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Somehow the lower unit on my mercury efi came loose and caused major damage. The shop wants way too much to fix it so I'm going to attempt the repairs my self. The lower unit and driveshaft housing both cracked so it looks like I'm going to have to remove the power head and replace the driveshaft housing and lower unit.

Any one out there who has done these repairs or knows where I can get a good deal on the parts?

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iboats.com will have a reman or new lower unit for you to order as well as the drive shaft. Without knowing what "major damage" means, I'm going to assume your Lower unit is toast if it came loose. It will be cheaper replacing the entire lower unit as a whole rather than replacing parts individually. The gears and pinion will run you around 1k alone. Sorry for your misfortune but you are unfortunately looking at a pricey repair. 

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You might be able to find a motor with a blown powerhead and just use the one you have. I would check local marinas to see if they have any, or craigslist. You can always check the bay too.

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And you probably use a transom saver.  That's not totally uncommon when using one.

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On ‎10‎/‎13‎/‎2016 at 7:53 AM, Way2slow said:

And you probably use a transom saver.  That's not totally uncommon when using one.

I'm curious.  How does using a transom saver cause a lower unit to come loose?  Trailered my Champion with a XR2 for several thousand miles that way and never had that happen.  My aluminum bass boat with a Merc 75 is trailered the same way.  Doing the same with my new boat and a 115.

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What do is one of the first things you do when you are trying to get a stuck bolt loose, you hit with a hammer to create an impact force that will jar it loose.  Same thing a transom saver is doing with it's jammed between the trailer and the lower unit.  The road vibration and sudden hard jolts when hitting railroad tracks, bridges, dirt roads etc can make the lower unit start coming loose.  A friend of mine with a large dealership in California said he would usually see several a year servicing water pumps and not even have to break the bolts loose and bolts missing out of them. 

Does it happen to everybody, of course not, or the internet would be lit up with all the complaints, but when you are one of those each year that does get you lower unit damaged because of one, it ain't fun. 

You are no different that the million other boat owners that think it's a gotta have item and that's the way it will always be.  Shoot, I helped a guy one time I felt bad for, find a good used lower unit dirt cheap from a friend and helped him put it on for free.  He had completely broke his LU loose around the top flange with a Transom Saver.  After getting it all back together, and he's getting ready to leave, what does he do, he grabs that transom saver that broke the other one off and sticks it under there.   I asked "what are you doing"?  and he replies he didn't want to tear his boat up. 

Oh yea, when they first came out, I jumped on the band wagon also, thinking those things ought to be great.  I bought one and started reading the directions.  I said to put it on the back guide roller on the trailer, place it about center the lower unit and trim the motor down until the tilt pistons were fully retracted.  About the third time using it, I had about two miles of washboard dirt road to go down the get to the ramp I was going to and realizing just how hard it was beating one the trailer and thinking about that aluminum rod forced between the trailer and my motor.  When I loaded up to come home, it didn't go back under there. 

I just say, if it gives you peace of mind having it under the motor, It's worth every penny you threw away on it.  If your motor is one of the many made today that does not have a trailering rest, there are system available that's a whole hellavalot better and safer than a transom saver.

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9 hours ago, Way2slow said:

What do is one of the first things you do when you are trying to get a stuck bolt loose, you hit with a hammer to create an impact force that will jar it loose.  Same thing a transom saver is doing with it's jammed between the trailer and the lower unit.  The road vibration and sudden hard jolts when hitting railroad tracks, bridges, dirt roads etc can make the lower unit start coming loose.  A friend of mine with a large dealership in California said he would usually see several a year servicing water pumps and not even have to break the bolts loose and bolts missing out of them. 

Does it happen to everybody, of course not, or the internet would be lit up with all the complaints, but when you are one of those each year that does get you lower unit damaged because of one, it ain't fun. 

You are no different that the million other boat owners that think it's a gotta have item and that's the way it will always be.  Shoot, I helped a guy one time I felt bad for, find a good used lower unit dirt cheap from a friend and helped him put it on for free.  He had completely broke his LU loose around the top flange with a Transom Saver.  After getting it all back together, and he's getting ready to leave, what does he do, he grabs that transom saver that broke the other one off and sticks it under there.   I asked "what are you doing"?  and he replies he didn't want to tear his boat up. 

Oh yea, when they first came out, I jumped on the band wagon also, thinking those things ought to be great.  I bought one and started reading the directions.  I said to put it on the back guide roller on the trailer, place it about center the lower unit and trim the motor down until the tilt pistons were fully retracted.  About the third time using it, I had about two miles of washboard dirt road to go down the get to the ramp I was going to and realizing just how hard it was beating one the trailer and thinking about that aluminum rod forced between the trailer and my motor.  When I loaded up to come home, it didn't go back under there. 

