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My Gimbal Housing repair attempt

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  • My Gimbal Housing repair attempt

    I posted a thread earlier about my first trip of the season which lasted exactly 5 minutes before a u-joint gave out and busted up the gimbal housing. Here's what I found when I got the outdrive off: (This is an '82 Mercruiser 260)


    I took her up to the marina & got quoted about $3500 to R&R the housing. They wanted to order a new GH from Merc. I don't mind paying the labor, but don't want to spend the money for new parts and they didn't want to deal with used. I don't really have the time to delve into a project that big during the summer. I'm also a little leery of what I will find between the transom plates of a 30Y old boat. I decided that I would like to try and fix it in place and salvage my season. I took it a welder, who didn't want to do it on the boat, and sent me to another mechanic, who wanted to R&R the GH for $2K, if he could find a used part; he never called me back.

    So I said, "to heck with it, let's see what I can do". I'm going to attempt to epoxy it back together. Yeah, yeah, I know fix it right. Well, I figure, what have i got to lose? It didn't sink the first time the ring fell off. If it breaks I can find another mechanic and give him the 2 grand, if not then I can buy myself something nice and fix it right next time I have occasion to pull the engine.

    My purpose with this thread is to show what I'm trying and let folks know if it works or not in case someone has a similar problem. I got started tonight with a good cleaning and sorting out how much of the ring I recovered from the bellows.


    Turns out I had about 95% of it. So far, so good. I still have a couple pieces to put on, and then I will sand the inside of the ring and make a fillet with the epoxy for extra strength. I expect it to be stronger when I'm done than when it left the factory. Let's hope it holds together.

    Attached Files
    boat: '82 Cobalt 19BR, Mercruiser 260, 350 cid
    tow vehicle: '01 Chevy Suburban K2500, 8100 Vortec V8, 496 cid
    fuel budget: excessive

  • #2
    Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

    Interesting, thanks for posting.

    What exactly happened?

    What is all that grey stuff in the first picture?

    Did the aluminum gimbal bearing outer race spin inside the gimbal housing or something??
    1998 Bayliner Ciera 2655, 5.7 BIII

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

      You need a new/used gimbal housing, not epoxy.
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

        I'm with Don on this . . . the u-joint bellows is going to want to clamp onto the flange and I just would not trust an epoxied repair to do the trick.

        If you do get it back together, make sure you stay near shore and that your bilge pump is working properly.
        Best regards, Ted . . . . Cape Cod, MA

        Current Boats: Formula 330 Sun Sport, O'Day Mariner Sail #3224, Sunfish
        Past Boats: Catalina 22 Sail #10531, Formula 242 Sun Sport
        Twin Mercruiser 7.4 LX MPI (0F802036, 039), Bravo 3's (0F806198, 199), Mercury 7.5 HP (1969), Johnson 4.5 HP (1980)

        My Boating Web Pages: http://www.tpenfield.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

          Agreed on all counts. However, allow me to make three points.
          -The bellow does not attach to this ring alone. Half of the sealing surface is the solid cast bearing housing. This is also where the clamp was/will be. It appears to me that the only real functions of the flimsy cast ring are to provide additional sealing surface and allow for the locating groove.
          -The boat didn't sink when the ring was destroyed in the first place. In fact it didn't even take on more than a few cups of water.
          -The 1/8" cast aluminum ring is pretty flimsy to start with, so it can't be under much load. I suspect that with a good amount of epoxy it will be stronger than it was originally. If it can't pass a hammer test when I'm done with it, I'll forget it and pull the motor. I'll only be out a few hours labor and $12 of epoxy.

          The whole thing that got me thinking about this was the GHR kit that everyone has heard of, but apparently no one has used. I would have tried it except I thought $300 was mighty steep for a packet of epoxy and a PVC tube. I figured that if epoxy works for him, and he's been selling them for 10 years, why not give it a shot? I would pay a mechanic to fix it right if I could find one that I was confident knew more about Mercruisers than I have learned browsing this site for a year. Every one I talk to confidently says things that I know to be untrue.

