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Water in gear oil....What to do?

Old 10-24-2020, 08:52 PM
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Default Water in gear oil....What to do?

I have a 2006 suzuki df200. Winterizing the boat this year, I found water in the gear oil. There was at least several ounces of water that came out before any oil out of the drain plug. I am not sure what caused it, but I am worried that I ran the boat all season with this water in it. I did hit a rock with the skeg (prop undamaged) last year. The lower unit had no water in it at the end of last season. I also hit a piece of wood this year, but there was no prop damage then either. The only saving grace is that I boat in freshwater.

If I determine it is a bad seal, should I just replace it and go on as normal or should I be looking at replacing or rebuilding the lower unit due to running it with water in the oil?


Old 10-24-2020, 08:59 PM
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shouldn't need to replace, pressure test and find out which seal? or better yet, given the age of the motor? replace every seal in lower,pressure test again to make sure its tight, fill up with really good gear oil and keep on truckin
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:18 PM
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If the seal is good did both plugs have gaskets on them? Change the oil sooner next time to flush it out
Old 10-24-2020, 11:32 PM
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Flush it out...NOW, find leak with pressure test, or very thorough inspection, repair and refill with oil, job done.
Old 10-25-2020, 03:27 PM
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Whatever you do, do not leave the gearcase sitiing empty. Get it filled with oil again and turn it over a bit asap if it is going to sit for a while before repair.
Old 10-25-2020, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Aliboy View Post
Whatever you do, do not leave the gearcase sitiing empty. Get it filled with oil again and turn it over a bit asap if it is going to sit for a while before repair.
Best advice here. You can't let them stay dry for long.
Old 10-25-2020, 06:32 PM
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I had let it drain yesterday. I will go over tomorrow and put oil back in and go from there. I am assuming sitting empty for a day or two is not the end of the world?
Old 10-25-2020, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jserr68594 View Post
I had let it drain yesterday. I will go over tomorrow and put oil back in and go from there. I am assuming sitting empty for a day or two is not the end of the world?
No, not the end of the world. As others have said, replace all the seals and refill with oil.
Old 10-25-2020, 07:29 PM
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I had that happen for 15 years and over 4,000 hours on a Honda 130.
I had the seals done twice in that time, never solved the problem.
not recommending leaving it but it never caused me problems.
sold the engine running fine.
Old 10-25-2020, 07:36 PM
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Refill with fresh oil, run it in gear for a few minutes to encapsulate any remaining water, and go get the seals fixed. Likely no damage done.
Old 10-25-2020, 07:50 PM
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Have you pulled off your prop? If not, pull it off and look for fishing line wrapped around the shaft. The fishing line, especially braid, will destroy the seal. I unfortunately learned by experience.

I usually try to do a lot of motor work myself, but I leave vacuum testing and seal replacement to the professionals.
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Old 10-26-2020, 07:06 AM
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Large quantities of water in the oil generally come from the drive shaft seal under the water pump. I am not sure about Suzukis but the deluxe Yamaha water pump kit comes with those seals. On a merc, you can get the whole water pump base pretty cheap with the seals installed. Then you are down to the prop shaft seal (harder to do) or the shifter shaft seal, (easy).
Old 10-26-2020, 07:37 AM
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Should really not need to rebuild the lower unit if it ran and shifted fine. Those units are pretty resilient. It's not like the oil leaks out unless you have a catastrophic seal failure. I would just do a complete reseal. Pressure test. Refill and done.
Old 10-26-2020, 10:11 AM
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Thanks for all the different input and ideas guys! I am going to pull the lower unit off and take it to a shop to have them go through it.
Old 10-26-2020, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by north coast View Post
I had that happen for 15 years and over 4,000 hours on a Honda 130.
I had the seals done twice in that time, never solved the problem.
not recommending leaving it but it never caused me problems.
sold the engine running fine.
With that amount of hours/years I would expect to have to re-seal twice, at least. Normal wear/tear there. Great life out of that motor. She owes you nothing lol
Old 10-26-2020, 06:44 PM
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It’s good that you changed the fluid before the winter freeze. Expanding ice will do real damage. I doubt hitting a rock would damage a seal. A more likely culprit is fishing line.
I have a small 25hp outboard that has a seal leak. I haven’t changed the seals yet, just keep after oil changes.
Old 10-26-2020, 10:03 PM
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Likely suspect is the drive shaft seal. I would pressure test it. Fix the leaky seal. Fill it, run it, drain it and fill it back up.

i had a pair of df250s that I drained literally 100% seawater out of. Who knows how long they were full of water. Probably a year. Fixed the leak (drive shaft seals) and they’re still going strong several years later with a new owner. Yours isn’t nearly that bad

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