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Helicoil tang fell in lower unit

Old 09-12-2020, 12:50 AM
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Default Helicoil tang fell in lower unit

This just has not been my week.

'87 Yamaha 70

My drain plug threads stripped out and I was installing a helicoil for the repair. All was going great until the tang on the helicoil broke and dropped inside the gearcase. Luckily the helicoil was 95 percent installed and will work fine how it is positioned. For those unaware, the tang is roughly the thickness of an average thumb fingernail trimming, and half the length. It is ,unfortunately for me, made of stainless steel. I tried putting a vacuum over the drain plug hole and sucking it out. I've flushed and flushed the lower unit with over a gallon of oil. I can't seem to get it out, but im also not entirely sure the vac didn't pull it out. I filtered all the oil and made sure it wasn't flushed out via that process.

So that leaves me two choices. Option one is fill it with oil and head to the lake. Either it will get chewed up by the gears or it will get caught on the magnet. Option 2 is tear down the entire lower unit, but the problem here is I don't have the tools to pull the bearing carrier.

The kicker to all this is I took this upcoming week off to fish .

I'm leaning more towards filling it with oil and heading to the lake, but my concern is it being stainless and galling up the gears.

Opinions?
Old 09-12-2020, 04:48 AM
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Stainless is actually pretty soft metal. I think your gears will just tear it up.
Old 09-12-2020, 04:55 AM
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Why would you not check the vac bag ?
Old 09-12-2020, 04:59 AM
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Did you vacuum with a small flexible tube inside hole? Unfortunately oil will cause it probably to stick in place and not be suctioned away by the vacuum from a small tube
Old 09-12-2020, 05:01 AM
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The gears won't notice it...you did your best to extract...new fluid and run it!!
Old 09-12-2020, 05:05 AM
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IT has little mass, I would not worry about it. Likely to glue itself in the oil somewhere low down and stay there.
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:58 AM
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Every time you put it in gear , you will be thinking of that little piece of metal
Old 09-12-2020, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by fireisland1 View Post
Every time you put it in gear , you will be thinking of that little piece of metal
now why did you go and do that.......
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:04 AM
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How about flushing with a whole can of WD40 or something to truly wash it out then re lube. Also I’m pretty sure the magnet on the plug won’t grab stainless either.
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:10 AM
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stainless is not magnetic
Old 09-12-2020, 07:12 AM
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Checked the entire contents of the vac with a magnet which was not fun.

I was going to flush it with rubbing alcohol today; but WD40 is a good idea too. I have a can of that on hand.

It is slightly magnetic. I verified with the spare pieces.

Someone mentioned using compressed air. I think I’ll give that a go and just turn down the output pressure so it doesn’t blow the seals out.


Appreciate the timely replies and ideas!
Old 09-12-2020, 07:14 AM
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This probably won’t be a popular reply, but I would want to know it’s not in there. I don’t care much for the idea of a little chunk of stainless whipping around in highly turbulent gear oil where there are close tolerance gears.
It may well be fine,.... but.
I would try filling and flushing the gear case with something of a much lower viscosity than gear oil to try to flush it out. I would try something like kerosene. Let it drain well and there will be no down side to that.
Just my .002.
Old 09-12-2020, 07:17 AM
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I wouldn’t use alcohol. WD40,.... maybe. I would prefer kerosene, Coleman camp fuel (basically naphtha), or even paint thinner.
Old 09-12-2020, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by DanS View Post
Stainless is actually pretty soft metal. I think your gears will just tear it up.
I'm no metallurgist but I thought stainless is harder than regular steel. Your magnet will not pick it up and if it gets in the gear set I think you could have an issue. I like the idea of filling the LU with a very light oil maybe even kerosene and turning the prop by hand and agitating the LU as much as possible. Then thoroughly drain and hopefully the piece will drain out. I'd then probably refill the LU with gear oil, turn the prop again by hand, drain again, and then refill. Just trying to make sure your gear lube isn't diluted.
Old 09-12-2020, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Midnight Runner View Post
stainless is not magnetic
Common misconception, but not always true.
shooter, more than likely it will hang up somewhere in the oil and never be an issue, if the gears were to pick it up, you'd more than likely be running at a high rate of speed and those gears won't even notice that tiny piece of stainless. If it didn't come out already when you wasted all that oil it will come out eventually as tiny little slivers of metal that you won't even see. IMO, flushing it with anything is a waste of time. Unless you can create a violent agitation inside the gear case while you flush that piece of stainless will be heavier than the fluid and just sink to the bottom of the gear case. The chance of you fishing that thing out with a magnet are also nil, the only way to be 100% sure is to tear it down, which you already stated you are unprepared to do at this time. Go fishing and worry about if you need to retie after that last fish you just caught, not tiny piece of metal.

Last edited by default_user8; 09-12-2020 at 07:35 AM.
Old 09-12-2020, 07:34 AM
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ii would not run it with that metal bit in there too many very fine high tolerance bearings in a modern lower unit , if it was an old evinrude or a old merk i would just rum it and not stress .

get a couple of gallons of diesel and flush it out with that , after a few flushed it should be enough to get a magnet to attach to ot if it does not come out with flushing.

looks like you may be fishing after all ""foe a little bit of metal "".
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:36 AM
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looks like you may be fishing after all ""foe a little bit of metal "".
Funny
Old 09-12-2020, 07:46 AM
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My hunch it's laying at the inside edge of the new heli coil and not popping over the edge when draining . Something quickly off the top of my head , a garden sprayer with no nozzle and kerosene spraying in the fill to create a current hopefully washing it out .
Old 09-12-2020, 07:52 AM
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Why not just get a seal kit and pull the shaft/gears out and make sure you get the loose item out? Its not that big of a job.
Old 09-12-2020, 07:55 AM
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Most typical helicoils are 300 series stainless and very mildly magnetic. I personally wouldn’t trust the drain plug holding it . If it get between the sliding action of the gears it won’t end well. I would try to flush it like crazy with low viscosity something and if you can’t get it out take LU apart, odds of it staying outta the danger zone seems way too low to me.

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