          To answer questions, one of the u-joint caps managed to get off the front joint. It rolled around in there knocking chunks off. I thought it was the gimbal bearing again as it sounded similar to when it went out. If I had shut down and rowed back in, the damage would not have been nearly as extensive. The grey in the first picture is the grease that used to reside in the bearing cup of the u-joint. The cup was smashed beyond recognition, and I'm still finding rollers.
          boat: '82 Cobalt 19BR, Mercruiser 260, 350 cid
          tow vehicle: '01 Chevy Suburban K2500, 8100 Vortec V8, 496 cid
          fuel budget: excessive

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

            I guess your next post will be(MY BOAT SANK)!!!
            If you can read this thank a teacher.If you can read it in english THANK A VETERAN

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

              IMHO a used housing is your best bet, however if you are determined to try this you will run into problems because the epoxy will not hold the pieces in place well enough, even with the fillet. It is too brittle and will break loose where it attaches to the housing. What you need to do is have a aluminum ring made, maybe 1/8 inch thick that will slip inside of the old ring. Make cutouts to fit over the little castings and then epoxy that whole thing in place. Epoxy the pieces to the outside of the new ring. With the ring epoxied to the surviving casting things should hold together well enough. That way the pieces are supported on the inside where the pressure is. Anyway good luck.
              Terry
              87, 4WINNS H 190
              470/Alpha I

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                Originally posted by stonyloam View Post
                IMHO a used housing is your best bet, however if you are determined to try this you will run into problems because the epoxy will not hold the pieces in place well enough, even with the fillet. It is too brittle and will break loose where it attaches to the housing. What you need to do is have a aluminum ring made, maybe 1/8 inch thick that will slip inside of the old ring. Make cutouts to fit over the little castings and then epoxy that whole thing in place. Epoxy the pieces to the outside of the new ring. With the ring epoxied to the surviving casting things should hold together well enough. That way the pieces are supported on the inside where the pressure is. Anyway good luck.
                I would never suggest this to someone, because of the sinking danger!

                I do love a good jerry rig.

                Im with stonyloam, if you added an internal support ring i bet it would work.

                They do make some two part stuff that is a lot stronger than JB weld if that is what you are using. I would use something else to build a fillet if you dont want to go to the trouble of having a aluminum ring made. The two part knead to mix putty is what I'm referring to. Ive used several brands cant think of the names off hand.

                Good luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                  Originally posted by stonyloam View Post
                  IMHO a used housing is your best bet, however if you are determined to try this you will run into problems because the epoxy will not hold the pieces in place well enough, even with the fillet. It is too brittle and will break loose where it attaches to the housing. What you need to do is have a aluminum ring made, maybe 1/8 inch thick that will slip inside of the old ring. Make cutouts to fit over the little castings and then epoxy that whole thing in place. Epoxy the pieces to the outside of the new ring. With the ring epoxied to the surviving casting things should hold together well enough. That way the pieces are supported on the inside where the pressure is. Anyway good luck.
                  Thank you for actually putting some thought into this instead of just replying with "I bet your boat sinks". It may or may not work. I've seen posts where damage has been repaired successfully with epoxy, but never damage this extensive. If it works I'll feel pretty smart, but if not I won't be terribly surprised. I just want the idea to be confirmed or busted for the next guy in my situation.

                  I like your idea of a re-enforcing ring to give it some structure. I might break down and try the GHR kit if the epoxy alone seems iffy.

                  I'm not using JB, but a similar product that comes in a two-part syringe, and claims to be stronger. I have not used the dough-types before; it seems like they would have a harder time getting a solid bite onto the metal surface?
                  Last edited by geneseo1911; May 27th, 2012, 05:52 PM. Reason: cleanup
                  boat: '82 Cobalt 19BR, Mercruiser 260, 350 cid
                  tow vehicle: '01 Chevy Suburban K2500, 8100 Vortec V8, 496 cid
                  fuel budget: excessive

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                    Like others have said, I also wouldn't feel confident with an epoxy repair or any sort.

