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Old 08-23-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
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Default Drive Growling Loudly

97 2800 SCR with a Bravo III. I repowered 2 seasons ago, upgrading from a 454 (7.4) to a 496 (8.1) MPI. I just came off of a week's vacation. I noticed the drive has been sounding a bit louder than normal over the past few weeks, but towards the end of this past vacation it has gotten significantly louder. Since non of you can 'hear' the noise I'm making as I try to imitate the sounds while I type, I'll try to do my best to describe it. As stated in the title, it is 'growling' for lack of a better term. Not a grind or a squeel, but more like giant dice being rattled in a giant plactic cup. It only occurs when I put it into gear, and does it regardless of the engine RPM's. It does it in both FWD and REV. and doesn't seem to get any worse when I turn the drive from side to side. However, that is relative, since I'm not sure it could get any worse.

My fear is I'm going to need to replace the drive. Anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:02 PM   #2
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Gimbal bearing.......or....top bearing in the drive...but my money is the gimbal bearing .....I'd almost bet money...

had the same thing when I first got my boat...they intalled the drives incorrectly and the bearings got water into them..so..they rusted.....I can hear that noise in my head now.....
when you put it in gear....does it feel normal??...if so..gimbal bearing...

SP
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:39 PM   #3
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The symptoms do suggest the GB - especially since you note that it seems worse when you turn the drive side to side.

When the engine is running - even with the drive in neutral, the drive's input shaft is turning. but there is virtually no load on the input shaft when the drive is in neutral and pointed straight. But as soon as you put it in gear torque from the engine imparts a side load to the input shaft which is transferred to the GB. Even more side load is transferred to the GB when you turn the drive. If the races and/or individual bearing in the GB assembly are rusty or pitted it's going to growl - even more so when a side load is applied.

Dan
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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I can NOT tell that it is any worse if I turn it from side to side, but then again it sounds horrible to begin with. I've done some additional reading and now strongly suspect the gimbal bearing. I had a raw water intake hose come undone while underway last year and got A LOT of water in the engine compartment. I have stayed ontop of my bellows, but now suspect the large volume of water in the engine compartment made it's way back and corroded the gimbal bearing from the inside. I hope there isn't too much damage and that this isn't too costly.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:39 PM   #5
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I can only offer my experience with this with my Alpha 1. As Dan stated, the shafts are turning when in gear or not. Mine was bad and growled when in nuetral and got worse as the RPM was increased. It also was worse when I trimmed up a bit (not that far though, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 way up). That was enough on mine to make it louder, of course it growled all the time in gear and running down the lake. At idle it was not bad at all and hard to notice.

In either case though, seems like a good idea to yank the leg and check it out. The gimbal can be reached and spun by hand with the leg removed and if bad, you should feel roughness in it when slowly spinning it. If nothing there then could be something deeper inside the drive or even the u-joints in the shaft itself (they do spin in nuetral).
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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I can NOT tell that it is any worse if I turn it from side to side, but then again it sounds horrible to begin with. I've done some additional reading and now strongly suspect the gimbal bearing. I had a raw water intake hose come undone while underway last year and got A LOT of water in the engine compartment. I have stayed ontop of my bellows, but now suspect the large volume of water in the engine compartment made it's way back and corroded the gimbal bearing from the inside. I hope there isn't too much damage and that this isn't too costly.
Sorry to hear about your sick drive there Shrew,

The water in the bilge is probably the root cause since the GB is not sealed, (why I dont know??.) If the water line got that high or you were on a sub plane angle so the water would have piled to the rear and presto; water in the GB bearing. And we all know that water displaces oil so there you go.

Just be glad that you don't have sisters back there or you would be facing B.O.A.T. x 2! Now, don't you feel better??

If it is the GB and not the upper gear housing right angle bevel gears going, just pray that itís not the engine flywheel drive coupler going like they both did on Bella the 2nd and 3rd. year of owning her. It was covered under the 5 year extended warranty (thank GOD I worked that in the purchase!) but it required each time that the engine be removed to replace the crappy aluminum female splines to be upgraded to steel (something they did oem in 2001 after in heavy cruisers equipped with with T350 Mag MPIís like mine so I was told.!!)

Where ever those big dice in that giant cup end up landing I'll bet they turn up snake eyes like the way things always seem to go when it comes to our passion, but whats worse; the cost of our sport or the sadness of missing it??

