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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 1986 Alpha One on a V8 GMC 350 that needs a gimbal bearing, bellows, shifter cable, probably some u-joints and lots of other stuff I have yet to discover. I was wondering if anyone might have been in the same situation as myself in the past "poor and wanting to make the boat run again for as cheap as possible" and may be willing to loan some of the special tools needed to do the job right. Hell, if you really want to take pity on me, I wouldn't be opposed to you bringing over some beer and helping with the repair, too!

Did a search here for gimbal bearing replacement and didn't seem to find much, but one post did mention a place that rents the special tools. That would even work for me, so long as they aren't asking 95% of the new price for a rental...

Are there any places local that sell any of the MerCruiser parts and tools? I was hoping to start this project tomorrow so I could find out exactly what all needs replaced, but I can't really get any further than taking the drive off "my brother did that in Boston before I just towed the boat to Pensacola".

Thank you
 

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You will need a bearing knocker to pull the gimbal bearing out. You can sometimes sneak the drive bellows in and out without removing the bellhousing but its easier to pull the two hinge bolts with the twelve point tool. Other than that, just elbow grease and a few choice words. If the last person to replace the bearing installed it with the notches facing out, you can turn the bearing sideways and pull it out without the bearing knocker.
 

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Thanks for the advice, Ken, I neglected to post a picture because everyone will point and laugh at me.... Let's just say it was my first boat and I was young with 2 kids and a wife that didn't like fishing all that much. But I did have a mooring "Boston, you guys don't use moorings down here, hurricanes and sandy bottoms?" and NO bottom paint, just gelcoat! So yeah, after scraping a bit of the barnacles from the drive this morning, I started getting deeper into the gimbal housing and that is where I began finding clam shells damn near big enough to eat for dinner.. I'm thinking I will need to take off more than necessary, not to change the stuff, but to clean all the barnacles, clams and corrosion.

I want to do this right the first time, as I now have 5 kids with a 6th on the way, and they all love to fish, including the wife now, so I don't want to fix it up half a$$ and then break down and disappoint the kids. Sure, I could pay someone professional to do the work, but that is more than I would like to spend, and I like doing things myself, It has been a real confidance booster in my life when someone actually works after trying to fix it. Plus I am a maintenance manager at the Airport, so if I pay someone else to do it, all my employees would surely laugh at me!

I want to say the bearing is original from 1986, as the previous owner was the original and this guy kept everything related to the boat, including all the original Mercruiser manuals. He had it fresh water only on a lake in Maine, so I guess it wouldn't be too far fetched that the bearing and stuff is original.



You will need a bearing knocker to pull the gimbal bearing out. You can sometimes sneak the drive bellows in and out without removing the bellhousing but its easier to pull the two hinge bolts with the twelve point tool. Other than that, just elbow grease and a few choice words. If the last person to replace the bearing installed it with the notches facing out, you can turn the bearing sideways and pull it out without the bearing knocker.
 

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Rent a slidehammer with a 2or3 jaw end to pull the gimbal bearing out. Reinstall carefully with a long heavy punch. An alignment tool makes it easier to reinstall the drive too if you can find one to rent or borrow. Do as Ken suggested and pull the pivot bolts out of the bellhousing. Only other tool really needed is a 1/4" universal with extensions to get to the clamp worm gear screw. Go with a genuine Mercruiser bearing and bellows and you will be good to go for several years. Oh yeah,use OMC tripleguard grease for the bearing and other fittings and bellows adhesive to glue the bellows to the flanges. Good luck,your gonna need it. :thumbup:
 
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