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Repair or Get out of a potential lemon boat?

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Repair or Get out of a potential lemon boat?

Old 10-07-2018, 05:21 AM
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Default Repair or Get out of a potential lemon boat?

In June, I bought a Sea Ray Sundeck 240. It is a 2003 and sits on a 2002 eagle tandem trailer. Before I bought the boat, I noticed that it had a fair amount of corrosion on its Bravo 3 outdrive (especially on the lower unit). I asked about it before purchasing and was told most of the time it is just cosmetic and all I would have to do was sand and paint it. Fast forward to today! I had the boat out for a total of six times when I noticed it leaking gear oil. I took it into the shop and it was determined that I need a whole new outdrive as there are teeth in the gears that are missing and some that are pitted in both the upper and lower parts of the outdrive. I was quoted close to $10K to fix (oh yeah, the bellows are bad as well). Needless to say, I bought a boat that the previous owner neglected. So, my question to the forum what should I do with the boat? Sell as it (don't know if that is possible)? Fix and sell? Fix and keep? I am just very leery that this maybe the beginning of issues that I am going have to fix going forward. Any thoughts welcome. Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:29 AM
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Sorry for your troubles. A good marine survey is a must when buying any boat.

You are going to take a loss e ither way, so it depends if you want the hassle of fixing or not.
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:41 AM
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Is this your first boat? The sad reality is that things break, and to get 15 years out of a drive is not bad at all. Are you driving a 15 year old car? Maybe so, but most likely not. And your car does not go under water. Plus, the bellows, both of them, should be replaced every few years, when you do the pump on the engine. If you expected that this thing would be just like a Honda civic, well, it's not. Really, you neglected the boat when you did not have the drive inspected, and the bellows changed when you bought it.

Are you good with tools? There are plenty of you tube videos that show you how to get the drive off, and change the bellows. If it were me, I would get onto the bravo 1 bandwagon- it's simpler, and did just fine until they made the bravo 3. And find a drive shop that you can go to for service. The muscle boat crowd goes through these things, and have them rebuilt, on a regular basis. The idea is to keep up with the inevitable repairs before the drive is destroyed. Maybe you can get a rebuilt or serviced drive that is in good shape?
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:50 AM
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Welcome to boating. Chalk it up as a learning experience to survey and inspect a boat before buying. Either fix and sell, or just sell.
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:50 AM
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Are you otherwise happy with the boat? If so, you should get other estimates on repairing the outdrive, or perhaps find a good used outdrive to replace your possible damaged unit. I'm fairly certain you could find and have installed a used outdrive for much, much less than your original estimate. Replacing an outdrive is within the realm of a knowledgeable DIY mechanically inclined person with a good service manual. On the other hand, if you sell boat with a damaged, non operating drive system, be ready for a big $$$ loss when selling. Lastly, any boat you purchase is ALWAYS going to have items needing repaired/replaced. it is the nature of these beasts!
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:58 AM
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Is it just the lower unit gears? The lower unit is easy to replace. The bellows is a bit more difficult, maybe ask the shop do just replace the bellows and deliver a new or used outdrive to them. New B3 is under $7k at mercruiserparts.com. A vendor here may even have a better deal...
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by C3D View Post
Sorry for your troubles. A good marine survey is a must when buying any boat.

You are going to take a loss e ither way, so it depends if you want the hassle of fixing or not.
a marine surveyor is likely not going to do a mechanical inspection.

you would want to hire a mechanic that is certified to work on the brand to do a mechanical inspection

that said, bellows are a regular maintenance item. they should be inspected regularly and replaced every few years. if i bought a used boat and i did not have records of it being done, like anything else that is listed on maintenance, i would replace immediately before using the boat further

OP may be able to find a used lower unit on the cheap. ps. OP - i dont think "lemon" can be said on such an old boat...

Last edited by mystery; 10-07-2018 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:08 AM
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I have learned to increase the amount of time and attention to detail I spend on the boat. Anything that looks rusty or corroded or dry rotted will become a problem so it needs to be addressed. Often, addressing these corroding parts needs to be setup as a regular maintenance item.