                    I'm currently working on my own gimbal housing (bellows, gimbal brg job) right now and I've been thinking about your situation.

                    If I were in that situation, $2-4K is a lot of money. I too would be tempted to save money but I need something I can confidently drive on the water.

                    So here is what I would do. Get a piece of aluminum pipe ... bring it to a machine shop and get them to machine you a custom sleeve. Get them to turn the INSIDE of the aluminum pipe to fit over the gimbal housing around the bearing, turn the OUTER end so the bellows can fit over it. While you're at it, machine a groove in the sleeve for the bellows to snap in.

                    Get them to machine it so that its a tight fit (ie use a hammer to install the sleeve) over the remaining metal that houses the gimbal bearing. Use a TIG welder to tack it in place - just need to hold it in, no need to weld around it. Then seal with 4200. That should be enough.

                    The machine shop probably has the welding tools and expertise you need as well.

                    1998 Bayliner Ciera 2655, 5.7 BIII

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                      Originally posted by geneseo1911 View Post
                      ...BTW: Could a MODERATOR please fix the thread title? I forgot an "s".
                      You can do that yourself...

                      I'm watching to see how this goes... Good luck, and if you've used something like Devcon, then I think you're going to be fine...

                      Chris........
                      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                      The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100’ below.
                      1972 Bertram ‘Bahia Mar’ 20
                      2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha One Gen II (0W829301)
                      (Original - 1972 '165' In-line 6. Previous - 1994 4.3LX)


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                        makonnen-
                        Beautiful drawing. That is what I had in mind at first, but I gave up on it, mainly due to the people I was dealing with not being on board. I was so fed up with all the people I had spoken to about the project that I decided to try and do something myself and hatched the epoxy plan. I'll post some pictures up after dinner, I'm almost done. I'll give it the hammer test after it has cured overnight.

                        Chris- would you mind telling me where to look to change the title? I thought the OP could do it, but I have not been able to figure out how.
                        boat: '82 Cobalt 19BR, Mercruiser 260, 350 cid
                        tow vehicle: '01 Chevy Suburban K2500, 8100 Vortec V8, 496 cid
                        fuel budget: excessive

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                          Originally posted by geneseo1911 View Post
                          Chris- would you mind telling me where to look to change the title? I thought the OP could do it, but I have not been able to figure out how.
                          Edit the original post and that allows you to add/change the title...
                          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                          The world takes on a whole new perspective when viewed from 100’ below.
                          1972 Bertram ‘Bahia Mar’ 20
                          2006 Mercruiser 4.3MPI (0W617679) w/Alpha One Gen II (0W829301)
                          (Original - 1972 '165' In-line 6. Previous - 1994 4.3LX)


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                            Thanks for that. When I tried that the first time, I didn't use the advanced editor, so I didn't have the title text box.

                            Here's another "work in progress" shot

                            Here's what I'm going to call "good enough"


                            It looks a little egg shaped in the photo, that is not as noticeable in real life. The second shot gives a good idea of the amount of reinforcement. I scuffed the surfaces with 40 grit and cleaned well before applying the epoxy, which I slathered on with a finger and leveled with the mixing stick. Once I had the inside filled, I ground a notch into each joint on the outside and filled with epoxy so each joint is encased on all four sides. It feels very strong already, but the instructions say to give it four hours before stressing it. A sanding drum on the dremel worked well to smooth out the outer surface, and a wire wheel worked perfectly to clear excess epoxy out of the bellow locating channel. I'm feeling pretty good about it, but we'll see just how strong it is tomorrow.
                            Attached Files
                            boat: '82 Cobalt 19BR, Mercruiser 260, 350 cid
                            tow vehicle: '01 Chevy Suburban K2500, 8100 Vortec V8, 496 cid
                            fuel budget: excessive

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Re: My Gimbal Houing repair attempt

                              Looking good!

                              Is this boat moored or trailered?
                              1998 Bayliner Ciera 2655, 5.7 BIII

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