Best of luck with her.

Bella Sera 3300SCR OUT
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:53 AM   #7
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Look at Bella being all poetic and *****....... Sorry Bella haven't been to the boat in a couple of weeks and with this incredible oven for weather we are having it looks like I'm not going boating again this weekend....I'm stuck in the house trying to not spend more money on big max over the Internet!!! Again, why do I need an anchor like bellas when mine works fine.......!!!! . Sincerely from Jesse( suffering from cabin fever).
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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Thanks guys. I guess I won't know until I pull her. The marina charges yard storage by the day before Sept. 15th, so I'm going to wait to pull her. It looks like this might be the premature end of my season this year. At least it will give me a jump on repairs. Here's to hoping for the best.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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Look at Bella being all poetic and *****....... Sorry Bella haven't been to the boat in a couple of weeks and with this incredible oven for weather we are having it looks like I'm not going boating again this weekend....I'm stuck in the house trying to not spend more money on big max over the Internet!!! Again, why do I need an anchor like bellas when mine works fine.......!!!! . Sincerely from Jesse ( suffering from cabin fever).
The wind up, the pitch...It's out of the park!!

At the risk of hi-jacking Shews misery here, I just gotta let this one out....You're missing your big ol' cruiser huh' Havamax for a coupla weekends???!! Try 7 Months! (count em' thats 28 weeks to Midwest SHMOE's like ME!) So as they say in the Midwest; "Sid-down"!! You got it made fella and don't forget it. When were up to our Azzes in that four letter word "SNOW", you'll be wiggling your toes in the sand. Nuff said bout missing your boating there Jesse! Cry me a Colorado River!

Regarding the anchor, being from So cal I remember the winds that can come up and blow your butt to freakin Mexico when the Desert wants to so an all chain rode would be my choice. I still have to get that picture of the ground tackle set up I'm running on Bella you asked for, I didn't forget you, just been to busy working so I can afford boating and my two adorable girlfriends!!

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Old 08-24-2011, 03:09 PM   #10
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Hijack away Bella. LOL. I'll even contribute. I was once not a fan of all chain rode and have since done a significant amount of reading and also think this is the best. However, the weight issue 'may' be prohibitive on some planing boats. If I could afford I would go with an all chain rode, but I simlpy can't afford the weight. If I had a semi-diplacement or displacement boat it would not be a question. When it comes to anchors, the bigger the better. Right when people start pointing and laughing, you know you'r ein the right size range.
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:21 PM   #11
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Ha Ha Haaaa.......U made my day bella!!!!!!

Guess my 3 months of "winter" arent all that bad!!!

Only forcast for 120* today and tomorrow....cmon october 1st.......
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:27 PM   #12
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With my poor 94 3200 being the test pig for your guys to later enjoy the perfect 3200's and 3300's.......I only have bravo IIs and will start to fall off plane anything under 3200rpms even with full tabs. I could use full chain for my ground tackle to help a bit, but do I REALLY need it?!?!?!
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:31 PM   #13
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I could use full chain for my ground tackle to help a bit, but do I REALLY need it?!?!?!
Not unless you plan on anchoring in 30+ kt winds. 30+ ft. of good chain and 5/8" line would be more than enough in Az I would think.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:54 PM   #14
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Only advantage I would really be getting is added extra weight in the nose of big max......
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:23 PM   #15
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Lightbulb Shallow water.......no reason to not to go with all chain................

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Only advantage I would really be getting is added extra weight in the nose of big max......
You guys are really pulling my chain on this arn't you??

In my 25 years of boating experience, for shallow water (under 50') An all rode chain is really the only way to go if you want a truly hands free anchor windlass operation. Think about the transition form rope to chain or vice versa, I have never seen any windlass that didnt need help by hand to either guide the the transition from one to the other without hicupping or at least the chance of it when the rope comes back in wet and slippery (including my lewmar 700 series).

When I drop the hook, I do so with out any interaction with the chain gypsy. The same goes for the retrieval. As far as added weight, I only carry 70' of total chain length cuz thats all I need. With an all chain rode the scope needed is a small fraction to that of a rope chain combo so there is less time and drama to dropping the hook. Now if I didn't have the windlass, that would be a completely different story and 70 feet of chain would feel like I was pulling up a GD VW Bug on the other end by hand.