I recently had the Davit on my boat rebuilt. It was rusting out from the inside out. Spent $2k on the rebuild but saved significantly more by not having to replace the entire item. I'm also addressing seemingly minimal corrosion on my hatches but I know it will only get worse if left unaddressed.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by VeroWing View Post
Are you otherwise happy with the boat? If so, you should get other estimates on repairing the outdrive, or perhaps find a good used outdrive to replace your possible damaged unit. I'm fairly certain you could find and have installed a used outdrive for much, much less than your original estimate. Replacing an outdrive is within the realm of a knowledgeable DIY mechanically inclined person with a good service manual. On the other hand, if you sell boat with a damaged, non operating drive system, be ready for a big $$$ loss when selling. Lastly, any boat you purchase is ALWAYS going to have items needing repaired/replaced. it is the nature of these beasts!
I agree with the post above. Do you like the boat, the hull, and the ride of the boat? If so, get some estimates and then make your assessment.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:12 AM
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You liked the hull enough to purchase. Break out the iPad and review every you tube on bellows replacements, outdrive replacment and aligning engine to outdrives. Pre plan project by purchasing all your parts before hand and open account in iboats forum. Set everything up then take a week off of work to dive into your new project, hobby, pastime, passion, etc.....
or
open your wallet and have a shop do all the work for you. This is an expensive hobby going this route but if you are a dentist, gynecologist, brain surgeon or barber it’s worth avoiding hand, eye injury.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:20 AM
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First of all the early versions of the B-III drive were known for corrosion even in fresh water due to the large area of stainless steel props, which increased the potential for galvanic corrosion greatly due to their proximity to the aluminum lower unit. Later versions were improved with added anodes and the Mercathode system. So there was a designed in issue, it was not as the PO told you but rather a known fault that many boats had, I've seen them in boatyards, even less than 10 years of salt, had much more corrosion than even my old OMC Cobra, which was used and moored in salt water for 15+ years. The difference is that the Cobra always had an aluminum prop, which is preferred on a lower unit that is in the water full time.
You could: get a rebuilt lower unit, but it will still be expensive, being a B-III dual prop drive, or sell the boat with the problem disclosed.
Or, another maybe slightly cheaper option would be to convert it to a B-1 or B-II lower, both of which are single prop drives. The upper gear housings on all the Bravo series are the same, it is the lower units that are different.
I would before doing any repairs/replacement to the drive, evaluate the rest of the boat, engine, hull etc. Make sure that something major isn't going on with something else, that will require expensive repairs. Keep in mind that this boat is already approaching the age where engine problems crop up, structural problems can also arise, depending on how well it was built, etc. If the rest of the boat is still in good shape, get several estimates for replacing the drive, and then ask yourself, can you buy another newer boat for that price plus what you get for the boat...
And of course this being THT, the outboard zealots will come in, ranting about how bad I/Os are. Yes when not maintained they are. But be aware if you switch to an outboard boat, my advice is go nearly new. Because, they all corrode internally, they approach the point of no return, at approximately 8-12 years in salt water, maybe longer in fresh. And when they corrode internally, there is no repairing really, you are going to have to get a re-man power head, which for any modern 4 stroke outboard, is very expensive.
So if you want to fix it, make sure there is nothing else big about to go wrong. If you sell and go outboard, do NOT buy an old one (ie go for 3-5 years old max).
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:28 AM
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15 year old lemon?

Man, either sell it as is and disclose, fix it and sell it and disclose, or fix it and use it.

There aren't many options here...I guess you could just scrap the whole thing and chalk it up to a learning experience.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:38 AM
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You’ve already bought the loss. IMHO find a used outdrive, install and go boating. There will be other issues that come up
om a 15 yr Hull with dubious maintenance.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:02 AM
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How about an SEI?

https://www.sterndrive.cc/Alpha-One-Gen-II.html
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:23 AM
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He has a B-III.
He could convert it to a B-1, the price is right but who knows how long they will last. Cheapest option for sure though


https://www.sterndrive.cc/Mercruiser...ower-Only.html
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by LouC View Post
He has a B-III.
He could convert it to a B-1, the price is right but who knows how long they will last. Cheapest option for sure though


https://www.sterndrive.cc/Mercruiser...ower-Only.html
Well which ever one he needs. I had a couple of Yam lowers from them with no issues.

https://www.sterndrive.cc/Mercruiser-Sterndrive.html
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:32 AM
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If you're happy with the boat other than having to do something about the outdrive, I'd recommend you keep it. I was unaware that the lower units could be swapped regardless of generation, so that sounds like you have more options. I'd go for a remanufactured drive by a reputable company, with warranty.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
alpha takes a different transom assembly, and has an internal pump rather than an engine mounted pump, in addition to the normal pump that they both have. Plus it needs a cutout for when you change gears. They look alike, but are different.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:24 PM
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That SEI Bravo lower will work, as long as his upper gear housing is OK. The Bravo is in different league cost wise vs an Alpha and is more the equivalent to a Volvo SX, strength and cost wise.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:47 PM
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I too have ran an SEI Alpha drive without issues, Mine was on a Sea Ray Sundancer. I would not hesitate to run a Bravo lower from them.
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