From the Forums: Repairing an Outboard

Published in the July 2013 Issue July 2013

Are you brave enough to tackle your own outboard repair? Let’s hear from our forum members who are.

[Nightfisher] Fourth trip of the year and my motor is finally showing signs of death being imminent. Last time out it developed a grinding rattle, very different from the normal rattle it has from missing a few bushings in the mid-section. I knew when I got it that the motor probably would not last because the girl I got it from had never checked the lower unit oil and there was nothing but water in it when I checked it. I have a feeling it’s either the lower giving out, or the drive shaft bearings was also suggested by someone with more knowledge than myself. Either way, I’m off the water until I can fix it, patch it, or replace it.

[rickdbi] Sometimes eBay has lower units fairly cheap. If nothing else, grab a manual and try to fix it yourself. Only a few specialized tools are needed to tear it down and those you could probably borrow from a local mechanic. Also, check around and see what it would cost to rebuild it if you bring in just the lower unit. Sometimes they are more willing to work on it if they don’t have to take up space on the lot with the whole boat.

[Moser] I’m with Rick. Grab a manual and tear into it. It is only about three bearings and two shafts with some shifting stuff thrown in. One thing about lower units is that when they fail, they fail catastrophically. If it’s just getting noisier, it is probably fixable. I have the OMC factory manual here from my 1976, 55hp and I’m almost certain the lower units are the same. I’d be happy to send it to you for the duration if you’ll send it back when you’re done.

I just looked and it is a bit more than three bearings with two shafts, but certainly a doable job. Make it a project here and we’ll help.

Want to find out if Nightfisher is going to give this DIY project a go? Head over to the forum at to find out.

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