The decision is completely subjective to the max depth of water you boat in but here on the Miss an all chain rode beats the rope combo like a red headed step child IMHO

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Old 08-25-2011, 07:12 PM   #16
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Bella, don't get me wrong. I agree that an all chain rode is the best way to go. The compromise is increased weight to increased holding. You yourself stated you only carry 70 ft of chain. For those that want to carry 200ft. of rode, this becomes prohibitive in regards to weight. The compromise is a good length of chain (approx. equal to the length of the boat) and good line.

The posters question was does he NEED all chain. The answer is no. however that doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice. Nobody needs robust groudn tackle in benign conditions. I want more than 70 ft. of rode.
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:46 PM   #17
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Bella, don't get me wrong. I agree that an all chain rode is the best way to go. The compromise is increased weight to increased holding. You yourself stated you only carry 70 ft of chain. For those that want to carry 200ft. of rode, this becomes prohibitive in regards to weight. The compromise is a good length of chain (approx. equal to the length of the boat) and good line.

The posters question was does he NEED all chain. The answer is no. however that doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice. Nobody needs robust groudn tackle in benign conditions. I want more than 70 ft. of rode.
Is this thing on?? We were talking Shallow water Shrew, as I mentioned, not 200 feet deep, thats a different story. The mississippi (average depth 14') and the Lake havasu (average 25'-35') are as I said Shallow water (not deep). I'll reiterate what I said before; equip the boats ground tackle with the appropriate length of chain (I go 2 x the boat length then rope rode. but thats just me).

Since the Maximum depth of Lake Hava-brew is only 90 feet, Jesse, I would carry 60' of chain and the rest in all the line you want. that way you won't be bothered with baby sitting the chain rope gypsy in the Shallow water that you boat in. And since the wind on Havasu can open up a can of Whoop ***** on ya during certain times of the season specially in the afternoon as I remember, an all chain rode is easier to launch and retrieve, hooks up better, drags and swing less and give you a smile on your face that says "I'm staying put".

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:28 PM   #18
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Warning: Thread Resurrection.

I finally managed to pull the drive yesterday. had my mechanic with me. We drained the oil and the first thing we noticed was the metal shavings stuck to the drain plug. The oil looked good in that there was no water, but it had that "this drive is smoked" smell to it. we pulled the top end apart and there were metal shavings everywhere. We finally got down to the lower end and found the culprit, 4 teeth sheared off of the gear to the prop shaft.

So now that I know what the problem is, it comes down to deciding to:

1) rebuild lower unit with new gears, bearings and seals. Replace bearings and seals in top end. Clean EVERYTHING and put back together.

2) Replace lower unit

3) Replace entire drive

It is worth noting the casing of both the top and bottom end have evidence of galvanic corrosion. It's minor, but evident. I also foudn the source of my running 'warm' issues. The chamber the raw water travels in just after teh pickups was approx. 50% constricted with barnacle growth. This can be cleaned out, but it tells me there is merit in splitting the upper and lower and making sure things are clean every season. Now I'm just contemplating optinos 1, 2 or 3. My mechanic pointed to a tweak in the prop and small crack and the broken teeth and claims the only way this could have happened was if i hit something, like a submerged log at speed. He claims it quite possible that running at 25 kts, I may have kissed it enough to do damage, but maybe not notice the sound. I recall a noise during last vacation. However that week, we kept hearing a weird 'BANG' about 4 times over the weekend. This was right around when the growking started. I'm now suspecting the first bang was a hit, which broke ht efirst tooth. I'm suspecting as we proceeding through teh week, each other bang was us throwing another tooth. Who knows, it does seem interesting. I'm told that if I did hit a submerged object insurance covers it. My next step is to talk to the insurance company.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #19
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Bummer Shrew.

What drive is on it, an Alpha? With that much damage I think I'd be inclined to go for a replacement unless you're confidant that your mechanic truly knows how to rebuild one properly. Sounds like most of the internals will need to be replaced and if you do that then you still have the corroded case.

Definitiely talk to the insur company.
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:28 PM   #20
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he's got a b3 drive on that beast and yes...talk to the ins...they will probably cover it....however note that you probably only have 3 claims before the ins. cancels you.....(don't ask how I know)...anyway....it doesn sound like you threw a few teeth during your trip.....I did something similar and we rebuilt ours....broke about a half dozen teeth on the top bull gear...it was totally repairable.....it's your call but a new drive is just easier than tearing down and rebuilding it.....

SP
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