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Sterndrive Installation

In this video you will see just what makes removing and installing the outdrive a very easy one-man job.
Yep. That's a transmission jack from Harbor Freight. I bolted some 2X4's to the jack using the holes already in the jack. I counter sunk the bolt heads into the 2X4 so they don't damage the drive housing. The first time I removed and installed these drives, I did it by myself by hand. Never again.
When installing the drive, pull the shift linkage out with needle nose pliers while turning the prop shaft so that the linkage jaws are open and ready to receive the shift cable end. This puts the drive in gear. Put the shifter at the helm in neutral. As the drive is installed, the linkage jaws will capture the shift cable end and the drive will shift into neutral. On one of these drives, the Previous Owner had repaired a broken linkage latch by welding the latch back together. I replaced the latch with a brand new $2 part when I had the unit apart. (Mercruiser Service Manual #28 Item 8.a. Page 3A-34)
Install a new mounting kit with o-rings and seals for $6.  Coat the whole drive shaft with grease to prevent rust and to lube the splines and o-rings for installation. Put some grease on the seals so they don't pinch and on the shift jaws too. I use waterproof boat trailer axel bearing grease both here and on the prop shaft. It is inexpensive, readily available and it is still there when I pull the boat at the end of the season.

Bravo One Outdrive Mounting Kit
Mercruiser 16755A1
Sierra 18-2615 

Sometimes, like when the o-rings on the drive shaft are new, a little force may be required to shove the drive on that last 1/2 inch.
Bravo one Outdrives can be installed either on the port or starboard side on a twin engine boat. The direction of rotation is determined by pushing or pulling the shift cable at the shift plate mounted on the engine. Both engines turn clockwise standard rotation. I always reinstall my drives on the side they came from. This helps me keep track of maintenance issues. If you install the propellers on the wrong side, the boat will go backwards. Start off slow in the spring.
My Propellers are:

 Prop #





 15 1/4 inch


 19L Mirage


 15 1/4 inch


 19R Mirage

Propellers can be expensive. This pair of stainless props is about $800 dollars. Some cost way more. People often put locks on their expensive props. A replacement Bravo One Outdrive costs what, about $8000 bucks with tax and delivery? A pair for 16 grand! These are stolen all the time. They can be quietly removed and shoved in the trunk of a car in about 20 minutes. What could be easier? (Find your missing drives on eBay or craigslist.) On older boats, especially paid for boats without comprehensive insurance, it can mean the end of the boat if a replacement drive(s) costs more than the boat is worth. Just another reason to remove the outdrives and the end of each season and bring them home.
Need more reasons to remove the drive every season?
  • If the unit is left attached to the boat for say... ten years, the splined shaft can become rusted and seized to the coupler. Now, the drive can't be removed.
  • If the shaft becomes rusted and seized to the gimbal bearing, the unit can be at the very least, difficult to remove.
  • If you have water sitting in the bellows (after ten years the bellows will fail and water will soon be coming into the boat through the gimbal bearing) the u-joints and gimbal bearing will be all rusty and corroded and the grease for those parts will be washed away.
  • The drive shaft seal is meant to keep oil in. It is not designed to keep water out of the drive.

Sterndrive Installation

One more point on installation. The previous owner (you may find that this person is your most or least favorite in the world) had these drives replaced at some point. During my first season on the water, I noticed that I could never get a repeatable reading on the trim position indicators at the helm and I had some difficulty adjusting the trim limit sensors. As it turns out, there were no trim limit inserts installed at the trim cylinder anchor pin (Page 2A-5 Mercruiser Service Manual #28). The drives would slop back and forth when going from forward to reverse and back. I ordered the inexpensive parts and installed them.
I also installed a stainless steel tie bar made by IMCO. They can be very expensive. I got the whole assembly in like new condition on eBay for $100. It was 1 inch too long. I trimmed 1/2 inch off each end of the bar and 1/2 inch off the studs. I like it alot.
You may notice the plastic conduit. Two seasons in a row a huge snapping turtle sat on the drive and chewed through the cable for the sounder. He also climbs onto the swim platform and leaves a poop-n-muddy mess.