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My son in law was given a 89 Sea Ray/Merc Alpha1 3.0. It "has good bones" as they say. The upholstery is shot but useable for now. It came with the whole kit on a decent trailer.

He rode in the boat says it runs good but seems to take on a "little" water. We notice the outdrive lower bolt that goes through the transom is loose. At first I thought it was the little zinc anode but the bolt and washer wiggles slightly.

I have spent a far amount of time in boats of various kinds over the years. I even helped work on them from time to time but I've never had one to figure out and maintain. He is keeping it at my house, has a full time job and 3 kids AND told me I can use it anytime he isn't using it. I suspect most of the time we will use it together with the grandkids, so in my own enlightened self-interest I am working on it.

My research tells me that, unfortunately, you had to PULL THE @#$%ing MOTOR?!?!?!? to get to the head of the bolt. Looking at it, I don't see another way.

Is that the case?

I wonder if any campfire members know anything about boats? <tightening chin strap>


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Pics would help...


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Taking on water in an I/O makes me think the bellows need replacing. That's a $1,500 bill to start ones ownership with.


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Boats... need a boat load of money.

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Goop up the area including the nut and washer with 3M 4200 and call it good.

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How much is "a little" and over what time period? Bilge dry to start with or unknown?

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If you are mechanically turned, it’s just work. Removal of rear seating area and engine surround will give all kinds of access. Lower unit removal is no big deal. You can use a folding 6-8’ ladder laid on ground sideways to create a good stand to stand lower unit in while working on it. Follow the bellows to the forward connection and remove. Prob going to find a lot of rubber fatigued and leaking. I use Marinengine.com to buy my parts. They’ve always done me well.

A small 3.0 engine should give lots of access as stated. Then it’s just wrenching. Service the impellers and change the belt(s) while you’re in there. When changing the oil remember you draw it upward rather than draining the oil pan. Examine freeze plugs and be certain that oil contains no water as in frozen engine block.

Sea Rays have good bones to work with and apart from manual labor and budget will serve well. Good luck! I do love boats.

Last edited by gkt5450; 08/07/22.

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Originally Posted by SuburbanHunter
Can we talk boats at the Campfire?

Nein, sie sind verboaten.

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Buy a good bilge pump with a float switch and don't worry about a little leakage until it's running all the time.


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Raise the outdrive and inspect the bellows, if cracked then time to replace. Loose bolt has to get fixed. Certainly can be a source of water ingress. There is rubber gasket that seals the outer plate to the transom, that is more involved to replace and motor needs to come out. If boat is on a trailer, put the plug in the transom and put your garden hose in the boat. Soon you will identify the leak.

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Originally Posted by johnn
put the plug in the transom and put your garden hose in the boat. Soon you will identify the leak.

definitely the easiest way to go about things.

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The good news is the Alpha 1 is a pretty good unit overall.
If it’s a slow leak indeed I’d try 4200 as noted above. Flip side if your doing a rehab on the boat wait until off season and start tearing it down mechanically. Try to figure out the parts that have to be replaced ahead of time first. Make sure you can get them.
Another note… check the water as it’s bilged out for temp. If it’s warm, that will give you a different source for the leak.

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Motorboating is a frequent topic.


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I/Os are why God invented outboards.




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Originally Posted by RogueHunter
I/Os are why God invented outboards.

☝️ Truth!

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I wish I had pictures of ours.

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A free boat is worse than a court summons.

I’m just guessing here, but would the loose bolt indicate a rotten transom?

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Two happiest days in a boatman's life.The day he buys it and the day he sells it. grin

Last edited by saddlesore; 08/07/22.

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Originally Posted by SuburbanHunter
My son in law was given a 89 Sea Ray/Merc Alpha1 3.0. It "has good bones" as they say. The upholstery is shot but useable for now. It came with the whole kit on a decent trailer.

He rode in the boat says it runs good but seems to take on a "little" water. We notice the outdrive lower bolt that goes through the transom is loose. At first I thought it was the little zinc anode but the bolt and washer wiggles slightly.

I have spent a far amount of time in boats of various kinds over the years. I even helped work on them from time to time but I've never had one to figure out and maintain. He is keeping it at my house, has a full time job and 3 kids AND told me I can use it anytime he isn't using it. I suspect most of the time we will use it together with the grandkids, so in my own enlightened self-interest I am working on it.

My research tells me that, unfortunately, you had to PULL THE @#$%ing MOTOR?!?!?!? to get to the head of the bolt. Looking at it, I don't see another way.

Is that the case?

I wonder if any campfire members know anything about boats? <tightening chin strap>

You are discovering why nearly the whole industry moved away from stern drives.

Last edited by reivertom; 08/07/22.
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