Winterizing

hogluvr

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Dec 1, 2013
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Thanks, I'll give that large hose another shot after work, you have to be a real contortionist to work on these things!! So that pic I posted is the oil cooler? As far as the drive goes, does it matter if I drain the water first before changing the gear oil?
 

Lou C

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The pic you posted is the oil cooler for the power steering system, water flows through from the transom mount on its way up to the thermostat housing.
Doesn't matter if you drain water before changing the gear oil. However, MAKE SURE you change the drive oil the way OMC recommended and replace the white fiber drain/fill/dipstick sealing washers. I use Mercruiser/Quicksilver High Performance gear lube, you can use the OMC Hi-Vis or Evinrude HPF oil which is what the factory recommended but its hard to find.....
take a look at this, it shows how to fill the drive properly, it should take 2 qts when full but since you will spill some then get 3 qts and a gear oil pump. There are also other factory procedures for the Cobra in this document.

 

hogluvr

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Ok latest update: struggled with that bottom hose for almost an hour but finally got it off, let's just say I'll be ordering a new one 🙄

I lowered it into the bilge and drained it before I got it off, nothing else came out when I fid so I think in the future disconnecting from the top and draining should be sufficient. I took out the 3 screws in the drive mount, a small amount of water came out the port side and a tiny bit of moisture came out the stsrboard side, is this cause for concern? I took the hose going from the oil cooler and dumped some antifreeze in it, got a small amount of dribble from the fresh water intake? Did not get to the drive oil yet, I'll take a good look at what the old stuff looks like because of that tiny bit of moisture from the drain screw on the starboard side.
 

Lou C

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For the hoses, I put some grease on the necks on the water pump and thermo housing that keeps the hoses from getting stuck on. The moisture from the starboard side suggests there may be water in the pocket in the pivot housing where the bell crank lives. Check that when you pull the drive. Might be leaking around the gasket between the drive and the pivot. The dribble of water, sometimes because the impeller is in a position that blocks the AF from coming out a lot, sometimes it does sometimes it doesn't.
 

hogluvr

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Dec 1, 2013
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I guess I'm about done as far as winterizing goes? Do you see any harm leaving the draincocks open and that hose off over the winter? Not sure if I'll have time to pull the drive before winter, how big of a job is that? Thing looks heavy...
 

Lou C

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I put the plugs back in because the cast iron threads can rust over the winter. I put some Evinrude gasket sealer on the threads. Hoses, I put some grease on the necks they fit on to prevent corrosion and that makes it easier to remove them next time. Drive, if you’re older or have a bad lower back get a drive jack. I got one from Stumpys Fab Works and use it every year, you should check the bellows for water and the gimble bearing for smooth movement and u joints for play. R&R ing the drive will make these components last a long time and helps you to avoid expensive problems. I’ve not had any real problems with the Cobra drive probably because I always did the maintenance regularly.
 

hogluvr

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Dec 1, 2013
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Thank you for all your help through this. On a totally unrelated subject, do you happen to know what tune-up parts are marine-specific? And are there any aftermarket suppliers besides Sierra for these things? Looking at OEM OMC parts diagrams this stuff gets expensive quick!
 

Lou C

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If its a Ford engine it probably takes Champion spark plugs, those are not marine specific, the distributor cap is though. There is an SAE spec for ignition and electrical parts for inboard boats that parts must meet for safety. Spark plugs just look up the Champion parts # and got to an auto parts store, the dist cap has to be marine though. That distributor is marine specific so you're stuck with buying either OEM or Sierra for that.
Keep in mind....
Carburetors
distributors
starters
alternators
all must be marine certified marine SAE J1171 if you look close on this starter you can see....
IMG_1703.JPG
 

Lou C

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Even fuses that are used in an enclosed engine compartment have to be of a certain type to prevent ignition of fumes; you shouldn’t use the ATO style (metal strip is exposed) but use the ATC style (metal strip is enclosed in the plastic housing of the fuse), I discovered this doing some wiring upgrades a few years ago.
 

hogluvr

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Quick question about the plugs to drain the pivot mount and drain/fill gear oil: how do you know these things are tight enough when reinstalling? I had to use an impact screwdriver to loosen most of them, and being slotted plugs they were already chewed up. I'm not comfortable with the the thought of tightening these things with a screwdriver, how tight is tight enough? I see a real potential for disaster here if anything works loose in the water.
 

Lou C

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For the pivot housing plugs, what I've done is put OMC/Evinrude gasket sealer on the threads, for the pivot housing plugs they don't have to be super tight to seal as long as the o-ring is in place. I've been doing it that way for 18 years and my boat is in salt water 6 months out of the year. The OMC/Evinrude gasket sealer stuff is like magic. They will come right out next time because the sealer keeps water out. If you're having to use an impact screwdriver either sealer was never used, or they were overtightened.
For the drain/fill plugs they only have to be tight enough to seal, and if you use a new fiber washer (white ones) each time you don't have to worry about leaks. No sealer needed here. There is a newer style drain/fill plug available for the one at the bottom of the lower unit and the next one up, they are actually for Evinrude outboards but fit perfect and use an Allen recess. Easier to get in and out. The top dipstick one, if its all chewed up you can replace it.
 
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hogluvr

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Thank you for the reply. I bought the permatex aviation sealer, supposed to be equivalent to the OMC gasket sealer? I saw those allen plugs for the drain/fill, will probably order a pair.
 

Lou C

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Thank you for the reply. I bought the permatex aviation sealer, supposed to be equivalent to the OMC gasket sealer? I saw those allen plugs for the drain/fill, will probably order a pair.
Yes the Permatex will work just as well. I bought a large can of the Evinrude stuff from Amazon, it will probably last long than I have this boat!
Just remember you're dealing with an aluminum housing and don't have to get crazy with tightening these things, the only time they leak is if the pivot housing ones don't have the o-ring or on the drain and fill ones the person kept reusing the fiber washers.
 

PITBoat

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Quick question about the plugs to drain the pivot mount and drain/fill gear oil: how do you know these things are tight enough when reinstalling? I had to use an impact screwdriver to loosen most of them, and being slotted plugs they were already chewed up. I'm not comfortable with the the thought of tightening these things with a screwdriver, how tight is tight enough? I see a real potential for disaster here if anything works loose in the water.
A cheap wood chisel with the sharp edge ground off makes a fair screwdriver if you're stuck with the slotted plugs. I had some lying about and made 2 (diff widths) - one for the dipstick screw in the top, and one for the drain and fill plugs.

I saw a guy on YT putting them back in and tightening with all his might...
 

hogluvr

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Question on filling the gear oil: I've seen 2 different ways of doing it. One way has you filling from the drain plug until it reaches the fill plug, then closing drain plug and finishing from fill plug. Other way has you just filling from the fill plug. Which way is correct?
 

Lou C

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I’ve always filled it from the fill plug with the dipstick just resting in the hole which allows air to escape so you can get the full amount of gear oil in (2qts). Check it with the dip stick then when full thread it in. Now quickly remove the gear oil pump and tighten the fill plug. Next remove the dipstick again and recheck if slightly low you can add a little from the top hole then re install the dipstick.
 

hogluvr

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I need to have these seams re-sewn over the winter, do you think there would be any harm leaving the cover off until spring? Plan on shrink wrapping tomorrow.
 
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