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Old 07-17-2011, 09:36 PM   #1
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Default Angle of Drive when warming up.....

I'm sure this is a simple one!!

Whenever I launch the boat at the slipway I lower the Alpha One Gen 2 Leg to just below the upper running trim range before it goes into the trailering range.
The problem sometimes is that when the tide is a bit lower the skeg touches the bottom before it reaches that range. which is a pain as I then have to push the boat further off the trailer and try again.
The reason for posting is that I would like to know if the engine can be started with the leg higher than the operating range? Lets say half way down the trailering range. As long as I dont put the boat into gear and the water inlets are in the water it should be ok???

If that is safe to do and won't damage anything, launching will be much easier as I can get it warmed up and floated off to a depth that the leg can be safely lowered.

At the moment I lower the leg and get the engine started and warmed up, then switch off, tilt up so the skeg doesn't grind on the concrete slipway when coming off the trailer, roll the boat off the trailer into deeper water, lower the leg to operating range and start the engine.

If I can start the engine higher and then leave it running while coming off the trailer it will be great!!

Cheers in advance!!
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:02 PM   #2
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actually yes....you can possibly damage the leg by keeping it up into the trailer position....it binds the coupler and U-joint where it can cause premature wear....

so..it's best to have the leg down in the full lowered position before starting.....that's pretty much from mercruiser...


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Old 07-18-2011, 12:30 PM   #3
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Not sure I understand why you are warming it up before launch. Can you not just splash the boat, get it to slightly deeper water, then lower the leg and warm it up?

Nevertheless, according to what I have read in my owners manual, Merc advises against running the engine above....I think it was 1100 RPM for the reasons SeaPuppy mentioned above. I don't know if doing so has any significant impact on the coupler but the U-joints will not be happy if they are presented with much of a load while the drive is up. There isn't much load at 1100. Indeed, I've trimmed mine way up when finding myself in real shallow water but I keep it at idle speed.

See what your manual says.

Dan
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:47 PM   #4
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Consider running the engine on muffs with a garden hose before you leave the driveway and head for the ramp. This will confirm the engine is starting and running properly and allow it to warm up. It most likelly won't still be warm by the time you splash the boat, however you can more safely move the boat to deeper water and let her warm up without needing to be on the trailer. The only reason you're leaving on the trailer is in case there are mecahnical issues on the ramp. Running it ahead of time verifies this and now the only reason to run it on the ramp is truly to warm the engine up again. This would alleviate this problem completely. Besides, less of a trip and time if the engine doesn't start or run properly in the morning because you're still in the driveway.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses.
I think getting into a habit of warming the engine before leaving may be a good one - and would check all is working as it should - Although I haven't had a problem as yet when I get to the slipway. The reason I always warm it up before leaving the trailer is because back in 2004 before this boat i had a Selva outboard which unless properly warmed up for a good few minutes I would happily reverse it off the trailer and then when shifting into forward gear it would stall if not warmed enough.
This meant I was heading gently backwards towards the pontoon with no way of stopping without getting the engine started again and shifting into forward gear. That put me off cold starts a bit!
Since then I have always made sure that the new sterndrive engine is warmed on the trailer for a few minutes in case it does the same thing.
Maybe I could try just heading off the trailer and then lowering the drive and starting but I don't fancy floating around if the engine doesn't start. The muffs plan is looking good!
It is a busy slipway which often has lots of sailing dinghies launching aswell so a quick launch is key. As I launch the boat happily by myself and then drive the boat to the pontoon to moor up, leaving the car and trailer on the slipway for a couple of minutes I can't float around warming the engine too.
Oh and I let no one else launch or moor my boat or get near any fixed structure while driving it, so getting someone else to launch and potter about while I park the car is a big no no! I'm quite proud of my boat and the lack of marks on it!
Unfortunately it isn't a launch site that you can launch the boat and rope walk it along the pontoon - I've seen photos of some of your excellent lake pontoons.

