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Oil leak from UJ bellows and repairs required.

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  • Oil leak from UJ bellows and repairs required.

    A customer asked me why the Mercruiser Alpha One outdrive on his ski boat was leaking oil badly from the universal joint bellows. He was getting through a quart of gear oil a day when using the boat! I found a split in the bellows where the gear oil was coming out (and water getting in). Interestingly there should not be any gear oil in the universal joint bellows so I was suspicious that the outdrive input shaft seal had failed for some reason.
    I removed the outdrive and found lots of oil and water in the universal joint bellows along with lots of pieces of what looked like molten aluminum. Not good! The aluminum containment ring that secures the bellows in the outdrive gimbal ring had come loose and gone into the universal joints. The UJs had ground up the containment ring like a big meat grinder! Alas, the remains of the containment ring had cut the bellows, damaged the input shaft oil seal and also damaged the outdrive gimbal bearing necessitating a lot of repair work and replacement of parts.
    I could not really work out why the bellows containment ring had come loose. But when I reinstalled the outdrive after carrying out the necessary repairs and parts replacement It became clear. When persons unknown had previously removed and reinstalled the outdrive for the previous owner of the boat they had left out the rubber seal that holds the containment ring in place! This small oversight cost the current owner over $1300 in repairs!
    Interesting job this, a real head scratcher to work out what had gone wrong. Luckily I like a challenge!


  • #2
    Thanks for sharing your story Britpilot and to iboats.
    In the long run, Using OEM parts may just cost you less money!

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    • #3
      Ring & gasket, bellows, u joints, upper drive seal & related, $1300. Are you in NH? I will send you customers!
      1989 Baja Sunsport 196, Mercruiser 5.7, Alpha 1
      Moultonborough Neck, Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

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