Originally Posted by Nate
Obvious question then - what does a nice reliable outdrive look / sound / taste like? Barring the obvious like sheared studs and oil leaks are there any static checks a potential purchaser can make on the outdrive - or will most faults need a sea test to become apparent?
Final point - should I start looking for a large shed or workshop and be adding heavy lifting equipment and a comprehensive 1/2" drive socket set to my existing tool kit (two bent screwdrivers and a 10mm spanner)?
With the external unit I would start by checking the oil level and then drain some off. If it is thick, white and milky you’ve got water in the oil. This comes either from the seal behind the prop. or from the bellows. If it is oily and the right level still check for oil staining behind the prop and on the different sections of the leg (3 parts from memory).
Check the bellows by getting the vender to peel back the bellows (while you are there) and see what is inside inevitable there will be some moisture and there will be some oil and grease but spoonfuls not bucket loads.
Check the UJ that is inside the bellows it has a couple of grease points that get forgotten about.
Next check the rams and hoses. Look for oil staining, corrosion holes in the outer housing of the rams and frayed or kinked hoses.
Check the steering ram by pushing the leg from one side to the other, if you have a problem the leg will move because oil will bypass the centre seal.
Inside the transom now look for water leaking in around the transom housing. Best done on the water but be realistic there will always be a bit of water about, look for obvious dripping.
The bearing housing that is situated just inside the transom housing is always neglected (see other posts) I would suggest taking out the filler plug (if it will come) and checking the level. One tip is nick a straw from the pub and use this to dip the level and to take a sample (put straw in, stick your thumb over the end, draw out sample).
Check the prop shaft for excess movement and lack of grease.
Trouble is that it is quite difficult to really know what to look for unless you have seen it before.
Where are you viewing these boats?
As to tools, in my opinion you can never have enough tools
but there is something wrong with me