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Old 21-03-2011, 12:36   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Boat: Shannon Pilothouse 38
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Slightly beyond routine maintenance...

Hello all,

I thought I posted this but now it is not appearing in my threads, so forgive me if this question appears twice.

I was in the process of swapping the impeller on my 2002 15hp 2-stroke Mercury outboard. I brought the faceplate to a marine store and he recommended that I replace the whole water pump because the plate was pretty scratched up and the could be leaking water.

I took out the old water pump and seals, which meant that the gear case oil had to come out too. I had changed the gear case oil at the end of the season last year, at which time it looked very gray. This seemed normal considering all the use it got last year on my 1,500 mile cruise to Maine. But when I drained the 'unused' oil, now it seemed a little milky to me. Water getting in, I guess. Or was a little residual water already in there?

So, hopefully the water just got in at the water pump, but to be sure I decided to replace the seals and o-rings around the propeller as well. Is there anything else I should look to do now to make sure the lower unit is completely water tight before put it back together and refill the gear oil? I have had the motor for 3 years, and I have only been replacing the gear oil and impeller as routine maintenance. Anything else that should be done?

Lastly, there is a ton of gunk in the exhaust housing, both above and below the waterline. It is thick and greasy and almost a quarter inch thick in some places. Can I use some sort of solvent to clean this, or any other method? Will this kind of buildup cause me any problems, or is it the sign of any problems?

Thanks a lot for any tips and advice!

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Old 21-03-2011, 12:46   #2
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Re: Slightly beyond routine maintenance...

Pressure test your gear case to check for leaks. Running the outboard with water contaminated gear oil will destroy your lower unit in a very short time. If you can beg borrow or steal a hand pump, pump it up to 10 psi. It should hold for ten minutes. Rotate the prop shaft and work the shifter a few times while under pressure. If it loses pressure get out the soapy water and pinpoint the source.
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Old 21-03-2011, 14:06   #3
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Re: Slightly beyond routine maintenance...

So that means that after I replace both sets of seals, I attach the pump to one of the oil screw holes? I am not sure I have any way of getting such a pump. What other spots are likely to be leaking?

Here are the parts diagrams for the motor if that helps. Mercury Outboard Parts 2002 1015211ZD
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