I just say, if it gives you peace of mind having it under the motor, It's worth every penny you threw away on it.  If your motor is one of the many made today that does not have a trailering rest, there are system available that's a whole hellavalot better and safer than a transom saver.

What system do you speak of?

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There are numbers of them,  Motor Mate, Lock-N-Haul, M-Y Wedge are just couple and there are numbers more, not about to try naming them all.  Almost anything that does not go between the trailer and the lower unit is better.

What people don't understand is once the motor is tilted to the proper angle so it's at its balance point, which is what most of the built in trailering supports manufactures used to put in them did, there is very little to no stress on the transom, other than the weight pushing down and your going to have that regardless.  All you need is something that's going to hold it at that angle so it's not rocking back and forth, beside the motors hydraulics because they can leak down.  

With the way most Transom Saver style devices are used, they actually put tremendous stress on the transom the way the trailer is bouncing and pushing on the motor.  Down on the lower unit where they go gives it a lot of leverage to push on the transom when the trailer bounces.   Study the situation, use a little common sense and apply some basic physics and you can see a Transom Saver type device is a very dumb idea, but they did a brilliant job in picking a name for it.  I also say if you think those tie downs are locking that that ton of boat and motor down on the trailer so it's not moving when you hit a bump, I say " dream on Alice, you're in wonderland now".

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Regarding to use a transom saver or not, consider this.  The owners manual for my Merc Opti and the EFI before that warned against using the tilt trim to hold the lower unit up when towing.  They actually recommended trailering with the motor trimmed down to a vertical position.  With the trailer hooked up to my truck, and the motor trimmed down, it had about four or five inches of ground clearance between the bottom of the skeg, and the road.

That seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

I use a transom saver.  But mine has what looks like a valve spring which can be compressed about an inch.  I fully compress the spring, then back off the lower unit trim to the mid point of the travel.  That allows for some come and go before reaching the limit of its travel, if it ever does reach it.  Looking at the angle of the lower unit, and the angle of the transom saver, the boat could lift six inches off the trailer with very little movement at the spring in the transom saver.

It's like the movement of a piston in relation to the position of the crankshaft.  At the bottom and top of the stroke, the piston moves very little even with several degrees of crankshaft rotation.  When the piston is at the halfway point of its travel, the piston moves at about the same speed as the crankshaft journal.

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Way2slow is correct, the old transum savers can damage your lower units. My Wedge is universal and cushions the engine from road shock and vibration under $40.

Tom

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Ok. Now I'm worried.... I have an 80's Mercury on an 80's fiberglass boat. It has power tilt and trim. I've been using a transom saver. The one with the rod between the trailer and motor. Is there a more modern product that will fit? Should I stop using it all together? Yikes...

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Most anglers that use a Transum Saver don't run the power piston rods all the way down so they tend to take up some of the road shock. The problem with not running the trim rods down is the ball bearing on top of the rods get damaged and wearing out the cylinders.

My Wedge isn't that expensive and fits most outboard engines, check it out!

Tom

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When the transom saver came along, power tilt and trim was a luxury type option.  Almost nothing but the biggest motors had it and a lot of people hauled there boats around with them down, most of the time locked down because if the gear shift was not in forward gear, the motor was locked down.  Mercury has never recommended towing a boat with the motor on the tilt rest, OMC did recommend it and even sometimes  referred to it as the towing support.  Back then, there was many boats that got backed into curbs etc. with the motor down and a busted transom was part of the result.  It was very common for those that were smart enough to not haul the boat with the motor down to have board or something they will stick between the motor and mount to hold the motor up.  Needless to say, most of the time, it was not at the proper angle to be balanced and even if it was, it could rock back and forth when stopping.  Somebody got tired of doing that and came up with a support to go between the trailer and motor to keep from having to do all that stuff, and so became the name Transom saver, and it caught on like a house on fire.  Like many things, it was later discovered, while being great for one thing, it created other problems.  An umbrella in a thunderstorm seems like a great idea, until that first hard gust wind hits it.

Since those early days, many have figured out what was thought to be a great thing was not so great after all.  The idea behind it was great, but the processes used to accomplish that idea was flawed.  After discovering that, a number of companies has taken a much better approach to providing a safer support for the engine, safer for the boat and the engine.  Some of the newer devices are much better than others, but most any of them are better than a rod between the trailer and the lower unit.

Those that don't trim their motor down until it locks onto the transom saver, what is it accomplishing, other than holding the motor so it doesn't lay over sideways.  It's not supporting anything.  Those with the spring, if it's not compressed, is that couple pounds of spring tension really going to provide any support for that big a** motor sitting on it.

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