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Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

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  • Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

    I’d like to get some advice here too. I just bought a used 23’ cruiser and on my 2nd time out it almost sank! Long story short the Gimbal or Transom house has a huge crack on the port side just inside the inner lip (I would have to train the leg to the right to see it better as the attached pic is an example - not actual). My guess this was from previous damage and finally rotted through. Of course it didn’t break during the sea trial before I handed all my cash over

    The dealer gave me a 30-day warranty, so they are going to fix this. However I just found out they are "repairing" the Gimbal Housing, not replacing it. The mechanic himself quoted, "this would be a fortune to fix". So he claimed to have welded the crack (while still on the boat) and was in the process of putting some black epoxy resin over it "to keep the sea from eating the weld bead" when I finally showed up. Was there even a weld bead I couldn’t verify it… Hell, I didn't even notice a torch anywhere nearby. Could he have just gone and only JB Weld'ed the darn thing??? - lets hope not !!!

    My problem is this: In my mind the transom/gimbal housing is subject to transferring thrust produced from the prop to the hull, right? This repair doesn't sound like a good thing. What do you all think?

    I already plan to get this all in writing as another have suggested, but would any of you trust taking this boat out into the Gulf of Mexico 30-40 miles?

    And, how much would this cost to get replaced? I priced used from $500 to new from $1,500. Engine would need to be pulled, so what would labor expect to run? [Mercruiser 5.7L Alpha one gen II (I think)]

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

    You DO need another gimbal housing. Cracks like that are usually caused either by serious impact, or the transom of the boat was not flat and cracked the housing when it was tightened down.
    A used housing would be fine, as long as it isn't worn out.
    As far as how much labor, who knows. Not all 23' cruiisers are the same for accessability. I would guess anywhere from 8 to 20 hours depending on access. That is if the transom is ok.
    Don S.

    Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
    That is what the forums are for.
    Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.


    • #3
      Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

      I would be VERY cautious here!

      It *MIGHT* be possible to weld it with a TIG (GTAW) welder. I would remove it, completely from the boat (I.E pull the drive, engine and transom assy) ... completely disassemble and glass bead blast the area to be welded. then carefully grind a groove on both sides of the crack with a grinder that is ONLY used to grind aluminum (to prevent contamination) Then and only then use the correct alloy of filler rod to weld. The time and care needed to do this would in my opinion not be worth it since it would be FAR cheaper and safer to replace it with a good used one!

      ...... This is a dealer? can you get your money back? I would probably call a lawyer.

      I wouldn't take that boat off the trailer after a "repair" like that! That scares me almost as much as a T-Tail Jackscrew!

      Sorry for the "frank" answer.

      I'm not Frank.......


      1987 FourWinns 211 Liberator, Originally an OMC 460 King Cobra.
      Re-powered in 2006 with a 1997 Mercruiser 7.4L Bravo III


      • #4
        Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

        I broke the gimbal housing on my bell boy last summer. I don't know which outdrive you have, but after lots of hunting around on ebay and craigslist I found all the parts I need for about $300. I have it partly removed and later this month I am going to set up a beam in my shop to pull the motor. I think I can get the whole thing done in a weekend.

        I hit a unseen submerged object, probably submerged log, and I started sinking fast! I needed coast guard assistance to get back to the boat ramp.
        74 Bell Boy 17' runabout, Yamaha P60
        69 Boston Whaler 13', Johnson 40
        59 Lido 14 sailboat, in progress
        too many kayaks to count!


        • #5
          Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

          "this would be a fortune to fix"... scary... in other words, what they are saying is:
          "if we fix it right, and put your the boat into the condition we represented it when we sold it to you, we will lose money, or maybe break even and not get rich from ripping people off, so screw you... you lose mr. customer...happy sinking"

          Good advice above- look for the parts on eBay, fix it yourself. I wouldn't trust them to fix it when the mechanic is under the gun to do it as cheaply as possible and as fast as possible.

          The alignment of the gimbal bearing will never be right on a cracked/welded housing. You might fail gimbal bearings frequently. The crack happenned because the housing wouldn't bend. The crack happenned to let things move when the impact took place. I'd think you'll want to inspect the boat's transom once the housing is removed. I'll bet it's fine, but what if the wood/glass is damaged... you're going in the ocean?...


          • #6
            Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

            It should be replaced.....
            If it fails, you are going down fast.......
            Disclaimer!: In my inexpert opinion......


            • #7
              Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

              I knew this was bad news! A used boat dealer doesn’t want to lose his profit margin, and he needs to free-up his mechanic for other jobs, so I’m not surprised…

              Obviously I'm not comfortable with their quick repair job (neither are a bunch of you)… I'm not a fool and I hate to be regarded as one. I'm going to suggest that we reverse the entire deal and ask for my money back. Then again, I would be open to accept their little repair job as long as it came with a $1,500 "I'm sorry" compensation, so I could take it somewhere else to get fixed the right way.

              I've been researching a bit further and the more I think of it, I cannot bring myself to believe they actually welded up that crack/break. Why all the epoxy resin then? I’m betting they only epoxy’ed it. Does anyone know what the Gimbal housing is made of ?? “pot metal” perhaps which is virtually difficult to weld so I hear. I should ask to “see” the welding machine of theirs and the welding alloy sticks. What type of welder should I be looking for?

              The P/N: for the component is 43881A16, is this an Alpha I gen II ?

              As far as how/why the crack happened: I can only guess... I can tell you that the metal edges of the crack seem dull and chalky indicating it might have been rotting for a while. Previous owner must have hit something, or backed into something while still on the trailer. She’s very tongue light on the trailer (something I had planned to correct that weekend) so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that she fell backwards and had 4,000 lbs+ of boat come down on the leg, if someone tried to climb up the aft.

              Sounds like I’m screwed and going to be out some $$$ if I ever want to take out to sea agian. So I threw the dice on buying a used craft, and “crapped out”. Damn the luck!


              • #8
                Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

                that's Gen II.


                • #9
                  Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

                  I think i would mention an attorney to the dealer and ask for the money back.I'm sure they had checked the boat over when they took in on trade.They knew it was cracked and put some epoxy on hoping it would last awhile.That is so wrong!I would contact your local news channel also and smear thier name all over tv for risking you and your passengers lives!
                  bass turds...

                  1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse


                  • #10
                    Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

                    What Gary said. new one free, or $ back- no half- a *** repairs


                    • #11
                      Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

                      Well, they called to say the boat was ready for pickup. I went there and was sticking to my guns. Suprisingly I didn't have to really demand or argue. One I mentioned I felt safer having the Gimbal housing replaced, they only replied it will take 3-4 weeks. I think they realised what they did was unsafe, or they knew I wasn't falling for it. So they drew up a new work order where I stated I wanted to inspect the new part prior to installation and that was it. No hostility, but I could tell the broker was depressed and very quiet (obviously because he knew his profit just went out the door). If all works out, I will have more respect for this company.

                      So hopefully in a month I can get out on the water... Fingers crossed.



                      • #12
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                        Re: Cracked Gimbal/Transom Housing

                        thats great! I would also want a look at the transom while they have it apart. I'm glad they are doing the right thing..

                        1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse