Transom Replacement...or something less invasive?
On a beautiful April evening I ran Summer Breeze up on a sandy shoal at roughly 5 to 7 mph. This early season event cost me two prop tunings and what I thought was the need for complete outdrive servicing( bellows. exhaust bellows, gimbal bearing, seals & boots). While I had the boat out of water I did both outdrives. From that point forward I have had a regular buildup of water in the bilge. When I first saw the water, that was what caused me to get the outdrives serviced...but even after servicing the water still leaked into the bilge. Maybe a cup or two of water over the period of a day. Over a week, that starts to build up a little.
What I know....
1. I still have a constant drip coming from an area below the upper inside outdrive plate bolts and above the driveshaft. It seems to drip down onto the driveshaft and then travel back on the shaft a few inches before finally dropping down between engine components onto the bilge floor.
2. We pulled the boat last week because I thought maybe this was a result of a bad boot or bellows, and that maybe the replacement parts were bad to begin with, but once the boat was pulled, the tech took a hammer and noticed while tapping around the transom that it sounded soft right around the bell housing. He also noticed that the inside plate bolts were not really nearly as tight as they should be and showed me an area on the transom where the bell housing meets...there was a gap large enough to slide in an emory board/nail file behind the outer plate. Anyway, he said he didn't want to tighten the inside outdrive plate nuts for fear that if the transom was wet, that it might compress the wet wood and cause an even bigger leak. Against his best judgement, I did tighten those nuts myself to 70ft. lbs. and they tightened up well, closing the gap.
3. I sought a second opinion and another tech suggested that the leak might be from a bad steering pin, bushings seal..and that it might not be the transom at all. In his mind the worst case scenario might be that some water had gotten into the transom since the grounding in April...
Not sure how to proceed...A new transom would cost me $4500, including the removal and replacements of motors and outdrives. The service to explore the steering pin seal would cost me $600. but might be a dead end.
Last point....the transom job would be covered under insurance...with a $1000. deductible.
What would you do ???????
Lake Hartwell, GA