I will dig out the manual too because if I can get the drive lowered to say 2/3 down then that would be a great solution. Don't get me wrong I haven't had a problem so far in 6 years of owning this boat just I've always wondered if I could start the engine higher than I currently do. I like the fact it is still half on the trailer in case of a problem then I could just winch back on and drive home.

I definitely wouldn't be putting the engine into gear until the leg was lowered to the full down position just starting the engine while in the lower end of the trailering range to warm up. I didn't think any parts in the leg would be rotating unless in a forward or reverse gear. If the leg was nearly down I can't see it causing any stress on the bellows, coupler or U-joints.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:16 PM   #6
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Yeah I have to say your a lot more careful than I was with my trailerable boat. Once I knew the battery was good and the engines would start I would have another person back the vehicle into the water, as soon as she hit water the drives would go down and start while I was floating away. I always figured if she didn't start I'd be swimming her back to the trailer.

Sounds like your as careful (if not more) than I am. I don't let others drive the boat either.......I do NOT care however about somebody driving my truck or pulling the trailer out. You might consider that as an option.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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Just reading your other post ss3964spd:

(START QUOTE)...If yours is like mine there should be a detent that you have to push the toggle past to raise the drive all the way up. The toggle has a a range of motion prior to pushing past the detent. That small range is actually the pre-set drive trim and it is supposed to trim the drive up to exacly the correct angle once the boat is on plane. I have not had to fuss with the trim sensors on my boat but I believe one sensor is used to set the proper planning trim angle and the other only feeds the trim gauge.

If set up correctly it works like this in operation: Toggle the drive all the way down and throttle up to get on plane. Once the boat is on plane thumb the toggle lightly - make sure you don't push past the detent, to raise the drive to it's pre-set limit. Even if you hold the switch "on" (but without going past the detent) the drive won't raise any further. If you drop off plane simply thumb the toggle down again. (END QUOTE")


I wasn't aware this preset limit was for the sweet spot on trimming up while on the plane. Will try this next time I'm on the water. If that detent you mention if set for sweet trim angle should mean that above this level is fine to get the engine running at? I presume a lot of boats don't even have a trim angle gauge and run theirs higher? I'm only talking about a few minutes at idle to warm up...
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:44 PM   #8
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By the way, any time the engine is running the drives' input shaft is turning, regardless of if the drive is in any gear or not. The input shaft has the u-joints on it.

To be honest Lee, I really would not worry about it - in gear or otherwise. But that's just my own assessment based upon what I read in the manual. Don't exceed 1100 RPM with the drive up. Best to double check the operation manual for your A1G2 drive.

Mine has the trim gauge. I don't consult it. When I'm not on plane the drive is all the way down. When on plane it is raised to it's preset limit via toggle. If in really shallow water I stay at idle speed (600 RPM's for my engine) and raise it as much as necessary to keep the props out of the sand/mud/rocks/weeds/etc-etc.

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Old 07-19-2011, 08:43 AM   #9
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I've found the manual for my 2004 3.0L Mercruiser and it says the following under "Power Trim"

" Power Trim allows the operator to adjust the sterndrive angle while underway to provide the
ideal boat angle for varying load and water conditions. Also, the Power Trim system
Trailering feature allows the operator to raise and lower the sterndrive unit for trailering,
beaching, launching, and low speed operation (below 1200 rpm engine speed), shallow
water operation.
CAUTION
Never trim the sterndrive unit UP/OUT using TRAILER switch while boat is underway
at engine speeds above 1200 rpm. Use extreme caution when operating with
sterndrive unit raised. Severe damage to the sterndrive unit may result if unit is
raised beyond the gimbal ring support flanges at engine speeds above 1200 rpm.
"

So I reckon I will be alright just starting at the desired angle when launching!!
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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Yup, that's what I remember reading in my OM. It almost sounds as though the concern is more with stress to the transom assembly than it is with the u-joints.

I was pondering this last night before sleep. Then it occured to me, at 3:00 AM unfortunately, that when you turn the drive left or right the u-joints go through the same range of motion as when you raise or lower the drive. Granted, I think the angle is greater when the drive is all the way up than when turning left or right, but still.

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