Last night I began to wonder if the alignment tool was going in far enough, since the old drive had to almost be pried out and forced in, so I took a mallet and hit the end of it. It slid in another half a foot or so. The fix for that is to align the engine. Unfortunately, the starboard side alignment nut is rusted so much the entire mount needs to be replaced. I tried WD-40, Liquid Wrench, and a mixture of ATF and Acetone on it, without success, along with wrenches, a sacrificial cut-down deep socket on a breaker bar (none of my short sockets clear the bolt, and none of my deep sockets cleared the exhaust manifold), and even went so far as to using a slide hammer to beat on the end of the breaker bar which did nothing except start ripping the lag bolts that old the mount to the transom in. Against my better judgement, I also tried a torch but didn’t push my luck with it because this is near the fuel lines pump. In the end, I probably spent six hours trying to do this the proper way by breaking that bolt loose. The real solution at this point is to replace the mount altogether, which I wanted to avoid because I don’t have one on hand and don’t want to wait.

After a while I decided to detach the mount from the transom, lift the engine, and shim underneath it. This is not a long-term solution, as next time I pull the drive for maintenance I’m going to replace the mount. The shim is a piece of HDPE, so it should outlast the boat assuming nothing needs to be adjusted. I also replaced the spark plug wires but they aren’t the same length as the originals, and are too thick for the OEM attachment mounts, so I’ll have to get in there with and make some zip tie looms to hold them properly. They’re hanging over the mount in the photo. They are Sierra Marine and a “direct replacement”, but sure don’t fit like they are. Nice wires, though.

When it came to installing the drive, I didn’t use my fancy drive stand.That thing is still extremely useful and I’ll keep it around, but I happened to read in the service manual I downloaded that you can buy a 1/2-13 eye hook and feed it into the dipstick hole. Seems to do the trick and allows me to use my engine hoist:

I accidentally bent the shifter cable by getting it caught between the gimbal housing and the outdrive. I couldn’t get it straight enough to smoothly slide into the sheathing, so I ended up removing a couple inches of sheathing. Another couple hours lost and another part to order next time I do major maintenance. Again, it should work for the time being without any real issues. With the drive finally back on the boat, I drained out the old oil and went to work on the shifter seal. It requires a specialty tool that I don’t have, and I tried to improvise but didn’t feel comfortable with the result. I ended up using the shifter mechanism from the SX-M on the SX-S, with the new O-ring from the seal kit. They’re slightly different but it seems to work just fine. Most of the parts on the drive are interchangeable and this is hopefully one of them. Another specialty tool to buy and another seal, to get the old drive ready to sell.

After getting the drive on, I ran the it in the driveway for about twenty minutes to get the motor up to operating temperature. Everything seemed to be working great, and I could shift into forward and reverse and spin the prop without issue. It’s nice and quiet compared to the old drive, except for the exhaust. Need to make time for a lake test in the near future.





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