a bit suspicious , before retiring been on the tools all my days , engines, transmissions, hydraulics etc but not much to do with boats , question to be asked , Is this a DIY job to get to this bearing ?
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:28 AM   #2
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If you have been turning wrenches for years it should be a job you can do. Go to the "Documents" tab at the top of this WEB page. Then go to Mercruiser manuals and look for the Alpha manual.

Basically the drive needs (shifter in forward) to be removed then using a slide hammer with outward claws is used to pull the bearing. If the replacement is not the lubed for life one be sure the grease hole is aligned with the grease fitting in the housing.

However I would first check the condition of the bellows for cracks as if the bearing wasn't replaced or it was done years ago the bellows condition is suspect to me.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:30 AM   #3
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Forgot to mention is the bellows are bad then it's time to rebuild the entire transom assembly; bellows, bearing, shift cable, trim limit and position sender. Also check steering for too much play as the swivel shaft may be worn.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:54 PM   #4
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If you have been turning wrenches for years it should be a job you can do. Go to the "Documents" tab at the top of this WEB page. Then go to Mercruiser manuals and look for the Alpha manual.

Basically the drive needs (shifter in forward) to be removed then using a slide hammer with outward claws is used to pull the bearing. If the replacement is not the lubed for life one be sure the grease hole is aligned with the grease fitting in the housing.

However I would first check the condition of the bellows for cracks as if the bearing wasn't replaced or it was done years ago the bellows condition is suspect to me.
Hi Thanks for info, I was informed there was quite a bit of work to be done prior to buying boat , the visible stuff I can see has been changed, it was meant to have been serviced oil /filters done but spark plugs were a no , I am a bit suspicious of it all , if bellows/bearing had been changed why has it packed in after approx 50 hours also grease fitting for bearing has been blanked off , I will have it apart and have a look in the hole , how long a shaft on the slide hammer required ?
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:10 PM   #5
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I'm sure have heard the line trust but verify, frankly when it comes to boats I only trust myself.

Remove the dipstick, is the oil clean? Does the filter look new?

Remove the lube drain plug for a few seconds to capture some lube in a jar to look for signs of water (bad seal), metal shavings (worn gears or bearings).

Use an IR temp sensor to take reading on the engine as well as exhaust components which are water cooled (helm gauge only reflects engine temp near the t-stat).

A standard slide hammed bar should work. With drive removed depth to bearing is about 12".

The newer models did not have the grease fitting as they coming with a lubed for life bearing. ~ > 2000

PS the bearing would only fail that so if water (bad bellows or very high bilge water) was getting to it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:28 PM   #6
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I'm sure have heard the line trust but verify, frankly when it comes to boats I only trust myself.

Remove the dipstick, is the oil clean? Does the filter look new?

Remove the lube drain plug for a few seconds to capture some lube in a jar to look for signs of water (bad seal), metal shavings (worn gears or bearings).

Use an IR temp sensor to take reading on the engine as well as exhaust components which are water cooled (helm gauge only reflects engine temp near the t-stat).

A standard slide hammed bar should work. With drive removed depth to bearing is about 12".

The newer models did not have the grease fitting as they coming with a lubed for life bearing. ~ > 2000

PS the bearing would only fail that so if water (bad bellows or very high bilge water) was getting to it.
Hi Thanks for info , all afore mentioned fine , the only one thing that might be an issue to contribute at one point end of last season I forgot to leave hull drain plug out and we had really heavy thunderstorms , boat had a LOT of water in it when I drained it
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:02 AM   #7
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Did the water get up to the starter, alternator? As these could be damaged if submersed.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:44 AM   #8
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Did the water get up to the starter, alternator? As these could be damaged if submersed.
Morning , No it was not up that far , this incident was also quite a while ago, boat was running fine until the last trip out last year when fault occurred , limped back to harbour and took it out of the water and into storage over winter
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:24 AM   #9
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BTY I have never heard of a bad gimbal bearing resulting in smoke. Melting exhaust coupler from lack of cooling water will cause this.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:31 AM   #10
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BTY I have never heard of a bad gimbal bearing resulting in smoke. Melting exhaust coupler from lack of cooling water will cause this.
Hi I did think this a bit odd, possibly bearing turning in housing certainly worth a look engine did not overheat could it be the pump failed ?
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