Author Topic: To do it yourself or not to do it yourself, that is the question  (Read 741 times)


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Ok, so I think always that I can fix everything on my boat for cheap and quickly, but sometimes find myself spending as much as a shop would charge by purchasing special tools, having to do re-dos, and the task taking roughly 3x's longer than planned.   So, one would ask then is it really worth it?   I say maybe to yes, as there's no better way to learn about your boat than to do the repairs yourself (within reason - won't consider internal part replacements and power head swaps).  100 hr. maintenance is quite straight forward and can save you some money and time, but the more complex projects it's a toss up between doing it yourself and letting a shop do it.   

My latest adventure happened this past week.  I was in a remote area for a few days with the evenings off, so I brought my boat with me to work on.  I didn't even bring a single pole with me as I would have been all over the multiple nearby lily covered ponds throwing a frog.  I started on the routine maintenance (100 hr stuff) with no issues - plugs, gear oil, fuel filters, impeller etc... then I moved onto a more complex project of servicing my trim/tilt assembly as it was leaking fluid and starting to give out on me.   I purchased a special removal tool on Ebay, some Dextron III fluid, new seals, and watched a YouTube video (which made it look super easy); I was ready.   Removal of the end caps is where I ran into the first snag - one was just stubborn as heck and I had to take a BFH and punch to it to get it started and then from there I could use the special tool.   Once the end caps were removed I pulled the two lower pistons out and replaced all the seals.  I then sucked out all of the old fluid (which looked like the Potomac currently - like chocolate milk) and then poured some new fluid into the cylinders.  I replaced the caps and added fluid to the reservoir and thought, wow, that was easy, drop mike walk away!  Wait a minute though not so fast, for some reason I could not get the cylinders and rods to move and all I heard was the pump whining away.  Also I could see one of the end caps leaking even worse than before.  After screwing around with it for 3 hours I conceded to throwing in the towel.  I was going to take it into the shop to have them look at it the next day.  So now I am at the shop asking for advice.  The lead mechanic (only mechanic) gave me some pointers and I attempted the job again, this time with his supervision and help and with the actual Mercruiser Trim oil ($26/qt).  I also switched the top caps to the opposite side and for some reason this stopped the leaking.  Again, no luck with the darn thing working.  Then the mechanic said maybe it a seal came off the bypass relief screw and was lodged in the pump.   To remove this screw I had to take the entire Trim/Tilt assembly off the boat (which is actually easier than it sounds).  Got the screw out and it was fine.  Then while I had the system out I topped off the fluid as it was much easier, and then started cycling the trim switch up and down and low and behold it worked!  I put it back on the motor and then it didn't work.  I had way too much air trapped in the system and not enough fluid still.  I put the entire QT in there and finally got it to work (after another 3 hours of work). 

Totals:  6 hours and $204 ---- Tool - $45 / Fluids - $26 / Oil can with small tip - $13 / O-rings and seals - $80 / Mechanic support and assistance - $40.   

Lessons learned:  Buy the right tool, use the correct fluids, and have plenty of patience. 

If anyone is going to attempt this on their own, just let me know and I will help as much as possible. 

Cpt Wardog



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Re: To do it yourself or not to do it yourself, that is the question
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 09:01:20 PM »
Screw the DIY......I learned my lessons over the years.....I'll pay someone else all day to do that stuff. ;)
Fishing is not my hobby, and a bass boat is not a “toy”. Fishing is a way of life in which I can’t do without. I fish in Ranger Boats. If those close to you don’t support your way of life, remove them. Life is short and kayaks are shorter. God is good, so get to know him. Hillary smells like sulfer.